Monday, 4 May 2009

President Obama in breach of the Third Geneva Convention?

Here is an interview with John Dean. Remember him? He was President Nixon's White House Counsel who blew the whistle on his boss in the Watergate scandal. Well, he makes the highly intriguing point that by failing to investigate and prosecute torture President Obama is in breach of the Third Geneva Convention. International lawyers please confirm.....

I suspect that as President Obama has made clear that at the very least he would have no issue with Congress convening a joint congressional committee on torture then he is not in breach. Should John Dean's analysis be right then presumably some judicial action would then be taken following any inquiry if wrong-doing in breach of international conventions and domestic law was found. Here is the fascinating interview:

And here are the comments by Condoleezza Rice that use the Nixon defence: because the president said it was not in contravention of the Convention Against Torture then it wasn't. That must have left President Mugabe with a warm glow of self-justification. Moreover, by claiming herself to only have conveyed legal advice and not have sanctioned 'enhanced interrogation techniques' she is actually, should a legal inquiry conclude that the practices were in breach, at the heart of a conspiracy to torture. Looks like the former secretary of state and national security advisor evaded one set bullets by ducking into another. Time to get a good lawyer?

1 comment:

  1. Guilt for crimes at the international level is where things get truly interesting, and frightening.

    It seems enormously unlikely that anybody of the administration will be charged for these crimes in a legal sense- there have been calls from peaceniks for such a charge since America entered Afganistan in 2001. Obviously it's a sign of our common humanity that we have such conventions, but realistically, do they not serve more as a statement of moral principle than an actual law which can be broken? Is it really a law if utterly unenforceable?

    But I think that Obama's willing to expose and condemn the treatment of prisoners shows that he wants Bush and Co judged publicly, if not legally. It was amazing to watch Rice pass the buck so blatantly, I suppose she hasn't got the balls that Cheney has.