Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Hamdan Verdict

Boy, that was quick. The New York Times reports that Salim Hamdan has been found guilty in a split verdict.

Daniel Graeber at War Crimes Blog has more, though he seems to think this trial was the first since WW2, which we know is wrong. The Moderate Voice has a great round-up of other blog responses to this story here.

John McCain says the verdict "proves the system is working." To see how wrong he is, don't miss Kevin Heller's post at Opinio Juris explaining why the charges in Hamdan make no sense at all in the context of existing treaty law on armed conflict, to which McCain has claimed to be committed. In brief:

"There is no question that the military commissions have jurisdiction over the crime of “murder in violation of the law of war,” defined by the Manual for Military Commissions as “intentionally kill[ing] one or more persons, including lawful combatants, in violation of the law of war.” That war crime only exists, however, in the imagination of the United States: it is not a war crime under IHL for a unprivileged belligerent — the correct label for the mythic “enemy combatant” — to kill a soldier.

Under IHL, in other words, an unprivileged belligerent can only be prosecuted (1) for a domestic crime if his act would have been legal for a privileged belligerent, such as killing a soldier; or (2) for a war crime if his act would have been illegal even for a privileged belligerent, such as killing a civilian. What he cannot be prosecuted for is (3) a “war crime” whose underlying act would not have been a war crime if committed by a privileged combatant."
'Nuf said 'bout that.

1 comment:

Cleitus the Black said...

"Providing material support for terrorism" - what a fantastic charge... It shall indubitably stand that every American who has bought gas in recent years must be likewise complicit in said crime.

Merely the latest embarrassment to military jurisprudence... I suppose it is too much to hope for that it will be the last.

Do these sycophants truly believe that history will be kind to them?

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