Saturday, September 1, 2012

'Nuff said

(Taking context-optional note of thought-provoking quotes)
«Au-delà de ma personne, c'est toute l'institution militaire qui est visée à travers cette affaire. On ne peut pas citer à comparaître toute l'armée. On incrimine donc celui qui la commandait».
that is,
'In addition to me, this litigation implicates the entire military institution. They can't summon the whole army to appear. So it is the commander who is charged.'
Khaled Nezzar, the former Minister of Defense of Algeria, as quoted in this article by Algerian journalist Hacen Ouali. Ouali himself quotes an interview between Nezzar and Soir d'Algérie, conducted in November 2011, after Nezzar had been questioned by Swiss authorities in connection with a criminal complaint brought against him by parties civiles who accuse him of war crimes and human rights violations during the political turmoil that, as IntLawGrrl Karima Bennoune has posted, shook Algeria decades ago. As IntLawGrrl Evelyne Schmid posted last month, a Swiss court has held that Nezzar does not enjoy any immunity from the criminal case, which continues to go forward. Nezzar's quote is offered here not so much on account of this news, but because it succinctly states a trait of international criminal justice: the prosecution of persons alleged to be most responsible for atrocities executed by others. The aim is not just to punish the responsible leader, but also to serve a number of other goals; for instance, to vindicate victims, to deter others from similar wrongdoing, and to express the world community's condemnation. The accused minister's words oddly echo those uttered 67 years ago by Justice Robert H. Jackson in his opening statement as Chief U.S. Prosecutor before the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. As I quote here at page121, Jackson said this about the trial of Nazi leaders:
'What makes this inquest significant is that these prisoners represent influences that will lurk in the world long after their bodies have turned to dust. We will show them to be living symbols of racial hatreds, of terrorism and violence, and of the arrogance and cruelty of power.'

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