Monday, September 18, 2006

Is Gutting Geneva a War Crime?!?

Wow! In an ominous column via Daily Kos, Jordan Paust, professor of law at the University of Houston who teaches U.S. Constitution and Foreign Affairs, International Criminal Law, International Human Rights, International Law, Jurisprudence and Use of Force and Terrorism has warned Congress not to tinker with the Geneva Conventions.

Amending national laws to circumvent Geneva, according to Paust could lead to charges of war crimes. House members and senators might want to keep in mind Nuremberg after World War II, Milosevic at Hague, Pinochet and others; no statute of limitation for war criminals.

Here is one the professor's more startling observation:

[E]very violation of the law of war is a war crime, punishable here or abroad in any country under the principle of universal jurisdiction. War crimes are also prosecutable in international criminal tribunals that have jurisdiction over particular perpetrators. A denial of the rights and protections under the Geneva Conventions (such as those expressly set forth or incorporated by reference in common Article 3) is a violation of the Conventions and a violation of the Conventions is a war crime.

Geez, no wonder folks with military experience and a modicum of military law knowledge have huge reservations about dire-dark talk from Bush about a government's need to fight terrorism with an array of tools -- including those explicitly banned by Geneva.This idiot president wants Congress to sign their own bench warrants.
Members of Congress are thus on notice that minimum due process guarantees under customary international law must not be denied when Congress attempts to articulate what forms of procedure a military commission should adopt. If members participate in a plan to do so or are complicit in the deprivation of minimum due process guarantees under customary international law incorporated by reference in common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions or any other rights or protections under common Article 3 (e.g., concerning the right to humane treatment even at the hands of CIA interrogators), they would be participating in the denial of rights, protections, and duties under Geneva law. Such denials are war crimes.

Howling Latina doesn't reckon legislators in Washington cherish the prospect of looking over their shoulders in fear of some international bounty hunter for the rest of their lives; or being whisked away at the airport in London, Paris or Rome.

Folks, this ain't no party; this ain't no disco; this ain't no fooling around. This is dead serious business beyond national politics, the presidency and history's verdict on Bush.

(Reposted by HL due to immediacy of subject.)

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