10 years of the Pinochet principle By Philippe Sands

Dandelion Salad

By Philippe Sands
ICH
October 16, 2008 “Guardian

The arrest warrant served on the Chilean head of state in 1998 changed history and has implications for the US government now

On October 16 1998, a magistrate signed a warrant for the arrest of Senator Augusto Pinochet and changed the course of history. The former Chilean head of state was arrested a few hours later, at the request of a Spanish prosecutor who charged him with a raft of international crimes, some dating back to the early 1970s. Over the next 18 months, one dramatic development followed another. The House of Lords rendered three landmark judgments in the space of five months; home secretary Jack Straw defied expectations by giving a green light to the continuation of proceedings that could lead to Pinochet’s removal to Madrid; Pinochet made a dramatic appearance in the dock at Belmarsh magistrate’s court; and eventually Straw decided that Pinochet was too unhealthy to stand trial and he was returned to Chile in April 2000. For the rest of his life he was dogged by legal proceedings.

One central question lay at the heart of the whole affair: was a former head of state entitled to claim immunity before the English courts, where it was alleged that he had participated in crimes, in violation of international conventions, such as torture? This question had never before been decided. It pitted two competing views of international relations against each other: traditionalists argued that the maintenance of serene relations between states required the courts of one state to refrain from sitting in judgment over the highest officials of another; the modernists argued that no person was above the law where the most serious international crimes were involved, and that the system of human rights laws put in place after the second world war substituted a rule of immunity with a new rule against impunity.

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via 10 years of the Pinochet principle  : Information Clearing House – ICH

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One thought on “10 years of the Pinochet principle By Philippe Sands

  1. Think there was torture at Abu Ghraib? Think again about what went on in Estadio Chile, where Victor Jara was tortured, his hands broken, ultimately shot.

    Hundreds, if not thousands of innocent artists and intellectuals were ‘disappeared’ in this way.

    All of this went on at the behest and funding of our very own Kissinger.

    Kissinger also funded and excused the massacre at East Timor by another of our puppet dictators., Suharto.

    Kissinger was behind the illegal carpet-bombing of Cambodia, a war crime by any definition (and lest we forget, Brezinski, the ‘democratic’ version of Kissinger adviser to Obama, befriended and approved of Pol Pot & the Khmer Rouge, armed the Muhajadeen/Taliban– enemy of our ‘enemy’ didn’t turn out to be too friendly).

    It is important to note that Pinochet never saw justice.
    Nor did Milosovec, they seem to be spared by some angel of death.

    Kissinger still walks free and advises present presidential campaigns.

    “This government” can’t even seem to force Rove to appear before the House Judiciary.

    This government is apparently completely complicit in election fraud, miscarriage of justice, genocide, illegal aggressive invasions, illegal overthrow of sovereign governments of other nations, derailing of democracy in Latin America and the Middle East (Mossadeq) and other far-flung lands.

    In order to have a legitimate democracy, there must be the rule of law. While laws here are very good at incarcerating people for drugs, it fails miserably when it comes to the real crimes committed by the USA where thousands and millions die horrible deaths at our behest.

    Be not fooled, NONE of these neocons will see justice for their horror in Iraq. Already the people have forgotten, more concerned with their balance sheets than prosecuting anyone for anything– for to do so, the people and the enlisted personnel would have to admit their own guilt and complicity in US warcrimes.

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