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 The Day of Reckoning is Nigh - The Legal Accountability of Heads of State

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PostSubject: The Day of Reckoning is Nigh - The Legal Accountability of Heads of State   Tue Aug 19, 2008 4:52 pm




Is it my imagination or are the numbers of Heads of State (or former Heads of State) under charges of corruption growing ? Is this because morality has declined with neoconservative politics, or because demand for accountability has increased ? Or some other reason?

Musharraf has gone from office and Charlie Haughey and Pinochet slipped through the fingers of the law. A drama documentary showed Tony Blair under arrest. There is a campaign in the US to impeach Bush. Is there a trend to greater accountability and to retribution against criminals who rule us, and is this a good thing?
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PostSubject: Re: The Day of Reckoning is Nigh - The Legal Accountability of Heads of State   Tue Aug 19, 2008 4:57 pm

Clinton went through the impeachment process and survived, Nixon resigned following a corruption controversy... there is a history of corrupt leaders falling but corruption continues. I don't see much evidence of it getting any better recently.
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PostSubject: Re: The Day of Reckoning is Nigh - The Legal Accountability of Heads of State   Tue Aug 19, 2008 4:58 pm

cactus flower wrote:



Is it my imagination or are the numbers of Heads of State (or former Heads of State) under charges of corruption growing ? Is this because morality has declined with neoconservative politics, or because demand for accountability has increased ? Or some other reason?

Musharraf has gone from office and Charlie Haughey and Pinochet slipped through the fingers of the law. A drama documentary showed Tony Blair under arrest. There is a campaign in the US to impeach Bush. Is there a trend to greater accountability and to retribution against criminals who rule us, and is this a good thing?

In fairness (I can't believe I am even saying this) Haughey was not a Head of State, cf. However, I get your point. Under our archaic corruption law, inherited from the previous colonial power, if I remember correctly, corruption is a very difficult charge to make stick. It is no coincidence that the people whose job it is to update it are the very people against whom the law would be aimed. Hence, we retain a virtually unworkable statute.
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PostSubject: Re: The Day of Reckoning is Nigh - The Legal Accountability of Heads of State   Tue Aug 19, 2008 4:59 pm

Power will do that...
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PostSubject: Re: The Day of Reckoning is Nigh - The Legal Accountability of Heads of State   Tue Aug 19, 2008 5:19 pm

Slim Buddha wrote:
Under our archaic corruption law, inherited from the previous colonial power, if I remember correctly, corruption is a very difficult charge to make stick.

We have a very educated legal and political class. We have had over 80 years to alter it. This is no excuse.
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PostSubject: Re: The Day of Reckoning is Nigh - The Legal Accountability of Heads of State   Tue Aug 19, 2008 6:39 pm



var addthis_pub = 'tcmireland';





This is the story that started me off on this thread:(Breaking News, today)

19/08/2008 - 13:48:40
Quote :

Thousands of protesters gathered outside the British Embassy in Bangkok today to demand the return of former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra to face criminal charges.

Manchester City owner Thaksin and his wife fled to Britain last week rather than face the Supreme Court, which has issued warrants for their arrest.

Thaksin was toppled in a 2006 military coup but later returned to Thailand to face several court cases involving alleged corruption and abuse of power. Police said about 7,000 demonstrators rallied peacefully in front of the embassy, carrying posters and shouting: “Thaksin go to jail!”

Thailand has not yet requested extradition of Thaksin, who owns several homes in England as well as the football club. Thaksin still carries a Thai diplomatic passport. He has so far not been granted asylum or special treatment in Britain.

The protesters were led by Sondhi Limthongkul, a key figure of the People’s Alliance for Democracy which orchestrated mass street protests leading to Thaksin’s removal from office in the bloodless coup.

Last Friday the Supreme Court ruled that a corruption trial against Thaksin and his wife, Pojaman, could proceed even though the couple fled the country. Thai prosecutors are discussing the possibility of asking for Thaksin’s extradition – usually a lengthy and complicated process.

On July 31, the criminal court convicted his wife of evading millions of dollars in taxes and sentenced her to three years in prison. She was released on bail pending an appeal.

Some of the worst criminals in human history have been Heads of State and (thanks, Slimbuddha) Heads of Government.

Is the international and national law strong enough to deal with them?
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PostSubject: Re: The Day of Reckoning is Nigh - The Legal Accountability of Heads of State   Tue Aug 19, 2008 6:47 pm

cactus flower wrote:
Some of the worst criminals in human history have been Heads of State and (thanks, Slimbuddha) Heads of Government.

Is the international and national law strong enough to deal with them?

Rarely. International Law is a very vague thing and it is not particularly binding on any State as there is no monopoly on enforcement in the international system. If it were not for the strong hand of NATO and the EU in Eastern Europe as well as the promise of integration into the EU it is unlikely that many of the war criminals from that region would have been brought before the Hague. International Law is dependent on the cooperation of states in a world where such law has no definate enforceability.

This is particularly the case in many states which are coming out of a dictatorship. In many situations the regime is overthrown by the military or a vaguely democratic system which does not have the power within the state itself to extradite.

The instigation of an increasingly enforceable international legal system would, in my opinion, be heavily opposed by many as an erosion of sovereignty.
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