Amnesty (for) American Abductions?

1 Feb

I came across this story from Michael Otterman’s American Torture website which was related to a Times article dated early December last year.

I quote an excerpt, ‘

A senior lawyer for the American government has told the Court of Appeal in London that kidnapping foreign citizens is permissible under American law because the US Supreme Court has sanctioned it.

That means that if someone was kidnapped by US security forces (e.g. CIA) in another country and brought to America for criminal charges, its existing national court could rule in favour of the ‘kidnappers’ and conclude that the abduction is legal. The assumption made according to the senior lawyer for the US government predates to the 19th century of bounty hunting.

This preposterous arrogance and (il)legality is astounding. Does the US courts have total jurisdiction on a worldwide basis? What is the purpose of extradition treaties if bounty hunters can be employed professionally to do the dirty work?

But then again, the US government has always been reluctant to adhere to international benchmarks when it comes to human rights laws. Even when Bill Clinton signed the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court in 2000, he did not send the convention to the senate for ratification. When George Bush became the President, he withdrew the signature in 2002, signifying a step back on human rights. The ICC was set up to focus on gross and systematic human rights violations such as genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.

Back to the story. Imagine the public outcry and condemnation if a US citizen had been kidnapped and sent to another country facing trial and alleged charges?

I love the ending statement from the lawyer, who said’

The United States does have a view about procuring people to its own shores which is not shared…

American exceptionalism at its pure finesse. I am lost for words.


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