No Comment — April 23, 2009, 9:22 am

Accountability for Heads of State

On Fox News, Karl Rove claims that a torture investigation of the Bush Administration would make the United States the “moral equivalent” of a Latin American dictatorship run by “colonels in mirrored sunglasses.” Catch the full segment courtesy of the Young Turks:

So let’s get this straight: the Bush Administration can introduce torture as a matter of formal policy, over the objection of career soldiers and intelligence officers, lie about it, and then scapegoat a handful of grunts when it is uncovered, but those who demand accountability under the law for these misdeeds are “colonels in mirrored sunglasses”?! Only in the twisted world of Karl Rove. Moreover, in Latin America the world of colonels in mirrored sunglasses is vanishing, and the new age is one in which leaders who torture are routinely subject to criminal investigation and prosecution. Ask Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori. As part of a counterterrorism campaign against Maoist guerillas, he authorized the use of torture and the “disappearings” of hundreds, and a Peruvian court just passed judgment following a full trial. The sentence: twenty-five years in prison. Peru shows how a healthy and self-confident democracy deals with serious misconduct by a head of state.

This evening I’ll be participating in the following event. It’s open to the public, but attendees are encouraged to RSVP.

OSI Forum: Prosecuting Heads of State

Location: The Open Society Institute, 400 West 59th Street, New York
Event Date: Thursday, April 23, 2009
Event Time: 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Speakers: Caitlin Reiger, Juan Méndez, Ellen L. Lutz, Scott Horton, Aryeh Neier

In 1990, an era of accountability began for former government officials and heads of state who had committed human rights violations and other abuses of power while in office. Since then, at least 69 former heads of state have been formally prosecuted for serious human rights violations or economic crimes committed during their administration.

Prosecuting Heads of State (Cambridge Univ. Press), edited by Ellen L. Lutz and Caitlin Reiger, explores the motivations, public dramas, and intrigues that accompanied efforts to bring them to justice. The book contains eight case studies of high-profile trials of former leaders in Europe and Latin America, including Augusto Pinochet, Alberto Fujimori, Slobodan Milosevic, Charles Taylor, and Saddam Hussein.

Panelists:

  • Caitlin Reiger, Deputy Director of the Prosecutions Program at the International Center for Transitional Justice, and co-editor of Prosecuting Heads of State.
  • Ellen L. Lutz, executive director of Cultural Survival, an international human rights organization that works on behalf of indigenous peoples, and co-editor of Prosecuting
    Heads of State.
  • Scott Horton, contributing editor at Harper’s magazine and lecturer at Columbia Law School and Hofstra Law School.
  • Juan Méndez, President of the International Center for Transitional Justice

Aryeh Neier, President of the Open Society Institute, will moderate the event.

Share
Single Page

More from Scott Horton:

From the April 2015 issue

Company Men

Torture, treachery, and the CIA

Six Questions October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm

The APA Grapples with Its Torture Demons: Six Questions for Nathaniel Raymond

Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.

No Comment, Six Questions June 4, 2014, 8:00 am

Uncovering the Cover Ups: Death Camp in Delta

Mark Denbeaux on the NCIS cover-up of three “suicides” at Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp

Get access to 164 years of
Harper’s for only $39.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

April 2015

The Joke

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Abolish High School

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Beat Reporter

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Going It Alone

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Rotten Ice

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Life After Guantánamo

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

[Browsings]
Photograph by the author
Article
Rotten Ice·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“When I asked if we were going to die, he smiled and said, ‘Imaqa.’ Maybe.”
Photograph © Kari Medig
Article
Life After Guantánamo·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“I’ve seen the hell and I’m still in the beginning of my life.”
Illustration by Caroline Gamon
Article
Going It Alone·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“The call to solitude is universal. It requires no cloister walls and no administrative bureaucracy, only the commitment to sit down and still ourselves to our particular aloneness.”
Photograph by Richard Misrach
Article
No Slant to the Sun·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“She didn’t speak the language, beyond “¿cuánto?” and “demasiado,” but that didn’t stop her. She wanted things. She wanted life, new experiences, a change in the routine.”
Photograph © Stuart Franklin/Magnum Photos

Acreage of a Christian nudist colony under development in Florida:

240

Florida’s wildlife officials decided to remove the manatee, which has a mild taste that readily adapts to recipes for beef, from the state’s endangered-species list.

A 64-year-old mother and her 44-year-old son were arrested for running a gang that stole more than $100,000 worth of toothbrushes from Publix, Walmart, Walgreens, and CVS stores in Florida.

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

Driving Mr. Albert

By

He could be one of a million beach-bound, black-socked Florida retirees, not the man who, by some odd happenstance of life, possesses the brain of Albert Einstein — literally cut it out of the dead scientist's head.

Subscribe Today