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:

Conversation August 5, 2016, 12:08 pm

Lincoln’s Party

Sidney Blumenthal on the origins of the Republican Party, the fallout from Clinton’s emails, and his new biography of Abraham Lincoln

Conversation March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm

Burn Pits

Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.

Context, No Comment August 28, 2015, 12:16 pm

Beltway Secrecy

In five easy lessons

Get access to 165 years of
Harper’s for only $45.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

May 2017

American Duce

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

A Prayer’s Chance

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Bee-Brained

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Mothers

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Facing the Furies

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The New Climate

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
Snowden’s Box·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Mrs. B’s Baby Village Day Care was on a frontage road between a mattress wholesaler and a knife outlet. There were six or so babies as regulars and another one or two on weekends when their parents were passing through looking for work. They wouldn’t find work, of course, all the security positions were full, the timber and ore had all been taken under the active-stewardship program, and the closest new start-up industry was the geothermal field hundreds of miles away. Mrs. B didn’t even bother to write those babies’ names down in her book. It was fifteen dollars a day and they had to be in reasonable health. Even so the occasional mischievous illness would arise and empty the place out.

Illustration (detail) by Taylor Callery
Post
The Forty-Fifth President·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Mrs. B’s Baby Village Day Care was on a frontage road between a mattress wholesaler and a knife outlet. There were six or so babies as regulars and another one or two on weekends when their parents were passing through looking for work. They wouldn’t find work, of course, all the security positions were full, the timber and ore had all been taken under the active-stewardship program, and the closest new start-up industry was the geothermal field hundreds of miles away. Mrs. B didn’t even bother to write those babies’ names down in her book. It was fifteen dollars a day and they had to be in reasonable health. Even so the occasional mischievous illness would arise and empty the place out.

Photograph (detail) by Philip Montgomery
Article
A Prayer’s Chance·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Mrs. B’s Baby Village Day Care was on a frontage road between a mattress wholesaler and a knife outlet. There were six or so babies as regulars and another one or two on weekends when their parents were passing through looking for work. They wouldn’t find work, of course, all the security positions were full, the timber and ore had all been taken under the active-stewardship program, and the closest new start-up industry was the geothermal field hundreds of miles away. Mrs. B didn’t even bother to write those babies’ names down in her book. It was fifteen dollars a day and they had to be in reasonable health. Even so the occasional mischievous illness would arise and empty the place out.

Photograph (detail) by Robin Hammond/NOOR
Article
Bee-Brained·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Mrs. B’s Baby Village Day Care was on a frontage road between a mattress wholesaler and a knife outlet. There were six or so babies as regulars and another one or two on weekends when their parents were passing through looking for work. They wouldn’t find work, of course, all the security positions were full, the timber and ore had all been taken under the active-stewardship program, and the closest new start-up industry was the geothermal field hundreds of miles away. Mrs. B didn’t even bother to write those babies’ names down in her book. It was fifteen dollars a day and they had to be in reasonable health. Even so the occasional mischievous illness would arise and empty the place out.

Illustration (detail) by Eda Akaltun. Source photograph of Jairam Hathwar at the 2016 Scripps National Spelling Bee © Pete Marovich/UPI/Newscom
Article
My First Car·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Mrs. B’s Baby Village Day Care was on a frontage road between a mattress wholesaler and a knife outlet. There were six or so babies as regulars and another one or two on weekends when their parents were passing through looking for work. They wouldn’t find work, of course, all the security positions were full, the timber and ore had all been taken under the active-stewardship program, and the closest new start-up industry was the geothermal field hundreds of miles away. Mrs. B didn’t even bother to write those babies’ names down in her book. It was fifteen dollars a day and they had to be in reasonable health. Even so the occasional mischievous illness would arise and empty the place out.

Illustration by Katherine Streeter

Estimated additional hours Americans would spend stoned annually if marijuana were legal in most states:

30,000,000,000

BirdLife International announced the discovery of a new species, a seed-eating finch with blue spots, that was discovered living in bamboo thickets on Carrizal Island, Venezuela; unfortunately, the bird’s only known habitat was destroyed in the construction of a new dam.

Three bodies were tossed from a low-flying plane in the Sinaloa state of Mexico.

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

HARPER’S FINEST

Who Goes Nazi?

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

By

"It is an interesting and somewhat macabre parlor game to play at a large gathering of one’s acquaintances: to speculate who in a showdown would go Nazi. By now, I think I know. I have gone through the experience many times—in Germany, in Austria, and in France. I have come to know the types: the born Nazis, the Nazis whom democracy itself has created, the certain-to-be fellow-travelers. And I also know those who never, under any conceivable circumstances, would become Nazis."

Subscribe Today