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:

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

From the June 2014 issue

The Guantánamo “Suicides,” Revisited

A missing document suggests a possible CIA cover-up

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

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

December 2014

Gateway to Freedom

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Guns and Poses

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Christmas in Prison

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Poison Apples

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Growing Up

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Post
Sarah Topol follows the trade routes used by arms smugglers, Eric Foner explores the hidden history of the Underground Railroad, Karl Ove Knausgaard recounts a humiliating episode from grade school, and more
Photograph by Angela Strassheim
Article
Growing Up·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“The best coming-of-age stories have a hole in the middle. They pretend to be about knowledge, but they are usually about grasping, long after it could be of any use, one’s irretrievable ignorance.”
Photograph by Ben Pier
Article
Guns and Poses·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“‘It’s open shopping,’ he said. ‘A warehouse. The whole of Libya.’”
Map by Mike Reagan
Article
Gateway to Freedom·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“The Vigilance Committee survived until the eve of the Civil War, and over the course of its several incarnations it propelled the plight of fugitives to the forefront of abolitionist consciousness.“
Photograph by Amani Willett
Article
Christmas in Prison·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Just so you motherfuckers know, I’ll be spending Christmas with my family, eating a good meal, and you’ll all be here, right where you belong.”
Photographer unknown. Artwork courtesy Alyse Emdur

Amount that President Obama has added to America’s “brand value” according to the Nation Brands Index:

$2,100,000,000,000

A study suggested that the health effects of exposure to nuclear radiation at Chernobyl were no worse than ill health resulting from smoking and normal urban air pollution.

A former New York City police officer who had been arrested in 2012 for exchanging online messages about cooking women alive and eating them, and for illegally accessing data about potential victims in law-enforcement databases, was sentenced to time served.

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

HARPER’S FINEST

In Praise of Idleness

By

I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.

Subscribe Today