An eye for an eye makes us all blind

Geoffrey Robertson today said it for me. Bin Laden had to be brought to justice, not martyrdom. I am saddened at the orgy of self-congratulations amongst those who chosen assassination over law enforcement. Robertson’s reference to the Nuremberg trials is apt…

When the time came to consider the fate of men more steeped in wickedness than bin Laden – the Nazi leaders – the British government wanted them hanged within six hours of capture. The president Harry Truman demurred, citing the conclusion of Justice Robert Jackson that summary execution “would not sit easily on the American conscience or be remembered by our children with pride … the only course is to determine the innocence or guilt of the accused after a hearing as dispassionate as the times will permit and upon a record that will leave our reasons and motives clear”.

He insisted upon judgment at Nuremberg, which has confounded Holocaust-deniers ever since. Killing bin Laden instead of capturing him was a missed opportunity to prove this charismatic leader was a vicious criminal, who deserved to die in prison, not as a martyr to his inhuman cause.

Geoffrey Robertson, QC, is the author of Crimes Against Humanity (New Press).

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~ by Garry on May 4, 2011.

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