Tuesday, August 10, 2010

U.N. Condemns Khadr Trial

It's official.   The United States is the first country since World War II to try someone before a military tribunal for acts allegedly committed while he was a minor.   Of course, then again, Omar Khadr is accused of killing an American and that obviously puts his purported offence in an entirely different level.  The United Nations wasted no time in condemning the trial.   From Reuters Alternet:

The United Nations said the trial is of dubious legality and could set a dangerous precedent for child soldiers worldwide.

"Juvenile justice standards are clear -- children should not be tried before military tribunals," said Radhika Coomaraswamy, the U.N. special envoy for children in armed conflict.

But the military officers in the jury pool indicated they saw no problem with trying Khadr.

"Does anyone believe that juveniles should not be prosecuted for violent offenses?" Prosecutor Jeff Groharing asked them. "Does anyone feel the accused should be held to a different standard because he was 15 years old at the time of the alleged offenses?"

None said they held those beliefs.

One needn't have sympathy with Khadr to understand the prohibition against prosecuting child soldiers.  Invariably they are victims, coerced into fighting and international agreements require they be treated that way.  This is however the United States military which, over the past decade, has repeatedly demonstrated a skewed grasp of international law.


Beijing York said...

This trial and his detention are a travesty. It seems like the prosecutor, judge and jury are of a similar vindictive persuasion and Harper and his gang with their fixation on punishing youth as adults.

The Mound of Sound said...

It's disheartening B.Y. We define a need for specific rules and then put them in place but ignore it all when that suits us. Victor's justice is rarely just.

In the wake of WWII, the US crafted rules to outlaw forever war of aggression. We made it a crime against humanity and sent many people plunging at the end of a rope for it. But,when Bush waged a totally illegal war of aggression on the strength of trumped up fantasies, who sends him to the dock? Why, nobody. Might is right.

My Dad and two of my uncles paid an awful price to defeat the "might is right" gang of their time and we dishonour their service and sacrifice when we tolerate it in our own. Iggy can rationalize it away but that only reveals the weakness of his moral compass.

Beijing York said...

Perhaps in retrospect, outlawing war of aggression paved the way for today's horrors. The "might is right" gang can hide behind a contrived excuses of moral convenience and still engage in brutal attacks for their own selfish reasons.

Omar Khadr's case is tragic. He was a pawn in a PR campaign to tie the "terrorist" threat to our shores. Before the US got wind of his being a Canadian and the role his father played, what went on in that village raid was just another incident report for a couple of months. It was just another attack-counter attack with one US casualty.

The re-spun story had the special ops soldier cross-trained as a medic painted as a hero who was murdered by the terrorist Khadr. The absurdity of painting this picture of premeditated murder is mind boggling.

Even the most ruthless, pro-war types have never bought the story that this kid was a hardened terrorist out to kill "our" soldiers. He could have easily been whisked off to Canada, just as many other foreign detainees were, as soon as the story died. Paul Martin's government were cowards for not doing so. Harper on the other had refused because he is a vindictive prick.

Now everyone involved in this mess has to save face with this grotesque kangaroo court.

The Mound of Sound said...

Interesting point but do you really think it's going to be possible for the Americans to save face by convicting Khadr? That strikes me as an open wound that won't heal. The US (like most Western countries including our own) has a history of not righting its own wrongs and simply living with the blowback.