Friday, November 14, 2008

Pardon moi? Bush considering blanket pardon on torture

Or so Salon reports ...

While prosecutions would be nice, I'm not sure they're likely to happen. But pardons may actually help get this sordid affair behind us by making it impossible for perps and participants to refuse to testify about what they did and knew.

One question that I don't think is clear is whether the president can pardon himself -- although I suspect he can, there being no real limits on the power. Indeed, a sufficiently mischievous man could empty the prisons and there would be no power to stop him. (I wonder of President Lex Luthor ever considered such a step?)

Anyway, one aspect of mass pardons I haven't seen addressed is how they could backfire. While it's true that a presidential pardon would absolutely bar any domestic prosecutions, I don't see how it could stop foreign authorities from pursuing war crimes trials. Indeed, it may provide them evidence! The potential defendants could be compelled to testify in U.S. proceedings and those public record proceedings could then be used by international courts for their prosecutions.

The crimes alleged to ave occurred are, in many cases, recognized as crimes against humanity internationally. As such they can be prosecuted anywhere in the world and have no statute of limitations. President Bush, VP Cheney, John Yoo, Addington and many others may never eb able to set foot outside the U.S. again.

No comments:

Slate - Encyclopedia Baracktannica