Two days ago we floated several ideas on how the Wikileaks legal team, now with the addition of Sr.Baltasar Garzon, the renowned jurist, might go on the offensive, particularly against the Swedish Prosecution Service. In addition – almost as a throwaway – we suggested Sr. Garzon may want to look at unfinished business (see link below)… In 2009, Sr. Garzon proceeded to indict six US administration officials for war-related crimes but was forced to abandon the proceedings when far-right groups in Spain took out a prosecution against him for bringing up the matter of Franco’s ‘disappeared’ in a separate case (and there is evidence that the USA played a hand in encouraging the prosecution of Garzon). Also, while the USA is one of only three states that did not ratify the Rome Treaty (which explains how it has managed so far to avoid war crimes’ trials at the International Criminal Court) this pre-emptive action apparently does not protect previous office holders – e.g. former president, George W Bush – and if there is a loophole here then Sr. Garzon is most eminently qualified to know of it.
There is another, possibly audacious, idea that might be considered in this regard – namely, that Wikileaks could play the US at its own game and convene, via the offices of Sr. Garzon, a ‘grand jury’ of distinguished jurists from around the world to indict US officials, past and present, for their failure to prosecute those Americans accused of war-related crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere or of carrying out or instigating acts of torture. In doing this, these jurists would send out a powerful signal to the world – namely, that no country, including the USA, can escape justice.
In contrast to the ‘star chamber’ version in the USA, a Wikileaks-sponsored ‘grand jury’ would be completely open in its dealings and reports. As such, it would act as a counter to the farcical and secretive ‘show trial’ proceedings currently underway in America against Bradley Manning, as well as the proceedings examining possible charges of espionage against Julian Assange, the editor-in-chief of Wikileaks. Also, a prosecution of war-related crimes committed by the USA would inevitably reference the very material Bradley Manning is accused of passing on to Wikileaks (see video above) and thus would impact dramatically upon Manning’s trial (for he can hardly be convicted if US officials, in turn, are convicted).
But in the highly unlikely event that President Obama acts like a true recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize and admits America’s mistakes, changes it’s practices, releases Bradley Manning (with due compensation awarded for the suffering he experienced, as reported by the United Nations special rapporteur on torture) and disbands its Wikileaks Grand Jury in Virginia, then a very different story might unfold.
On Garzon’s pursuit of the Bush Administration re. torture allegations- click here.
To see what constitutes a war crime, click here.
To see an excellent summary of the war crimes committed by the US and of the various attempts to prosecute, click here.
To see an interview with Francis Boyle, Professor of Law at the University of llinois School of Law and who was a part of the prosecution team that tried former US President George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and their legal advisors in absentia, click here.
To see Wikileaks revelations re. pressure put on governments not to proceed with prosecutions for war crimes against the USA – click here.
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