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AFGHANISTAN AFFAIRS

\@DILEMMA OVER TRIALS OF SUSPECTED TERRORISTS\

 

l      America promised that those who wrought the carnage of the September 11fs World Trade Center attack would be ebrought to justicef. But the crucial question has risen; Where and how?

l      These very questions have been preoccupied the administration of George W. Bush as it debates whether to try Osama bin Ladenfs alleged terrorists on the American soil they have bloodied or on international terrain at a tribunal; For example like that in The Hague, Holland (The Kingdom of the Netherlands)

l      The first major debate on bringing Al-Qaeda to justice was staged at a forum in New York. The panelists were the worldfs two most cogent voices on war crimes who are bonded by mutual respect and disagreement.

l      All agreed that the talk on this matter is not an idle or wasted academic debate. Instead in could bring out the root problem concerning the coming trials of the convicted in the September 11 attack.

 

IN FAVOR

l      In favor of international trials of Al-Qaeda; Justice Richard Goldstoneè the first chief prosecutor in The Hague, confidant of Nelson Mandela, likely to be president of the forthcoming International Criminal Court. He is also the most famously identified with the movement toward the international enforcement of law on crimes against humanity.

l      His points are

(a)          Argued that US has every right and jurisdiction to put Osama bin Laden and his colleagues on trial in New York, but things are not as simple as that.

(b)          The more efficient a criminal justice system, the lower the crime rate will be. And the more inefficient a criminal justice system, the crime rate is going to go up. So, if there is an international justice system, the crime rate goes down.

(c)           The potential prosecution of the Al-Qaeda network is an opportunity for the next surge toward globalized justice. As people are living in globalized village of a world and face globalized terrorism, naturally one matter will affect the other and that is why one needs international justice and why national sovereignty has to give way.

l       Over 1000 Al-Qaedafs suspects have been detained around the world, and the very nature of Al-Qaeda and Sept. 11 attacks demand the international trials.

 

AGAINST

l      Against the international trials; David Schaefferè former President Bill Clintonfs ambassador-at-large for war crimes, one of Goldstonefs staunch allies at The Hague. He proposed and made enforcing humanitarian law an urgent item on Washingtonfs agenda. Argued on having the trial where the ewound is deepest and the stench from the mass grave in Manhattan grows stronger every dayf.

l      Schaefferfs points are

(a)   The fundamental element in the campaign against terrorism is to bring the terrorists to justice. The justice pillar is the glue that holds the coalition together. If is abandoned, the coalition and the campaign crumble.

(b)   His basic points of jurisdiction and principle were that most victims were from US and their families are there too. He stressed on their strong efforts to pay more attention to the rights of the victims especially after the attack, and intended to serve those families well by giving them the right to see justice done there in their homeland.

(c)    After the string of Al-Qaeda attacks of the 1993 World Trade Center bomb, the 1998 embassy bombs and the attack on USS Cole, America has already issued the indictments. Naturally, they will be extradite and hand over to US for domestic trials.

(d)   International cooperation on terrorism militates toward domestic trials. He pointed that successive antiterrorism conventions have aimed to make national systems responsible for prosecuting terrorists in onefs national courts or extradite them to countries that will prosecute them. And the US has revised its own domestic laws to enable them to prosecute these crimes. In the process, they got a lot of information regarding Al-Qaeda.

(e)   But, Schaeffer also believed that there might be some changes in the situation that could alter these arrangements. 

 

 

PERSONAL OPINION

l      On the matter whether the trials should be done internationally or domestically, I think that personal feelings should not be brought into the search of whatfs right and best for the trial.

l      It is well understood that the hurt felt by most victims and their families could never been wiped out so easily and naturally, they want to have justice done in front of their very own eyes.

l      This is not a normal case where it not only involves America but also all people around the world. Other people also have the right to see and hear what are the evidences against these convicted during the trials, just as Americans themselves are entitled to this right. It should be made public so that people know that justice is being done accordingly, without prejudices and angers.

l      Domestic trials in America will only led to trials in military courts, which totally donft permit the public to its hearings. This censorship is likewise very harmful as it limits the information whose accumulation will one day show cause and effect. These trials must contain all the interlinking bytes of information.