Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Spain, Trials and Shark Jumping

As many of you know, if you peruse the diaries over at DKos, there has been a bit of sturm und drang over the Obama administration and State Department intervening to get the War Crimes trial in Spain of Bush, Cheney et al derailed. Well it finally jumped the shark when more than a few suggested that maybe Obama should be impeached over this.

So here is my diary on the subject. I thought it might be of some interest to Moosers.

My father-in-law is a retired career diplomat. He co-wrote the last tripartite treaty for Berlin. His last job at State before retiring  was Inspector General. This as high as you can go without a Presidential appointment. Once leaving State he went to the UN to work with then  Secretary General Javier Pérez de Cuéllar on Peace Keeping (A term he coined and process he help develop) and other issues.  He also lectured at Yale for a number of years on foreign policy. Ok that’s the back ground on my info and the credentials of the person giving it to me. Also he is a committed liberal Democrat.

When Spain first started down this road against Bush Cheney et al I asked him what the chances of this really happening. He was brief and to the point. NONE

Any administration would move heaven and earth to avoid having a former President, VP and senior officials put on trial in a foreign country.

Why? Primarily we do not recognize Spain’s jurisdiction to try US officials. Also  it would set up a terrible precedent that any country could make a claim against a former President and we would do nothing about it.

Side note: We also have never signed the International Criminal Courts Treaty and in fact have signed numerous bilateral treaties with countries who have signed on to the International Criminal Court that they will not turn over US officials or soldiers to the International Criminal Court.

A scenario where Bush and Cheney would have been turned over.

Now had we signed the International Criminal Courts Treaty and they had brought the charges, not Spain, we would be obligated, not ifs ands or buts to turn over who ever was named in the charges.

FYI Clinton did sign the International Criminal Court Treaty, but never sent it to the Senate for ratification because he knew it would not pass. Bush, on shaking legal grounds, had Clinton’s signature rescinded. And if Obama signed the treaty again you can be sure  it would never get ratified by the Senate

Now you can say it isn’t right and that’s fine. That doesn’t change the fact that it could have been any other President and the same result would have happened.


  1. Kiku

    This was the nature of the comments that I made in response to the bruha, on Facebook too.

    I didn’t understand how people could support giving over our sovereignty to another country.  

    Nigeria is also putting Cheney on trial, but for his work with Haliburton that bribed people for H access.  Any thoughts on this?

  2. although I have none of the qualifications he does in foreign affairs. It’s really so obvious that I wonder how anyone can get worked up about it. I think most of it is plain outrage over the fact that Bush and Cheney and the rest of their warmongering crowd are going to get away with war crimes. That doesn’t sit well with a lot of people, including me.

    BTW, glad to see this diary from you.

  3. fogiv

    I figured that had to be some ‘Sovereignty’ type issue at work here.  I’ll head over to dkos to see the heeds eesploding festival you started.  heh.

  4. We don’t hand folks over for foreign trial like this. We don’t like handing any citizen over for that matter.  Of course, that doesn’t stop us from looking to get other nations’ citizens into our courts, which sort of puts us on shaky ground when we look to pursue this whole terrorist thing…

  5. spacemanspiff

    … head over to DailyKos and follow what’s going on more or less.

    It is really fascinating. I mean that in a nonsnarky way too. The cult of personality. The bullying. It’s like trolls run that site. I could see how a stealth troll could really do some damage there (I’m positive some are having a blast).  

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