International Law




Garzon’s Accusers are Accused: Abuse of Judicial Power in Garzón Case is Stain on Spanish Judiciary

Judge Luciano Varela and the President of the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court, Juan Saavedra, have themselves been accused in a private criminal complaint…



In Spain, Judge Baltazar Garzón, Champion of Human Rights, is Prosecuted

The great champion of international human rights and of the exercise of universal jurisdiction in human rights cases, Judge Baltazar Garzón, has been criminally charged by a judge’s order, in a private criminal action (querella) brought by right-wing groups, for alleged abuse of power and violation of an amnesty by investigating matters related the the civil war in Spain.

In an editorial on March 8, 2010, the New York Times condemned this action, saying,

Mr. Garzón should be allowed to resume that work at the earliest possible date. Spain needs an honest accounting of its troubled past, not prosecution of those who have the courage to demand it.


Anwar al-Aulaqi: Targeted Killings, Self-Defense, and War Crimes

The United States has gotten itself into a terrible jam, having adopted the legal justification of the Bush administration for targeted killings.

Anwar al-Aulaqi, who resides in Yemen, was previously placed on a target list maintained by the U.S. military’s Joint Special Operations Command…

If this death warrant is executed in circumstances that do not justify the use of force in self-defense, either at the international or at the domestic level with the permission of the territorial state, its execution may constitute a war crime.

The United States has now become an official hit squad, which will go out and kill anyone on its list of targetable individuals.

Yet it is hard to see how the United States can kill its way to peace, in Afghanistan or in the struggle against terrorists in different countries throughout the world.

Whatever the short-term gains from the current approach, and it is far from clear that it does not create more terrorists than it kills, President Obama and his international lawyers need to rethink their approach to targeted killings.

They need to reexamine the issue, both in order to avoid extrajudicial executions and assassinations, and to shape the standards which will also guide other states in the future in deciding whether or not to put someone on a hit list and then to go out and kill him.

It is time to back off from the Wild West, and to return to civilization and the task of building out a viable international legal order.