Due Process

When I was a senior (’93), my high school began a program of inviting “distinguished” visitors to give talks to a selected number of students, several of whom were also invited to lunch with the speaker. I was fortunate that the program was run by Lawrence (Larry) Doolan, head of maths, which meant that I got more than my fair share of free lunches. I’m not sure how many talks there were, but I particularly remember talks by John Halfpenny (who gave, perhaps unexpectantly, a thoughful and nuanced take on labour unions), Meg Lees (ugh, no wonder the Democrats no longer exist as a party), Michael Dukakis, and also someone who I believe was a judge on the International Court of Justice. I remember at the time (over lunch) questioning the latter gentleman what the ICJ (and UN more generally) was planning on doing about the ongoing crisis in Yugoslavia. He responded (somewhat peevishly in my memory) that this was an internal matter which was not within the juristriction of any UN courts. To my young mind, he certainly seemed to display a perverse attitude which elevated process far above justice. It was therefore satisfying today to see that the International Criminal Court (which did not exist until 2002) sentence Radovan Karadzic to 40 years in prison. I mean, it’s cetainly at least 20 years too late, but better than nothing. (Slobodan Milošević, on the other hand, got off lightly.)

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5 Responses to Due Process

  1. Jon Awbrey says:

    Overdue Process …

  2. Aboriginal Australian says:

    Frank, you may argue that Slobodan Milošević “got off lightly”, but it is worth pointing out:

    1. The so-called ICTY did have plenty of time to complete the trial.

    It could be argued why it didn’t, but in any reason a lion’s share is due to the so-called ICTY itself. Competence of the so-called ICTY is another story for another day.

    2. Franjo Tudjman and Alija Izetbegović, the two other masterminds of the carnage in former Yugoslavia, got off even more lightly!

    Did you know that all three of them, as numerous documents and public recordings witness, referred to it as “humanitarian exchange of territory and population” in their negotiations at the time? One may wonder whether the “due process” failed in cases of Tudjman and Izetbegović . It could also be argued that selective justice is better than no justice at all, or as you put it “better than nothing”.


    • To clarify, the opinion of my seventeen year-old self on the philosophy of jurisprudence should not be taken entirely seriously.

      • Aboriginal Australian says:

        It’s all love, Frank! A sole place on internet where one can get filled in on both Michael Harris and Slobodan Milošević is a gem, rest assured. If you ever get to a point of publishing Persiflage like Terry Tao did for his blog, you could use that as a selling point. (Not to mention that both Milošević in his time and Michael Harris love publicity anyway.)

        That being said, as an admirer of your mathematical work and exposition, I primarily read and cherish Persiflage for its mathematical content. I was then prompted by this post to check more closely your posts tagged “politics” and “rants”. Frankly, it seems to me that you cherry pick “low risk – high reward” topics, having audience on your mind, when it comes to real politics. That’s somewhat understandable.


  3. Aboriginal Australian says:

    Frank, just to clarify one more thing: it seems there is a confusion between the so-called ICTY and the ICC in your post. While it is true that the International Crime Court (ICC) was established in 2002 as you noted, in this case relevant the so-called “International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia” (ICTY) was actually established in May 1993. Note that the ICC and the so-called ICTY are distinct entities.


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