Brett Kavanagh

Brett Kavanagh: The sky is falling! It’s the end of the world!

Yup, if you read moderate to left-leaning publications and blogs, you’ve probably heard that it’s the end of times for the US Supreme Court. Oh, the other hand, conservative-leaning sources warn of and are already complaining about Democratic lawmakers pulling out all kinds of tricks… really? Because McConnell and the Republican-led Senate treated Merrick Garland and Barrack Obama fairly?

Please… I’m not sure how many so-called “tricks” there are anyway. This confirmation has always, since the moment Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement, been about John McCain, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, and Joe Manchin, Heidi Heitkamp, and Joe Donnelly… it has never been about fair play or judicial qualifications. If it were, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. Brett Kavanagh is a qualified as any member of the Supreme Court has been.

Kavanagh graduated from Yale Law School, served three clerkships, and been a Federal judge for 12 years. And those clerkships? One of them was with the very same Justice Anthony Kennedy that Democrats are bemoaning for retiring.

In fact, on June 1, 2006, Kavanagh was sworn in as a member of the DC Circuit Court of Appeals by Justice Anthony Kennedy. It seems to me that Kavanagh has the blessing of the very man celebrated for his decisions in gay rights cases and other 5-4 decisions.

Kennedy

But, at the same time, I think it’s also important to put Anthony Kennedy into historical perspective as we evaluate his potential successor. Yes, Kennedy voted with the majority in two cases quite dear to Democrats: Boumediene v. Bush and Obergefell v. Hodges. I dare say that Kennedy voted to maintain abortion rights in Planned Parenthood v. Casey too, though with increased limits. But Kennedy is no darling of causes liberal after all: Kennedy voted with the conservative on the Court in Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, District of Columbia v. Heller, and Kansas v. Marsh.

Judge Kavanagh

In terms of Kavanagh’s own judicial decisions, supporters and critics alike point to Garza v Hargan and have declared – Kavanagh’s going to ban abortion! Personally, however, I know that I would not have wanted to make that decision; it’s not the open and shut case that many seem to think.

Breaking new: Kavanagh has been pro-business, critical of environmental regulation, and a supporter of Christian religious rights… wow… its almost like he’s a conservative appointee? And yet, judges are not susceptible to demands of lobbyists and the whims of voters; twice Kavanagh sided with the government in cases involving the Affordable Care Act. In another case, he errored on religious latitude in Priests for Life v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Religion

Which brings us to Kavanagh’s religious affiliation and its role in judicial decision-making. Yes, it is worth discussing Kavanagh’s religion to a limited degree. Kavanagh is Roman Catholic and, as such, will maintain the Catholic majority of the US Supreme Court. Having said that, however, what does that even mean? The Catholic majority has not voted en bloc: the conservative Catholics have voted to support the death penalty, and the liberal Catholics have supported abortion-rights, so it seems to me that Kavanagh’s political ideology is more influential than his religion. If you do want to discuss his Catholicity more, it is worth noting that he is a volunteer tutor at Washington Jesuit Academy; the fact that Kavanagh volunteers his time, and with Jesuits, speaks more to me that his Mass attendance.

Mitch McConnell, Merrick Garland, Justin Kennedy, and Donald Trump

Politically, there is a lot that sticks about recent nominations to the US Supreme Court. From the refusal to call for a vote on Merrick Garland, to the elimination of the filibuster rule to favor Neil Gorsuch, McConnell personifies the hypocrisy and ‘Swamp’ of Washington, DC. But that’s not Kavanagh’s fault; he played the game and worked his way up to be in consideration for a nomination, just as liberal lawyers and judges have done as well.

Should we mention the end of the apolitical court and Bush v. Gore? Kennedy voted with the supposed States’ Rights conservatives to assert Federal authority over the Florida ballot counting at the same time that the pro-Federal Democrats on the Court voted to support States’ Rights. The veil of judicial independence had finally been lifted.

Even worse, the recent revelations about family connections between Anthony Kennedy and Donald Trump are disappointing, nauseating, and potentially unethical. But that has nothing to do with Brett Kavanagh.

I think we owe it to Brett Kavanagh, and more importantly to ourselves, to judge Kavanagh with the Golden Rule, not by McConnell’s Rules.

Which brings me to my second to last points: the art of predicting SCOTUS voting.

Nominations to the US Supreme Court

When I think about the history of Supreme Court nominations, I think of Harriet Myers; I think we can all agree Kavanagh is more qualified and his nomination (Kennedy-Trump connections aside) less nepotistic than a president nominating a member of his staff.

If you want qualified, has there ever been a more qualified nominee than Judge Robert Bork? Yet being qualified wasn’t the issue, it was his well-documented history of judicial decisions. As a result, presidents of both parties have nominated younger, less documented judges ever since; so, it would be hypocritical to criticize Kavanagh for his judicially-speaking nascent age of 53.

But most of all, when I think about nominations to the US Supreme Court, I think of Earl Warren. Nominated by Republican US President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Warren, when lifted from the confinement of political accountability, Warren became the most liberal Chief Justice in history. I also think of Sandra Day O’Connor and how disappointed Reagan and the conservatives were with her voting record… but more recently, I think of the make-up nomination to Judge Bork, Douglas Ginsburg. Can you believe we almost had a member of the Supreme Court who smoked marijuana?!!?! Thank goodness, Ginsburg withdrew his nomination… after all, could you imagine two Ginsburgs on the same Court? So, President Ronald Reagan settled on a Circuit Judge with exactly 12 years of experience to be his reliable conservative. That Associate Justice, of course, was Anthony Kennedy.

Chief Justice John Roberts

Finally, there is the nature of the Court and the leadership style of Chief Justice John Roberts. Supreme Court Justices do not make isolated decisions in a vacuum. The Nine meet privately and reflect upon each case, circulating draft decisions for discussion. Roberts, in particular even among other Chief Justices, is acutely aware of the partisan poison in American and has worked hard to build 7+, 8+, and even unanimous decisions. Look no further than Masterpiece Cake v CCRC. In the room of consensus, Kavanagh is just one voice. Yes, he is a conservative voice, but the deliberative and congenial nature of the Court lends itself to being caretakers of the Constitution, not Lone Ranger Constitutional cowboys.

Conclusion

Brett Kavanagh has said the right things. In 2006, Kavanagh told the US Senate, “I firmly disagree with the notion that there are Republican judges and [Democratic] judges,” he said. “There is one kind of judge. There is an independent judge under our Constitution.”

Like Roberts, Kavanaugh seems to give broad consideration to executive authority and unitary executive theory; yet Kavanagh has also worked for the Independent Council’s Office and wrote sections of the Starr Report that criticized President Bill Clinton and, ultimately, was used as an instrument to impeach Clinton.

So, who is the real Brett Kavanagh? I think we’ll have to wait until he’s actually been confirmed and begins to make his mark. Ultimately, we won’t really know until he’s been on the court for 30 years like his old boss, Anthony Kennedy.

Persistance, Conviction, Bravery, and Compassion

You know, looking back at history can contextualize our current events, and it can also restore hope.We can look at those who have gone before, those who had endured the struggle, and persevered. I look, personally, to heroes like Judy Shepherd. The mother of Matthew Shepherd who has never given up.

  • The Matthew Shepherd and James Byrd Hate Crimes Act, introduced on April 3, 2001, by Rep. John Conyers and was referred to the Subcommittee on Crime.
  • The bill died when it failed to advance in the committee.
  • It was reintroduced by Rep. Conyers in the 108th and 109th congresses (on April 22, 2004, and May 26, 2005, respectively). It failed to advance out of committee.
  • In the Senate, similar legislation was introduced by Sen. Gordon H. Smith (R–OR) as an amendment to the Ronald W. Reagan National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2005 (S. 2400) on June 14, 2004. Though the amendment passed the U.S. Senate by a vote of 65–33, it was later removed by conference committee.
  • The bill was introduced for the fourth time into the House on March 30, 2007, again by Conyers.
  • The bill passed the subcommittee by voice vote and the full House Judiciary Committee by a vote of 20–14. The bill then proceeded to the full House, where it was passed on May 3, 2007, with a vote of 237–180 with Representative Barney Frank, one of two openly gay members of the House at the time, presiding.
  • The bill then proceeded to the U.S. Senate, where it was introduced by Senator Ted Kennedy and Senator Gordon Smith on April 12, 2007, and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
  • The bill died when it failed to advance out of committee.
  • On July 11, 2007, Kennedy attempted to introduce the bill again as an amendment to the Senate Defense Reauthorization bill (H.R. 1585). The Senate hate crime amendment had 44 cosponsors, including four Republicans. But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid ultimately dropped the amendment because of opposition from antiwar Democrats, conservative groups, and Bush.
  • For the 5th time, Conyers introduced the bill into the House on April 2, 2009.
  • The bill was immediately referred to the full Judiciary Committee, where it passed by a vote of 15–12 on April 23, 2009.
  • The bill passed the House on April 29, 2009, by a vote of 249–175, with 231 Democrats and 18 Republicans supporting. And on October 8, 2009, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act was rolled into the conference report on Defense Authorization for fiscal year 2010. The vote was 281–146, with support from 237 Democrats and 44 Republicans.
  • Back in the Senate, the bill had again introduced by Kennedy on April 28, 2009. The Senate version of the bill had 45 cosponsors as of July 8, 2009. The Matthew Shepard Act was adopted as an amendment to S. 1390 by a 63–28 cloture vote on July 15, 2009.

READY FOR THIS:

  • At the request of Senator Jeff Sessions (an opponent of the Matthew Shepard Act), an amendment was added to the Senate version of the hate crimes legislation that would have allowed prosecutors to seek the death penalty for hate crime murders, though the amendment was later removed in conference with the House.
  • The bill passed the Senate when the Defense bill passed on July 23, 2009. As originally passed, the House version of the defense bill did not include the hate crimes legislation, requiring the difference to be worked out in a Conference committee. On October 7, 2009, the Conference committee published the final version of the bill, which included the hate crimes amendment; the conference report was then passed by the House on October 8, 2009. On October 22, 2009, following a 64–35 cloture vote, the conference report was passed by the Senate by a vote of 68–29.
  • The bill was signed into law on the afternoon of October 28, 2009, by President Barack Obama.

Persistence. Judy Shepherd, John Conyers, Ted Kennedy, Gordon Smith. Persistence.~~~And how about, bravery and conviction too? We never know how strong we are to our convictions until those convictions are tested, right? Like Judy Shepherd an opponent to the death penalty, who stuck by that conviction, and demanded life sentences for her son’s murderers.And conscience objectors, like Desmond Doss, now immortalized in (2016) Hacksaw Ridge. And Guy LaPointe too…

~~~On this day, July 2, 1948, Joseph Guy LaPointe Jr. was born in Dayton, Ohio. LaPointe (July 2, 1948 – June 2, 1969) was a medic in the United States Army. Patrolling Hill 376 in Quảng Tín Province, his unit came under heavy fire from entrenched enemy forces and took several casualties. LaPointe, a conscientious objector, ran through heavy fire to reach two wounded men. He treated the soldiers and shielded them with his body, even after being twice wounded, until an enemy grenade killed all three men. LaPointe was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Vietnam War.~~~And then, there are the feel-good stories of compassion: On this day, July 2, 2016, Bono invited Adam Bevell onto the stage to jam with U2 during their U2 360 tour concert in Nashville, Tennessee. Adam Bevell’s brother-in-law had sketched out the small sign for him right there in the stadium and Adam held it over his head for the entire concert “BLIND GUITAR PLAYER. Bring me up.” at the end of the concert Adam’s wish was granted. The crowd hoisted him up on stage at the band’s request and Bono took his hand to lead him over to a guitar.” The guitar was strapped onto him and Adam chose to play his and his wife’s wedding song, “All I Want Is You,” while Bono sang along. Bono’s compassion for Adam brought out by Adam’s brother-n-law’s compassion for Adam as well.

~~~Persistence, bravery, conviction, and compassion…On this day, July 2, 2016, a man died who exemplified all those attributes and more.On July 2, 2016, Elie Wiesel אליעזר ויזל‎ died in New York, New York. Wiesel was a writer, professor, and political activist. He was the author of 57 books, including Night, a work based on his experiences as a prisoner in the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps. Wiesel was involved with Jewish causes, and helped establish the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. In his political activities, he also campaigned for victims of oppression in places like South Africa, Nicaragua, and Sudan. He was outspoken against the Darfur Genocide and silence surrounding the silence surrounding the Armenian and Darfur genocides.

Weisel once said, “We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”

Yes, we must take sides. Sides for the Medicare recipients who lost dental and vision today because KY Gov Matt Bevin didn’t get his way….

We must take sides, when innocent children are separated from their parents, and caged in the name of law enforcement.We must take sides when our Muslim sisters and brothers are banned from entry to the United States because of their nation-of-origin.

Yes, yes, we must take sides again White Supremacists who stage rallies in Portland and Charlottesville, and tie men to the back of trucks and drag them through Jasper, Texas.

We must take sides when a 21-year-old college student is beaten and left to die, simply because he loved differently from Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson.

Yes, The L.A. Times called Elie Wiesel “the most important Jew in America” and, in 1986, the Norwegian Nobel Committee called Wiesel a “messenger to mankind” when it awarded him the Nobel Peace Prize.Guy Lapointe was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

~~~The rest of us? Who knows whether we’ll ever get any awards, accolades, or recognition. Heck, we might actually get arrested instead of getting awards. But what would we lose if we didn’t try? We might lose a bit of ourselves…Yes, looking back at history can contextualize our current events, and it can also restore hope. And perhaps reinvigorate our persistence, bravery, conviction, and compassion.

Hope: Looking Back at June 2018

The Supreme Court:

  • Masterpiece Cake v CCRC
  • National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra
  • Trump v. Hawaii

Trump, Canada, and North Korea:

  • The 44th G7 summit was held on 8–9 June 2018, in Quebec, Canada… Trump feuds with the other 6 members, and suggests Russia should be let back into the G8/G7.
  • In fact, the summit was dubbed the “G6+1” by the Government of France and political commentators. This resulted from the United States withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and from the Paris Agreement, American tariffs, and trade-related disputes between Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau…

Trump-Kim Summit:

  • Trump and Kim signed a joint declaration at a summit in Singapore on June 12 and pledged to work toward peace and to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula. “We’re ready to write a new chapter between our nations,” and called his meeting with Kim “honest, direct and productive.”
  • Then, on June 21st, satellite images show the Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center upgrading its nuclear facilities. That’s less than two weeks after Trump boasted of a diplomatic breakthrough with Pyongyang over its nuclear weapons program after decades of hostility.

Immigration News:

  • June 15: For the first time, the Department of Homeland Security says how many children have been separated during the zero-tolerance initiative: Nearly 2,000 children from April 19 to May 31.
  • June 18: Nielsen says the administration “will not apologize” for separating families. “We have to do our job. We will not apologize for doing our job,” she says. “This administration has a simple message — If you cross the border illegally, we will prosecute you.”
  • June 19: Iowa’s GOP governor calls the separation of immigrant families “horrific” and says the government shouldn’t treat children as “pawns.”
  • Also, Methodists sign a formal denominational complaint against AG Jeff Sessions for his role in causing the separation of families.
  • Later, Maryland’s GOP governor recalls his national guard troops from the border.
  • June 20: Facing a national outcry, and after blaming Democrats in Congress (who control neither the Senate nor the Houses), Obama/Bush/and Clinton, as well as saying it was a policy he could not reverse, Trump signs an executive order designed to keep migrant families together at the U.S.-Mexico border, abandoning his earlier claim that the crisis was caused by an iron-clad law
  • And, of course, on June 21st, The First Lady wears a jacket making it clear she really doesn’t care; about what we’re not too sure.

Russia? How about some Russia news:

  • Later, Trump announces summit with Putin and reminds us all that Russia says it did not interfere in the 2016 Election…
  • Perhaps the highlight of the Russia probe this month was when Jim Jordan (OH-4) called Rod Rosenstein a Democrat. He’s not. And it shouldn’t matter regardless.

But The Biggest News:

Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy announces his retirement.

  • Citing his so-called swing vote, moderates and liberals have suggested same-sex marriage, abortion, and other issues are endangered.
  • However, Kennedy voted with the conservative majority in Bush v Gore, and the travel ban, so he’s hardly the Saint of Liberalism.
  • In fact, the court has only taken away rights once that it had recognized. The right to be free of cruel and unusual punishments.

~~~

On this day, June 30, 1934, the Night of the Long Knives, Adolf Hitler’s violent purge of his political rivals, occurred in Germany.

Operation Hummingbird eliminated Gregor Strasser and his leftist wing of the Nazi Party, as well as prominent German conservatives including former Chancellor Kurt von Schleicher and Gustav Ritter von Kahr as well as Hitler’s own supporters when he eliminated the Brownshirts (SA) and its leader, Ernst Röhm.

~~~

On this day, too, nine years later, on June 30, 1943, the Częstochowa Uprising was ended with additional 500 Jews burned alive or buried beneath the rubble. Another 3,900 Jews were captured and put to work in the labor camps of Apparatebau, Warthewerk, and Eisenhütte. A random selection of 400 people were shot and, in December that year, 1200 prisoners were transported to Germany. The men were sent to Buchenwald, the women to Dachau… all perished.

~~~

Truly dark days on this day in history, and the history of June… But there is hope, amid struggle as well…

~~~

On this day, June 30, 2001, as the deadline of the international body overseeing decommissioning paramilitary (terrorist) weapons  approached, David Trimble threatened to resign as First Minister if the deadline was not met. The next day, July 1, 2001, David Trimble resigned as Northern Ireland First Minister.

~~~

In a shout-out to my Rhode Islander listeners:

On this day, June 30, 1983, Vinny Pazienza (December 16, 1962) defeated Keith McCoy in Atlantic City, New Jersey. It was The Paz’ second career win; the bout was called in the 3rd Round by KO. His career total is 50-10, with 30 KO. Pazienza held world titles at lightweight and light middleweight; Bleed for This (2016) is based on his comeback from a spinal injury.

But good things happen too:

And, on this day, June 30, 2007, Peter Rometti sang the National Anthem at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts, during Disability Awareness Day. Rometti had autism and halfway through, he started to struggle… stammering, laughing nervously, and losing some of the words. 38,000 Red Sox fans responded and carried Rometti through the remainder of the Star-Spangled Banner.

~~~

The United States has weathered the disenfranchisement of women, the attacks on Native Americans, the enslavement of West Africans, the internment of Japanese Americans, and discrimination against immigrants and gay human beings before.

For every John Chivington, Roger Taney, George Wallace; we have many more Sojoioner Truths, Frederick Douglasses, Elizabeth Katy Stantons, Susan B Anthonys, Fred Korematsu and Yuri Kochiyama.

We have lost Harvey Milk and Matthew Shepard; we have lost Trevonn Martin, Freddie Gray, Stephan Clark and just this month Antwon Rose too.

~~~

“Yes, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

And, yes, We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter… because [we’ve] been to the mountaintop [already]…

We’ve seen John Adams defend the crew of the Amistad… who can tell me the name of the plaintiff in that case?

We’ve seen Teddy Roosevelt denounce the San Francisco segregation of Chinese children,

Who can tell me the name of that Mayor of SanFran?

Who can tell me the name of the judge who found Susan B Anthony guilty of voting?

Tell me, please, what was the name of the bus driver who ordered 2nd Lt Jackie Robinson to move his seat on the bus, or the driver who told Rosa Parks to move?

We can bury the Andrew Jacksons in the annals of white privilege and arrogance; while raising up Thurgood Marshall, Ruby Bridges, and Leroy Collins.

This country has weathered the Alien & Sedition Acts, we will survive Russian interference and recalcitrance of our own politicians to find the truth; the Chinese Exclusion Act and the Japanese-Internment, we will survive the current administration’s border policy and travel bans.

That’s not to say it doesn’t hurt. That’s not to say that there won’t be lasting pain and consequences for these immoral decisions.

I dare say more people know the name Barack Obama, than George Wallace.

~~~

“And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live – a long life; longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will.” Its not about our personal comfort, its about what side of history do we want to be on, do we want to look back with regret that we didn’t stand up to bigotry and vile verbal rhetoric?

[I’m not perfect, not at all, but I know God is with me.] “And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. [I may never see the Lion lay down with the Lamb, but]…  I’ve seen the Promised Land [in glimpses here and there, in the faces of our children]. I may not get there with you. [you might not get there either]. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, [we] will get to the Promised Land!”

~~~

We’re better than the Alien and Sedition Acts, we’re better than the Know-Nothings; we’re better than Jim Crowe and McCarthyism… Every time we have been challenged from our believe in this New Jerusalem, every time we have been knocked down like the Second Temple itself, we have stood up taller, and held our hands out to more people, bringing those huddled masses yearning to be free. Amen, we will rise, we will rise. This is our country and we will make it better, with more hope, and more love, for more people and stare down the voices of fear and xenophobia… 12 score and two years ago, our Founding Fathers set forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all white male landowners were are created equal… but we didn’t stop there, we rose higher, we stood taller and recognized that landowner or not, free or slave, male or female, we are all created equal.

~~~

Now we are engaged in a great civil [debate], testing whether this nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated to protecting the freedom and liberty of people we might not like, who might look differently than us, that might pray differently than us, we are being tested to see how can long endure. We meet daily on a great battle-field of that war: social media, partisan news, blind following of our ideological politicians.

We have to dedicate a portion of that battlefield, as an oasis of peace, a final resting place for those who gave their lives that that nation might live in harmony. Amen, tt is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. [But it is a lot harder to do than to say.]

But, in a larger sense, we cannot stop. Think of those who have gone before, who struggled here, before us. The world will little note, nor long remember what I say here on podcasts or social media, but the world can never forget what we have done together already as a nation. It is for us, the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which our forebearers fought for already and have thus far so nobly advanced.

It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored aliens among us, those too who love differently and pray differently. We must take increased devotion to that cause for which others gave the last full measure of their devotion—that we here highly resolve that the women, Native Americans, West Africans, Catholics immigrants, Japanese-Americans, African-Americans and Gay Americans shall not have struggled and died in vain

—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Religion v Speech ~ June 4th

Freedom of Religion versus Freedom of Speech

The tyranny of the Majority versus The Tyranny of the Minority

On this day, June 4, 1738, George III (June 4, 1738 – January 29, 1820) was born in Norfolk House, St. James’s Square, London, England, Kingdom of Great Britain.

In 1791, George begrudgingly assented to the Roman Catholic Relief Act. The Act relieved Roman Catholics of certain political, educational, and economic disabilities. It admitted Catholics to the practice of law, permitted the legal practice of Catholicism, and the existence of Catholic schools. (On the other hand, there were continued restrictions as well: chapels, schools, officiating priests, and school teachers had to be registered with the government. Assemblies with locked doors, as well as steeples and bells to chapels, were forbidden. Catholic priests could not wear clerical robes or offer Mass in the open air; Protestant children could not be admitted to Catholic schools. Monastic orders and endowments for Catholic schools and colleges were prohibited.)

The Tory Leader, William Pitt the Younger, as well as the rival Whig Leader, Charles James Fox, had pledged full Catholic Emancipation. Amazingly, however, King George III argued that full freedom for Catholics would be a violation of his coronation oath.

It wasn’t until 1766 that true Catholic Emancipation did not occur until the Roman Catholic Relief Act 1829. To overcome the vehement opposition of both the House of Lords and King George IV, the Duke of Wellington worked tirelessly to ensure passage in the House of Lords and threatened to resign as Prime Minister if the King did not give Royal Assent.

~~~

On June 4, 1870, Maria Elizabeth Hesselblad was born. Hesselblad worked tirelessly at inter-religious dialogue, and against racism. During World War II – and after – she performed many charitable works on behalf of the poor and those that suffered due to racial laws and promoted peace between Christians and non-Christians. The war also saw her save the lives of Jewish people who would have otherwise have perished in the Holocaust had it not been for her direct intervention. Pope John Paul II beatified her on April 9, 2000, and Pope Francis approved her canonization in late 2015. Hesselblad is also recognized as a Righteous Among the Nations due to her efforts in World War II saving the lives of Jewish people during the Holocaust.

~~~

On this day, June 4, 1989, the Tiananmen Square Massacre occurred in response to the pro-democracy demonstrations. At the heart of these demonstrations was the lack of freedom in China… no freedom of religion, no freedom of speech, and -certainly on June 4th– no freedom of assembly or petition of grievances.

~~~

And today, June 4, 2018, the US Supreme Court announced its decision in Masterpiece Cake v CCRC. Personally, I’m glad I didn’t have to write that decision. I don’t think it’s as simple as either of the two sides think that it is. I think the decision was basically a loud statement of shut up go to your corners and act like adults

As my friend David Stacy said, its perhaps “one of the most intelligent decisions they’ve written in some time… What I think is so brilliant about it is that it’s allowing for a better conversation. SCOTUS set the standard for how government officials treat religious individuals and cases of religious expression outside of the clergy. The fallout will be interesting, for sure.”

I sure hope Dave is correct. but I am nervous about the fact that there were three different concurring opinions. That kind of tells me that they couldn’t agree among themselves, and that’s why they made a narrow decision, not for their altruistic and brilliant reasons that David is hoping for.

Where is that line between religion and speech?

  • Would we expect a Muslim cakemaker to put an image of the Prophet Mohammed on a cake? Would a Jewish cakemaker have to create a cake with a swastika on it? Would a Catholic cakemaker have to make a cake with the image of a pope or priest as a pedophile or with condoms?
  • On the other hand, would we be comfortable with a cakemaker denying to make a cake for a mixed-race wedding? Or a cake for a marriage between persons of obvious age discrepancy?

What right does a service provider have to limit their services? What right does society have to force services from unwilling service providers? I sure don’t know…

I also think, but I’m not sure how this would be worded in a judicial decision, that there is an issue of access. I’ve heard this issue come up in abortion/women’s reproduction cases. In Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt (2016), the Court held that if legislation is crafted in such a way that the access to abortion clinics is essentially eliminated, then that is unconstitutional. So, to a degree, as long as there are fair alternatives to Masterpiece Cake, then the Court perhaps should lean toward protecting the religious freedom of the business owner, however, if there was not a fair alternative, then the Court ought to lean toward protecting the rights of the customer.

~~~

Regardless, and as I said to David Stacy earlier today is that, personally, I’m glad I didn’t have to write that decision. I also don’t think it’s as simple as it might seem prima facie. Personally, I think the decision was basically a loud statement of shut up go to your corners and act like adults…

May 7th ~ Mass Graves in Iraq and the Rohingya

~May 7~

  On this day, May 7, 2016, UN Special Representative Ján Kubiš said more than 50 mass graves have so far been found in parts of Iraq that were previously controlled by so-called Islamic State (IS).  Ján Kubiš is a Slovak diplomat and was formerly Secretary-General of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

“I condemn in the strongest possible terms the continued killings, kidnapping, rape and torture of Iraqis by ISIL (IS), which may constitute crimes against humanity, war crimes, and even genocide.”

Ján Kubiš

~~~

Mass graves and ethnic cleansing is not new in Iraq. After the deposing of Saddam Hussein, International Experts found an estimated 300,000 victims in mass graves of Shia Muslims and ethnic Kurds killed for opposing the regime between 1983 and 1991.

~~~

In April 2007, a bus in Mosul was hijacked, Muslims and Christians were told to get off, the remaining 23 Yazidi passengers were driven to an eastern Mosul location and murdered.

~~~

Then ISIS/ISIL/IS came to town… Hawija, Kirkuk, Mosul… you name it….

…2014, the peak of the Yazidi Genocide. Civilians trapped on Mount Sinjar… hundred of Yazidi women were taken as slaves and over hundreds more men, women, and children were killed, some beheaded or buried alive in the foothills, as part of an effort to instill fear and to supposedly desecrate the mountain the Yazidis consider sacred.

~~~

The mass flight and expulsion of ethnic Assyrians from Iraq…  beginning before ISIS, back during the Iraq War in 2003, but continues to this day. Leaders of Iraq’s Assyrian community estimate that over two-thirds of the Iraqi Assyrian population has fled or been internally displaced. Reports suggest that whole neighborhoods of Assyrians have cleared out in the cities of Baghdad and Basra; and that Sunni insurgent groups and militias have threatened Assyrian Christians over the years. Following the campaign of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in northern Iraq in August 2014, one-quarter of the remaining Iraqi Assyrians fled, finding refuge to Iraqi Kurdistan, and, ironically in Turkey…

~~~

On February 3, 2016, the European Union recognized the persecution of Christians by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant as genocide. The vote was unanimous. The United States followed suit on March 15, 2016, declaring these atrocities as genocide. The vote was unanimous. On April 20, 2016, British Parliament voted unanimously to denounce the actions as genocide. And where are those voices today as the Rohingya are murdered, assaulted, and exiled in Burma?

The ability of the predominantly Christian countries and the mostly Christian members of the US Congress’ to recognize a Christian genocide but not Muslim genocide is almost as self-serving as those perpetrating religious and ethnic violence against civilians around the world. It is a manifestation of the selective indignation, selective application of legal principals, and the inability to see all men and women as sisters and brothers.

If you’ve never read it, read Jeff Stein’s piece from October 17, 2006, in the New York Times. Still, to this day, one of the best and most disturbing journalistic articles. Willie Hulon, chief of the FBI’s national security branch, Congresswoman Jo Ann Davis, Chair of the House intelligence subcommittee charged with overseeing the C.I.A.’s performance in recruiting Islamic spies and analyzing information, Congressman Terry Everett, Vice Chair of the House intelligence subcommittee on technical and tactical intelligence. The very people who voted to invade Iraq. Don’t know the difference between Sunnis and Shi’as. Do we think they know the difference between an Assyrian-Iraqi, a Kurdish-Iraqi, a Yezidi-Iraqi, and an Arab Iraqi?

https://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/17/opinion/17stein.html

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It’s easy to blame the crimes against humanity on the sectarian violence in Iraq, but those same pointing fingers seem to avoid asking the question of who destabilized the region and who armed Saddam Hussein with all those weapons in the 1980s. Perhaps it’s time to think more about American national responsibility, than labeling other acts of violence as genocide. After all, those Americans who identified the Assyrian Genocide so correctly are woefully silent on asking what happened to the pre-Columbian Native Americans population of the United States or even, if you want to stick to a more recent century, what happened to the Armenians in 1915. The same Administration that labeled the Assyrian, Yazidi crimes against humanity as a genocide, has not called the 1915 massacres by our Turkish allies a genocide… I mean, sure, they call it a genocide on the campaign trail while pandering for votes, but Trump, Obama, Bush, and Clinton all seem to have genocidal amnesia once entering the Oval Office.

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Yes, on this day, May 7, 2016, UN envoy Ján Kubiš condemned the continued killings, kidnapping, rape, and torture of Iraqis which he said might constitute crimes against humanity, war crimes, and even genocide. Would that he was wrong. Would that the ethnic and religious genocides in Iraq and around the world were limited to time and space. Sadly, humanity’s propensity to kill itself, is matched only by our ability to be blind to the blood on our own hands and deny genocide when it’s insignificant. After all, its not 2016 anymore. Its 2018, and genocide has now reared it’s evil in Burma, where are the same clamoring voices speaking out against the Rohingya Genocide now?

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That’s all for today’s segment of This Day in Today, and remember,

Today’s Tomorrow’s yesterday.

Thank you for listening!

April 29th ~ War Crimes and Reconciliation

Welcome to This Day in Today,

My name is Tom Keefe, and I’m the Babbling Professor!

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  On this day, April 29, 1946, The International Military Tribunal for the Far East convened and indicted former Prime Minister of Japan Hideki Tojo, as well as 28 other former Japanese leaders, with war crimes. Tojo was the highest ranking Japanese national charged by the Tribunal. Supreme Allied Commander for the Pacific Theater, General Douglas MacArthur, had decided to give the Imperial Family immunity from prosecution in order to smooth the restructuring of Japan’s government. Thousands of other alleged war criminals were remanded to other countries for national criminal prosecution. Ultimately, seven defendants were later given death sentences and executed; 16 received prison sentences. A shout out to MY home state of Little Rhodey, The chief prosecutor, Joseph B.  Keenan, was from Pawtucket, RI, United States.

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Sixty-nine years later, on April 29, 2015, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe became the first Prime Minister of Japan to address a joint session of the US Congress and offered his “profound respect” and “eternal condolences” for US soldiers who died in World War II.  On December 27, 2016, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also became the first Prime Minister of Japan to visit Pearl Harbor and laid a wreath at the USS Arizona Memorial.  Earlier, in May of 2016, US President Barack Obama similarly became the first sitting US President to visit the Peace Memorial Park and Museum in Hiroshima, Japan.  Regardless of one’s opinion of the decision to drop the bomb, it is an inescapable fact that the US use of atomic weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki killed an estimated 220, 000 people combined…

That’s all for today’s segment of This Day in Today, and remember,

Today’s Tomorrow’s yesterday.

Thank you for listening!

Second Fiddle Belligerents and the Absence of Justice

Image result for ratko mladic trial
Radko Mladic (PHOTO CREDIT: Skynews)

The well-known adage goes something like this: “History is written by the victors.” Whether it was Winston Churchill, Walter Benjamin, or some other thinker who uttered this first, the sentiment remains true regardless. As a historian, I believe that another proverb, “To the victors go the spoils,” relates as well, because, after all, recorded history is one of the greatest gifts that victory has to offer. Similarly, victory and history offer another priceless gift, that of clemency. Winners are not victorious in a vacuum… As Macdonald Carey baritone-ly said in the intro to Days of Our Lives, “Like sands through the hourglass, so are the Days of Our Lives.” Our day, our lives, are a product of not only our personal history but the narrative of history that we collective choose to live through. And that history includes collective victory, as well as collective defeat.

History is also an instrument of future policy. Realism views and uses history as a tool of governing and diplomacy. And nothing is more important in realism than the preservation of the state. Bill Bennett’s The Last Best Hope (2006) is a perfect example of using jingoism as a method of history education. Similarly, the Jefferson County School Board debate over the College Board’s Advanced Placement (AP) curriculum too is an example of how history can impact politics and policy.

The problem is that war crime adjudication is a product of policy, and not of justice. Victorious powers rarely hold their own actors accountable. The United States, for example, executed Heinrich Hartmann Wirz for war crimes on November 10, 1865. But Wirz, while an American, had committed those war crimes while fighting for the Confederacy against the United States of America. And while William Laws Calley Jr. was convicted of murdering 22 unarmed South Vietnamese civilians in the My Lai Massacre, Calley was released on a technically after only 3 years by US Judge J. Robert Elliott. How does it look to the international community if the world powers do not hold their own actors (leaders and/or soldiers) accountable?

There is also the lack of international accountability applied to second fiddle belligerents. Secondary belligerents seem to both escape international accountability as well as avoid responsibility for domestic accountability. While the international community notes the difference between major and minor war criminals, the supposition negates itself if those secondary belligerents do not hold their war criminals accountable. The absence of justice may be a result of domestic disinterest, a lack of international pressure, or the collapse of the nation-state and/or its government.

For example, after WWI, Turkish war criminals avoided justice because the Ottoman Empire dissolved, and the new nation-state had no interest in pursuing war criminals. It is almost understandable that the perpetrators of the Armenian Genocide were not held accountable; after all, there was no international apparatus for justice at the time, and the modern Turkish government benefited from the genocide, so there was little domestic interest or pressure.

What confuses me is why Italy and Croatia have avoided international justice and accountability for their participation in war crimes and crimes against humanity.

After WWII, the Allied governments established the Nuremberg Trials to hold major German war criminals accountable. The United States, as sole legal power in Japan, established the Tokyo Trials to hold major Japanese war criminals accountable. The Italians, second fiddles of Fascism to be sure, captured Benito Mussolini and summarily executed by firing squad. His body was then taken to Milan, where it was hung upside down in Piazzale Loreto, Milan. The British and Americans placed more faith in the post-Mussolini Italian leader Pietro Badoglio’s anti-communism, than the belief in justice for war criminals (including Badoglio himself). The denial of Italian war crimes was backed up by the Italian state, academe, and media, re-inventing Italy as only a victim of the German Nazism and the post-war Foibe massacres.

Realism, Jingoism, and Naivety

Hans J. Morgenthau, codified the theory of classical realism into six concise principles: 1) politics follows objective rules rooted in human nature; 2) the linchpin of politics is power; 3) power is an objective quantity; 4) there is tension between politics and morality 5) morality is not universal; and 6) politics operates outside of any other concern, like morality. While these six principles represent the core of Morgenthau’s theory, there is an additional important aspect to realism. Realism holds that nation-states exist in a state of anarchy with a ‘balance of power’ among states.

Classical realists believe the nation-state to be led by a principal, unitary actor who speaks wholly and solely for the nation-state. To paraphrase Article II, Section I of the U.S. Constitution, the mission of the state (and thus its unitary actor) is to preserve, protect and defend the state. Classical realism makes two more major assumptions: that domestic issues are subordinated to foreign issues and that state always acts rationally (Mingst, 65). As an intellectual construct, the theory of classical realism is sound, but if any of the four parts [anarchy/balance of power system, principal-actor/unitary-actor, acts rationally, and the supremacy of foreign affairs/security] of the theory are undermined, then the entire theory is suspect. As it happens, there are several problems with the theory of classical realism. First, as noted, the theory assumes that the state is led by a unitary actor and ignores internal disputes. In the words of Karen Mingst, it assumes “there are no subnational actors trying to overturn the decision of the government or subvert the interests of the state” (Mingst, 66).

Realists believe that any internal squabbling is forgotten in the interests of the nation-state. The theory woefully underestimates internal subnational actors (such as Robert F. Kennedy arguing against the war in Vietnam during the Johnson Administration) and ignores non-state actors (Such as religious leaders, NGOs, etc.).

The History of War Crimes Adjudication

From Napoleon Bonaparte to Enver Pasha, Adolph Hitler and Hideki Tojo something happened to realism’s principal unitary actor. By the time of Slobodan Milošević, limits were put on the power of the leaders of nation-states. What is the balance between the legitimacy of international law and the sovereignty of a nation-state? Traditional realism was best personified by Louis XIV who said “L’etat c’est moi.” From the time of the establishment of the Westphalia System to the Sun King, there was little direct, personal danger as a consequence of one’s conduct of foreign policy. [Indeed, the regicide of Charles II was done at the “be-head-st” of internal struggles, not external conflict.] Look at U.S. President Andrew Jackson. Would the leader of a nation-state today be able to forcibly relocate residents without repercussion in foreign affairs? Jackson’s attitude, which is embodied in the maxim, “To the victors belong the spoils,” is that the president is able to do as he wishes. Even in a constitutionally limited presidency, Jackson thwarted the rule of law (Cherokee v. Georgia) for his own personal desires. The Jacksonian point of view, coupled with Winston Churchill’s worldview (“History is written by the victors”), illustrates a perspective in which there is no higher power to answer to beyond the nation-state.

It is not a coincidence then that the only criminal trials were imposed by the existing power; no victorious power subordinated itself to any legal authority. After the American Civil War, it was the victorious North who put Southerners on trial for war crimes at the Andersonville Prison. Yes, the leaders of the French Reign of Terror were put on trial, but it was after they had fallen from political power and were tried by the victorious forces of the Thermidorian Reaction. Over the past hundred years, however, the leaders of nation-states have agreed to international rules of war and humanity. Violators of these conventions have been put on trial by foreign countries as well as international courts. Thus, liberal philosophies, such as Common Security, have made in-roads to repudiating the traditional beliefs in traditional realism.

Throughout history, there have been laws of war regulating armed conflict. During the Medieval Ages, these laws of war were thoroughly discussed by Augustine of Hippo and, since then his jus ad bellum et jus in bello (just war and justice in war) has been the basis for European laws of war. The “Just War” theory states that there must be a ‘competent authority’ who decides to go to war. In addition, O’Brien points out that there must be a “just cause” of the war such as:

  1. to protect the innocent from unjust attack
  2. to restore the rights wrongfully denied and
  3. to re-establish a just order

In discussing crimes of war, there are two classifications: “major” war criminals are the leaders of government and high ranking military officials while the enlisted soldiers and low-ranking bureaucrats are referred to as “lesser” war criminals. The most well-known precedents for the treatment of major war criminals are Napoleon Bonaparte’s exile to Elba (1812) and his subsequent imprisonment on St. Helena (1815) as well as Kaiser Wilhelm II’s asylum in the Netherlands (1919) (Willis, 10).

The First World War was responsible for creating precedents in the punishment of lesser war criminals as well as the diplomatic and legal process of designating responsibility for crimes and atrocities. The first of such war crimes convictions was the decision of a French military court to execute three Germans who had pillaged (Willis, 13). Notice, however, that a) it was a national, not international court and b) the prosecution was by the victorious French over the defeated Germans.

In Britain, the Prime Minister’s Cabinet created the Government Committee on the Treatment by the Enemy of British Prisoners to compile a list of war crimes. It is this committee’s work that not only served as a basis for post-war trials, but also for future war crimes tribunals. Notice again that it is a British committee that is used by the victors to prosecute the defeated Germans. On January 18, 1919, the Commission of the Responsibility of the Authors of the War and the Enforcement of the Penalties was established, and it relied heavily on the British committee’s work. The Commission studied, “questions concerning the origins of the war and the culpability for it, offenses against the laws and customs of war in its conduct, and the constitution of a tribunal to try the accused” war criminals (Willis, 68). In the Treaty of Versailles, the victorious Allies gave themselves the right to punish German war criminals but deferred the trials of 854 Germans to Provisional German Government. These proceeding, known as the Leipzig Trials were considered a failure by the Allies because many Germans were freed or received light sentences (Willis, 113). On the other hand, the precedent was created for trying war criminals and the relative failure of national trials gave greater support for international courts in the future.

In another theater of World War I, the Allies had declared their intention to punish Turkish “war criminals” who were responsible for the massacre of Christian Armenians in 1915. For a plethora of reasons, this failed to happen. Most notably, the Ottoman Empire had ceased to exist and there was less demand to punish a new country; similarly, German criminals were left to the Provisional German Government (later the Weimar Republic) that had succeeded the Kaiser’s Imperial Germany. Secondly, the victims of the war crimes were subjects of the Ottoman (and later Turkish) nation-state. Did the international body have the right to punish offending states for the treatment of their own populace? Although unanswered, the question was edging closer to the forefront of international diplomacy.

Woodrow Wilson, the American President who spearheaded the Treaty of Versailles strove to answer this and other questions. In fact, one of Wilson’s Fourteen Points in the treaty called for self-determination, the right of national groups to self-rule (Mingst, 36). But what is the limit to national ambitions? What is the limit to the nation-state’s right to preserve itself in the face of national aspirations by sub-national populations? As has been mentioned, the Treaty of Versailles called for collective security and the triumph of international law over national-sovereignty.

It left the enforcement of the treaty to the League of Nations. The League, while a failure in its attempt to prevent war, raised the profile of international law. It seems that this is a major dividing point in international relations: there are those who support the growing importance, power, and responsibility of international law and on the other hand, there are those who adhere to the traditional theories of realism that are isolationist and unilateral in nature. Senator Henry Cabot Lodge’s blocking of the Treaty of Versailles used much of the same rhetoric that has been recently used against the International Criminal Court. That is, the “unchecked power” and broad jurisdiction is a threat to American sovereignty (American Journal of International Law, 724). Realism had raised its ugly head once more.

What does this have to do with anything?

On this past Wednesday, November 22, 2017, Ratko Mladic was sentenced to life imprisonment on 10 counts of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court. This sentence, similar to the March 24, 2016, sentence of Radovan Karadžić, was a consequence of their actions during the Siege of Sarajevo and the Srebrenica Massacre. Both Mladić and the Bosnian-Serb political leader Radovan Karadžić (known as the “Butchers of Bosnia”) and were indicted by the ICTY for war crimes during the 1994 Bosnian War. So, more than twenty years later, we can argue whether the pace of international justice truly discourages other international actors. In fact, Slobodan Milošević avoided sentencing through the passage of time (and possibly Russian doctor-assisted suicide). While Milošević made history as the first sitting Head of State to be indicted when he was charged with crimes against humanity in Kosovo in May 1999. This is exactly Realism’s critique and fear of international law: what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. That is, if a Serbian leader can lose sovereign immunity and be indicted by the international community, then so could an American leader. That is essentially the rationale for US withdrawal from the Rome Statute.

As mentioned, there is also the lack of international accountability applied to second fiddle belligerents. Secondary belligerents seem to both escape international accountability as well as avoid responsibility for domestic accountability. While the international community notes the difference between major and minor war criminals, the supposition negates itself if those secondary belligerents do not hold their war criminals accountable. The absence of justice may be a result of domestic disinterest, a lack of international pressure, or the collapse of the nation-state and/or its government.

The Balkan Wars began Slovenia seceded from the Yugoslav Federation on June 25, 1991. Serbia and Croatia quickly sought, not to reunify Yugoslavia, but to create a Greater Serbia and a Greater Croatia. The primary victim of these landgrabs was the Bosnia-Herzegovina; the Serbs infamously created the Republika Srpska to legitimize their landgrab, but it is lesser well-known that the Croats similarly created the Croatian Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia within the territorial boundaries of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Franjo Tuđman, the President of Croatia, crush Croatian Serbians, supported the Croatian Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia, and on March 25, 1991, Tuđman met with Slobodan Milošević met at Karađorđevo where he may have discussed the partition of Bosnia and Herzegovina between Serbia and Croatia.

In 2011, ICC judges found two former Croatian generals guilty of war crimes and that the regime of the late President Franjo Tudjman planned a campaign of systematic violence to empty south-western Croatia of its Serbian minority in order to resettle the region with ethnic Croats. Generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markač became scape-goats when found guilty of eight of nine counts for commanding operations that included the shelling of civilians, the torching of Serbian homes in south-west Croatia, the murder of hundreds of elderly Serbs and the forced exodus of at least 20,000 from the Serbian minority rooted in the Dalmatian. However, those convictions were overturned by an ICTY Appeals Panel in November 2012.

Tihomir Blaškić, a Croatian general, was indicted on war crimes charges and sentenced to 45 years in prison. In July 2004, ICTY appeal court determined that his command responsibility for most of the charges was non-existent and his sentence was lessened to nine years imprisonment; he was released after four years. Another Croatian general, Ivan Čermak, was acquitted. Still another officer, Mirko Norac, was transferred to Croatia for trial and sentenced to seven years but was released on probation.

In the Kordić and Čerkez, the ICC ruled that by April 1993 Croat leadership had a common design or plan conceived and executed to ethnically cleanse Bosniaks from the Lašva Valley. In fact, on December 27, 1991, there was a meeting in Zagreb between President Franjo Tuđman and the Bosnian Croat leadership to discuss the future of Bosnia and Herzegovina formulate an overall Croatian political strategy. Similar to Bosnian-Serb political leader Radovan Karadžić, Dario Kordić was found to be the man behind the ethnic cleansing as the local political Croat leader. Karadžić was sentenced to life in prison, whereas Kordić was sentenced to 25 years but released in June 2014 after having served two-thirds of his sentence. Other Bosnian Croats were also convicted by the ICTY. Jadranko Prlić, the Prime Minister of the pseudo-Croatian Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia, was sentenced to 25 years in prison. The tribunal also convicted five other wartime leaders of the joint trial: defence minister of Herzeg-Bosnia Bruno Stojić (20 years), military officers Slobodan Praljak (20 years) and Milivoj Petković (20 years), military police commander Valentin Ćorić (20 years), and head of prisoner exchanges and detention facilities Berislav Pušić (16 years). No life sentences.

So to recap: The Bosnian Serb pollical leader was sentenced to life in prison. The Bosnia Serb military leader was sentenced to life in prison. The Serbian leader died while on trial for his role in the Bosnian Wars (as well as the Kosovo Wars). Conversely, the Bosnian Croat political leader was sentenced to only 25 years, and released in June 2014 after having served two-thirds of his sentence. The Bosnia Croats military leaders were sentenced to 20 years. The Croatian leader was never indicted; Tuđman was re-elected president in 1997 and remained in power until his death in 1999. Interestingly the Croatian government passed a law on cooperation with the ICTY, but since 1997 (Tuđman’s reelection) relations between ICTY and Croatia have worsened. In 1999, Tuđman publicly criticized the work of ICTY and the ICTY Chief Prosecutor Louise Arbour expressed her dissatisfaction with Croatia’s cooperation with the Tribunal.

Conclusion

The Split Agreement (a mutual defense agreement between Croatia, the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina), as well as Tuđman’s personal relationship with German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher, led the international community to back-off of possible transgressions by Croatia. On December 19, 1991, Iceland and Germany recognized Croatia’s sovereignty and the Split Agreement called on the Croatian Army to intervene militarily on behalf of Bosnia and Herzegovina to relieve the Siege of Bihać. The Split Agreement became a turning point in the Bosnian War, and the international community was primarily interested in ending the regional conflict and, particularly Serbian aggression. As a result, Croatia has benefited the gift of victor’s spoils and entrusted to self-responsibility for war crimes adjudication. No international pressure. Limited international trials for major war criminals. Alleged domestic trials for minor war criminals. Like Turks and Italians before them, the Croats rode the coattails of victory to unaccountability in the interest of international peace and future European Union and NATO partnerships.

Bibliography

Mingst, Karen A. (2004). Essentials of International Relations. New York: W.W. Norton.

O’Brien, William V. “Just War Theory” in The Conduct of Just and Limited War. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1981.

Willis, James F. Prologue to Nuremberg. Westport: Greenwood Press, 1982.