Pinochet ‘tortures not crimes against humanity’
Jan. 27, 1999

General Augusto Pinochet’s lawyers have argued that the tortures allegedly committed under his regime were not crimes against humanity because they would not have occurred within an armed conflict.

At a House of Lords hearing Clare Montgomery, QC, for the former Chilean military ruler, told a panel of seven Law Lords that when the concept of crimes against humanity emerged during World War II, they were invariably associated with the waging of international war.

That connection had since been relaxed, but even recent legal landmarks, such the international tribunals into events in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, suggested crimes against humanity were still connected with armed conflict, she said.

Read more.

***

Pinochet hearing hinges on permissibility of torture
By Chris Marsden
28 January 1999

Former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet’s defence team made an explicit call for torture to be recognised as a legitimate function of a head of state. Focusing her argument against Pinochet’s extradition on his claim to sovereign immunity, Clare Montgomery told the Law Lords that only Chile could mount a prosecution. “We would contend that where torture is committed within the context of the military enforcing some internal security policy … it still falls within the definition of sovereign or government functions. And sovereign or public acts are entitled to immunity.”

“When an outside nation tries to prosecute, it is acting under the laws of its own courts, not as a representative of the international community,” she went on. Prosecution lawyers have consistently argued that the International Convention Against Torture accepted by Chile, Britain and Spain–the nation seeking Pinochet’s extradition–makes torture an international crime. It does not recognise immunity and gives all nations the right, and even a duty, to intervene or prosecute.

Pinochet’s lawyers not only oppose this on the grounds that it is an infringement of national sovereignty, but Montgomery even questioned whether torture and hostage-taking could be considered international crimes. “They are crimes that give rise to international concern, which is not the same thing.” International crimes must be linked to armed conflict, she said.

Read more.



4 Comments to “Lawyer going after Julian Assange defended Pinochet (2 items)”

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mark Crispin Miller, Hussein Mahomedy. Hussein Mahomedy said: RT @mcrispinmiller: NewsFromUnderground: Lawyer going after Julian Assange defended Pinochet (2 items) http://bit.ly/ePndPY […]

  • Totally irrelevant. Barristers are not allowed to refuse cases other than in very very limited circumstances.

  • Nice try. Montgomery took Pinochet’s case voluntarily, and gave her reasons for so doing.

    See Naomi Roht-Arriaza’s THE PINOCHET EFFECT: TRANSNATIONAL JUSTICE IN THE AGE OF HUMAN RIGHTS (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006), p. 41.

  • “She took the case, she said, out of a sense that it was important, especially in high profile cases, for all sides to benefit from good lawyering.”

    Hardly a smoking gun. And she still wouldn’t have been allowed to refuse it in any case.

Post comment

Forbidden Bookshelf

Forbidden Bookshelf




“While We Were Sleeping”

While We Were Sleeping is an urgent call to save Greenwich Village from New York University's uncontrolled expansion.

Click here to donate to NYUFASP and receive a copy of "While We Were Sleeping: NYU and the Destruction of New York" (minimum donation to receive a book is $10 plus $8 shipping).

Orwell Rolls In His Grave, featuring MCM – Buy the DVD



About News From Underground

News From Underground is a daily e-news service run by Mark Crispin Miller, a Professor of Culture and Communication at NYU. It is based on his belief that academics, like reporters, have a civic obligation to help keep the people well-informed, so that American democracy might finally work.

If you'd like to receive updates delivered to your inbox daily, sign up for News From Underground Alerts:

Help News From Underground!





Message from Mark: "I am a one-man operation, although assisted greatly by some volunteers, and, now and then, by people paid by others for one-time projects. There is no shortage of skilled, dedicated folks out there who want to help me. There is, however, nothing I can pay them with, unless you decide you can contribute something."

Please donate via the PayPal button above or via PayPal by email to: markcrispinmiller@gmail.com

Recent Posts

Recent Comments

Popular Posts

Blogroll

Need a bigger font size?




Sponsored Links



  • Your link could be here too, contact us for pricing details.