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Showing posts from May, 2011

Whatever happened to the Rule of Law?

We all know that Osama bin Laden was killed last week when the US busted in on his hiding place in Pakistan, shot him dead and buried his body at sea.

Now one of bin Laden’s sons is challenging the legality of his father’s death.
Omar bin Laden, age 30, accuses the US of violating international law when it killed his unarmed father, shot relatives and dumped the body in the ocean. Omar argues that the US should have arrested his father and put him on trial, and that the principles of presumption of innocence and the right to a fair trial were ignored.
The US’s defence to this is that Article 51 of the UN Charter allows a country to defend itself. Osama bin Laden had declared war on the US, killed thousands in 9/11 – he was deemed to be a combatant. His death was part of the larger goal to dismantle al-Qaeda.  
Interestingly, both sides cite international law to support their arguments.
My gut reaction is to cheer that bin Laden is finally dead, and to ridicule his son’s complaints. But a…