'Global Justice' May Rewrite US Law Books ; Two Civil Cases Help Put US at Vanguard of Universal Law. but Officials Remain Wary

By Justin Brown, writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, August 1, 2000 | Go to article overview

'Global Justice' May Rewrite US Law Books ; Two Civil Cases Help Put US at Vanguard of Universal Law. but Officials Remain Wary


Justin Brown, writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


A new round of lawsuits is testing America's willingness to be part of a global justice system.

For the past decade, the United States has been confronted with the concept of "universal jurisdiction": whether, for example, a foreign citizen can be punished in the US for a crime committed elsewhere. The debate gained new intensity globally last year, when dictator Augusto Pinochet was indicted by a Spanish judge and detained in Britain for crimes allegedly committed while he ruled Chile.

Now two civil cases in New York federal courthouses test similar legal waters for the US. Experts say such cases are helping create a global legal system in which international criminals cannot hide from justice.

Yet American officials are generally hesitant to embrace the concept of universal jurisdiction in criminal cases, worried about loss of US sovereignty or retaliation by other nations.

But in civil cases, "US courts have been at the vanguard," says Diane Orentlicher, an international-law expert at American University in Washington.

In one of the current cases, a group of Muslim women and children from Bosnia are suing Radovan Karadzic, the Bosnian Serb military leader accused of committing war crimes in Bosnia during the early 1990s. They want millions of dollars to compensate for the actions of the army under Mr. Karadzic's command, which allegedly committed genocide, rape, and torture.

The second case was brought by the family of an Israeli-American man who was killed during a 1996 terrorist attack in Jerusalem. Named in the suit are two Syrian military officials, the Syrian defense minister, and the leader of Syrian forces in Lebanon. The family of the victim alleges that the Syrians provided training and resources to help the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas carry out the attack.

In both cases the defendants deny the charges, and it is unlikely that they will appear in court. Even if a jury penalizes the defendants in absentia, it is improbable that the victims or victims' families will ever collect damages - unless there are assets in the US that can be seized.

Still, such an outcome, alongside the Pinochet case, could push forward the concept of a global legal system.

On Tuesday, Chile's Supreme Court lifted General Pinochet's immunity from prosecution, opening the way for the former dictator (now back in Chile) to be tried on human rights charges.

Universal language of law?

In the US, the legal system is coming under increasing pressure to address this new type of global justice. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

'Global Justice' May Rewrite US Law Books ; Two Civil Cases Help Put US at Vanguard of Universal Law. but Officials Remain Wary
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.