March 3, 2006
The Iraqi Higher Criminal Tribunal is currently trying Saddam Hussein. The trial, however, is about much more than the conviction of one man. The trial, according to Prof. Michael Newton, law, Vanderbilt “is to reestablish the rule of law in Iraq.”
Professor Newton delivered his speech, “Lawyering in Baghdad: Democratic Principles and International Law in Iraq” yesterday in Myron Taylor Hall. Newton helped draft the Statute for the Iraqi Special Tribunal, and he also taught international law to the jurists and lawyers who served on the special tribunal.
Newton spent much of the lecture explaining the way in which the tribunal balances international and national law. This balance exists so that Iraqis can benefit from existing international legal guidelines, while still upholding their own legal culture. Newton described the fusion as “an internationalized domestic court.”
The international part of the tribunal comes from the International Crimes Court (ICC), which was created in 1998. The ICC is an international court in which individuals are prosecuted for “the world’s gravest crimes.” According to the court, these crimes are genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. For each of these crimes, the court has laid out specific definitions.
Neither Iraq nor America signed the treaty that created the Court, so, according to Newton, the ICC “does not have jurisdiction” to try Saddam Hussein. Nevertheless, the Iraqi tribunal used the ICC as a template for its own trial. Namely, the Iraqi Tribunal used the ICC’s definitions for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes to identify its charges against Hussein.
The Iraqi tribunal also added three more charges, not defined by the ICC, against Saddam Hussein. The charges are: manipulating the judicial system, the destruction of Iraqi oil and waste of natural resources and the abuse and pursuit of policies that may lead to war. These three additional charges represent a domestic component of the tribunal.
According to Newton, the domestic component of the trial is essential. Without it, he believes the trial would lack legitimacy, because it would ignore Iraqi customs and culture. “You have to start with that context, those people, that culture and build from there … if you don’t do that, what’s the point,” he said.
Iraq’s long tradition with the law, said Newton, affords them the right to try Hussein on, in part, its own legal terms.
“Don’t make the mistake of saying we know the law and they don’t” warned Newton. Newton cited Baghdad’s acclaimed law school and the country’s reverence for Hammurabi, the world’s first lawmaker, as examples of Iraq’s “rich legal tradition”
Despite its “rich legal tradition,” language barriers have, in the past, separated Iraq from the legal traditions of the West. Iraqi scholars cannot read some of the greatest international law cases, because they cannot read French or English. Thus, there is a great gap between the sea of existing legal knowledge and the legal knowledge that Iraqis have access to.
Consequently, many Iraqis hope that Hussein’s trial will leave the same sort of legacy that past war crime trials such as Nuremberg have left. The hope, said Newton, is that the Arab world will now have its own great legal precedent.
“[Iraqis are] powerfully infused with a sense that they are a doorway to the wider world” said Newton.
Christian Eckart grad was hesitant to accept Iraq’s ability to successfully adapt international law.
“They’ve never adapted international law” said Eckart, “So can they do it? Can they ensure a fair trial, because that’s what international norms request?”
Joery Matthys, a visiting scholar, had his own reservations. Although Matthys recognized that the tribunal could not have been tried under the ICC, he said he wished it could have been.
“I was glad to hear that a lot of elements for ICC were incorporated, but it would have been more interesting for the ICC to try it,” said Matthys.
Archived article by Lauren HirschSun Staff Writer
March 3, 2006
The women’s gymnastics team has been riding a wave of success of late, with five consecutive meets of improving scores culminating last weekend when Cornell took home its first Ivy Classic victory in four years.
The Red looks to keep that winning feeling alive this Saturday as it plays host to Rutgers and Eastern Michigan, two squads who boast depth and talent at every event. While this meet will present a challenge for Cornell, head coach Paul Beckwith feels his team’s string of successes has helped develop a killer instinct.
“This team’s attitude has become, ‘Absolutely nothing can stop us,'” Beckwith said.
The women’s team did not start its season as dominant as it is now. In fact, its first few meets this year were as bad as any Beckwith had seen in his 12 years at Cornell. The team was plagued by illness and uncertainty over which gymnasts would step up as leaderS. Combined with a sprained ankle to freshman beam standout Stacy Ohara in the first meet of the year, it appeared as if the Red’s season could not start off any worse.
The season turned around with a victory over Brown, which gave the team confidence in its ability to compete. Like the U.S. after Pearl Harbor, it was as if a sleeping giant awoke and proceeded to exert its true power. The next few meets showed a team on the verge of putting it all together, which is exactly what happened last weekend with the Ivy Classic victory.
After the victory, the Red also learned that Ohara would return this weekend in an exhibition performance. An exhibition performance means that her scores will not count toward the team’s overall performance.
Beckwith hopes that by getting Ohara in the exhibition she will get the competitive practice she has missed while injured. If all goes well, she will be back in full action next weekend against Temple. Her return provides another reason for Cornell to be confident as its season winds down and the ECAC championships approach.
While it may be easy to look past this weekend’s meet because of the much anticipated season finale match with Penn in two weeks, followed the next week by the ECAC championships, Beckwith is confident his team will be able to focus on the task at hand.
“The team is all about performing in the moment,” Beckwith said. “My one thing is to always remind them to worry about ‘one trick at a time.'”
The Rutgers and Eastern Michigan teams will be tough for the Red. With freshman all-arounder Jennifer Yee uncertain for this weekend because of a sprained ankle of her own, Cornell will look to its tri-captains senior Cathy Schnell and junior Randi Bisbano and sophomore Colleen Davis to lead them to another strong performance.
These three captains are all coming off titles in their respective events last weekend and hope for even higher scores this weekend. Beckwith realizes how tough Rutgers and Eastern Michigan will be, but has confidence in his team’s ability to keep getting better as the season progresses.
“We’ll need to have a stellar meet in order to win,” Beckwith said. “But as a team, we haven’t maxed out yet.”
Archived article by Tim Perone Sun Staff Writer