Another epistolary contribution, this time in the Washington Post in reaction to an article in last week’s paper by Craig Whitlock on “Extradition of Terror Suspects Flounders” – I see they ran it after another letter by someone from Human Rights Watch so maybe I should’ve used my title. My original was a bit longer, but didn’t really say much more and editing probably did it some favours.
How to End an Extraditions Roadblock
Sunday, December 28, 2008; Page B06
The excellent article on extraditions highlighted an issue that quietly dogs the “special” Anglo-American relationship. But it missed a more atmospheric reason behind U.S. difficulties regarding extraditions.
In launching the “global war on terror,” the United States declared that the gloves were off and that the rules of the game were different. Yet it continued to expect its allies to adhere to the rules that applied before this new situation was declared. We may all agree that the current strain of terrorism poses a dangerous threat, but this disconnect provides lawyers with ample room for arguments that many European courts will permit.
This situation will fade in importance if the incoming Obama administration is able to live up to its many promises, including closing the Guantanamo Bay prison and realizing that the war on terrorism is a global criminal justice matter and one of many threats we face today, rather than the defining strategic threat.