Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Everyone has a right to a fair trial, even a war criminal

After hearing so many stories of pain and anguish from civilians [in Sierra Leone], I didn't understand how people—my friends—could defend the perpetrators. "Look, this whole international criminal tribunal thing would be a circus if there wasn't a good defense," my American friend Scott said. . . .

"Everyone—even a war criminal, Jess—has a right to a fair trial. The prosecution would have a field day with these guys if we didn't hold them to some standard. They might very well have been war criminals, but it was for particular acts at particular times. They didn't do everything in all places at all times, which is what the prosecution is throwing at them."
Jessica Alexander, Chasing Chaos: My Decade in and out of Humanitarian Aid (New York: Broadway Books, 2013), pp. 279-80.

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