Is Alberto Gonzales qualified to be attorney general of the United States? By some measures, yes. The man who hopes to become the first Latino to occupy that office rose from humble origins to graduate from Harvard Law School and to serve as a justice of the Texas Supreme Court and as Texas secretary of state.
A half century after the Nuremberg trials, the United Nations set up war crimes tribunals, in 1993 for Yugoslavia and in 1994 for Rwanda. Five years ago diplomats agreed to create a permanent International Criminal Court, inaugurated this year, for war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity.
"Disgusting” and “absolutely unacceptable” were the terms used by General John Abizaid to describe Iraqi and al-Jazeera television broadcasts showing dazed and wounded American prisoners of war and corpses of American soldiers.
This has been a good century for tyrants. Stalin killed millions but was never even charged with a crime. Pol Pot slaughtered well over 1 million but never saw the inside of a prison cell. Idi Amin and Raoul Cedras are comfortably retired. Despite recent legal complications, Chile's General Augusto Pinochet, too, will probably escape trial.
December 10 marked the 50th anniversary of the United Nation's adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I believe that the continuing impact of this historic document is changing the world for the better, even though doubters can point to considerable contrary evidence.
Nearly all of Guatemala’s political murders, massacres and disappearances have been double violations of human rights: first the act of violence, then the impunity for the murderers. And it appears that the April 26 assassination of Auxiliary Bishop Juan José Gerardi Conedera will be no exception.
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