The Differing Views of the "Rule of Law" in Spain & the U.S.

From Glenn Greenwald:

Spanish prosecutors decide to fulfill their legal obligations by commencing war crimes investigations of six key Bush officials.

Scott Horton reports this morning that, in Spain, "prosecutors have decided to press forward with a criminal investigation targeting former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and five top associates [John Yoo, Jay Bybee, David Addington, Doug Feith and William Haynes] over their role in the torture of five Spanish citizens held at Guantánamo." Spain not only has the right under the Geneva Conventions and the Convention Against Torture to prosecute foreign officials for torturing its citizens, but it -- like the U.S. -- has the affirmative obligation to do so. (Indeed, the Bush administration itself insisted just last year that the U.S. the right to criminally prosecute foreign officials for ordering acts of torture even in the absence of an accusation that any of the victims were American).

As Hilzoy argues, however, the primary obligation for these prosecutions lies with the country whose officials authorized the war crimes -- the United States:

It is a requirement of law, the law that the Constitution requires Obama, as President, to faithfully execute. He should not outsource his Constitutional obligations to Spain.

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