Law.com Blog Network

About The Bloggers

Blogroll

Law School Plans to Prosecute Bush

The Massachusetts School of Law at Andover will convene a conference in September to lay plans to prosecute President Bush and other high administration officials for war crimes. "This is not intended to be a mere discussion of violations of law that have occurred," says MSL's dean Lawrence Velvel in a statement announcing the conference. "It is, rather, intended to be a planning  conference at which plans will be laid and necessary organizational structures set up, to pursue the guilty as long as necessary and, if need be, to the ends of the Earth."

The ends of the earth, in this case, may be Crawford, Texas, where President Bush is likely to be found after his term is up at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The Wild West locale could be the perfect place for such a trial, given the punishment Velvel proposes for anyone who is convicted. "We must insist on appropriate punishments," Velvel said, "including, if guilt is found, the hangings visited upon top German and Japanese war-criminals in the 1940s." Sending administration officials to the gallows, he added, "would be a powerful lesson to future American leaders."

Hangings could be a tough sell, even for a law school dean. Velvel acknowledges as much, noting that past practice has been to allow former presidents and cabinet members to retire to lives of relative peace and prosperity. Not this time, he hopes. In addition to President Bush, others Velvel wants to put on trial include Vice President Richard Cheney, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and former Justice Department lawyer John Yoo. He leaves the final list of war-crimes defendants to be determined at the Sept. 13 and 14 conference, but suggests it could also include federal judges and members of Congress. Other items on the conference agenda: what crimes were committed, where might they be prosecuted, and who will coordinate all this.

Apart from the national and international political implications of all this, there could be local hurdles to overcome. Three citizens of Andover -- the town where MSL is situated -- were among those hanged for witchcraft as part of the 17th century Salem witch trials. These days, however, the town is a chichi Boston bedroom community known as home to equally chichi Phillips Academy. No doubt, any proposal to erect a gallows on the MSL campus might not make it past the local planning board.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on June 16, 2008 at 01:55 PM | Permalink | Comments (40)

Comments

 
 
 
About ALM  |  About Law.com  |  Customer Support  |  Privacy Policy  |  Terms & Conditions