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Kofi Annan’s heated exchange with a Supreme Court justice

Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court frequently invite famous dignitaries to the Court to dine and chat. Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan was among those guests, and in his memoir he writes that conversation over “salads and sandwiches” got heated.

According to Foreign Policy blogger Colum Lynch, when the conversation turned to the International Criminal Court, established in 2002 for trials of those accused of large scale crimes like genocide and war crimes, one justice objected vociferously to the idea.

“I’ll be damned if I’m going to let my son be dragged before some foreign kangaroo court to face judgment,” Annan quotes the unnamed justice as saying. Lynch points out that Justice Antonin G. Scalia’s son Matthew is a U.S. Army captain who served in Iraq, perhaps a clue to the identity of the justice.

Annan wrote that he was taken aback, but tried to assure the justice that no frivolous prosecutions would take place. “He was unconvinced,” Annan wrote, according to Lynch.

2 comments

  1. I imply no general agreement or disagreement with Justice Scalia’s overall philosophy.

    In this case, I agree that we cannot have our citizens subjected to foreign courts.

    The American court system works, because it is established pursuant to the U.S. and State Constitutions, and enjoys the overall confidence of the American people; who are educated in the system and accept it (with minor glitches here and there).

    We seem unable to understand, however, that many foreign countries, which would be represented on an international court, do not believe in the separation of powers. Thus, our citizens could be convicted due to the whims of a foreign ruler who had political axes to grind.

    Remember the old phrase, “consent of the governed.” Isn’t that part of America? I don’t recall consenting to being judged by foreign socialists and religious radicals.

    Many U.N. bigwigs, like Kofi Annan, are what we used to call “united world federalists.” It’s hard to see a world federalism, when we can’t even agree on the basics of a just and civilized society. You may call this diversity – I call it anarchy.

    On a less scholarly note, if your relative is convicted in a foreign kangaroo court, and you cannot effectively appeal, I wonder how happy you would be. Thyis certainly won’t happen under President Romney.

    Atty. Mike Agranoff, Ellington, CT

    seem

  2. These courts are intended to be a protection for basic human rights — would you argue that the Nuremberg tribunals had no jurisdiction?

    When American soldiers commit war crimes and perform acts of terror on innocents, it’s just ‘collateral damage’ — it’s only terrorism and war crimes when someone else does it to us.

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