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A History of Political Trials

From Charles I to Saddam Hussein

Series:

John Laughland

The modern use of international tribunals to try heads of state for genocide and crimes against humanity is often considered a positive development. Many people think that the establishment of special courts to prosecute notorious dictators represents a triumph of law over impunity. In A History of Political Trials, John Laughland takes a very different and controversial view. He shows that trials of heads of state are in fact not new, and that previous trials throughout history have themselves violated the law and due process.
It is the historical account which carries the argument. By examining trials of heads of state and government throughout history – figures as different as Charles I, Louis XVI, Erich Honecker, and Saddam Hussein – Laughland shows that modern trials of heads of state have ugly historical precedents. In their different ways, all the trials he describes were marked by arbitrariness and injustice, and many were gross exercises in hypocrisy. Political trials, he finds, are only the continuation of war by other means.
With short and easy chapters, but the fruit of formidable erudition and wide reading, this book will force the general reader to re-examine prevailing opinions of this subject.

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Index 295

Extract

Abetz, Otto 67, 71, 72, 75 absolute values, concept of 35 absolutism 28 accountability 255 and international tribunals 256 Action française 82 Agosti, Orlando 183, 184 Agrarian Party, Bulgaria 155 Akayesu, Jean-Paul 215, 216, 218 Albania 222, 223 Albrecht, Hans 196, 205 Albright, Madeleine 224, 225 Alexianu, Gheorghe 127 Alfonsín, President Raúl 181, 183–4 Alibert, Raphael 65, 68, 83 Allawi, Iyad 243 Allen, William 30, 31 Allende, Salvador 195 Allied Control Commission (WWII) 122, 144, 153 for Finland 157 Allied Council for Japan 172–3 Allies: WWI 52, 54, 55 post-WWI 57 WWII 83, 93, 109, 117–18, 119, 143, 154, 166, 202 and Nuremberg 75, 103, 104, 109 Potsdam agreement 130, 131, 165 and Soviets 111, 112, 114, 158 and Japan 165, 172 Alsace and Lorraine, German rule of WWII 66 American constitution 37 Amin, Rizgar 246–7 Amiri, Abdullah al- 247 Amnesty International 184, 199, 210 Anfal campaign, Iraq 247 anti-Semitism 92, 104, 105, 120, 121, 123, 124, 139, 141, 143, 148 anti-Semitic legislation 65, 66–7, 150, 155 Antonescu, Marshal Ion 119ff, 129, 136, 147, 158, 189, 193 appointment 119 arrest 120 charges against 123–4 trial 126–7120, 121, 122 Antonescu, Mihai 127 Arbour, Louise 14, 223, 224 Argentina 181–4 Aristotle 257 Arkan (Željko Ražnatović) 233 Armenian massacres of 1915 52–3 Arrow Cross, Hungary 143, 144, 145, 148, 150, 152 Arusha Accords 209 Asquith, Herbert 54 Atatürk, Kemal 53 Auschwitz 105, 209, 226 Australia 167, 173 Austria 186...

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