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Re: citizenship and crime
Posted By: julian, on host
Date: Wednesday, September 26, 2001, at 00:51:09
In Reply To: Re: citizenship and crime posted by Brunnen-G on Tuesday, September 25, 2001, at 19:49:40:

> > > I think that is the greatest problem with terrorists with "international scope" (see other posts): Who should punish them? Personally, I think that they should be punished by the laws of the country which has been harmed by their activity, but this goes against the sanctity of citizenship.
> >
> > What the hell are you talking about?
> >
> > Someone commits a crime in a nation, that nation extradites the criminal. What "sanctity of citizenship" are you talking about?
> I'm confused by the "sanctity of citizenship" thing too. Huh? If individuals or private groups do something illegal in a country, they are punished under the laws of that country. (Of course, if their actions are sponsored by a foreign government, it's an act of war.)
> It doesn't matter which country you're a citizen of. This is the sort of argument that gets put up all the time in heartrending and utterly moronic news stories about tourists who take hard drugs into Singapore in their cabin baggage and get sentenced to death or corporal punishment. Those are the laws of that country, everybody knows it, and our government rightly says "tough luck" to those of our citizens who belatedly realise the Singaporeans really meant it.

I agree.

However, that doesn't make it any less of a problem. Just like the death penalty. As long as there are (significant amounts of) people for and against, it'll be a problem.

Also, it's easy when it comes to something which is illegal in both countries like smuggling drugs, but what about something which is considered illegal in one country, but a right in the other? For instance, the very core of what defines "citizen in a democratic country" is illegal in many other countries. (No, I don't expect any western tourists to be foolish enough to try to start a democratic opposition in China, but you get the point).

I read that the taliban originate from/are a bedouin culture, which means that they are brought up with a rather stronger sense of hospitality then you and I. It means that a guest practically becomes a member of your family, and that you thus must defend him against attacks. This might explain (not excuse) why Afghanistan was/is reluctant to hand over bin Laden, and to a point, you have to be tolerant towards this.
Now, the point I'm trying to make here, is that any international court which is to prosecute terrorists must bridge this type of cultural differences in order to have authority. To a lesser degree, so must any national court which is to prosecute foreign nationals.