This is the category under which the US military unit has killed Osama bin Laden. Over the past days since his death (May 2, 2011), American media has obsessed over the terrorist’s death, overwhelming any meaningful challenge to the execution-style assault, or debate whether this actually brings any satisfactory conclusions for the surviving family and friends of 9/11’s and other victims of terrorism’s atrocities.
I fear that perhaps this is opening a Pandora’s box much wider than it has been in the past. Nothing covert about the operation. Nothing sovereign about the decision to send an offensive team of highly skilled killers into another country to execute a citizen of a third country. Here is how Wikipedia defines extrajudicial killing:
An extrajudicial killing is the killing of a person by governmental authorities without the sanction of any judicial proceeding or legal process. Extrajudicial punishments are by their nature unlawful, since they bypass the due process of the legal jurisdiction in which they occur. Extrajudicial killings often target leading political, trade union, dissident, religious, and social figures and may be carried out by the state government or other state authorities like the armed forces and police.
Perhaps I have missed something in the last 10 years, but I don’t remember bin Laden’s trial, legal defence or conviction in due court of law, whether in person or in absentia. All that we, the rest of the world have to go on, is bin Laden’s own video bravado and other communiqués, which seem as much a de-construction of democracy and western beliefs and practices, as they are claims of credit for himself or the terrorist people he claims/ed to lead, al-Qaida.
Is this the very public demise of sovereignty, of due justice, of democracy in the west? Have we become just like them?
- UN expert asks US to disclose Bin Laden raid facts (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Was The Killing Of Osama Bin Laden Legal? (dekerivers.wordpress.com)
- Killing unarmed Osama bin Laden ‘doesn’t serve justice’ – Rowan Williams (guardian.co.uk)
- bin Laden will never face trial (msnbc.msn.com)
- What if bin Laden had Stood Trial? (guardian.co.uk)
- Moore: bin Laden ‘suffered’ and execution (realclearpolitics.com)