Sunday, 23 August 2009

"A Mockery of the Rule of Law"?

The decision by Scottish authorities to release Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi on compassionate grounds was bound to cause some distress but surely no one expected an anger-fuelled letter by the head of the FBI.

The empty words from Obama last week about the decision being a "mistake" were perhaps to be expected considering the American victims but for FBI chief Robert Mueller to completely attack the Scottish judicial system is unacceptable.

You may be wondering why I am so bothered about what Mueller has to say; after all he has no power over the decision. Well this is exactly the point! The FBI has no involvement with the Scottish judicial system and has no right to stick their nose in. In fact Mueller himself concedes that it is unbecoming to comment on the actions of other prosecutors.

As a law student I know the vital importance of the rule of law to any democratic country so for this Yank to come along and accuse Scotland of "making a mockery" of the rule of law is frankly insulting. Alex Salmond has certainly done the right thing by backing the decision in the face of criticism. The decision by the Scottish officials is in keeping with their legal rules and arguably more in line with the rule of law than America which has no system of compassionate release.

But this blog isn't seeking to debate the issue of compassionate release. Rather I seek to expose a problem that has plagued American foreign policy as far back as the 1950s. Washington seems to consistently involve itself in other countries affairs. This is prominently seen in South/Central America. Even the most liberal Americans such as libertarian Yaron Brook can't help sticking their nose in where it's not wanted. Many hoped for a change to this when Barack Obama became president and welcomed his reaction to the political crisis in Honduras but this incident shows that maybe the problem is abit more deep-seated than anticipated.