A history of political trials: from Charles I to Saddam Hussein

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Peter Lang, Jul 1, 2008 - History - 315 pages
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ldquo;This is a formidable and well-documented counterblast to a developing modern orthodoxy, expressing a point of view that many readers will not even have suspected existed, let alone read.rdquo; - Anthony Daniels, Spectator ldquo;A useful and controversial contribution to the debate about victor's justice, and a valuable warning that international war crimes tribunals need to operate with precision and care.rdquo; - Jonathan Steele, Guardian The rapid development of the use of international courts and tribunals to try heads of state for genocide and other crimes against humanity has been welcomed by most people, because they think that the establishment of international tribunals and courts to try notorious dictators represents a triumph of law over impunity. In A History of Political Trials , John Laughland takes a very different and controversial view, namely that political trials are inherently against the rule of law and almost always involve the abuse of process, as well as being seriously hypocritical. By means of detailed consideration of the trials of figures as disparate as Charles I, Louis XVI, Erich Honecker and Saddam Hussein, Laughland shows that the guilt of the accused has always been assumed in advance, that the judges are never impartial, that the process is always unfair and biased in favor of the prosecution, that the defense is not permitted to use all the arguments at its disposal, and that often the accusers have done exactly what they accuse the defence of having done. All the trials he recounts were marked by arbitrariness and injustice, often gross injustice. Although the chapters are short and easy to read, they are the fruit of formidable erudition and wide reading. nbsp; The general reader will be forced by this book to re-examine the ideas on this subject, and will be much less sanguine about the possibility of bringing dictators and other leaders to genuine justice. John Laughland lives in Bath and is an author, journalist, and has been a university lecturer in France. He has published The Tainted Source: The Undemocratic Origins of the European Idea (Time Warner Paperbacks) and has written for the Spectator, he Economist , and The New York Times . Table of Contents Introduction The Trial of Charles I and the Last Judgement The Trial of Louis XVI and the Terror War Guilt after World War I Defeat in the Dock: the Riom Trial Justice as Purge: Marshal Peacute;tain faces his Accusers Treachery on Trial: the Case of Vidkun Quisling Nuremberg : Making War Illegal Creating Legitimacy: the Trial of Marshal Antonescu Ethnic Cleansing and National Cleansing in Czechoslovakia, 1945ndash;1947 Peoplersquo;s Justice in Liberated Hungary From Mass Execution to Amnesty and Pardon: Postwar Trials in Bulgaria, Finland, and Greece Politics as Conspiracy: the Tokyo Trials The Greek Colonels, the Emperor Bokassa, and the Argentine Generals: Transitional Justice, 1975ndash;2007 Revolution Returns: the Trial of Nicolae Ceausescu A State on Trial: Erich Honecker in Moabit Jean Kambanda, Convicted without Trial Kosovo and the New World Order: the Trial of Slobodan Miloscaron;evic Regime Change and the Trial of Saddam Hussein Conclusion Notes Bibliography and Further Reading Index.

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Contents

Acknowledgements
11
The Trial of Louis XVI and the Terror
35
War Guilt after World War I
51
Copyright

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About the author (2008)

John Laughland is an author, journalist and university lecturer. His three books to date are: 'The Death of Politics: France under Mitterrand' (Michael Joseph, 1994); 'The Tainted Source: the Undemocratic Origins of the European Idea' (Little Brown, 1997); and 'Le tribunal pA(c)nal international: gardien du nouvel ordre mondial' (F.-X. de Guibert, Paris, 2003).