"Formal Cooperation in Evil"

The quote of course is from Cardinal Ratzinger.

The stakes for the Bali 9 have just been raised – Indonesian police intend to press for the death penalty in all cases. This really raises legitimate questions about the continued co-operation of the AFP with the Indonesian authorities.

Former Labor Justice Minister and current backbench MP, Duncan Kerr made some good points on Lateline last night:

I’m not going to make a criticism of the way the Federal Police have handled this, because they obviously need to have effective working relationships with the Indonesian authorities. What I am critical of is what seems to me to be a falling away of our commitment to treating seriously Australia’s opposition to the death penalty. And we have to balance our very real security and law enforcement concerns and the way we deal with Indonesia and all other countries with a real commitment to the national policy that’s implemented in our legislation, both with respect to extradition and mutual assistance.

So, what troubles me is that in all of the discussion, the consequences don’t seem to be fully put on the table. We aren’t putting into our law enforcement discussion the consideration that we have to take into account the fact that the death penalty may well be the ultimate outcome of particular operations, and it may be that there are more effective ways consistent with law enforcement co-operation with other countries that avoids that outcome. In order to avoid the outcome, the Federal Police should have behaved differently in the case? What troubles me is it seems to me we are walking away from the fundamental commitment that the Australian Government has operated on for several decades, which means that, for example, if a country requests our assistance with extradition, extradition is refused unless either the death penalty does not exist or, if it does exist, we get an undertaking it will not be implemented.

Given that Australia’s policy of opposition to the death penalty is embodied in legislation, we need to hear some convincing answers from the Government and the AFP.

It’ll also be interesting to see whether proponents of the “Culture of Life” take up this cause, and emulate Cardinal Pell in his concern.

Elsewhere: Discussion of the death penalty here at LP, at Rob’s place, Catallaxy, wsacaucus.org and Sailing Close to the Wind. Andrew Bartlett has a powerful post on the death penalty.

More discussion of the Schapelle Corby case at Troppo. And Currency raises some questions as well.


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92 responses to “"Formal Cooperation in Evil"”

  1. wbb

    Ooh, but brother Mark. These be Drug Dealers. These be of the Damned.

    How say ye that they are not complete abominations? They must be truly punished. In this life. And the next.

    BrOtHeR MaRrK! Return to us.

  2. wbb

    Ooh, but brother Mark. These be Drug Dealers. These be of the Damned.

    How say ye that they are not complete abominations? They must be truly punished. In this life. And the next.

    BrOtHeR MaRrK! Return to us.

  3. Kim

    In the state that brought you the Terri Schiavo case, the “culture of death” just notched up another victory. Florida law has just been changed so that if you think someone intends seriously to injure you – anywhere (at work, on the street, at the beach) – you can shoot them dead. Brought to you courtesy of the Bush dynasty and the NRA. How could anyone trust someone called Wayne LaPierre (the NRA spokesthing) btw? I’m an American citizen and I can’t see it!

  4. Kim

    In the state that brought you the Terri Schiavo case, the “culture of death” just notched up another victory. Florida law has just been changed so that if you think someone intends seriously to injure you – anywhere (at work, on the street, at the beach) – you can shoot them dead. Brought to you courtesy of the Bush dynasty and the NRA. How could anyone trust someone called Wayne LaPierre (the NRA spokesthing) btw? I’m an American citizen and I can’t see it!

  5. Kim

    We’ll be watching Schapelle the mini-series in a few years, the way things are going, but I think that the Bali 9 are destined for a different end. What’s with the government? More dogwhistling?

  6. Kim

    We’ll be watching Schapelle the mini-series in a few years, the way things are going, but I think that the Bali 9 are destined for a different end. What’s with the government? More dogwhistling?

  7. Robert

    A couple of points about the legislation.

    First, it only applies to requests for extradition, not police providing information leading to arrests in death penalty countries.

    Second, it only requires that a commitment not to execute the person is communicated. The Australian Government is not required to assess the risk that the commitment will be broken.

    Third, the Minister has an overriding discretion to extradite, even if the death penalty is not ruled out — in fact, even if the death penalty is explicitly ruled in.

  8. Robert

    A couple of points about the legislation.

    First, it only applies to requests for extradition, not police providing information leading to arrests in death penalty countries.

    Second, it only requires that a commitment not to execute the person is communicated. The Australian Government is not required to assess the risk that the commitment will be broken.

    Third, the Minister has an overriding discretion to extradite, even if the death penalty is not ruled out — in fact, even if the death penalty is explicitly ruled in.

  9. Mark

    Thanks, Rob. In that case, I think the legislation should be strengthened at least in the second and third cases.

  10. Mark

    Thanks, Rob. In that case, I think the legislation should be strengthened at least in the second and third cases.

  11. Nic White

    Here we go again…

  12. Nic White

    Here we go again…

  13. Mark

    It’s important to go again if you regard the death penalty as abhorrent, Nic.

  14. Mark

    It’s important to go again if you regard the death penalty as abhorrent, Nic.

  15. Nic White

    I more meant Im going to inevitebly defending other nations right to their own laws, again.

  16. Nic White

    I more meant Im going to inevitebly defending other nations right to their own laws, again.

  17. Michael Carden

    How to have a death penalty without having a death penalty.

  18. Michael Carden

    How to have a death penalty without having a death penalty.

  19. Mindy

    I think I’m going to agree with Nic on this one. The Bali 9 know that the penalty for drug running in Indonesia is death. They decided to take a chance and got caught. You can’t then turn around and say ‘I’m Australian, you can’t execute me’. Tell that to Barlow and Chambers. I don’t think they should be put to death. That sort of punishment is a bit too final and you can’t say, oops we were wrong. But we can’t tell Indonesia what to do.

  20. Mindy

    I think I’m going to agree with Nic on this one. The Bali 9 know that the penalty for drug running in Indonesia is death. They decided to take a chance and got caught. You can’t then turn around and say ‘I’m Australian, you can’t execute me’. Tell that to Barlow and Chambers. I don’t think they should be put to death. That sort of punishment is a bit too final and you can’t say, oops we were wrong. But we can’t tell Indonesia what to do.

  21. Fyodor

    What Mindy said, except we CAN tell Indonesia what to do. They don’t have to listen, but we can whinge about it. Obviously there’s not nearly enough whinging going on for some people.

  22. Fyodor

    What Mindy said, except we CAN tell Indonesia what to do. They don’t have to listen, but we can whinge about it. Obviously there’s not nearly enough whinging going on for some people.

  23. James Farrell

    Nic

    No, here we don’t go again. Mark’s post is about whether our government should extradite people or assist in police investigations where these actions might result in an execution. It’s not about whether we should intervene in their prosecutions (although you were wrong about that, too). Or do you actually want to argue that the government should extradite adulterers to Nigeria for stoning, or that the Federal Police should furnish the Nigerian police with evidence they need to secure their convictions.

  24. James Farrell

    Nic

    No, here we don’t go again. Mark’s post is about whether our government should extradite people or assist in police investigations where these actions might result in an execution. It’s not about whether we should intervene in their prosecutions (although you were wrong about that, too). Or do you actually want to argue that the government should extradite adulterers to Nigeria for stoning, or that the Federal Police should furnish the Nigerian police with evidence they need to secure their convictions.

  25. Mindy

    So what should the police do then? Should drug smugglers be allowed to make it back to Australia so they only get a slap on the wrist? I agree the death penalty is wrong, but these people are committing a crime in another country.

    But lets do the allowing them back to Oz thing. Okay, so they are on the plane, plane lands, arrest them as they get off the plane – what where are the drugs? Do you mean they gave them to someone else on the plane? where the hell are they, someone get the dogs before all these people get through customs etc etc. Much simpler to arrest them all before they get on the plane. If possible get others involved in the drug ring before they melt back into the background. If others involved are Indonesian you can bet that they will be executed, but I’d be surprised if it ever made it to Aussie media. Both Indonesia and Australia want to stop the drug trade, as far as is possible. These idiots got caught and they will probably be made an example of. Hopefully by having long jail sentences imposed rather than by firing squad. But you are not going to deter people from drug smuggling if they know the worst that will happen is a few years in a low security Aussie prison.

    I think the Nigerian comparison is a bit of a long bow to pull. Drugs are illegal in Australia and Indonesia, thus both police forces work towards stopping the trade. Legally, you can adulterate all you like.

  26. Mindy

    So what should the police do then? Should drug smugglers be allowed to make it back to Australia so they only get a slap on the wrist? I agree the death penalty is wrong, but these people are committing a crime in another country.

    But lets do the allowing them back to Oz thing. Okay, so they are on the plane, plane lands, arrest them as they get off the plane – what where are the drugs? Do you mean they gave them to someone else on the plane? where the hell are they, someone get the dogs before all these people get through customs etc etc. Much simpler to arrest them all before they get on the plane. If possible get others involved in the drug ring before they melt back into the background. If others involved are Indonesian you can bet that they will be executed, but I’d be surprised if it ever made it to Aussie media. Both Indonesia and Australia want to stop the drug trade, as far as is possible. These idiots got caught and they will probably be made an example of. Hopefully by having long jail sentences imposed rather than by firing squad. But you are not going to deter people from drug smuggling if they know the worst that will happen is a few years in a low security Aussie prison.

    I think the Nigerian comparison is a bit of a long bow to pull. Drugs are illegal in Australia and Indonesia, thus both police forces work towards stopping the trade. Legally, you can adulterate all you like.

  27. James Farrell

    Mindy

    It’s not just a matter of whether the crime in question is a crime here too. It’s the discrepancy between the penalties, and in particular the recognition that the death penalty is truly barbaric for a crime like this. I agree that these considerations need to be balanced against the need for law enforcement at home too, but in this case unlike you I’m confident the trafficers could have been caught at our end. In any case the government should announce its policy on this issue in the clearest terms, to allow debate and ensure that the policy has wide support.

  28. James Farrell

    Mindy

    It’s not just a matter of whether the crime in question is a crime here too. It’s the discrepancy between the penalties, and in particular the recognition that the death penalty is truly barbaric for a crime like this. I agree that these considerations need to be balanced against the need for law enforcement at home too, but in this case unlike you I’m confident the trafficers could have been caught at our end. In any case the government should announce its policy on this issue in the clearest terms, to allow debate and ensure that the policy has wide support.

  29. david tiley

    Presumably one way forward is to develop the arrangements about repatriation to serve a sentence. Then it is in the interests of the Indonesians to not press for the death penalty, although this is surely a case in which you would want executions if you see that as the solution.

    I am sure the Indonesians are aware that we expressed our unhappiness with the treatment of Bashir, and – if I remember rightly – John Howard did not express his displeasure at the possibility of a death sentence for him. They will notice our inconsistency, which looks terribly like “Punish the Black people who killed White people, but go easy on the White people who committed crimes in the Black people’s country.”

    The dots are not terribly hard to connect.

  30. david tiley

    Presumably one way forward is to develop the arrangements about repatriation to serve a sentence. Then it is in the interests of the Indonesians to not press for the death penalty, although this is surely a case in which you would want executions if you see that as the solution.

    I am sure the Indonesians are aware that we expressed our unhappiness with the treatment of Bashir, and – if I remember rightly – John Howard did not express his displeasure at the possibility of a death sentence for him. They will notice our inconsistency, which looks terribly like “Punish the Black people who killed White people, but go easy on the White people who committed crimes in the Black people’s country.”

    The dots are not terribly hard to connect.

  31. Robert Merkel

    Mindy, do you really think “a few years in a low-security jail” is a “slap on the wrist?” It’s a severe punishment for a serious crime.

    Even ignoring the conditions in the jail itself, how would you like to only see your family once a week, at best, for years? How many friends would keep in contact? Now, it doesn’t appear that any of the “Bali nine” have children, but how cruel would it be to miss out on “a few years” of your child growing up?

  32. Robert Merkel

    Mindy, do you really think “a few years in a low-security jail” is a “slap on the wrist?” It’s a severe punishment for a serious crime.

    Even ignoring the conditions in the jail itself, how would you like to only see your family once a week, at best, for years? How many friends would keep in contact? Now, it doesn’t appear that any of the “Bali nine” have children, but how cruel would it be to miss out on “a few years” of your child growing up?

  33. Fyodor

    It’s a slap on the wrist compared to execution.

    Whose fault is it if a convicted criminal misses his child growing up?

  34. Fyodor

    It’s a slap on the wrist compared to execution.

    Whose fault is it if a convicted criminal misses his child growing up?

  35. Nic White

    “Or do you actually want to argue that the government should extradite adulterers to Nigeria for stoning, or that the Federal Police should furnish the Nigerian police with evidence they need to secure their convictions.”

    Damn right I do. But yes, thats a longbow.

  36. Nic White

    “Or do you actually want to argue that the government should extradite adulterers to Nigeria for stoning, or that the Federal Police should furnish the Nigerian police with evidence they need to secure their convictions.”

    Damn right I do. But yes, thats a longbow.

  37. Robert

    Seriously? You think people should be stoned to death for adultery?

    Wow.

  38. Robert

    Seriously? You think people should be stoned to death for adultery?

    Wow.

  39. Nic White

    No I dont, Rob. But my opinion is irrelevant – a point I have been trying to make the whole time.

  40. Nic White

    No I dont, Rob. But my opinion is irrelevant – a point I have been trying to make the whole time.

  41. Mark

    Nic, is the upshot of your position that sovereign states can do whatever they like regardless of human rights and Australia should never say anything?

  42. Mark

    Nic, is the upshot of your position that sovereign states can do whatever they like regardless of human rights and Australia should never say anything?

  43. Nic White

    Define “human rights”. Who decides? Except for obvious things like genocide, etc you are correct in saying that is essentially my position. Unless there is some sort of code drawn up by a body like the UN and agreed on by everyone which says “you cant do this, and countries are allowed to override your system in these cases”.

  44. Nic White

    Define “human rights”. Who decides? Except for obvious things like genocide, etc you are correct in saying that is essentially my position. Unless there is some sort of code drawn up by a body like the UN and agreed on by everyone which says “you cant do this, and countries are allowed to override your system in these cases”.

  45. Mark

    There are indeed UN codes relating to Human Rights and have been since 1948.

    I fail to see how you can distinguish between genocide (killing or attempting to kill a whole people) and capital punishment (killing an individual). The motivation might be different, but the result is the same. People die.

    What basis, then, Nic does Australia have for embodying human rights in our domestic law? Or should we just toss that out the window too?

    If you support a rights-based regime domestically, I can’t see how you can deny it to people in other countries in favour of the rights of sovereign states.

  46. Mark

    There are indeed UN codes relating to Human Rights and have been since 1948.

    I fail to see how you can distinguish between genocide (killing or attempting to kill a whole people) and capital punishment (killing an individual). The motivation might be different, but the result is the same. People die.

    What basis, then, Nic does Australia have for embodying human rights in our domestic law? Or should we just toss that out the window too?

    If you support a rights-based regime domestically, I can’t see how you can deny it to people in other countries in favour of the rights of sovereign states.

  47. Nic White

    “There are indeed UN codes relating to Human Rights and have been since 1948.”

    Im fairly certain they dont include capital punishment or mandate that nations should interfere with each other’s sytems.

    “I fail to see how you can distinguish between genocide (killing or attempting to kill a whole people) and capital punishment (killing an individual). The motivation might be different, but the result is the same. People die.”

    Its not that simple. Motivation is important, as is circumstance. I dont take an absolutist “killing is wrong” stance – in fact I take very few absolutist stances – people subjected to capital punishment are being punished for a crime and are being used as a deterrant to others; those killed in genocide are killed for reasons of for which they have done nothing to deserve – race, religion, whatever – and it is a targeted mass extermination of said group. There is a very clear difference. It can be morally argued that capital punishment is acceptable, but it is impossible to argue for genocide. Motivation is crucial to deciding whether something is acceptable or not.

    “What basis, then, Nic does Australia have for embodying human rights in our domestic law? Or should we just toss that out the window too?”

    Because we decide to. Other countries might not and thats their perrogitive.

    “If you support a rights-based regime domestically, I can?Äôt see how you can deny it to people in other countries in favour of the rights of sovereign states.”

    Im not really “denying” it to them, Im just saying it is their government’s decision as to what the laws of their country are and only they have the power to legislate them without another country pushing them around or demanding their citizens be given special treatment. By all means, individuals can bitch as much as they want about how bad it is that said country has capital punishment, but it is ultimately the responsibility of those in the affected country to get the law changed. Thats not to say they cant have outside help, but not in the form of government to government pressure.

  48. Nic White

    “There are indeed UN codes relating to Human Rights and have been since 1948.”

    Im fairly certain they dont include capital punishment or mandate that nations should interfere with each other’s sytems.

    “I fail to see how you can distinguish between genocide (killing or attempting to kill a whole people) and capital punishment (killing an individual). The motivation might be different, but the result is the same. People die.”

    Its not that simple. Motivation is important, as is circumstance. I dont take an absolutist “killing is wrong” stance – in fact I take very few absolutist stances – people subjected to capital punishment are being punished for a crime and are being used as a deterrant to others; those killed in genocide are killed for reasons of for which they have done nothing to deserve – race, religion, whatever – and it is a targeted mass extermination of said group. There is a very clear difference. It can be morally argued that capital punishment is acceptable, but it is impossible to argue for genocide. Motivation is crucial to deciding whether something is acceptable or not.

    “What basis, then, Nic does Australia have for embodying human rights in our domestic law? Or should we just toss that out the window too?”

    Because we decide to. Other countries might not and thats their perrogitive.

    “If you support a rights-based regime domestically, I can?Äôt see how you can deny it to people in other countries in favour of the rights of sovereign states.”

    Im not really “denying” it to them, Im just saying it is their government’s decision as to what the laws of their country are and only they have the power to legislate them without another country pushing them around or demanding their citizens be given special treatment. By all means, individuals can bitch as much as they want about how bad it is that said country has capital punishment, but it is ultimately the responsibility of those in the affected country to get the law changed. Thats not to say they cant have outside help, but not in the form of government to government pressure.

  49. Michael Carden

    I am totally opposed to the death penalty, wherever and whoever. I also think the war on drugs that generates such cruel punishemnts is a waste of time and resources and generally only impacts on the small fry, doing more harm than good. Like that so-called war on terrorism it’s about time it was declared that war is always a stupid folly and the last sort of strategy for dealing with drugs, let alone “terrorism”

    Until the Corby case I didn’t know that Indonesia had the death penalty for drug smuggling. Not only do they have it, but they have used it, generally on Indonesians. THat is an apppalling fact and should be condemned. Australia’s response top the lack of a death penalty on Bashir, I thought outrageous at the time and no dount will come back to haunt us now. I fear. The Howard gov’t has never been strong on human rights, it would be hypocritical if it was, of course. But I suspect that if Australia hadn’t ablished the death penalty, the Howard gov’t would be the last to do so if the opportunity presneted itself.

    As for laws here and elsewhere and respecting laws in other lands, I have had the experience for the greate part of my life knowing that every time I had sex I was committing a criminal act. It wasn’t until gay law reform in Qld back in Nov 1990 that I could say “free at last free at last” BUt there are many countries where people live under laws similar to what I lived under or even worse. I would expect australia to stand up for human rights and lobby against such laws, regardless of where they were – Brazil does nowadays for heavens sake.

    Australia should work vigorously to end the death penalty in the region and should adopt policies and procedures that are consistent with our human rights, anti-death penalty stance.

  50. Michael Carden

    I am totally opposed to the death penalty, wherever and whoever. I also think the war on drugs that generates such cruel punishemnts is a waste of time and resources and generally only impacts on the small fry, doing more harm than good. Like that so-called war on terrorism it’s about time it was declared that war is always a stupid folly and the last sort of strategy for dealing with drugs, let alone “terrorism”

    Until the Corby case I didn’t know that Indonesia had the death penalty for drug smuggling. Not only do they have it, but they have used it, generally on Indonesians. THat is an apppalling fact and should be condemned. Australia’s response top the lack of a death penalty on Bashir, I thought outrageous at the time and no dount will come back to haunt us now. I fear. The Howard gov’t has never been strong on human rights, it would be hypocritical if it was, of course. But I suspect that if Australia hadn’t ablished the death penalty, the Howard gov’t would be the last to do so if the opportunity presneted itself.

    As for laws here and elsewhere and respecting laws in other lands, I have had the experience for the greate part of my life knowing that every time I had sex I was committing a criminal act. It wasn’t until gay law reform in Qld back in Nov 1990 that I could say “free at last free at last” BUt there are many countries where people live under laws similar to what I lived under or even worse. I would expect australia to stand up for human rights and lobby against such laws, regardless of where they were – Brazil does nowadays for heavens sake.

    Australia should work vigorously to end the death penalty in the region and should adopt policies and procedures that are consistent with our human rights, anti-death penalty stance.

  51. Nic White

    Michael,

    You are making gigantic and unfounded generalisations against the Howard government that have no propper justification. Honestly, you are assigning attitudes to them and making assumptions based on them and neither are even slightly correct. Also, as I have said before, Bashir was convicted of conspiricy and given a sentance that was fair for that crime. That crime did not demand death, under their laws this one does. Its very, very simple. In both cases we have no right to act.

    As I said, by all means oppose capital punishment, that is your right, but dont demand the government pressure another government to reflect their own ideology in their laws.

  52. Nic White

    Michael,

    You are making gigantic and unfounded generalisations against the Howard government that have no propper justification. Honestly, you are assigning attitudes to them and making assumptions based on them and neither are even slightly correct. Also, as I have said before, Bashir was convicted of conspiricy and given a sentance that was fair for that crime. That crime did not demand death, under their laws this one does. Its very, very simple. In both cases we have no right to act.

    As I said, by all means oppose capital punishment, that is your right, but dont demand the government pressure another government to reflect their own ideology in their laws.

  53. Mark

    Downer’s saying on Lateline that it’s normal practice for the Australian government to intervene where consular officials believe that the trial process has been unjust. At the same time it’s being reported that the judges in the Corby matter chatted among themselves during her statement and one was shown on tv reading a book while she spoke. Downer also said that the Australian government would always intervene when an Australian had been sentenced to death seeking clemency.

    I fail to understand why anyone finds this objectionable.

  54. Mark

    Downer’s saying on Lateline that it’s normal practice for the Australian government to intervene where consular officials believe that the trial process has been unjust. At the same time it’s being reported that the judges in the Corby matter chatted among themselves during her statement and one was shown on tv reading a book while she spoke. Downer also said that the Australian government would always intervene when an Australian had been sentenced to death seeking clemency.

    I fail to understand why anyone finds this objectionable.

  55. James Farrell

    Mark

    It’s your blog, and if you want to indulge Nic’s desire for a rematch on the question of active intervention in other countries’ criminal justice processes, I suppose you’re entitled to do so. But don’t forget, as I reminded him, that your post was actually about police cooperation and extradition, which raise distinct issues.

  56. James Farrell

    Mark

    It’s your blog, and if you want to indulge Nic’s desire for a rematch on the question of active intervention in other countries’ criminal justice processes, I suppose you’re entitled to do so. But don’t forget, as I reminded him, that your post was actually about police cooperation and extradition, which raise distinct issues.

  57. Nic White

    James, there isnt much difference between the two questions IMO, I argue the same line for exactly the same reason and can therefore argue them both at the same time with similar points.

    Mark I find it objectionable because it is interference in the judicial system of another nation for no reason other than ideology!

  58. Nic White

    James, there isnt much difference between the two questions IMO, I argue the same line for exactly the same reason and can therefore argue them both at the same time with similar points.

    Mark I find it objectionable because it is interference in the judicial system of another nation for no reason other than ideology!

  59. Mark

    James, part of the problem is that Nic’s not clear about what he understands by active intervention, as I read him. Hence why I asked whether the sort of thing Downer is talking about is to be opposed as “interference in the judicial system of another nation”.

    I would prefer to talk about the other issues, and I don’t agree that they isn’t much difference between them.

  60. Mark

    James, part of the problem is that Nic’s not clear about what he understands by active intervention, as I read him. Hence why I asked whether the sort of thing Downer is talking about is to be opposed as “interference in the judicial system of another nation”.

    I would prefer to talk about the other issues, and I don’t agree that they isn’t much difference between them.

  61. Nic White

    OK Mark. If the government believes, with good reason, that the trial has been conducted in an unsatisfactory fashion (not because of a difference in cultures and their judicial proceedings) then that is good enough grounds to intervene into the process in order to correct this.

    The bit I largely disagree with is the last sentance “Downer also said that the Australian government would always intervene when an Australian had been sentenced to death seeking clemency.” Sorry for not being clear enough.

  62. Nic White

    OK Mark. If the government believes, with good reason, that the trial has been conducted in an unsatisfactory fashion (not because of a difference in cultures and their judicial proceedings) then that is good enough grounds to intervene into the process in order to correct this.

    The bit I largely disagree with is the last sentance “Downer also said that the Australian government would always intervene when an Australian had been sentenced to death seeking clemency.” Sorry for not being clear enough.

  63. Mark

    Thanks for the clarification, Nic.

  64. Mark

    Thanks for the clarification, Nic.

  65. wbb

    Seeking clemency is not intervening in another country’s legal system, Nic. In your haste to see evil-doers suffer the full consequences, in your Talibanesque zeal for retribution you do not take enought care when ordering your thoughts on this topic.

    Is it marijuana which gets you blood up or is it any for misdemeanour that you pray for the full weight of the law to be applied?

  66. wbb

    Seeking clemency is not intervening in another country’s legal system, Nic. In your haste to see evil-doers suffer the full consequences, in your Talibanesque zeal for retribution you do not take enought care when ordering your thoughts on this topic.

    Is it marijuana which gets you blood up or is it any for misdemeanour that you pray for the full weight of the law to be applied?

  67. Nic White

    wbb, my opinion on punishments is irrelevant. Im defending the right of a country to carry out its own judicial procedure without interference and hand out whatever penalty or lack of penalty it sees fit.

  68. Nic White

    wbb, my opinion on punishments is irrelevant. Im defending the right of a country to carry out its own judicial procedure without interference and hand out whatever penalty or lack of penalty it sees fit.

  69. James Farrell

    What’s all this about the rights of a country, Nic? A country is an abstraction. The existence of self-evident moral rights is hard to enough to establish in the case of individual human beings. Countries don’t have inherent rights, but only rights established in international law, treaties and diplomatic conventions. It makes sense to argue about what these might be, and to adhere to them for pragmatic reasons, that is, in the interests of international order. But it’s futile to search for underlying ethical principles.

  70. James Farrell

    What’s all this about the rights of a country, Nic? A country is an abstraction. The existence of self-evident moral rights is hard to enough to establish in the case of individual human beings. Countries don’t have inherent rights, but only rights established in international law, treaties and diplomatic conventions. It makes sense to argue about what these might be, and to adhere to them for pragmatic reasons, that is, in the interests of international order. But it’s futile to search for underlying ethical principles.

  71. wbb

    Nic, you are bullshitting us, is what James is saying.

    Your youthful view of a shiny brittle world is showing its first spots of oxidisation, its first unshapeliness and in panic you imagine even more perfect worlds where good and evil reign supreme.

  72. wbb

    Nic, you are bullshitting us, is what James is saying.

    Your youthful view of a shiny brittle world is showing its first spots of oxidisation, its first unshapeliness and in panic you imagine even more perfect worlds where good and evil reign supreme.

  73. Nic White

    Oh, so every single country should abide by some magical and perfect code of law and damn any government or judicial system that goes against it? Spare me.

    And besides, James, none of these exist for capital punishment in Indonesia. Its a country, its got laws and it has punishment for the breaking of those laws and it s their business what they are. We can bitch about it, but it is not the right of our government to try to go around them, whether one of our own is involved or not.

    wbb, dont mock me, its boring. Particularly when you are wrong in assigning values and attitudes to me.

  74. Nic White

    Oh, so every single country should abide by some magical and perfect code of law and damn any government or judicial system that goes against it? Spare me.

    And besides, James, none of these exist for capital punishment in Indonesia. Its a country, its got laws and it has punishment for the breaking of those laws and it s their business what they are. We can bitch about it, but it is not the right of our government to try to go around them, whether one of our own is involved or not.

    wbb, dont mock me, its boring. Particularly when you are wrong in assigning values and attitudes to me.

  75. wbb

    Sorry to bore you Nic, but I believe these are important issues.

    You are dissembling when you pretend in this discussion to be concerned with the sovereignity of foreign states.

    The most anybody has proposed is an appeal for mercy. How is that an agressive act outside of international law?

    Since when is getting down on our knees and begging for clemency hostile interference.

    Face it. You are in favour of the death penalty and you feel the self-righteous frisson of validation when Indonesia is prepared to do the deed that your own country will not.

    Why are you ashamed to argue your case on its merits. Why do you hide behind this subterfuge that you are only concerned with international propriety?

    I won’t mock you if you stand up and argue your case in good faith. But if you don’t do that much, then what else can I do? Ignore you?

  76. wbb

    Sorry to bore you Nic, but I believe these are important issues.

    You are dissembling when you pretend in this discussion to be concerned with the sovereignity of foreign states.

    The most anybody has proposed is an appeal for mercy. How is that an agressive act outside of international law?

    Since when is getting down on our knees and begging for clemency hostile interference.

    Face it. You are in favour of the death penalty and you feel the self-righteous frisson of validation when Indonesia is prepared to do the deed that your own country will not.

    Why are you ashamed to argue your case on its merits. Why do you hide behind this subterfuge that you are only concerned with international propriety?

    I won’t mock you if you stand up and argue your case in good faith. But if you don’t do that much, then what else can I do? Ignore you?

  77. Amanda

    I don’t really understand either Nic. When you talk of “going around” the laws of another country. No one as far as I know is advocating sending the sas in dressed as little old ladies and smuggling the drongos out in a laundry basket. However Australia achieves clemency for them (if found guilty) will be the proper bilateral channels. If the Indonesians don’t want to let them go, they won’t. Is organising a prisoner exchange also inappropriate meddling in other’s affairs?

  78. Amanda

    I don’t really understand either Nic. When you talk of “going around” the laws of another country. No one as far as I know is advocating sending the sas in dressed as little old ladies and smuggling the drongos out in a laundry basket. However Australia achieves clemency for them (if found guilty) will be the proper bilateral channels. If the Indonesians don’t want to let them go, they won’t. Is organising a prisoner exchange also inappropriate meddling in other’s affairs?

  79. Nic White

    But that is not what various people have been advocating. They essentially want the Australian government to strongarm the Indonesians into not giving them death. There has even been talk of threatening to revoke aid from both Indonesia and Fiji unless our “demands” are met. Politely asking “hey would it be possible that you could not kill our citizens? its your call though.” is different to applying political pressure, which is what people have been saying our government should resort to.

    On extradition: if a country asks for some people that committed a crime in their country back so they can face justice there we should be complying, no questions asked.

    On sharing information with a government that may or may not have the death denalty for the crime in question: The ends justify the means.

    wbb:

    “Face it. You are in favour of the death penalty and you feel the self-righteous frisson of validation when Indonesia is prepared to do the deed that your own country will not.”

    Evidence, if you please?

    “Why do you hide behind this subterfuge that you are only concerned with international propriety?”

    Because that is all Im concerned with. Is that so hard to fathom?

  80. Nic White

    But that is not what various people have been advocating. They essentially want the Australian government to strongarm the Indonesians into not giving them death. There has even been talk of threatening to revoke aid from both Indonesia and Fiji unless our “demands” are met. Politely asking “hey would it be possible that you could not kill our citizens? its your call though.” is different to applying political pressure, which is what people have been saying our government should resort to.

    On extradition: if a country asks for some people that committed a crime in their country back so they can face justice there we should be complying, no questions asked.

    On sharing information with a government that may or may not have the death denalty for the crime in question: The ends justify the means.

    wbb:

    “Face it. You are in favour of the death penalty and you feel the self-righteous frisson of validation when Indonesia is prepared to do the deed that your own country will not.”

    Evidence, if you please?

    “Why do you hide behind this subterfuge that you are only concerned with international propriety?”

    Because that is all Im concerned with. Is that so hard to fathom?

  81. Andrew Bartlett

    It seems like there’s a bit of talking at cross-purposes happening here.

    I’m not sure what Nic’s view is on the death penalty, but I agree that we should not be inappropriately pressuring Indonesia on the outcome of any particular trial – not least because it would probalby backfire. However, I don’t think anyone is saying we should doing so. Looking at the Bali 9, where the evidence does seem to be rather damning, it would obviously be silly for Australia to try to pressure for some sort of special treatment for them. However, the Australian Government would be remiss in its duty if it did not appeal for clemency. Even if there is not a death sentence imposed, a sentence of life without parole would also be excessive and diplomatic representations for clemency or an amnesty would be approriate.

    My big annoyance is that our Govt asks for clemency when Australians get sentenced to death, but if anyone else gets sentenced to death, we say “none of our business” (or in the case of the Bali bombers; “good”). That is hypocrisy and I suggest it wouldn’t help the case when we do pleas for clemency either.

    Both major parties say they oppose the death penalty in Australia and against Australians, but neither does anything to encourage a reduction in an elimination of its usage elsewhere (which means there will always be Australians at risk of being subjected to them). FWIW, we are also signatory to a Treaty where we are supposed to contribute to efforts to eliminate the death penalty.

    An unjust law is an unjust law, and whilst we need to be suitably diplomatic in how we say it, we none the less should be saying it – and not just leaving our statements to when Australians get caught up in them.

  82. Andrew Bartlett

    It seems like there’s a bit of talking at cross-purposes happening here.

    I’m not sure what Nic’s view is on the death penalty, but I agree that we should not be inappropriately pressuring Indonesia on the outcome of any particular trial – not least because it would probalby backfire. However, I don’t think anyone is saying we should doing so. Looking at the Bali 9, where the evidence does seem to be rather damning, it would obviously be silly for Australia to try to pressure for some sort of special treatment for them. However, the Australian Government would be remiss in its duty if it did not appeal for clemency. Even if there is not a death sentence imposed, a sentence of life without parole would also be excessive and diplomatic representations for clemency or an amnesty would be approriate.

    My big annoyance is that our Govt asks for clemency when Australians get sentenced to death, but if anyone else gets sentenced to death, we say “none of our business” (or in the case of the Bali bombers; “good”). That is hypocrisy and I suggest it wouldn’t help the case when we do pleas for clemency either.

    Both major parties say they oppose the death penalty in Australia and against Australians, but neither does anything to encourage a reduction in an elimination of its usage elsewhere (which means there will always be Australians at risk of being subjected to them). FWIW, we are also signatory to a Treaty where we are supposed to contribute to efforts to eliminate the death penalty.

    An unjust law is an unjust law, and whilst we need to be suitably diplomatic in how we say it, we none the less should be saying it – and not just leaving our statements to when Australians get caught up in them.

  83. Robert

    Hear, hear!

  84. Robert

    Hear, hear!

  85. Nic White

    We have reason to politely plead that our citizens are not executed, but as we dont have a stake or even anything to do with any other case it really is none of our business. I dont really see it as hypocracy. By all means the government can proclaim as loudly as it wants that it doesnt support the use of capital punishment anywhere, but no one else has to listen. Thats all our rights as a country allow us to do.

    And Andrew, people have been advocating the application of pressure on Indonesia to reduce the sentence and/or affect the outcome of the trial(s). Glad we agree that should be happening.

  86. Nic White

    We have reason to politely plead that our citizens are not executed, but as we dont have a stake or even anything to do with any other case it really is none of our business. I dont really see it as hypocracy. By all means the government can proclaim as loudly as it wants that it doesnt support the use of capital punishment anywhere, but no one else has to listen. Thats all our rights as a country allow us to do.

    And Andrew, people have been advocating the application of pressure on Indonesia to reduce the sentence and/or affect the outcome of the trial(s). Glad we agree that should be happening.

  87. Nic White

    *shouldnt

  88. Nic White

    *shouldnt

  89. wbb

    People as in bloggers? I thought we were talking about governments! Cross-purposes indeed. But even then I disagree. Australia should do a quite a bit to attempt to ensure that Australians sentenced to unjust punishments be treated more fairly.

  90. wbb

    People as in bloggers? I thought we were talking about governments! Cross-purposes indeed. But even then I disagree. Australia should do a quite a bit to attempt to ensure that Australians sentenced to unjust punishments be treated more fairly.

  91. Nic White

    People saying the government should – bloggers and randoms alike.

  92. Nic White

    People saying the government should – bloggers and randoms alike.