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Would the Chimp indeed be arrested if he set foot in a foreign country?

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kay1864 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 11:42 AM
Original message
Would the Chimp indeed be arrested if he set foot in a foreign country?
For sake of argument, let's assume this post is correct, and the Chimp lands in Nice or Barcelona next March, not knowing there's an arrest warrant waiting for him for war crimes. Or arrogantly not caring, thinking he's immune.

A friend suggested that the Secret Service wouldn't allow him to be taken into custody. Here was my response (mostly guesswork):

AFAIK the Secret Service cannot prevent their arrest in a foreign country. It's not like they're taking the EX-president hostage--they are lawfully arresting him. Yes, the SS would do their jobs to protect him from imminent threat, but it doesn't extend to violating the laws of other countries. There might be a shouting match etc. between the lead SS guy and the lead arresting authority, but the SS would be forced to stand down, and the Chimp (as a private citizen, he no longer has Air Force One etc) would be taken into custody. Or they might just arrest anyone in the SS who interfered. Once you're in a foreign country (even if you're an SS guy), you don't have "American rights". You can and will be arrested if you're interfering with a police officer doing his duty.

Also, as a private citizen, Chimp would not be allowed to even leave said country, since as a private citizen, he has to go through customs and immigration just like everyone else. His passport would be confiscated were he to try and leave.

Now, maybe there's a VIP line that's separate from the main customs and immigration. but even THEIR officers are beholden to THEIR country--they don't give a rat's ass about US laws, since they don't apply. So if there is an outstanding arrest warrant, he simply would not be allowed to leave, and his passport confiscated. And if the SS interfered, THEY would be arrested as well, and THEIR passports confiscated.

And the arresting authorities may indeed show up with a platoon (for sake of argument, let's say it's Spain) . The Spanish police (or whoever) would be smart enough to show up with enough officers to arrest every member of the SS present.

Remember, Pinochet probably had a security detail with him too (which ultimately all the SS is--it's not like they're carrying bazookas under their suits). Didn't keep him from getting arrested.


How would this work? Next March, as a former Head of State (even an illegitimate one like the Chimp), does he bypass Customs and Immigration?

And if arrest were attempted, would the SS herd him back onto whatever private jet he flew in on, guns a-blazin'? Or would they recognize the authority of officers?
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KansDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 11:45 AM
Response to Original message
1. "...does he bypass Customs and Immigration?"
Good question. As a "private citizen," will he have to take off his shoes to go through airport security?

I doubt it: Taxes are paid, and shoes are taken off, by the "little people."
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kay1864 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 11:47 AM
Response to Reply #1
5. He would likely be flying private jet, not commercial
Edited on Thu Jun-26-08 12:16 PM by kay1864
So no, you don't go through that, since you're the one chartering the jet.

However, airport security is a separate thing from C&I. I think even VIPs have to present their passports etc.
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Andy823 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 11:46 AM
Response to Original message
2. I really don't know
The answer to your question, but I would sure love to see him arrested, but in jail, and tried for the war crimes he has committed, then put in prison for life! Same goes for Cheney, and the rest of the gang who took us into Iraq.
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The Magistrate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 11:46 AM
Response to Original message
3. An Interesting Question, Sir
The future may provide an answer....
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MannyGoldstein Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 11:46 AM
Response to Original message
4. They'll Know Ahead Of Time That He'd Be Arrested
And simply won't go.
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kay1864 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 11:48 AM
Response to Reply #4
6. "But daddy, why CAN'T we go to the French Riviera?"
"You PROMISED!"
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mainegreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 11:50 AM
Response to Reply #4
8. Agreed.
More than likely the government of any country where he might be arrested would prefer to avoid the whole scenario, and would quietly send him word that he is not welcome, should not come, otherwise he would be arrested.
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kay1864 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 03:27 PM
Response to Reply #4
55. Actually he might be more limited than even that
Let's say Spain decides to indict him. So Bush doesn't go to Spain, he goes to France. But France has an extradition treaty with Spain. Once he lands in France, *Spanish* police can arrest him and deport him to Spain for trial. (or maybe French police turn him over to the Spanish police--not sure how the international extradition process works, actually)

(France and Spain used as examples only)

So his travel might be limited to countries that do not have extradition treaties with countries X and Y (where they've issued arrest warrants).

And per Wikipedia, "most countries in the world have signed bilateral extradition treaties with most other countries". Exceptions (for the US at least) are places like China, Namibia, and North Korea. (hey, I hear North Korea has some excellent beaches...)

And as the article in the OP points out, this arrest risk could be in effect for decades.
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Clovis Sangrail Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 11:49 AM
Response to Original message
7. what makes you think * would be going to another country?
I don't think he was a globe trotter prior to becoming preznit.
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bdamomma Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 01:08 PM
Response to Reply #7
35. he wasn't that is why he doesn't know
crap about other cultures.
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Clovis Sangrail Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 01:29 PM
Response to Reply #35
40. you don't need to travel the world to respect other cultures /nt
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SteelPenguin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 11:59 AM
Response to Original message
9. No, they can't arrest him
When the President travels to other countries he has Diplomatic Immunity provided to him by the Vienna Conventions. His secret service agents protecting him are also covered. It would be illegal for any agent of a foreign government on their soil to arrest the President, or any of his security detail, and if they attempted, would be considered hostile illegal action by the secret service, and they'd fight their way out if they had to.
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kay1864 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 12:01 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. Please read the OP
and notice the phrase "next March".
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SteelPenguin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 12:04 PM
Response to Reply #10
13. If you mean when he's the former president....
...instead of the sitting one, it doesn't make a difference. Former Presidents retain full diplomatic immunity, and secret service protection, for the rest of their lives.
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kay1864 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 12:08 PM
Response to Reply #13
16. Please provide a link to support your claim
that former Presidents retain full diplomatic immunity.
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SteelPenguin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 12:25 PM
Response to Reply #16
18. No
I'm not going to link basic International Criminal Law books and links to the Belgian arrest warrant case, or other rulings from the ICJ or other bodies, documents listed on the state departments own website, or anything else because I'm sure no matter what I link you'll have a problem with em.

I also have better things to do than your own research.
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kay1864 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 12:29 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. Dude, it's not my research, it's yours
Your claim, you back it up.

And your assumption that I'll "have a problem with em" is just silly. Defensive much?

One good link. One. Convince us. Otherwise it's just your unsupported claim.
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onenote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 01:41 PM
Response to Reply #19
43. here ya go:
Wei Ye v. Jiang Zemin, 383 F.3d 620(7th Cir. Sept. 8, 2004).
http://www.asil.org/insights/2004/11/insight041122.html
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kay1864 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 01:46 PM
Response to Reply #43
44. Thanks, but it appears that in both cases...
the immunity was applied while they were current heads of state. (the charges against Zemin were while he was still President)
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onenote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 01:55 PM
Response to Reply #44
45. While the Appeals court didn't rely on the District Court holding, it didn't overturn it
And the district court squarely held that Zemin was immune even after he left office for acts committed while in office.

At very least, the abilty to bring charges against a former head of state is a debatable (and debated) issue. And as a practical matter, its not going to happen with respect to Bush. You can bet everything you own on that proposition.
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kay1864 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 02:10 PM
Response to Reply #45
49. You're missing one vital point...
The findings of a US appeals court is not binding upon the international community, nor is it a tenet of international law.

In other words, Spain or France couldn't care less about the case you cite.
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onenote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 02:24 PM
Response to Reply #49
52. that's quite an overstatement
Are they bound by the US decision? No. But Spain and France care deeply about what the US thinks and that includes what its courts think. It would be the height of naievete to assume otherwise.
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kay1864 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 02:28 PM
Response to Reply #52
54. Actually it doesn't matter either way
Edited on Thu Jun-26-08 02:31 PM by kay1864
The case doesn't apply in the event of genocide or war crimes (see my post #53 below).

But I'm glad to see that you agree that the findings of a US appeals court is not binding upon the international community, nor is it a tenet of international law.
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kay1864 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 02:27 PM
Response to Reply #49
53. And when all else fails, there's Wikipedia :-)
Recent developments in international law suggest that this type of immunity (for those performing acts of state), whilst it may be available as a defence to prosecution for local or domestic crimes or civil liability, is not a defence to an international crime. (International crimes include crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide).

<snip>

The reasons commonly given for why this immunity is not available as a defence to international crimes is straight forward: (1) that is genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity are not acts of state. Criminal acts of the type in question are committed by human actors, not states; and (2) we cannot allow the jus cogens nature of international crimes, i.e. the fact that they are non-derogable norms, to be eroded by immunities.

So as a former head of state, the Chimp is NOT unequivocally immune, in the cases of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. And war crimes are exactly what the Director of the Centre of International Courts and Tribunals is alleging in the article in the OP.

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Vickers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 12:34 PM
Response to Reply #13
23. SS protection ends after 10 years.
Oops.
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kay1864 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 12:37 PM
Response to Reply #23
26. Yes indeed
But only starting with Chimp. Bush Sr and Clinton have lifetime protection; subsequent Presidents are limited to 10 years. Regulation was changed while Clinton was in office, and it was not retroactive.
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Vickers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 12:39 PM
Response to Reply #26
28. Didn't Carter decline his after awhile?
:shrug:
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LiberalFighter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 12:39 PM
Response to Reply #13
27. Bush will be the first President that will NOT receive lifetime SS protection.
It was passed while Clinton was President. Clinton continues to receive lifetime.

http://www.ustreas.gov/usss/protection.shtml
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LiberalFighter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 12:58 PM
Response to Reply #13
31. There is nothing in international law that provides permanent diplomatic immunity.
The only way anyone other than a current President has any type of automatic immunity is if they are involved in a diplomatic mission in another country that agrees to their participation.

If one travels to another country personal or business reasons not related to official government business they do not have diplomatic immunity of any type.
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Clovis Sangrail Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 01:35 PM
Response to Reply #13
42. so Milosevic was arrested ... how?
As a former president shouldn't he have had diplomatic immunity preventing UN prosecution?
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riderinthestorm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 12:02 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. How did they bypass that with Pinochet's arrest? nt
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Growler Donating Member (896 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 12:32 PM
Response to Reply #11
21. Pinochet wasn't the President of the most powerful country
on the planet?

:shrug:
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kay1864 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 12:33 PM
Response to Reply #21
22. Nor is the Chimp, in the scenario in the OP
note the phrase "next March"
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Growler Donating Member (896 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 01:27 PM
Response to Reply #22
38. I noted it. It doesn't matter.
In the calculus of international politics, a former President of the US still trumps everyone else.
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Meiko Donating Member (73 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 12:02 PM
Response to Reply #9
12. Thank God
finally some common sense, Thanks... :D
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Vickers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 12:05 PM
Response to Reply #12
14. Better read the OP again.
Next March he won't be a Pretzeldent any more (thank Gawd).
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kay1864 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 12:11 PM
Response to Reply #12
17. Yes, by all means...
let's take the opinion of one DUer as gospel over that of an international human rights lawyer, British Queens Counsel, Director of the Centre of International Courts and Tribunals, and Professor of International Law at University College London.

:eyes:
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zorahopkins Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 12:06 PM
Response to Original message
15. Let Him Try
Let Bush try to land in another country, and see what happens.

I hope he tries to go to Canada -- I'd like to see the US SS provoke an incident with Canada when Canada tries to take a war criminal into custody on behalf of civilized people everywhere.
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Contrary1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 12:29 PM
Response to Original message
20. Would Saddam Hussein have had diplomatic immunity
if he had traveled to the US? And, if so; do you think Bush and Co. would have honored it?
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LiberalFighter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 12:40 PM
Response to Reply #20
29. He wouldn't had even been allowed into the country.
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Growler Donating Member (896 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 12:36 PM
Response to Original message
24. It will never happen
And if some other country tried it, President Obama would send a couple carrier fleets in to take care of things. And he'd be right to do so.
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kay1864 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 12:45 PM
Response to Reply #24
30. President Obama sending carrier fleets to Spain or France or Canada
to rescue a lawfully indicted citizen accused of war crimes is indeed an interesting concept.
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Growler Donating Member (896 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 01:18 PM
Response to Reply #30
36. being an former President of the US trumps everything
I'm not saying I like it, just saying that's the way it is.
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kay1864 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 01:24 PM
Response to Reply #36
37. Not quite
It doesn't trump being the current President of the US.
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Growler Donating Member (896 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 01:28 PM
Response to Reply #37
39. Heh. Agreed.
And ANY current President will ensure that certain precedents aren't established.

It's not about the Chimp, it's about the title "President".
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kay1864 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 01:33 PM
Response to Reply #39
41. And I'm not as sure as you seem to be
that President Obama would interfere militarily with a Spanish, French, or Canadian arrest warrant (which would itself be carefully considered by that country), just to prevent such a precedent.
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onenote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 01:57 PM
Response to Reply #41
46. You should be more sure. ALthough it would never come to military intervention
There are lots of other ways that an Obama administration (or any other administration) could pressure those governments not to act in the first place or to rescind such action.

It just isn't going to happen and I don't think chimpy and his gang are going to lose a minute's sleep worrying about what might happen if they visit Canada or Spain or France, etc.
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kay1864 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 02:03 PM
Response to Reply #46
47. Thanks for telling me how I should be thinking
I'll be sure to keep my thinking in line with yours in the future

:eyes:
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Growler Donating Member (896 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 02:09 PM
Response to Reply #41
48. I can't imagine any of the countries actually considering
such a warrant. So it's a moot point. :)

But I like the tenor of your argument. Let's just say that I go to bed at night believing that I'm correct, but hoping that you are. :)

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kay1864 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 02:12 PM
Response to Reply #48
50. I can imagine it quite easily. I've been to several of them.
And the Chimp is not exactly viewed with favor.

Admittedly, that's the *citizens* and not TPTB, but not all of the heads of state are in love with him either.
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Mike Daniels Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 02:23 PM
Response to Reply #24
51. You nailed it.
No sitting president of the US (Dem or Rep) is going to allow a foreign country to arrest a former president (Dem or Rep) without some diplomatic/economic ramifications following shortly thereafter.

People may not like it but that's the way it is and will always be.
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cobalt1999 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 12:37 PM
Response to Original message
25. There isn't a country out there that would even try.
No sitting president would allow it either from a precedent standpoint.

It's not a legal argument, it's a "big stick" argument.

Bush could go to Venezuela and not be in danger of arrest.
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CBGLuthier Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 01:04 PM
Response to Reply #25
32. Is that because we are better than anyone else?
Just curious why the former head of the US should be treated differently than the former head of Chile.

It's because we are special, right? God's chosen? The rest of the world is afraid of us?

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cobalt1999 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 03:54 PM
Response to Reply #32
56. The world isn't fair. Never has been, never will be.
Those with the most clout get away with things others can't.

In any action, the ramifications need to be taken into account, and the ramifications of pissing off the U.S. government are pretty damn big.

Bush isn't ever going to be arrested except by Americans...ever.
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bdamomma Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 01:07 PM
Response to Original message
33. I only hope so.
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undeterred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 01:08 PM
Response to Original message
34. The Chimp is above the law.
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JackRiddler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 03:57 PM
Response to Original message
57. Not until he's a private citizen again...
Edited on Thu Jun-26-08 03:59 PM by JackRiddler
You can be certain his immunity as acting head of state will be respected wherever he lands. Even if the US has a less than perfect record in this regard. (Noriega, Arbenz, Mossadegh, attempted coup on Chavez, several dozen attempts on Castro's life, etc.)

Jan. 21, 2009 is a different story, one reason you can be certain the regime is going to do its damndest to steal the election for McCain.
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kay1864 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 05:31 PM
Response to Reply #57
59. Yes, that would be...
the entire premise of the OP. For those that read beyond the title.
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Super Soaker Sniper Donating Member (332 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 03:58 PM
Response to Original message
58. I would hope not.
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kay1864 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 05:33 PM
Response to Reply #58
60. Enlighten us, please
You would hope Bush doesn't get arrested? Why?
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Super Soaker Sniper Donating Member (332 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 05:43 PM
Response to Reply #60
61. I would hope NO US President gets arrested
as it would set a terrible precedent and leave all our Presidents even the good ones, subject to the whims of whatever country they are visiting.

Also I am not in favor of Americans, even Bush being tried in courts outside the US, even international ones.
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kay1864 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 10:03 PM
Response to Reply #61
62. Maybe you should read up on the International Court of Justice
They don't exactly entertain "whims".
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Super Soaker Sniper Donating Member (332 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-26-08 11:11 PM
Response to Reply #62
63. I know about it
and do not believe that Americans should be tried by it. Not even Bush.
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