Saturday, December 26, 2020

Pardons and war crimes

Professor Stuart Ford (UIC John Marshall Law School) has written an extensive article that President Donald J. Trump's latest pardons make even more timely: Has President Trump Committed a War Crime by Pasrdoning War Criminals?, 35 Am. U. Int'l L. Rev. 757 (2020). The author analyzes the Golsteyn, Lorance, Behenna and Gallagher cases, and emerges with a range of answers running from "could be," "good chance," "maybe," "probably," and "might be" to "no," depending on the case. He notes an open question about successor liability, i.e., what if the underlying war crime occurs under one commander but it is a successor commander who fails to punish it (here by granting clemency)? In the end, there remains the vexing challenge of how and where the soon-to-be ex-President might actually face prosecution. Comments welcome. Real names only, please.


  1. When it comes to armed forces self-accountability and complementarity, as my friend Dr. Christopher Mahony put it so well, "If you're not at the table, you're on the menu."

  2. Have read this excellent and powerful article by Professor Stuart Ford. Congratulations. Whether the ex-President will ever face prosecution is, in my opinion, besides the point. This exposé is to the benefit of the rule of law as it brings great luminosity to the use of pardons for, inter alia, war crimes under the Trump presidency. In the absence of judicial intervention in the instant matter, perhaps the US Congress might consider using its authority and influence to bring about some measures of control on future Presidents' authority to pardons US citizens for war crimes.


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