Erna Paris in the Globe and Mail: Obama must appoint a special prosecutor

Erna Paris in the Globe and Mail: Obama must appoint a special prosecutor

May 7, 2009

Barack Obama is facing a Waterloo moment. The pressure on him to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the criminal liability of high-ranking Bush administration officials is growing daily. A full investigation is needed to determine the scope of what took place at the heart of the world’s most powerful democracy. . .

What is at stake for Mr. Obama is his ability to place a clear marker between his administration and that of his predecessor: in other words, his willingness to make a complete transition. He has already repudiated the fear-laden language of former president George W. Bush’s “war on terror,” announced the closing of the prison at Guantanamo Bay and rejected the use of torture as an intelligence tool. But the gate separating the present from the past—from what he has called “a dark period in our history”—must be wider.

Without clear accountability for state-instigated crimes committed in the name of the American people, Mr. Obama will be seen as lacking the moral fibre for which he is admired internationally. He will be seen as facilitating the impunity of the powerful, as having backed down on the substantive change he promised. The “Yes we can” shouted so loudly by so many Americans included the restoration of their country’s reputation as a place where law rules and human rights are respected.

For the full article, check here. For more from Erna Paris on the International Criminal Court and America’s “dark history” in the eyes of the world, take a look at The Sun Climbs Slow, now in paperback from Seven Stories Press.

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