International Law Professor Julian Ku has produced a very nice logical fallacy. He claims that Amnesty International (AI) has “jumped the shark” in presenting the Canadian Government with an 1,000 page memorandum, claiming Bush’s “responsibility for crimes under international law including torture.” According to AI, Canada has a legal obligation, during his visit, “to arrest and prosecute [or extradite] former President Bush given his responsibility for crimes under international law including torture.” This obligation arises at least from the “United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.”
I have asked professor Ku to illuminate his claim, by refuting the AI’s legal argument. How can he refute the argument? It’s so simple:
According to Article 38 of the International Court of Justice statute, the sources of International Law are:
“a. international conventions, whether general or particular, establishing rules expressly recognized by the contesting states;
b. international custom, as evidence of a general practice accepted as law;
c. the general principles of law recognized by civilized nations;
d. subject to the provisions of Article 59, judicial decisions and the teachings of the most highly qualified publicists of the various nations, as subsidiary means for the determination of rules of law.”
Thus the only thing that professor Ku has to do is to show us a convention, custom, general principle of law, judicial decision or teachings of the most highly qualified publicist that absolves a former U.S. president of any international criminal responsibility. Or to show us that Canada does not have the legal obligations claimed by AI.
Professor Ku did not considered worth it of his time to substantiate his claim that AI jumps the shark, thus I have to reconstruct his argument myself. It is probably something like the following:
Premise 1: All 1,000 page memoranda, claiming that a former U.S. president is individual responsible for international crimes, jump the shark.
Premise 2: Amnesty International has produced a 1,000 page memorandum claiming that a former U.S. president is individual responsible for international crimes.
Conclusion: Therefore Amnesty International jumps the shark.
If anyone has a better reconstruction of the probable argument, please enlighten me.