Tuesday, March 11, 2014

U.S. v. Chuun (9th Cir. - March 11, 2014)

Imagine that a hostile nation -- say, Vietnam -- invades and takes over your country.  It then installs a despot to rule it.  Let's make it even worse than that:  let's say the despot with an active hand in deliberate genocide of millions.  The despot subverts democracy, Congress passes resolutions supporting his prosecution in the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity, etc.  All the usual stuff.

Imagine that you don't like this reality.  Shouldn't be too hard.  You're just a hardworking tax preparer in Long Beach, but you're from this nation, and watching it go to hell in a handbasket is too much.  You and a group of fellow travelers think of yourselves as modern day George Washingtons.  You arm yourselves and start a revolution.  You attack the Defense Ministry and a military barracks.  You hope and expect that the people of your nation will follow your lead and throw off the shackles of oppression, creating a democratic and free nation.

If you succeed in overthrowing this universally despised despot, the freedom loving people of the world -- a group that includes the President of the United States -- will surely embrace you.

By contrast, if you fail, this is what happens.  We convict you in a U.S. courtroom and sentence you to life in prison.

It's a strange, strange world.  Especially when domestic law intersects with international affairs.

P.S. - The nation at issue is Cambodia.  The revolutionary group is the Cambodian Freedom Fighters.