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Modern-day Eichmanns

October 12, 2008

Re "Judgment without borders," Opinion, Oct. 6

David Rivkin and Lee Casey, who served in the Justice Department under presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush, are using the case of a Rwandan general to launch a preemptive attack on the important doctrine of "universal jurisdiction," which many hope will be invoked by Belgium, Germany, Spain or other countries to hold President George W. Bush and others in his administration accountable for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

It was the Israeli Supreme Court that invoked "universal jurisdiction," among other grounds, in upholding the 1961 conviction of Adolf Eichmann for his crimes against humanity, and the Spanish courts that did so in indicting Gen. August Pinochet in 1998 for human rights abuses.

Although Rivkin and Casey may condemn this as "judicial activism," others dedicated to the rule of law and the Nuremberg principles believe that all too often our legal systems have not been active enough in bringing war criminals to justice.

Stephen F. Rohde

Los Angeles

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