Obama in his speech on the killing of Obama Bin Laden stated that ‘Justice has been done.’ These words have been echoed in various statements released by members of his staff, his Secretary of State, various congress men and women.
Justice is, I think, the wrong word to be using here. Especially when used by a man such as Obama, trained as he is, to the highest level, in the rule of law.
Even in the US where, bizarrely, the Supreme Court has concluded that the use of the death penalty does not infringe the prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment, suspected perpetrators of murder are allowed access to judicial processes. You know, those tiresome old things like arrest, prosecution and conviction (or not). These are far from foolproof as has been shown on numerous occasions by the Innocence Project but they exist. To ensure, by their own definition, that justice is done.
There are many different judicial systems adopted in different parts of the world e.g. those that uphold the principle of Restorative Justice (as used in Rwanda following the horrific genocide of 1994) or Retributive Justice (let the punishment fit the crime), but what all of these have in common is due process, or the rule of law, or ‘natural justice – call it what you will. From whichever angle you look at the killing of Bin Laden it is not Justice that has been dispensed here.
In his speech, for my money, Obama should have named this for what it was: An act of war perhaps? An act of vengeance? Self defence? Assassination? A military raid on a suspected terrorist? the meting out of Biblical justice? Retribution?
But do not call it Justice. With a capital J.
Banksy – peace and machine guns.