Still, a second look at the results of yesterday's decision might yet give cause for hope. After all, the principle at stake in these proceedings is not revenge but justice. The core issue is that international law should be so developed that tyrannical leaders anywhere in the world have good reason to fear that they will be held personally responsible for crimes against humanity carried out by their henchmen. What was so cheering about last month's verdict was that this vital principle, originally proclaimed at the Nuremberg Trials, was being carried forward in our own times.
Now, the legal arguments will be heard again by a court that has shown it is more concerned to do justice - and to be seen to do justice - than it is to reach any particular result regarding the defendant before it. If a new panel of Law Lords comes to the same verdict as the previous panel, the important precedent that seemed to have been established last month will have been entrenched all the deeper.Reuse content