Letter: Justice for tyrants

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The Independent Culture
Justice for tyrants

Sir: The Law Lords' decision to overturn the judgement of the high court is the only one acceptable ("Anita Gonzalez lost her family in the Pinochet years. For her, and countless others, justice was done yesterday", 26 November).

The concept of sovereign immunity, allowing a head of state involved in systematic state-sponsored abuse of human rights to be protected from prosecution is abhorrent. Such an attitude would allow any tyrant to escape the consequences of their actions.

The principle expressed by one of the law lords that a serving head of state does benefit from sovereign immunity is appalling - and, thankfully, inconsistent with the Government's attitude to the Iraqi leader.

The suggestion, raised by some of Pinochet's sympathisers, that Margaret Thatcher or the Queen could be prosecuted for crimes committed during the Falkland's war, for example, is ridiculous. There is no question that such events were deliberate government policy.