Monday February 2 | Iraqi and Afghan Justice

January 30, 2009 at 9:07 am | Posted in Coming Up | 1 Comment

Eric Levinson left a seat on the NC Court of Appeals to serve as Senior Representative to the Justice Department in Iraq. We’ll talk about the unique and difficult cases he encountered in Iraq and about his work in Afghanistan, where some judges can neither read nor write.
Eric Levinson – Senior Rep., Justice Department in Iraq

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  1. Eric Levinson sounds mild mannered, but it took guts for him to work in Iraq as a legal liaison. He went before “the Surge.” Illiteracy may not be as big an obstacle as it sounds if procedure is as rudimentary as he presents. A high status judge can always use scribes. Maybe these potentate judges are so intimidating they operate like human lie detectors.

    That seems to be the TV model here at home where you’d better not pee on Judge Judy’s leg and tell her it’s raining. If it weren’t for legal pride and our history the majority of Americans might be satisfied with a post-Saddam judicial system, as long as the cruel jokes were told with zest and they were not the ones on trial.

    China’s judiciary is lacking in the same kind of rights and safeguards as Iraq. Levinson informed the audience that most nations have idiosyncratic and perfunctory legal systems. Our corporations have seemed to fare pretty well in Chinese courts considering we’re the “away team.” Money can probably buy any flavor of justice it craves there, because it tends to here. See how Exxon has wiggled out of obligations after the Valdese spill?

    In an age of irreversible global commerce we lack adequate world courts, and our government refuses to submit to Hague tribunals on torture and war crimes. How can we remain sophisticated in the nuances of justice, and the protections of our Constitution when we are collectively a pariah and a criminal? How can we call Israel or Sudan to heel if we are just a bigger bad dog? We had better put some protections and guarantees in place before we lose our military and financial muscle. We won’t be superbad much longer. People need labor rights protections and environmental regulation. Do we think we can provide green technology we don’t yet possess when we can’t even support the export of judicial standards. We should be turning out Eric Levinsons by the gross and setting up a Justice Liaison Corps to bring our trading partners up to speed. In that synthesis we could see our domestic legal system become fairer. There’s always room for improvement in the cultural superstructure.

    Thank you, Eric Levinson.

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