Ruth Wedgwood


Self-Defense Sans Frontieres (Wall Street Journal, 08 October 2003) Justice Will Be Done at Guantanamo (Financial Times, 10 July 2003) Justice, and Security Too (Los Angeles Times, 10 July 2003) Self-Defense, Pirates and Contraband (Wall Street Journal, 29 May 2003) The mother of all trials (National Law Journal, 14 April 2003) Prosecuting Iraqi War Crimes (United States Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, 10 April 2003) Legal authority exists for a strike on Iraq (Financial Times, 14 March 2003) Lawyers at War (Wall Street Journal, 18 February 2003) Prosecuting Al Qaeda: September 11 and its Aftermath (Crimes of War Project, December 7, 2001) Augusto Pinochet and International Law (McGill Law Journal, (2000) 46 McGill L.J. 241) STATEMENT OF RUTH WEDGWOOD BEFORE UNITED STATES SENATE COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS: "PROSECUTING IRAQI WAR CRIMES: A CONSIDERATION OF THE DIFFERENT FORUM OPTIONS" APRIL 10, 2003 Gallant Delusions (Foreign Policy, September/October 2002) Trouble in Timor (Foreign Affairs, November/December 2000)

Additional resources

Ruth Wedgwood page on disinfopedia

In the news

U.S. Expects More Strikes By Al Qaeda (Washington Post, 16 May 2003)

"It's shades of Lebanon and Khobar Towers," said Ruth Wedgwood, a former terrorism prosecutor who teaches law at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in Washington. "It's hard to make anything truly invulnerable to something as primitive as a car bomb."

6 Could Be Facing Military Tribunals: U.S. Says Detainees Tied to Al Qaeda (Washington Post, 04 July 2003)

Ruth Wedgwood, a Johns Hopkins University scholar of international law who supports the use of tribunals, disagreed, saying that Pentagon lawyers took great care in drawing up a process that is fair and allows for zealous courtroom combat.

U.S. Candidate Ruth Wedgwood Elected to Human Rights Committee Speaker defends military tribunals

Wedgewood helped draft proposals to prosecute about 150 detained, suspected terrorists in military tribunals rather than jury trials. She explained in a Thursday afternoon lecture that tribunals provide more options for submitting evidence. It is easier to build a case, so the process is faster than the traditional trials, Wedgewood said. Detainees cannot appeal the decision.

U.S. Adds Legal Rights In Tribunals: New Rules Also Allow Leeway on Evidence

Ruth Wedgwood, an international law expert at Yale University who supports Bush's plan, said administration officials have been judicious and concerned with the nation's security throughout the process.

"The time [government attorneys] have taken on this shows the seriousness with which they were taking on the criticism," she said. "This was clearly very carefully done."

Six Degrees of Preemption

RUTH WEDGWOOD: I'd like to make a point about old and new, back to the future.

There's a famous case from 1842, which has amusingly benign facts. It's the British attacking across the Niagara to preempt an invasion by Irish revolutionaries in Canada. That formulation has stuck with us for a very long time: It says you can use anticipatory self defense when the threat is instant, overwhelming and leaves no choice.

There's a somewhat different reading under the U.N. Charter with a relatively pacifistic bias, which is that you really just have to wait and take a significant chance of having the first hit. Or, depending on the intelligence you have, until the moment before the first hit. There's quite a different formulation that comes from, of all people, Elihu Root -- secretary of war, secretary of state, one of the founders of the American Society of International Law. In 1914, Root declared "the right of every sovereign state to protect itself by preventing a condition of affairs in which it will be too late to protect itself."

It's not surprising to me that how you apply Root's formulation would change over time with the development of weapons of mass destruction. What's also changed obviously is the failure of the incentive system. Deterrence doesn't work any more against non-state actors who don't give a damn. But I do think we all have to be cognizant that our allies are wedded to a much more chaste version of how you read the text of the U.N. charter, partly on the sometimes romantic belief that the Security Council is actually going to work, and sometimes because they simply don't agree with us on the use of force.

Accord Suggests U.S. Prefers to Avoid Courts (New York Times, 16 July 2002)

Appearances on NPR

More U.S. Troops in Iraq? (Wedgwood and Phyllis Bennis on Tavis Smiley Show, 26 August 2003)

My hope is that after the bombing of UN headquarters -- which was so terrible and tragic, causing the death of Sergio Vieira de Mello -- that finally some of our allies -- erstwhile allies -- who have been reticent about sending troops in may get the picture that this is an issue and a cause that concerns both Europe and Asia and Africa and Latin America, as well as the Americans. And therefore that we'll get additional complements of international troops that will make this unnecessary. If we have to, I think we should do it. I have been in favor of the intervention in Iraq from the beginning.

Bush Speech Reaction (Tavis Smiley Show, 02 May 2003)

In the long run this [the U.S. invasion of Iraq] is crucial for the Middle East. The status quo ante was not acceptable. You're not gonna get peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians with a hostile Syria sitting on the border. The Saudi regime is not acceptable in its present configuration. And having some kind of pro-democratic intervention I think was a crucial symbolic and real muscular step.

Iraq Reconstruction (Wedgwood and Charles Lewis on Tavis Smiley Show, 18 April 2003)

Well there on the ground we actually have an affirmative legal duty under the Fourth Geneva Convention to assure that the environment is both secure and to get relief quickly and expeditiously to the Iraqi people. This is not an intervention by us at this point, it's legal duty under the Fourth Geneva Convention on the Rights of Civilians in Occupied Territory. So we don't have the option of dilly-dallying and waiting for a lengthy political process to wind its way through the Security Council and then what is always concededly the very long, slow startup time for UN operations. So I think and explanation that this is the military industrial complex stoking its fires is a little simplistic.

U.N. Security Council - Iraq (Wedgwood, Edward Luck, and Josef Joffe on Talk of the Nation, 23 January 2003) Analysis: Whether the U.S. Should Force Saddam Hussein From Power (Morning Edition, 02 August 2002)

So the argument is that when Iraq violated the conditions of the cease-fire, in a real sense the state of war resumed, that it can't have its cease-fire and eat it too, and therefore that the US is entitled, as it was originally, to use force to restore peace and security to the area.

Daniel Pearl Remembrance (Talk of the Nation, 28 February 2002) The Tribunal Process (All Things Considered, 12 February 2002) P.O.W.'s (All Things Considered, 09 December 2001) To Share the Evidence? (All Things Considered, 03 October 2001) UN Tribunal (All Things Considered, 28 May 1999) International Criminal Tribunal (Talk of the Nation, 08 September 1998) Language and Diplomacy (All Things Considered, 17 February 1996)

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Last modified: Sat Oct 18 20:04:53 CDT 2003