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Natural Law

I was browsing through Saddam Hussein's trials just today and this word came up.. in absentia.

If he is hanged, Saddam may also be tried in absentia for events
dating to the Iran-Iraq War and the invasion of Kuwait, including war crimes,
crimes against humanity, and genocide.


Now this part just beats the crap out of me, how come he isn't charged altogether with the entire package and just charged for the Dujail killings? It doesn't make any sense to charge someone who is deceased for crimes that he has committed while he's alive. Normally wouldn't it be that all charges and sentences were accumulated?

Now this page is interesting, it states on all latin legal terms in law. One of this is interesting..

jus naturale which falls under jurisprudence is law that exists independently of the positive law of a given political order, society or nation-state. It is simultaneously a legal philosophy or perspective, and a genre of law-depending on the jurisdiction in which the term is used. The theory of natural law was introduced by Aristotle before being further developed within a Christian context by St Thomas Aquinas. As a genre, natural law is the law of nature-that is, the principle that some things are as they are, because that is how they are. This use is especially valid in Scotland, where "natural law" operates as a genre of law parallel to both civil and criminal law, and its discussion is not limited to human beings.All human laws were to be judged by their conformity to the natural law. An unjust law was in a sense no law at all. The common law accepted this in determining the content of the law in a particular case. At this point, the natural law was not only used to pass judgment on the moral worth of various laws, but also to determine what the law said in the first place.

This brings us to Thomas Hobbes' view on natural laws. In his book Leviathan the law of nature is a precept, or general rule, found out by reason, by which a man is forbidden to do that which is destructive of his life, or takes away the means of preserving the same; and to omit that by which he thinks it may best be preserved.

The nine laws of nature according to Hobbes are:

  • that every man ought to endeavour peace, as far as he has hope of obtaining it; and when he cannot obtain it, that he may seek and use all helps and advantages of war.
  • that a man be willing, when others are so too, as far forth, as for peace, and defence of himself he shall think it necessary, to lay down this right to all things; and be contented with so much liberty against other men, as he would allow other men against himself.
  • that men perform their covenants made. (when a covenant is made, to break it is unjust and the definition of injustice is no other than the not performance of covenant)
  • that a man which receiveth benefit from another of mere grace, endeavour that he which giveth it, have no reasonable cause to repent him of his good will. (Breaching of this law is ingratitude)
  • that every man strive to accommodate himself to the rest. (Contrary to stubborn, insociable, intractable)
  • that upon caution of the future time, a man ought to pardon the offences past of them that repenting, desire it.
  • that in revenges, men look not at the greatness of the evil past, but the greatness of the good to follow.
  • that no man by deed, word, countenance, or gesture, declare hatred of contempt of another. (Breach of this law is called contumely)
  • that every man acknowledge another for his equal by nature. (The breach of this precept is pride)
But Hobbes says more than this, and it is this point that makes his argument so powerful. We do not just have a right to ensure our self-preservation: we each have a right to judge what will ensure our self-preservation. And this is where Hobbes's picture of man becomes important. Hobbes has given us good reasons to think that human beings rarely judge wisely. Yet in the state of nature no one is in a position to successfully define what is good judgment. If I judge that killing you is a sensible or even necessary move to safeguard my life, then - in Hobbes's state of nature – I have a right to kill you. Others might judge the matter differently, of course. Almost certainly you'll have quite a different view of things. Because we're all insecure, because trust is more-or-less absent, there's little chance of our sorting out misunderstandings peacefully, nor can we rely on some (trusted) third party to decide whose judgment is right. We all have to be judges in our own causes, and the stakes are very high indeed: life or death.

More on next update. :)

Credits given to Internet Encyclopedia for Philosophy, Wikipedia, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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