Friday, April 21, 2006

chasing justice

i remember four years ago, standing in line, waiting to get my law degree and wondering what wisdom i had gained, after all. i remember thinking that if i had to sum it up in one line, i would say that i have learned that the law has little to do with justice. it was definitely a reality check for someone who had gone into this field driven by the motivation to help those who could not help bring justice to those that did not have the tools to go searching for it themselves....i was fueled especially by the aftermath of the Genocide in my distant home. fueled by faces of of those that did and did not survive--especially the women and children whose eyes told stories most were unable to express in any other way. i knew they would never be able to feel retribution..and that no one would be able to bring back those who were killed physically as well as internally. and so i set of--rather naively--in an attempt to find away to bring justice to these people.

five years later, i'm more realisitic than optimistic.i'm trying not to lose hope, which is why i'm still pursuing the ever elusive justice through international human rights law. but the more i study, the more i emerse myself in the intricacies and complexities of this area of the law, the more confused and lost i get. like with anything else, there are highs and lows, and there are days when something happens that makes me want to give it all up...and then days like this, when i feel like this uphill struggle will somehow, someday, eventually yield something.

i'm doing research right now on extradition and immunity for heads of state who have committed massive human rights atrocities and crimes against humanity. in most cases, immunity affords them protection from being prosecuted for acts committed during their time in office.but things started to change after the Pinochet case. although, in the end, the politrickin usurped the justice--the whole incident was still a step forward. and maybe if tiny steps continue to be made, there'll be a time when we'll be able to pull ex-dictators out of their beach villas and make them accountable for destroying the humanity of their people. until then, it's all about the small victories.