Alumnus Speaks on Pinochet While Speaking Up For International Justice
Story by Emily Drew '04
Davidson alumnus Jamie White '97 returned to campus recently to speak on the importance of consistency and accountability in international law. Speaking at the Carolina Inn on September 1, White focused his remarks on "Prosecuting Pinochet," talking about international attempts to try the former Chilean dictator for alleged abuses of power.
The talk was sponsored by the Dean Rusk Program in International Studies and the Pre-Law Society, and inspired by White's publication, "Nowhere to Run, Nowhere to Hide: Augusto Pinochet, Universal Jurisdiction, the ICC, and a Wake-Up Call for Former Heads of State." White published the article in the Fall 1999 edition of the Case Western Reserve Law Review.
Pinochet ruled Chile from 1973-1990. He was arrested in Britain in 1998 when indicted by a Spanish magistrate on charges of genocide, torture, hostage taking, conspiracy to commit torture, conspiracy to take hostages, and conspiracy to commit murder. British courts recently agreed to extradite him to Spain to face those charges, but he was found physically unfit to undergo trial and was sent back to Chile, where he is now living. White said it is unlikely that he will be charged in Chile due to his health and political connections.
White used Pinochet's saga to show that rulers are now more likely than ever to be held accountable for their actions in the international arena, and said that Pinochet's trials indicate a growing intolerance with brutality in leadership positions. "These crimes must not be assumed as daily functions of international politics," said White.
White also promoted the need for consistency in the international foreign policy of all nations, and pointed to the United States as an inconsistent player. "The U.S. sends mixed messages," said White, citing the CIA's intelligence support to Pinochet during his anti-socialist reign.
White also spoke of the new International Criminal Court (ICC). The UN began work on the ICC in 1989 with the hopes of "ending impunity, promoting universal justice, and helping to end conflicts."
The court has been ratified so far by about 20-25 of the 60 nations necessary to instate it. If that occurs before the December deadline, the court will become the major decision-maker in international trials similar to Pinochet's.
White finished his lecture with a question and answer session, where students commented on the positive aspects of Pinochet's reign, such as economic improvement and political reform.
White graduated from Case Western Reserve Law School last May, and will soon move to Baltimore to join the law firm of Miles and Stockbridge.
He attributes his success in law school and finding a job to the values he practiced as a Davidson student. "I learned a hard work ethic and the ability to maintain sanity in the face of many obligations and commitments," he said.
He is excited about his new job, but admits, "I probably won't be a lawyer forever."
That career flexibility stems from his belief that people should enjoy life and follow their interests. "Take risks," he said, "and don't let others persuade you."