The Amanda Knox frenzy hasn’t finished. There is a lot more to come.
The Italian Justice system, like all systems, has its strengths and weaknesses. But the most important aspects to consider is “does the Italian Justice system have the confidence of the 60 million people that it serves?”, and following that, “does it adhere to international human rights”?
This case is not unique in many ways, and many parallels may be drawn between this case and that of Schapelle Corby, the Australian serving 20 years for drug trafficking in Indonesia. Many in the US feel that there should be an official intervention, but it would be wise to remember Prime Minister Howards response when directly appealed by Ms Corby. “My fellow Australians, if a foreigner were to come to Australia and a foreign government were to start telling us how we should handle [it], we would react very angrily to that.” Surprisingly wise words from a politician.
With regards to the credibility of the Justice system to Italians, primary consideration of Justice for Meredith Kercher should focus on treatment of both Rudy Guede and Raffaele Sollecito as Italian citizens. The Italian media and commentators must focus on these two individuals as their primary concern.
Amanda Knox has received the same treatment under Italian Law. She should be given the same rights as an Italian citizen, and the assessment of her case must adhere to generally agreed basic human rights principles.
Human Rights is a complex subject, that few understand in detail, but is of critical importance both to each and every individual, and to assessing justice internationally. According to a 2004 report from Amnesty International, only 5 countries “didn’t” violate at least some human rights significantly in 2003 (Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Costa Rica). So judging the rights and wrongs of any case must be difficult if so many so called civilised countries violate some human rights.
Amy Lai, who has a PhD in gender studies from Cambridge, UK, and writes for various Legal Journals, has submitted a paper to us out of a personal interest in how this case has played out, specifically dealing with her expertise in assessing how Amanda Knox has been treated with respect to one model of human rights.
As specific as it is, we think it is worth publishing in full, for those who are interested in how to interpret this case without emotion and specific legal comparisons. Although the analysis and conclusion is purely that of Ms Lai, it supports the generally held view that the US is unlikely to intervene in this case at any official level.
For anyone interested in details on the evidence and sentencing as understood by the court in Perugia, we recommend that you refer to the official sentencing report which was translated from Italian by a group of volunteers.
A brief synopsis (taken directly from the paper)
This paper studies the case of Knox with respect to Charles Beitz’s human rights model. Part I describes Betiz’ idea of human rights as well as the mechanism of his two-level model. Part II employs Betiz’ model to illuminate why Clinton made the correct decision not to intervene in the Italian Court’s decision and why international organizations, such as the United Nations and Amnesty International, should do the same. Part II contrasts the criminal justice system of Italy with that of the United States by showing how they are informed by different philosophical traditions. It also shows how Italy’s reformed criminal code produced a traditional inquisitorial system with adversarial elements. Because the Italian government abided by its law throughout Knox’s trial, it satisfied its responsibilities delineated in the first level of Beitz’s model and intervention by other nations or international organizations are therefore unnecessary and improper. Part III shows how Knox’s trial and its controversy invite readers to revisit the theories of toleration in Beitz’ human rights model, to dismantle their implicit self-other dichotomy, and to push more room for introspection. While the United States and Italy are both “liberal societies” according to John Rawls’ definition, Knox’s trial urges readers, especially Americans, not only to study the Italian justice system but also to take an introspective look at the American justice system and to reform it so that it could perform a better role to safeguard human rights.
Amy Lai, PhD.
After obtaining her PhD in gender studies at Cambridge, U.K., Amy lectured on gender and sexuality in England and Hong Kong, and published two books on Asian writers in 2007 and 2009. She worked as a professor in media studies in a shipboard education program that took her around the world the semester before she came to Boston to attain a JD degree. In her first summer as a law student, she completed an internship at the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and worked on immigration cases involving GLBT people. She plans to continue to pursue her interests in gender and sexuality in an international human rights context by working with the International Bar Association in London. She managed to write an article on health law, consent and assent in the case of savior siblings, which is forthcoming in the Journal of Legal Medicine. She also actively sought to integrate her interests in law and gender studies by pursuing an eye-opening course, “Sexuality and the Law,” and writing a law review article on the constitutionality of gay-positive curriculum in public elementary schools in America.
“To Be, or Not to Be My Sister’s Keeper: Toward a New Legislative Framework Safeguarding the Welfare of Savior Siblings,” Journal of Legal Medicine 31.4 (2010).
“Critiquing the Model Act: Redefining ‘Consent’ and Implications of Intent-Based Parenthood for Posthumous Conception,” American Journal of Family Law 24.4 (2010).
“A Hegelian Study of Chinese People’s Pursuit of Human Rights in the Tiananmen Incident, Falun Gong, and the 2008 Beijing Olympics,” Criminal Justice Studies 23.2 (2010).
“Tango or More?: From California’s Lesson 9 to a Gay-Friendly Curriculum in Public Elementary Schools,” Michigan Journal of Gender and Law 17.1 (2011).Rate this article by clicking here.
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