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The Bull and the Genie[]

Chapter 23 - Book II - The Ninety-five Theses[]

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Court Proceedings[]


Court House, City of Samantha, Taurian Concordat - 3028


The preliminary trial of Maximilian Liao did not have the former ruler of the Capellan confederation in attendance. He refused, and as it was not required, the court agreed, although a video feed was arranged so the detainee could observer the proceedings.

Given the demonstrations going on outside the courtroom, those in charge of security were, it must be said, relieved.

The three judges had been selected for being apolitical, and most importantly, not related to any of the Samantha Atrocity victims. A jury would be empaneled later. Right now, it was the determination if any charges were going to be dropped.

"So, bets?" Kim's senior assistant said. "Sandy seems to think this is a good idea."

"Sandy's angling for the Attorney General," Kim replied. "She knows this won't go through."

"The idea that an individual can give orders, orders tantamount to a declaration of war on the Concordat, is offensive. This is why I believe we should set a new precedent, and why my office has, after some consideration, and in full cognizance of the Protector's ambivalence about our actions, elected to file charges against Maximilian Liao for crimes against peace and conspiracy to wage aggressive war!"

Judge Foresyth raised a shaggy eyebrow. "No need to make speeches. Remember, we don't allow public recordings to be broadcast. But I find your support for this… novel legal claim lacking."

"We have a number of precedents."

"The Nuremberg Trials. The Tokyo Trials." Another judge said, reading from a sheet. "Both over a thousand years old."

"Yes, but how better to set a new precedent?" Kim smiled and rose. "If I may address the court, I believe I can provide some supporting cases for my colleague. More recent ones."

"Really," Judge Foresyth said. "Go on."

"MacMillian vs. The Federated Suns. The SLDF War Crimes Tribunals, both held after the surrender of Taurus to the Star League. In the first, Colonel MacMillian, after defending against a Federated Suns regiment, was tried and sentenced to death for banditry, as were his subordinates. Just over four hundred Concordat officers and officials were tried by the SLDF and sentenced to a variety of punishments including death." He paused. "Waging aggressive war against the legitimate Star League and the peace of the galaxy" popped up, here and there."

"You're citing the Star League?" Sandy asked.

"Well, it's rather similar, isn't it? They won back then, and had us in their power, just as we have Max in our power. Your Honors, there is no "crime against peace" in our law books. War and violence are, regrettably, legitimate tools of statecraft. Attempting to create a category of crimes against peace is to follow in the footsteps of the Star League, where "crime" is simply a codeword, for "what we want." If we desire such a criminal charge to exist, then it needs to be encoded into our laws, not introduced by the prosecution."

"I am inclined to agree with you. I'm afraid the state is going to have to find something else."

"Yes, Your Honor." Sandy didn't quite glare at Kim.

She's not dumb. It had been a longshot, but it'd play very well in the upcoming elections.

"Now as to the states' charges of murder, I'd like to have them dismissed. Maximilian Liao was operating as a head of state, and we do not charge heads of state with murder for military actions. While the civilian deaths were a monstrosity, they were caused by the actions of his agent, and unless you want to set a precedent that every leader is guilty of everything their subordinates do…"

"The question of Sovereign Immunity does not rise in this case," Sandy said.

"Why not?" Kim asked. He had a feeling he knew the answer, but there was always a hope Sandy had missed it.

Not likely. Sandy was ambitious, not dumb.

"The Capellan constitution includes provisions that the Capellan state will never go to war save against those who endanger it."

Not that they ever held to that. Kim thought, but Sandy had a good argument.

"At the time of the attack, we were at peace with them, and the Liaos, including Maximilian, had claimed that border violations were not under his control. And the Capellan legal code includes provisions forbidding any official from engaging in offensive actions without either a declaration of war, or to stop an imminent attack and states that those who fail to follow this law shall be treated as criminals." She paused, and smiled. "Maximilian Liao, did not, before or at any point after the attack, take any action to inform his people, or us, that a state of war existed. While he had the official authority to take such an action, the fact remains that he never did, and the Capellan legal code, officially, does not give the Chancellor immunity to their laws, merely because he is the Chancellor."

"So you are claiming that by the Liao's own law code…"

"His own actions eliminated any possible claim of sovereign immunity."

"Defense?"

Kim opened his mouth, but it was for show. Sandy was right, and even if she hadn't been, the court wasn't about to accept the argument that sovereign immunity trumped everything. Still, it was nice that Sandy had given them the out. But they had a lot more stuff to get through, and the preliminary hearings were due to last for at least three more days.

It needed to be done right, and it wasn't as if—

"Sirs?" The bailiff looked up from his earbud. "The detention center is requesting a recess."

"For what reason?"

"The defendant destroyed the video monitor and is now having an, ah… frothing fit."

"Very well, we'll reconvene once the hookup is fixed, and this time, I suggest it be placed outside the detention chamber."

"Yes, Your Honor."

"Playing for the camera, Sandy?" Kim asked, as they put their papers back together.

"At least I don't have to worry about lynch mobs," Sandy said. "Seriously, sovereign immunity?"

"I wasn't going to get it all, but I was trying for the military personnel."

Sandy whistled. "Kim, are you going to relocate to Terra, because outside of your client, you might be the most hated man on the planet right now."

"If everyone likes a defense attorney, he's doing something wrong," Kim said.


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