Monday, February 9, 2015


Bjorn read through Maria's comment once more. "That's just stupid," he thought. "Who do these guys think they are?" He chuckled at the very idea of bringing the foreign minister to trail in Lundby. But then, remembering that the foreign minister owned one of the luxury apartments down by the fjord, he realized that he could indeed become somewhat inconvenienced if he had a feud with the locals. Such a feud might make it difficult or impossible to use his apartment.

Bjorn clicked on the link to the case Maria was referencing, curious to know what the minister was charged with, and why Maria was defending the man. "It might all be nonsense, of course," Bjorn thought. "But even if it was, it would surely reveal something interesting about the village, and the sort of things they might one day be up to."

Bjorn half expected some local issue being presented to him, but was not surprised when he saw that the case against the foreign minister was related to the war in Libya, and had nothing to do with Lundby. A large number of Libyan individuals had signed up as plaintiffs against the minister, charging him of mass murder. The plaintiffs sought retribution for the death of their loved ones, all killed during the Libyan war.

The list of names of victims was long. More than two hundred names to be exact, all documented with names, dates of birth, pictures and a description of how and when they met their untimely end. Bjorn clicked on a few links, and some of the images coming up were truly horrific. Some of the victims had been burned alive in the firestorm caused by the bombs dropped on them. And many of the victims were clearly civilians. Children and babies were listed among them.

The case against the foreign minister was not some quick hack. It was detailed and extensive. And with so many civilians among the victims, the call for retribution seemed entirely reasonable, all be it a little far fetched. Political figures are generally immune against this kind of charges, after all. Certainly if the victims can be described as collateral damage, unintended deaths in the heat of battle.

But, reading through Maria's comments, Bjorn was surprised to find that Maria's defense of the minister was not based on the idea that the deaths were simply regrettable consequences of war. Not a single place did Maria argue that the fact that these victims died during a war, made the case invalid. Rather, she argued that the foreign minister was innocent because he had not in fact killed anyone. He had given an order to kill, but he had not killed anyone himself.

Bjorn was baffled by the argument, but it made perfect sense. Maria pointed out that the law of the Fifth Empire does not include the concept of authority. Following orders is no defense. And the flip side of this is that giving orders is not a crime. "Any psychopath can order the execution of people," Maria argued. "But the crime lies not in the order. It lies in its execution. Bring us the executioners, and we will judge them according to their crime."

Maria closed the case by asking the plaintiffs to list the names of the pilots, and bring the charges against them rather than the foreign minister, because they were in fact the murderers. Only when the correct defendants were identified would she consider opening the case again.

"But how do we know who killed whom?" asked one of the plaintiffs, as he objected to Maria's position. "That is entirely unimportant," she answered. "All we need to know is whether or not they flew to Libya with the intent to drop their deadly cargo. If they did, then clearly some sort of retribution is warranted, even if we never get to know the exact link between the victims and the executioners."

There were several objections to Maria's position on the legal status of authority, but she met every objection with the argument that the Fifth Empire is based on the fact that each man is equal, and that no godly authority exist between men. "Authority can take no responsibility off of the backs of the perpetrators, and the authority figure is therefore innocent," Maria argued. "Being evil and saying evil is not a crime. Only doing evil is a crime. To say that certain people have more responsibility than others due to their social standing is to assume the existence of authority as a legal entity. No such entity exists, and hence this rule applies to all, no matter their social standing."

The argument that all other legal systems known to man consider authority to be a legal entity was met by a short rebuttal to the effect that this merely shows that those systems are not valid in the empire. "We all live directly under God, whether we like it or not," Maria noted. "No man is above any other in any matter whatsoever. The fact that some men are wiser than others, do not change this. Men do not form legal hierarchies among themselves, even if one is wise and the other is a fool. We must all take full responsibility for our own actions. We must all adhere to the Golden Rule, the one and only law of the empire. And that implies that there is no such thing as authority in the legal sense of the word."

No comments:

Post a Comment