Friday, 1 July 2011

Strauss-Kahn - the good news for British justice

There may be some knock-on benefits for the British justice system from the heavy-handed treatment of Dominique Strauss-Kahn in New York.
According to The New York Times it looks very much as though the prosecution case that the former French-born IMF chief tried to rape a hotel maid is about to fall apart.
Sexual assault is a serious offence and the NYPD was right to arrest Strauss-Kahn and investigate the allegations regardless of his prominence.
However what followed, in European eyes at least, suggested the New York authorities considered their man was as good as guilty from the start.
The French were horrified in particular at the way Strauss-Kahn was paraded in handcuffs and subjected to the so-called perp walk.
He was obliged to resign his IMF position but if he is exonerated the next time he returns to the US, it may be as his country’s president. An election is due in 2012 and Strauss-Kahn could still stand as France's Socialist candidate against the incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy.
In Britain there has been growing disquiet at the uneven nature of the Anglo-American extradition treaty Labour – always flaky on civil liberties – signed with the Bush government in 2003.
In the aftermath of 9/11 it was viewed as part of the war on terror but has been used by the American authorities to extradite British business people - and who are still chasing hacker Gary McKinnon.
A much greater burden of proof is required to extradite Americans to Britain than vice versa. So much so that last year the Coalition’s Home Secretary Theresa May invited senior judge Sir Scott Baker to examine Britain’s extradition agreement with the US to see if changes are required.
His report is expected in the next few months. The treatment of Strauss-Kahn will not have escaped his notice. Few Brits the US justice system gets in its sights will have the same financial resources as Strauss-Kahn.
As for the case itself, I'll comment on only one aspect. It seems unlikely – but I grant not impossible – that the woman at the centre of the rape claim would have finished cleaning rooms before reporting the attack.


  1. The 'contraversial' treatment of Strauss-Kahn after his arrest, has no relevance to the 'unbalanced' extradition treaty that the British gov voluntarialy entered into with the USA authorities; unless one is prepared to openly state that one believes that the whole of the USA justice system is inferior to and less just than its UK and European counterparts; and that those extradited to the USA will not/never get a fair trial.

  2. I suggeat you revisit your blog of 16/05/11- "If
    the French press had done its job . . .".

  3. ...where I wrote: "There must be a presumption of innocence for the charges DSK faces in the US unless it can be shown otherwise." No one disputesthe IMF boss wanted sex with a hotel maid. The question is was it consensual?


What do you think? GC