Actually, no

Let’s cut through that and state what really happened: when  Ben Ali was in power Switzerland held his money without question being asked or concern as to its reputation. Now he’s out of power they changed their tune. There’s a word for that and hypocrisy is not good enough.

It\’s an offshoot of sovereign immunity.

When someone is the de jure Head of State they enjoy such immunity. While this is more normally thought of as their being free from the risk of being sued or arrested, this does extend outwards to what is arguably or not their personal property.

When they\’re not the de jure Head of State then they do not have such protections.

So Ben Ali, when in power (international law does not distinguish about how he got into power: once he\’s accepted as the de jure HoS that\’s it, Castro being protected just as much, when President, as Ben Ali), just as Mubarak, had his Swiss bank accounts protected. When he\’s not in said legal position, he doesn\’t.

Switzerland\’s actions therefore are not hypocrisy nor even anything worse. They\’re called \”obeying international law\”.

Then again, Ritchie does have problems with this concept of international law, as his recent insistence that we must change the tax law of the Bahamas, a fully independent state, shows.

2 comments on “Actually, no

  1. Ritchie has problems with law of any sort, when it happens to differ from his personal opinion.

  2. I just don’t think this is right, Tim, though i don’t think Richie is either.

    being head of state doesn’t give you this kind of immunity, de facto, de jure or any other way. if they have them, Mugabe’s bank accounts are sanctioned, so are whossname’s from Burma, and either castro brother, at least in the US.

    I think it’s just there’s a great reluctance to do foreign policy this way: you couldn’t have blocked Mubarak’s accounts a month ago and kept diplomatic relations with Egypt. Now you can.

    Think about Ghaddafi – we hold our nose and do business with him, till the minute we can afford not to. That may be hypocrisy, but it’s also diplomacy, done in the national interest.

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