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Serious violations of applicable international laws of war are regarded as war crimes. Anyone accused of these crimes is liable for trial under national and international legislations. Ill treatment, including torture, together with the killing and/or murder of prisoners of war, is one of the serious war crimes that would lead to indictment of the perpetrators. Accusations against Dick Cheney's conduct in regard to "certifying" the torture of detainees held in Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and elsewhere are weighty and in violation of international law as set out by the Geneva Conventions.
Allegations of these violations against Cheney began as far back as 2005 by members of the Bush administration. As reported Wilkerson, Mr. Cheney "in an internal administration debate over whether to abide by the Geneva Convention in the treatment of detainees", stood his ground by leading the position of "doing away with all restrictions" (Borger, 2005). With this stand it meant that all methods, in spite of them being unethical and in violations of international legislation in addition to national laws, could be applied in extracting information from tshe prisoners. Unfortunate for the already incarcerated prisoners of war on whom they were to be inflicted upon. The national laws have outlawed the use of water boarding for any purpose, including interrogation of crucial detainees, among other terrible and crude methods of inhuman nature.
The fact that Mr. Cheney allowed this to be conducted on his account, with the full knowledge on the penalty incurred of such crime under the law of the country, is a serious disregard for not only the international laws but also his own country's law. Dick Cheney's own admission of personal responsibility in signing off the atrocious program on the prisoners is a justification for trial. He says, "'I was aware of the [torture] program, certainly, and involved in helping the process cleared'" (Writechic, 2011). Having undertaken such responsibility upon himself, for the country's sake has been viewed by some as an heroic act. Many have suggested that Mr. Cheney deserves praise rather than criticism and the many propositions for trial.
As a public office holder, upholding of the values and ideals embraced by the national legislations was to be his chief duty which seems to have held little regard to the former Vice President. Such inhuman treatment should not be inflicted on any prisoner in spite of the gravity of their actions as reflected by the general guidelines accepted by all nations around the world. Any perpetrator of such war crimes has to face appropriate trial processes in set up courts whose jurisdiction the war crimes fall in. the former vice president Dick Cheney should be tried on account of his personal responsibility in signing off the inhuman and brutal treatment of detainees. Responsibility cannot be shifted to the Bush administration by any claim or statements denoting that he was working under the command of his senior or advice from other important members of the administration. The fact that he personally authorized the cruel torture methods gives good reason for Mr. Cheney to face trial for his action.
War crimes of the same nature are legally destined to the International Criminal Court (ICC) under international law, located in the Netherland city called Hague. The ICC prosecutes crimes against humanity on the basis of personal responsibility as stipulated by the Rome statute. United States is however just an observer of the ICC, having not ratified the treaty, and thus Cheney as a US citizen can not face trial at the court in this regard. Another angle of the international law states that the detainees and victims of such treatment from countries under the jurisdiction of The Hague court can apply for trial against Mr. Cheney as an individual irrespective of his US citizenship. The constitutional laws of the country have clearly outline guidelines on such crimes. It should not be left to the international court to try the former president as national law can be appropriately applied in hearing and judging his case or in the creation of a tribunal as applicable to the case. It would be considered imperative to that the country upholds its national laws and not leave the legal matter to the ICC.
The setting up of a "war crimes tribunal" within the jurisdiction of the country would be a most appropriate setting in judging Mr. Cheney's involvement in these crimes committed against other humans (Writechic, 2011). This will further serve to bring to justice other perpetrators who have not yet been identified. Having been initiated by a preceding administration further makes it an apt decision to act fittingly in ensuring any trial on the matter is dealt within the country. It would make certain confidential details are not revealed to external institutions, subsequently compromising national security. President Obama has been called to convene such a tribunal from many sections of the society including international community. Acting in this regard would be an assurance of the country's fair administration of justice to all. In spite of his former post, Mr. Cheney should face a trial within the country, where he can be further assured of justice.
Philosophy provides perspectives into a matter bringing into focus many more options than seen at first. Hannah Arendt's views on criminal injustices committed against other humans reflect the unique positions that Mr. Cheney's situation may take. She postulates that no form of punishment or penalty has enough power to deter and prevent the occurrence of commission of these inhuman (McGowan, 1998). The presence of the international and national laws in this case did not prevent the administration officials in committing the atrocious breach of the same laws they should have upheld. On the same point, the law could only stipulate to Mr. Cheney that it was wrong to allow the use of unconventional interrogation methods and the fact that his authorization meant taking personal responsibility on all legal consequences arising from its breach. Legal penalties and punishment mandated on violation of the laws are viewed by the philosopher as not being of benefit in stopping the breaching of the laws, despite of the tough nature they may portray (McGowan, 1998).
Laws may not be able to prevent crimes but greatly aid in reducing the frequency of these crimes. If found guilty by the convened courts, Mr. Cheney and others, will have to face the stipulated penalties, as projected by the constitution. Punishment cannot be foregone, as indicated by Arendt; as such action would likely deter the course of justice. Arendt's view goes on to suggest once a given crime has "appeared for the first time", the chances for its reappearance are higher (McGowan, 1998). War crimes against the prisoners and detainees held in Guantanamo and other similar institutions for the incarceration of terrorists and prisoners of war, are in essence more likely to be committed by other succeeding administrations, following in Mr. Cheney's steps. This position is logical and reflects how administrations normally react when faced with situations similar to preceding administrations irrespective of party affiliations. Lack of any action concerning the possible trial of Mr. Cheney would further give excuse for commission of such horrendous decisions in future, all in the name of national security. Such would create a potential environment fomenting the reemergence of comparable crimes by the country's administration official as projected by Arendt.