Some lawyers earn their juicy headlines by representing pop-culture-icons-turned-murderers.
Others beef-up their brand name by defending the rich and infamous.
And some lawyers simply accuse Barack Obama of perpetrating unspeakable war crimes.
Little-known Spanish lawyer Daniel Fiol has lodged a complaint with the International Criminal Court accusing Obama of crimes against humanity, according to the UK’s The Daily Telegraph.
The complaint alleges that the May assassination of Osama bin Laden was a violation of both the Geneva Conventions and Pakistani sovereignty. Fiol clarified his position by stating bin Laden should have instead stood trial for “some terrible and appalling atrocities,” and then went on to awkwardly joke about definitely not being on Al Qaeda’s payroll.
It’s not unheard of for Spanish legal figures to take on top officials of other countries through the framework of universal jurisdiction, but this attempt is quite a reach. There is none of the kind of damning evidence that characterizes, for instance, Bush-era torture and abuses of power, and the complaint comes off more like an ideological publicity stunt than the product of sound reasoning.
Fiol’s argument is a weak legal charge on par with quickly forgotten “Obama is a war criminal” nuggets like those made by Ralph Nader (over Iraq) or the African National Congress Youth League (over Libya).
If Fiol really wanted his claims to snag a lot of attention, he should have just written that Obama was acting like a very specific war criminal.