Dan Mori’s Castan Centre talk on targeted killings [video]

moriFrom 2003 to 2007, Dan Mori (often known by his first name, Michael or Major Mori) represented Australian Guantanamo Bay detainee, David Hicks. The Castan Centre was proud to have former Lieutenant Colonel Mori give the keynote address at our recent human rights gala in October 2012.

In the twenty minute video below, Mr Mori talks about the “mainstreaming of executive directed killings”. He argued that “extrajudicial killings” – any killings that happen outside of the law – and “targeted killings” – which happen in war and can be lawful or unlawful – were not precise enough terms. According to Mr Mori, “executive directed killings” captures the heart of the issue: a member of the executive branch of government making a factual determination – using a self-imposed standard – to assassinate a person.

Drawing upon the Nuremberg trials, Mr Mori suggested that the global community has gone backwards with regards to the insistence on trials for war criminals and the rule of law. Even the response to the massacre at the 1972 Munich Olympics, although it involved assassinations, had to be a covert operation, simply because the world would not accept overt “executive directed killings”. There was a tacit understanding that whilst such covert government operations might be necessary, anyone caught in one would face prosecution.

Mr. Mori argued that the September 11 attacks and the subsequent War on Terror, changed this assumption. Now, he said, when a member of Hamas was assassinated in a hotel room in Dubai, there was more outrage over the use of faked Western passports than over the killing itself. He finished his speech by calling on lawyers to show integrity and courage by focusing closely on the issue of “executive directed killings”. Quoting his former commandant, Mr. Mori said that courage consisted of “watching out for the oppressed, speaking up for the weak, taking a stand against injustice and doing so at your own expense.”

After Hicks’ transfer to Australia in 2007, Mr. Mori continued to serve in the Marines in California and Iraq while being promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He is retiring from the Marines following his recent assignment as a Military Judge in Hawaii. He recently moved to Australia with his family and now calls Melbourne home.

Watch the video on Youtube here.

Castan Centre

The Castan Centre for Human Rights Law seeks to promote and protect human rights through the generation and dissemination of public scholarship in international and domestic human rights law. In pursuit of this mission, the Centre brings the work of human rights scholars, practitioners and advocates from a wide range of disciplines together in the Centre’s key activities of research, teaching, public education (lectures, seminars, conferences, speeches, media presentations, etc), applied research, advice work and consultancies.

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