CNN reports that Joran van der Sloot, the Dutch man suspected in the 2005 disappearance of Natalee Holloway has sued the Chilean government for more than $13 million, alleging his human rights were violated when Chile extradited him last year to Peru to face charges in the death of a Peruvian woman.
Van der Sloot, 24, is accused of killing 21-year-old Stephany Flores in his Lima hotel room last year. Police say he took money and bank cards from her wallet and fled to Chile, where he was arrested a few days later. The trial is set to begin in January, 2012.
The 13-page lawsuit says an international arrest warrant had not been filed against van der Sloot, but he was arrested by Chilean authorities anyway. The lawsuit further alleges that van der Sloot was not given enough time to appeal his expulsion from Chile, and that that failure was a violation of his basic human rights.
Okay – first the idea of universal human rights. They don’t exist, if they were real and meaningful, then every country would have them, no questions, no dependant on population numbers or cost effectiveness and not conditional on the form of government and calibre of religion in any region.
Most of the 7 billion people in the world do not have a concept of human rights, because their lives are not their own. They belong to their families, their tribes, their warlord or their religious lord.
Human rights only mean something when individual humans matter – when the individual is the social unit of consequence and they are able to make decisions and choices about their lives, unencumbered by traditions, families, tribes, religions or governments.
While the evidence against der Sloot is not sufficient in the Holloway case, it is more than sufficient in the Flores case. He was captured on video with her. He is the last person who saw her alive and he had her credit cards.
Der Sloot has no respect for human life, so his claims about his human rights being universal and violated, does not pass the smell test.
First because what rights you have are entirely dependent on which country you are located within at a given time – legally and technically and in reality.
Second because, you cannot claim that there are universal human rights and mean it, when you have failed to respect the most basic of human rights – the right to exist.
If you can’t respect that right to exist for other people, then there’s no merit to any claims for lesser rights, like due process.