United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet has condemned President Donald Trump’s decision to pardon two American servicemen and offer clemency to a third.
Bachelet’s spokesman Rupert Colville said in a statement on Tuesday that the decisions by Trump were violations of international law.
“The full pardons in two cases, and the order directing promotion in the third case, run against the letter and the spirit of international law which requires accountability for such violations,” the spokesman said.
Trump pardoned Army First Lieutenant Clint Lorance and Army Major Mathew Golsteyn on Friday and the restored the rank Navy Seal Edward Gallagher, who was recently demoted following acquittal of murder charges.
The pardon terminating pending criminal proceedings in the case of Major Mathew Golsteyn is “particularly troubling, as it cuts short the regular judicial process,” the spokesman added.
Golsteyn had been set to stand trial for an allegedly killing of a detained terrorist bomb-maker in Afghanistan, reportedly due to fear the prisoner would continue to threaten American troops.
Lorance was convicted earlier on charges that he ordered his men to shoot three men on a motorcycle speeding in their direction.
Lorance served more than six years of a 19-year sentence for the 2012 incident in Afghanistan.
Gallagher had been demoted following a July conviction for posing in a photo with the body of a dead terrorist during a 2017 deployment in Iraq but cleared of murder charges stemming from the fighter’s fatal stabbing.
The UN spokesman’s statement said the pardons send a disturbing signal to military forces all around the world.
“While pardons exist in international law, and can properly address issues of injustice or unfairness, in the present cases no circumstances have been advanced to suggest anything other than simply voiding the otherwise proper process of law in the cases,” the spokesman said.
Victims of gross human rights violations and serious violations of international humanitarian law have the right to a remedy, the spokesman added.