Home inContext Get Real, Omar

Get Real, Omar

Samara Greenberg

Osama bin Laden’s adult sons released a statement Tuesday in which they criticize President Obama and threaten to take legal action against the U.S. for the killing of their father if the questions they pose are not answered.

The statement, provided to the New York Times, asks why bin Laden “was not arrested and tried in a court of law” as well as why his family outside of Saudi Arabia was “not contacted to receive his dead body.” It also requests proof of bin Laden’s death and a UN investigation into the circumstances of his death.

“Failure to answer these questions,” the statement concludes, “will force us to go to International forum for justice such as International Criminal Court and International Court of Justice…. A panel of eminent British and international lawyers is being constituted and a necessary action may be taken if no answers are furnished within 30 days of this statement.” The statement was reportedly prepared by Omar bin Laden, the al-Qaeda leader’s fourth eldest son.

Omar bin Laden

Omar bin Laden cannot be serious; threatening to go to an international court is plain ridiculous. The U.S. can certainly make a strong case that killing the world’s most wanted terrorist was legal. According to Gabor Rona of Human Rights First: “Assuming the existence of an armed conflict against al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden was targetable unless he was surrendering or so injured as to no longer be apparently capable of engaging in hostilities.” Since bin Laden declared war on the U.S., and thus an armed conflict existed, and reportedly did not surrender during the raid on his compound, it can be argued that he was a military target that the U.S. could legally take out.

Of course, now that he’s dead, Omar and the bin Laden clan are quick to quote American laws and threaten to take the U.S. to court. But if Omar was so interested in justice, why, over the last decade, did he not outwardly advocate bringing his father and al-Qaeda members to justice in an international or U.S. court? Indeed, this is a classic case of trying to use U.S. laws against the country and it is absurd.