• Member Since 25th Dec, 2011
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Dan The Man


"An author is someone who is not quite smart enough to quit writing." - Günther Grass

T

A lawyer doesn't always want to know what really happened. It's a tightrope walk. Whether or not the lawyer believes in his client's innocence is not the issue. It's his duty to defend his client - no more and no less.
— Ferdinand von Schirach

Proofreading done by Dancing Mop, Sevenofeleven, Setokaiva and N4.
Credit for many images goes to N4.

Now also featured on TvTropes.org!

Nearly one year has passed since Australian pilots discovered Equestria in the middle of the Indian Ocean.

Now the world watches in awe as, with the Princesses' blessings, one of the most ferocious and dangerous tyrants of the equine world - none other than Chrysalis, the Queen of all Changelings - is marched before one of the highest courts of law of the human world - the International Criminal Court in The Hague, the Netherlands.

But the Queen is wrathful and determined, still one of the planet's single most powerful creatures.
How can mere humans, who know next to nothing of her mystical home, achieve justice for the Equestrians?

Alexander Estermann is a conceited defence attorney who will have to wade through a quagmire of vengeance, racism, manipulation, lies, hearsay and self-deception to get to the core of the affair.
Seemingly the whole world is working against him - up and including the Queen herself.

Rated teen for liberal swearing and gore for minor gory descriptions and pictures.

Disclaimer: This is not a story that is meant to reflect reality. Several things about international law have been changed to accomodate the scenario and make it, well, readable. If that should offend you for any reason, I wish to apologise in advance.

Chapters (36)
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Comments ( 539 )

Nearly one year has passed since Australian pilots discovered Equestria in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

I'm not seeing it

upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7c/Ocean_dumping_of_radioactive_waste_in_Pacific_Ocean.png

Well... that escalated quickly.

Comment posted by MoonriseUnicorn deleted Nov 16th, 2014

5277341 I agree, but would it be different if Equestria was in the UN? Idk law.

This story makes absolutely no sense from any kind of international legal standpoint. Her crimes were against Equestria and only against Equestria, and yet she's standing trial in the human international criminal court? Any first year law student would have this case thrown out and kicked back to Equestria within the first day based on the simple legal fact that the international criminal court has no jurisdiction to try the case.

Seriously, do at least a token amount of research on international criminal law before you start writing something like this.

5277369
Sorry, I accidentally deleted my comment and had to re-post it.

But to answer your question, no, it wouldn't make a difference. The international criminal court primarily exists to deal with cases that cross multiple national borders. Basically, cases where it isn't clear which country has jurisdiction to bring the case to trial. From what's been said in the story so far, this doesn't apply.

Other than the fact that the international criminal court has no jurisdiction to try the case, there's no logical reason why Equestria would have turned it over to them to begin with. Her crimes were against Equestria, and it's natural and logical (and legally correct) that Equestria is where she would stand trial for those crimes.

5277341
Actually, it is a legal limbo (and an important plot point later on). The Rome Statute applies to every country that has signed and ratified it, and does not explicitly bar states that are either non-human or non-earthly from becoming state parties. And seeing how Equestria voluntarily became such a state party, and (in this story at least) Chrysalis did what she did on Equestrian soil (on which she lays claim, effectively making her changelings a civil war party), that would make her accountable for every such crime she committed since 2002.

Long story short, it's a purely theoretical case.
Were something like Equestria to happen in real life, I am sure it would entail all sorts of radical changes to international law, up and including the structure and jurisdiction of the ICC.

Also, artistic license. Because it's a story.

5277421
Sorry, I accidentally deleted my original comment. (I had some weird problems getting it to post at all.)

It's not a gray area. Not at all. The international criminal court has no jurisdiction to try a case like this because it does not cross international lines. The ICC primarily exists to deal with cases where it's unclear which country has jurisdiction to try the case because the crime crosses too many national borders. An example would be sex crimes against children in the Roman Catholic Church, which the ICC does have jurisdiction to prosecute (although probably will not actually do so), because the Vatican cover-up of those crimes harmed children in multiple countries all over the world, leaving an enormous mess as to which countries could potentially file criminal charges against Vatican officials. But again, Chrysalis' crimes don't cross international lines. So basically, it's highly unlikely the ICC would have even agreed to take the case. And again even if they did agree to take it, a first year law student would have it thrown out the first day and kicked back to Equestrian court.

Effectively, the changelings in this story can be most closely compared to domestic terrorists, or a paramilitary militia or something along those lines, which means it's clearly within the jurisdiction of the Equestrian legal system to try the case, and the ICC has no jurisdiction over it, and would refuse to accept the case even if asked due to lack of jurisdiction.

Also, artistic license isn't an excuse for not doing any research first.

Also there's no such thing as retroactive effect of the law. If crime is committed before it's legally announced as a crime it doesn't apply. If I stole something before stealing was legally announced as a crime you can't punish me for it. Stuff not forbidden is allowed by default.

Since Chrysalis committed said actions before Equestria joined UN she cannot be held responsible before UN. None of the UN laws also apply to her because Changeling Kingdom is not part of it thus never agreed to follow UN rules, nor it was a recognized country during the events of the wedding and before that and neither was Equestria. It's no grey area, it's clearly out of UN/human competence.

5277456 So what about, say, the trials of William Samoei Ruto and Joshua Arap Sang for their roles in the 2007 Kenyan Crisis?
One of many examples of crimes that did not cross national borders...

Also, the Catholic church is not a state (the Holy See is, but that's irrelevant), and paedophilia is not a crime covered in the Rome Statute.
I believe you're thinking more along the lines of Crossing Lines.

5277476
The difference is that these are high-level government officials charged with crimes against humanity who cannot be prosecuted effectively under the laws of their own country because they basically ARE the law in the country they are from. In that case, the ICC can get involved because it is impossible for justice to be served locally when the perpetrators of the crimes are the ruling officials themselves.

The problem is you haven't established any compelling reason here why this case should be tried in the ICC instead of in Equestrian court. William Samoei Ruto and Joshua Arap Sang doesn't apply here because unlike Kenya, Equestria is fully capable of trying Chrysalis on their own.

Also, you haven't established any compelling reason why Equestria would even WANT to turn over the prosecution of Chrysalis to humans, given that the crimes she committed were against ponies, not humans.

5277476
Oh yeah, Pedophilia is not specifically mentioned in the Rome statute, no. But the ICC can prosecute international organized sex crimes. In fact, there have been calls for the ICC to prosecute Vatican officials. although once again, it is unlikely that they actually will.

5277473
That's a very good point too. The ICC cannot retroactively prosecute a crime like they are doing in this story, once again, making it clearly a crime within Equestria's jurisdiction. There's no gray area here at all.

5277561
I really do not want to discuss such a subject now, but it's ludicrous to suggest that the Catholic church organised it.
5277473 But I kindly ask you not to condemn this story merely on the basis of inaccuracies. I am not a lawyer, and if I had intended to write a non-fiction story, I probably wouldn't have included ponies. :applejackunsure:

5278159
I'm not suggesting the catholic church organized it. I don't think they did. But they most certainly DID cover it up. That much is abundantly clear. They knew it was going on and quietly reassigned guilty priests instead of turning them in. That, by itself, is a serious crime. It is a crime to knowingly cover up the sexual abuse of children. it is a crime to know that a child is being sexually abused, and not report it. That's the crime that Vatican officials engaged in. They knew the abuse was going on, and they covered it up and didn't report it to authorities.

As far as bashing the story on the basis of inaccuracies, the problem is that your entire story premise is based around an inaccuracy. it's based around a legal impossibility. So it's not like it's a minor inaccuracy here that has no relevant bearing on the overall story. It's an inaccuracy that renders your entire story implausible.

You don't have to be a lawyer, but you ARE expected to do a little bit of research on topics that are going to be a central part of your story to make sure you can at least talk about them without gross inaccuracies that undermine your entire story. And that's the problem here, this inaccuracy is so fundamental to the concept of your story, that it undermines your entire story to the point where it simply doesn't work.

5278159
You've got another serious problem too. Other than the fact that the human ICC has no jurisdiction to try the case, the timeline here doesn't work. Ponies and changelings have only had contact with humans for a very short time. Less than two years if my math is correct. That raises several problems for you:

#1: Celestia isn't going to trust humans well enough to join the UN yet.

#2: Celestia certainly isn't going to trust humans well enough yet to let them try one of Equestria's most wanted criminals.

#3: The UN isn't even going to know what to do about the first non-human species yet as far as admission to the UN.

#4: Any first year law student is going to successfully argue that there's absolutely no way that Chrysalis can get a fair trial in a human court, given that humans have only had contact with changelings for less than two years.

Again, there are so many flaws with this story premise that it doesn't work on any level. The timeline doesn't work. There's no rationale or logic behind the decisions that either Celestia or the humans make. And there's no legal basis for the decisions that either Celestia or the humans make. Sorry to sound mean, but literally nothing about this story works.

The price of carelessness. This was just stupid.

5278159
I am not trying to be hostile mind you. Don't take it as such.
I am not a lawyer myself, I just happened to study some laws and ways of their application as part of my engineering degree (so I'll know what legal issues I might run into in case of stuff going terribly wrong).

5278212
We also have to assume that Chrysalis here is Equestria's criminal and NOT a leader of sovereign nation known as, say, Changeling Kingdom. And lack of disguise-less changelings in the pony cities (according to the show) heavily implies that they are not Equestria's citizens by any chance. Damn she's even called QUEEN Chrysalis for a reason. And in this case, the entire tribunal is downright illegal from the very beginning.
I am fairly sure Equestria had no peace treaty with changelings, and I am sure even more that Equestria and surroundings aren't advanced enough to have any sort of international laws which forbid acts of military aggression, regulate the way POWs are treated and that fancy stuff UN has. Even more so, this story by itself stands on the ground of Equestria+neighbors having no such laws else they wouldn't have needed UN help to resolve the issue.
So we'd have a funny situation where it's legal for Equestria to form up a counterattack against the changeling's %country_name% and openly assault them. Since formally there's no laws against it to begin with which works both ways. But instead Equestria calls out for UN help to... help it defeat its geopolitical opponent no less (since presenting Chrysalis as a criminal does exactly this realistically speaking). Then Equestria even tries to use retroactive effect of the law to convict its enemy which looks downright bad IMO.
Doesn't this go into the territory of misusing UN's functions? Wouldn't it make more sense for UN to investigate the issue and send out peacekeepers to prevent conflict from escalation instead of blindly following the statements only one of the sides made?

5278690
I'd actually disagree that Equestria and surroundings aren't advanced enough to have any sort of international laws or regulate the way POWs are treated. From a moral, ethical, and social standpoint, I consider Equestria to be far more advanced than humanity. And I consider them to be light-years ahead of an uncivilized nation like the United States. (Why I consider the United States to be an uncivilized nation is a topic for another time.) We've also seen international diplomacy at work in canon with Saddle Arabia, for example. Personally, I think Equestria would see humanity as a technologically advanced, but socially, morally, and ethically very primitive species that has a long way to go towards enlightenment.)

But also, this method of dealing with the "enemies" of Equestria is simply against Celestia's MO. More than likely, she'd deal with Chrysalis the same way she dealt with Discord. She'd probably give her a chance to reform instead of just turning her over the UN for criminal prosecution. We've seen from canon that Celestia is very big on offering second, third, and even fourth chances. Turning Chrysalis over to the UN is grossly out of character.

Regarding peacekeepers, I think I can safely say that given there have been less than two years of contact between humanity and Equestria, there is absolutely NO way that Celestia would allow UN peacekeepers into Equestria at this point in time. In fact, I don't think she'd allow it even if she did trust humanity more. After all, it's not like Equestria is some third-world country that is in need of peacekeepers. Equestria is more than capable of keeping its own peace. In fact, the human world would do well to learn from Equestria when it comes to keeping peace and learning how to solve problems without violence. UN peacekeepers in Equestria makes less sense than even UN peacekeepers in America would.

5278773
Yeah, I stand corrected there, you have a point in regards to politics and diplomacy. Even more so in regards to Equestria's apparent superior system of handling enemies and keeping the peace.

However, I think we both can agree that UN and human in general involvement goes against the logic. Granted we see different reasons for it but still there's like no point for Chrysalis to answer before ICC for what she had done. I mean what can human "justice" do? Throw her in a cell for a lifetime or do a special exception and execute her?
While Celestia and her spec ops team (aka Mane 6) indeed proved to be capable of turning most hopeless enemies into friends no less (albeit not without problems XD ).

5278819
I agree. That's pretty much the main problem with this story. There's simply no logical basis for the decisions made either by Celestia or by the humans, nor is there any legal basis for them.

As far as what the ICC could do, nothing that Equestria couldn't do themselves. Also, the ICC does not have a death penalty, in accordance with international human rights standards. As far as we can tell, Equestria has no death penalty either. (The fact that the United States does, is one of the reasons I don't consider the United States to be a civilized nation, especially given that even by human standards, the death penalty is against modern international human rights standards.)

Yeah, Celestia and her "spec ops" team have proven to be capable, even though they've had some problems. Although I'd argue they've been a lot more successful than the United States has been. After all, look at Iraq. We managed to take a secular nation that wasn't a threat to us, and turn it into hotbed of extremist terrorism.

holy luna it looks like you put some serious effort into this , i'll save this one for later then....

funny i should come to find a serious law/court fic after something that happened that i may need legal help with , don't suppose you're a good database for lawyer referrals by chance?.....

Umm, it's cool and all that you made a nifty mock up of a news article, but I almost can't read it. If it is important to the story, could you perhaps actually put in the text? Not to mention that the link could go down at any time, and basically break the chapter, if one could call this that.

5280479 Sorry for the inconvenience.
Fimfiction may not display the image at full size (for whatever reason), but you can select 'view image' to see it in full size yourself. Also, the link is fairly stable. It has held for a rather long time already.

Edit: Alright, I saw what you meant. I changed the link to something more inviting than Photobucket.

Okay, I fixed the image. The large version now is in the link of the header.

It could be worse, she could have been sent to GITMO.

Damn what an idiot... He knows magic exist, yet he dismiss her crimes as fiary tales... Shows just how much he understands about his client...and equestria... He clearly looks at this with Human eyes only... Trouble is... Chrysalis is far from Human..

Ha, illegal aliens for a millennia but no one interested enough to kick them out.

5329347 They are unable to have any evidence to back up the 'love stealing' claim, that's one of the main points he was trying to get across. The 'witnesses' could be anyone that's been traumatized by her appearance and (Probably) hate her.

Definitively following this story now.

5329481 Not to mention the fact that the ICC is essentially helping an absolute monarchy that controls the justice system. It's like them helping North Korea, IT WOULD NEVER HAPPEN! Who is going to wager that the equine judge will be kicked off because of prejudice?

5329628 Depends on how many connections the ponies make and support they get, there isn't a single system that isn't corrupt in some form and they probably can rouse up groups of supporters from various nations, countries and regions. (About the whole corrupted system thing, I'm not a pessimist or Misanthrope, I can't properly recognize most of my emotions so I have a largely pragmatic view of things.)

5329660 That's a good viewpoint. There are so few of you people.

5329851 There's probably plenty pragmatists out there, the only reason I even stated that I was pragmatic is because as soon as I say things like I did in my earlier comment everyone assumes I'm a pessimistic misanthrope.

5280494 Chrysallis is too strong here. She couldn't have taken out a UN MP guard.

5330568 Of course she could have. I was there. :raritywink:

Poor Alex is going to be in for a shock we think. Then again, Chrysalis will likely play him up, possibly enchanting him. There better be unicorn guards watching!
Keep going! ;)

5281161 aw man, it's already down. The site you're using probably doesn't allow hot links.
My original suggestion of posting the main article text still stands....

5333042 It is? Hraka! What's all this then?
I mean, I can see the BBC article just fine... Are you sure the link is down?
I'll fix it.

Edit: I'm sorry, Tsaukpaetra, but I'm afraid only you are getting an error - I can access the BBC article and link from any device and account.
I probably will post the text of the article below the picture so you can read it too, though.

Does anyone else maybe experience similar errors?

5330568 like shining armor? did she not just make most of them run away and danced with armor it took a human pilot to take her down

5333336 I came here from derpibooru seeing the newspaper. While I don't exactly disagree with Queen Chrysalis being judged ((bridgekeeper in the comments makes a good point. She is the sovereign ruler of another country and thus can't really be judged by anyone else other than her own nation. Otherwise the Equestrians would have to conquer the Changeling Kingdom to judge her)) I don't get one thing... how did she commit genocide? I mean wouldn't it makes sense that she keeps the victims in order to feed upon them? Wouldn't it make more sense for her NOT to kill the ponies and NOT commit genocide in favor of a long term plan?

Also I am greek and "Hellenic Pegasus Legion"... that sounds AWESOME!!!

tyrants

Okay first things first. Tyrant in the ancient greek meaning means "One who holds all the power". In the same sense you could say Celestia and Luna are benevolent Tyrants since they are the highest ranking and they do anything they want. In any case I will read the story and see for myself but I believe that someone who refers to her fellow changelings as "subject" can't really be such a jerk to them.

5281161 Also another Question:The invasion of Canterlot wasn't the first one? Huh... I don't know about that but it seemed like the first one to me. Except of course if she went back again.

5329452 Tell me about it... do people even care to do these things slowly? I mean how much time is it since humans and ponies came together again?

Also... If the Changeling Kingdom is there for so long why do ponies still claim it as their territory?

Lauren says that they aren't UN participants so their needs, and subsequently opinions, are ignored. Huh... are there any changelings besides the Queen here? Why isn't there a changeling lawyer? How did he get chosen? Sorry if i am missing stuff.

Well, if anything, Estermann is pretty damn serious about this. On the other, he's an arrogant jerk, although considering the sheer lack of professionalism these ponies have, I think even Phoenix Wright would be annoyed.

Both when it comes to Lexy and Lyra, on the root of the issue I tend to agree with his assessments. Strong pre-determined bias and complete lack of pertinent knowledge on Lexy's part and zaniness on Lyra's to the point where it makes both utterly unreliable are not a good thing for his defense case.

ISS

I really like the idea, really. But I can't take THIS amount of bullshit. Seriously? If she was caught, she should be kept in maximum-security prison, where every single piece of room is welded and attached into cushion wall and tons of sensor (Since she is...Well, magical) watching her. And just... guards are acting like, begging for jailbreak. If this was real case, she would be furiously beaten with baton of justice whenever she tries to harm anyone. Shining Armor is just saying 'be careful or she will fuck you up' by his experience, and guard guys are all like 'Jesus, why are you so paranoid?' Other than she can mind-control and tried to capture entire country? But seriously, liked the idea, but my brain's bullshit meter has broken, so I must erase this from my watching list.

5381270 That's a real shame. :applejackunsure: You'll be missed.

My idea behind this was that, with her magic being effectively disabled by the electric current, she is little more than a tiger in a cage, and it wouldn't take more than a steel-reinforced door, a thick chain and a tranquiliser gun to keep her locked up for good, no matter how often she smashed her horn against the walls.
And lest we forget, she is still held in probably one of the best-supervised and -known prison complexes in Western Europe, with all the world's eyes turned on her 24/7.

Plus, this is the ICC we're talking about. Those people are specialised in detaining politicians and military commanders - people who are either not willing or not very likely to make a daring prison break (because, for the most part, they're well-fed, middle-aged civil servants). Not... Changeling regents.
This kind of naivety and relative unawareness of the human authorities are part of the ongoing theme, though. In some form, they actually refuse to believe that the situation is so extraordinary that it would require them to deviate from standard procedure to a point where it would inconvenience them...

It's really nothing that's meant to strain the suspension of disbelief that much.

Figures she wouldn't know just how small her world really is. Most ponies get pretty flabbergasted when you start mentioning figures like the Earth's size or human population.
We wonder though if she expects to be returned to Equestria at all, what with her expectations of what should happen there....
Even if she can't manipulate via magic, it's still very possible to control another with patience....
Speaking of patience, how is she being fed? We're assuming this version of Changeling can eat normal sustenance, right?
Keep going! ;)

5381298 An irellevant thing first. In the "Also liked" section of this fic is my own fic "A Quest for knowledge". I'd like to know more about how this "also liked" collumn works.

Also... the dissapearance of an entire nation ((as i talked about this with a friend of mine)) is an asspull so far and I'd like that explained.

She really should be guarded a lot more that's for sure. Also... Equestria on Earth? Really small? Really? Okay that is plain unbelievable to me. Equestria isn't just the map Habsro let us you know? I know of at least one instance where more of it is shown.

Last but not least as it was said before after this incident her security should be a gazillion times greater and Shining Armor should have at least been removed from his position or at least his reason for letting her "go" per say ((hypnosis)) questioned.

5424640
1. Count me in. Though, it's probably some kind of complicated keyword or tag comparison process...

2. Well, if the 'nation' is rather small, and remote, and nigh-inhospitable to life, and isolated/unpopular to a point that most sane and peaceloving ponies would steer clear of it at all costs, and situated in a pseudo-medieval world without phone or sattelite coverage (not yet, at least), it's really not as contrived as you might think.

3. Planet Earth is pretty big. And Equestria, at least in this story, contains the pony nation itself, plus a few bordering ones (just like in a hundred EoE stories before). Even if it were 'just' the size of, say, Turkey (which is an enormous country, by the way), it would still look rather miniscule on the world map if it were an island somewhere in furthest-flung corner of the Pacific. Needless to say that for a medieval society such as Equestria's, it's still a lot of space.

4. What if he never told anyone? Plus, I refer to my previous comment.

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