Employment of war criminals in policy-making contexts
Individuals (often of considerable recognized competence) convicted as criminals may subsequently be employed in policy or decision-making contexts calling for a sense of social responsibility. Although such individuals may have fulfilled any obligations through carrying out the sentence, they constitute an unnecessary risk in sensitive situations and may take advantage of the situation to further their own ends in ways dangerous to society.
Such employment raises issues which are fundamental to the relation between crime, punishment and what constitutes adequate retribution, and whether a criminal can be considered to have been rehabilitated on completion of a sentence. It also raises the question as to what activities judged as terrorism are to be considered (or will come to be considered) justifiable in terms of the ends to which such terrorism is purportedly directed.
As an example, the executive director of a steering and policy committee of the USA Congress in 1989 ("arguably the most powerful staff member on Capitol Hill") had been convicted in 1973 for assaulting and wounding a woman and served 27 months of a 15 year sentence, 7 of which were suspended.
When an individual has paid his debt to society for past failures, he should be considered trustworthy until the contrary is proven. It is questionable whether a conviction for assault in the distant past affects a person's judgement in decision-making situations, especially since many in decision-making situations may themselves have participated in military actions calling for even greater violence, or allowing indulgence in such violence. The government leadership of a number of countries, including Israel, acquired their positions through violent actions judged (before their success), as terrorism.