DSK legal decision angers women's rights advocates
Updated: 2011-08-25 07:40
Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn and his wife Anne Sinclair depart the Manhattan State Supreme Courthouse after a hearing dismissing the case against him in New York on Tuesday. A New York judge dropped all criminal sexual assault charges against Strauss-Kahn after prosecutors lost faith in the credibility of his accuser. Lucas Jackson / Reuters
WASHINGTON - Former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn won a legal battle in Manhattan on Tuesday when a judge dropped all sex charges against him, but women's rights advocates decried that justice had been lost.
Prosecutors, citing a lack of credibility from the accuser, Guinean hotel maid Nafissatou Diallo, dropped all charges against Strauss-Kahn, prompting the National Organization for Women (NOW) to condemn lawyers from both sides, Strauss-Kahn and the media.
"Sexist, racist, classist and ethnic stereotypes were all called into play in order to discredit Ms Diallo. These attacks ... help foster a climate where women victims of sexual violence fear being re-victimized by law enforcement and the press," NOW's statement said.
Michael Greys, a member of the rights group 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care, said Diallo had been raped twice - first by Strauss-Kahn and now legally by the prosecutors.
"How can there be a credibility issue, when they use confidential informants everyday that have criminal history?" he asked.
But some legal experts argued that District Attorney Cyrus Vance's decision to forfeit the case in fact proved that the justice system had prevailed after his prosecution's initial gung-ho pursuit of Strauss-Kahn.
In a "he-said, she-said" case, a jury must be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt and, after repeated instances of lying, Diallo's credibility on the witness stand had likely been weakened beyond repair.
"The prosecutors' motion to dismiss the case had nothing whatsoever to do with position or place," wrote Gerald Shargel, a member of the New York Bar, in The Daily Beast.
"Strauss-Kahn and all his riches did not influence the outcome. The class or cultural divide played no part. The motion to dismiss was plainly grounded: For reasons well identified, the prosecutors had lost confidence in their case."
After his arrest in May, prosecutors boasted of strong evidence that Strauss-Kahn forced Diallo into oral sex and attempted to rape her, but weeks later in a stunning reversal they announced that the alleged victim had an enormous credibility deficit.
(China Daily 08/25/2011 page12)