Let's face it - who doesn't dislike the sad excuse of a Minister of Magic named Cornelius Fudge? We never get to fully see what happens to him after he leaves office. What consequences does he suffer, if any? What if he were to be tried for his failure to fulfill his ministerial duties? Answers to these questions (and more) are speculated (and attempted to be answered) in...
The Indictment of Cornelius Oswald Fudge
By Ben Lamoureux
While the non-Muggle characters in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix don't operate under all of the normal laws that we Muggles do, the following case is based upon a reality in which the Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge, is being charged under the restrictions of Muggle laws.
Cornelius Oswald Fudge is charged with the following:
1) Crimes against the British Wizarding World, including
a) Breach of duty
b) Severe negligence of duty
Cornelius Oswald Fudge undoubtedly had a duty to the British Wizarding World, as he was, in fact, the Minister of Magic at the time at which Lord Voldemort (henceforth referred to as Tom Riddle) began regaining power. When he was elected to his position within the Ministry of Magic, and sworn in, he was handed a mantle to protect justice and peace in the British Wizarding World, and to prevent injustice from occurring. As subsequent Minister of Magic, Rufus Scrimgeour described perfectly the duty of not only the Minister of Magic, but the Ministry as a whole:
"These are dark times, there is no denying. Our world has, perhaps, faced no greater threat than it does today. But I say this to our citizenry: We, ever your servants, will continue to defend your liberty and repel the forces that seek to take it from you! Your Ministry remains strong." (Deathly Hallows - Part 1)
Fudge had a duty to lead the Ministry in a charge against rising forces of Riddle and his followers (henceforth referred to as Death Eaters). He had a duty to defend and inform the public about the increasing level of danger in their world, and to let the Muggle Prime Minister know the same. He had a duty to listen to the warnings of Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore and Harry James Potter that Tom Riddle had indeed returned the night of the Third Task of the Triwizard Tournament in Potter's Fourth Year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry (June the 24), and that Riddle was responsible for the murder of Cedric Diggory. He had a responsibility to take action on their word and take the proper steps to securing his nation against the looming threat. Fudge had a duty to protect the British Wizarding World, and, as the evidence suggests, he failed miserably.
Breach of Duty
Did Cornelius Oswald Fudge fulfill his duty as Minister of Magic? I think it is safe to say not. He was sworn in on the grounds that he would keep his nation safe and strive his hardest to maintain the peace, and, evidently, he was not able to, or rather, refused to, do as much as he could have done.
The night Tom Riddle returned from his crippled state to a form in which he was once again dangerous, Fudge should have taken his warning that he received from Potter in the Hospital Wing of Hogwarts School and taken immediate action in rounding up the accused Death Eaters from the First Wizarding War including Lucius Malfoy, Igor Karkaroff, Antonin Dolohov, the Carrow twins, Alecto and Amycus, Walden Macnair, Yaxley, Travers, Crabbe, Goyle, and many more. These known Death Eaters should have been immediately questioned and then, upon expending their usefulness, imprisoned in Azkaban (the wizard prison) until the situation had been abated. But did Fudge even make notice of the irrefutable evidence that Tom Riddle had come back? No.
Throughout the course of 1995-1996, Cornelius Fudge repeatedly received blatant facts and figures pointing to the return of Tom Riddle, and yet he continuously denied that very fact. During his time in office, he exerted a heavy influence over the weekly Wizard World newspaper, The Daily Prophet. Instead of allowing factual articles about Riddle's return to be published, he covered it up and allowed the Prophet to run stories berating Dumbledore and Potter, calling them liars and destabilizing the way they were viewed by the public, negating their work to educate the public on the fact that Riddle had returned.
At this point in the trial, quotes from members of the Order of the Phoenix (which Albus Dumbledore led) would be presented as evidence against Fudge as he sits at the stand.
"He thinks Dumbledore wants to be Minster of Magic...of course he doesn't. He's never wanted the Minister's job, even though a lot of people wanted him to take it when Millicent Bagnold retired. Fudge came to power instead, but he's never quite forgotten how much popular support Dumbledore had, even though Dumbledore never applied for the job."
-Arthur Weasley (pg. 93, OotP)
"Deep down, Fudge knows Dumbledore's much cleverer than he is, a much more powerful wizard, and in the early days of his Ministry he was forever asking Dumbledore for help and advice. But it seems he's become fond of power now, and much more confident. He loves being Minister of Magic, and he's managed to convince himself that he's the clever one and Dumbledore's simply stirring up trouble for the sake of it."
-Remus J. Lupin (pg. 94, OotP)
"You see the problem. While the Ministry insists there is nothing to fear from Voldemort, it's hard to convince people heâ's back, especially as they don't really believe it in the first place. What's more, the Ministry's leaning heavily on the Daily Prophet not to report any of what theyâre calling Dumbledore's rumor -mongering, so most of the Wizarding community are completely unaware anything's happened, and that makes them easy targets for Death Eaters if they're using the Imperious Curse."
-Remus J. Lupin (pg. 94, OotP)
"...accepting that Voldemort's back would mean trouble like the Ministry hasn't had to cope with for nearly fourteen years. Fudge just can't bring himself to face it. It's so much more comfortable to convince himself that Dumbledore's lying to destabilize him."
-Sirius Black (pg. 94, OotP)
Allowing himself to be blinded as such is a clear breach of duty, and Fudge needs to answer for his lack of control over the situation and his disability to aid in the solving of the problem. As Minister of Magic, Fudge definitely did not fulfill his duties.
Cause in Fact
If Cornelius Fudge had acknowledged the return of Tom Riddle the minute Dumbledore and Potter had alerted him of the fact, many, many disastrous results could have been avoided. For one, the battle that occurred within the Ministry of Magic itself, in the Department of Mysteries, never would have occurred. Most of the Death Eaters that attended that unfortunate event were former inmates of Azkaban Prison before the mass breakout that Riddle staged right under the Ministryâs nose, including, but not limited to:
While many were injured during the battle, including six Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry students (Harry James Potter, Hermione Jean Granger, Ronald Bilius Weasley, Ginevra Weasley, Luna Lovegood, and Neville Longbottom), a murder actually took place that night. Sirius Black, the believed-to-be-mass-murderer, was slain by his deranged cousin, Bellatrix Lestrange. This is a direct result of the lack of control over the Death Eaters that could have been exercised had the situation been acknowledged by Fudge. Following the events of this night, Fudge finally acknowledged the return of Tom Riddle, but, as the saying goes, it was far too little, and much too late.
Another example of a case in fact is, in its entirety, the Second Wizarding War. When he first returned, Riddle and his forces were far too weak to stage any sort of attack in the open, which is exactly why that was the perfect time to seek them out and incapacitate them before the consequent events occurred:
The murder of Sirius Black by Bellatrix Lestrange.
The destruction of every remaining Time-Turner in the Ministry of Magic during the Battle of the Department of Mysteries.
The murder of Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore by Severus Snape.
The vandalizing of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry by
and Fenrir Greyback.
The coup d'etat that gave control of the Ministry of Magic to Tom Riddle.
The murders of
Dobby the House-Elf,
Remus J. Lupin,
and the rest of the casualties of the Battle of Hogwarts that were killed by Death Eaters.
The destruction of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry during the Battle of Hogwarts.
All these disasters and atrocities could have been avoided if Cornelius Oswald Fudge had simply swallowed his pride and accepted the horror that had occurred on the night of June 24, when Tom Riddle returned.
As a result of his ignorance and blindness to sheer fact, Cornelius Fudge inadvertently caused the death of many people, the destruction of much property, and the start of the Second Wizarding War and all of its results. It is suggested that he receive a life sentence in Azkaban Prison, to reflect on all of the negative impacts his reluctance to see the truth caused. The Dementor's Kiss (in which one's soul is removed via the mouth) is not recommended for this case. If sentencing occurs, the Ministry of Magic will no longer be allowed to meddle in the Daily Prophetâs publication, as to allow proper freedom of speech and freedom of the press, and a new Minister of Magic is to be elected as soon as the Ministry can produce one. The jury is asked to review the irrefutable facts presented here today, and to consider the families that have been torn apart by Fudge's recklessness as Minister of Magic. Thank you for your time.