The past is the past, If I robbed someone today, 48 hours from, can I use the excuse "past is the past" when my victim is around?.
I don't know what the time frame should be, should it be centries, decades, or just minuits, and hours?
Germany can say the past is the past, Iraq, after being booted out of Kuwait, could have said the same thing the next year. The question, should you do something that is wrong, or illegal, thus creating a situation where you get to enjoy the benefit from those prior bad acts, and dismiss any naysaying with "the past is the past". In theory, I can rob people, and argue that moments later.
Therein lies the rub. Are the victims around? Are the perps around? Besides, there is this thing in law called the Statute of Limitations. I don't know what to make of it, but here is the Wiki definition:
STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS.
Statutes of limitations is predicated on the notion of fairness. Over time memories fade, evidence is lost or never found, and people prefer to get on with their lives without legal intrusions from the past. This idea is reflected in the various lengths of limitations periods. For example, some crimes such as murder or war crimes (see Rome Statute) are deemed so horrific that they have no limitations period in some jurisdictions. Generally, actions relating to real property have longer limitations periods and slander and libel usually have short periods. Japan is one country that does have a statute of limitations for murder. There, if murderers manage to evade the law for 25 years after committing a homicide, they will be free to go public with details of the crime.
From time to time, controversy arises because some horrific crimes have been discovered, but the perpetrator escapes due to the statute of limitation or prescription.
Another reason for statutes of limitations is closure, certainty, or repose. This encourages entities such as courts and law enforcement agencies to allocate resources to more timely concerns. The limitations period also permits entities and individuals to conduct their business without fear of being sued for something far in the past. For civil actions, statutes of limitations usually range between one and ten years. In Nevada, for example, it is two years and in New Mexico and New York, three.