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Britain wants its troops to commit war crimes

by IdiotSavant Wed May 15th, 2019 at 03:35:07 AM EST

That's the only conclusion that can be drawn from its "vow" to introduce an amnesty for crimes committed by soldiers and to derogate from the ECHR:

The new defence secretary has promised to introduce an amnesty on historical prosecutions for military veterans who served in Iraq, Afghanistan and anywhere else around the world - with the exception of Northern Ireland.

Penny Mordaunt will consult on proposals for a presumption against prosecution for offences committed more than 10 years ago and will say she supports plans to opt out of the European convention on human rights (ECHR) in future armed conflicts.

But the minister risks courting conflict with some on the right of her party, who want Northern Ireland to be included within any amnesty, following the prosecution of a former paratrooper for the murder of two people on Bloody Sunday in Derry in 1972.

Front paged - Frank Schnittger

Both actions would send a clear signal to soldiers that they can commit all the war crimes they want, murder and torture with abandon, and the government will protect them. And it will enable them to avoid domestic punishment by allowing the military to drag out investigations (as they already do) to run out the clock on prosecution.

Derogating from the ECHR might not be as effective as they suppose though. Firstly, because the Convention does not permit any derogation from the right to life or the prohibitions on torture and slavery - which is where the UK's war crime problems are. And secondly, because such derogations most not be "inconsistent with its other obligations under international law" - such as the Geneva Conventions or Rome Statute of the Criminal Court. And indeed, as long as the UK remains a party to the latter, all an "amnesty" does is ensure that its war criminals are tried in The Hague rather than London, and that politicians get to join them in the dock as accessories who tried to protect them from international justice.

Hey, if Murica does it, it must be right, right?
by rifek on Sun May 19th, 2019 at 10:41:20 PM EST
For the Trumps of this world, "war crimes" is a left wing concept denying the Right the opportunity to kill indiscriminately with impunity. Hitler thought the same...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon May 20th, 2019 at 12:38:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The British government wishes to provide legal clarity to its troops : nobody will come after you for obeying orders. They don't want soldiers worrying about human rights during conflicts.

Arguably, it's better to have that ambiguity cleared up. The soldiers involved in the Bloody Sunday killings undoubtedly believed they were protected against prosecution, and indeed they were for 47 years. It seems a bit arbitrary to go back on that now.

Also arguably, I'm not necessarily against immunity for those following orders to pull the trigger, on condition that all the commissioned officers in the chain of command are eligible for prosecution.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon May 20th, 2019 at 02:43:21 PM EST
British soldiers may very well have believed that. No doubt so did the SS and the mooks who guarded death camps. And as the latter have learned, justice may come for you at any time.

In the UK's case, they're bound by international law to investigate and prosecute war crimes, and responsibility applies at all levels of the chain of command. The fact that someone else orders a soldier to pull the trigger doesn't absolve them of guilt - its just means you need to put more people in the dock.

by IdiotSavant on Wed May 22nd, 2019 at 02:55:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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