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Murderer should be shown leniency says a posh bloke that's never met him.


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#81 ckn

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 04:45 PM

the Taliban guerrilla. needed to have a distinctive symbol on him, be carrying arms openly, be subordinate to a higher command and follow the protocol of war, if he does not have all these then he is not protected I think

If you see the point by Phil you'll see that you do not have to be a serving soldier identifiable by uniform to be caught.

 

Anyway, he was convicted of the civilian crime of murder, not one of the international treaties of war.


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#82 Shadow

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 04:47 PM

the Taliban guerrilla. needed to have a distinctive symbol on him, be carrying arms openly, be subordinate to a higher command and follow the protocol of war, if he does not have all these then he is not protected I think

We have signed up to the Geneva Conventions so our troops are governed and sanctioned according to it.

Regardless of the technicalities of the matter what our troops do not do is shoot injured and unarmed prisoners. Even if it's not covered by the Geneva Convention it is covered by the rules of engagement these guys are operating under which means if they breach them they are subject to British Military law.


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#83 Northern Sol

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 04:50 PM

We have signed up to the Geneva Conventions so our troops are governed and sanctioned according to it.
Regardless of the technicalities of the matter what our troops do not do is shoot injured and unarmed prisoners. Even if it's not covered by the Geneva Convention it is covered by the rules of engagement these guys are operating under which means if they breach them they are subject to British Military law.


As noted previously British military law applies but the Convention does not, not when fighting the Taliban anyway.

#84 Northern Sol

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 04:52 PM

If you see the point by Phil you'll see that you do not have to be a serving soldier identifiable by uniform to be caught.


Yes, you do. None of the convention applies if you are dealing with non-signatories.
 

Anyway, he was convicted of the civilian crime of murder, not one of the international treaties of war.


Because legally, the Taliban was a civilian not a soldier.

#85 ehbandit

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 04:52 PM

If you see the point by Phil you'll see that you do not have to be a serving soldier identifiable by uniform to be caught.
 
Anyway, he was convicted of the civilian crime of murder, not one of the international treaties of war.

was he a civilian?

#86 JohnM

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 04:53 PM

so the court is wrong? 



#87 Phil

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 05:02 PM

so the court is wrong? 

 

 

No, legally and morally the marine was wrong.


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#88 Northern Sol

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 05:26 PM

so the court is wrong?


No, it follows British military law not the Geneva convention.

What he did was wrong by our laws not international laws.

International laws say that if you want rights then you'd better start following the convention yourself because until then you don't have any.

#89 ckn

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 05:44 PM

All of the above plus he must be part of an organisation that has signed the convention or applies it anyway.

The Geneva Convention was not intended to protect "irregulars", they were considered vermin to be shot out of hand during WW2.

 

I saw your post, the red mist descended and I walked away.  Almost an hour later after a coffee I still cannot read your post without that red mist due to its sheer and utter ignorance, especially on a day like 11th November. 

 

My granddad was one of these "vermin" in WW2 fighting as a guerilla in Yugoslavia.  The Germans may have treated them as vermin because of their effectiveness but they were the only ones, most other countries recognised the role of guerrilla in occupied territory as highly valuable, even if they were just a very sharp tool to be used.  I know what my granddad did in the war, I know what he suffered and I have his medals to prove it.

 

Protocol 1 of the Geneva convention specifically recognises guerrilla forces and other "irregular" combatants and gives them the full protection of the convention, despite what your ill-informed post might suggest.

 

As a point though, a 2 second search of the internet shows that Afghanistan was a signatory to the 1949 Geneva Conventions, the insurgents are still fighting that war to get back their version of Afghanistan, therefore they are bound by exactly the same principle as you used for Milosevic above.  Happy now?

 

I think I'll leave this thread alone now before I say something I regret.


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#90 Northern Sol

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 06:07 PM

I saw your post, the red mist descended and I walked away.  Almost an hour later after a coffee I still cannot read your post without that red mist due to its sheer and utter ignorance, especially on a day like 11th November. 
 
My granddad was one of these "vermin" in WW2 fighting as a guerilla in Yugoslavia.  The Germans may have treated them as vermin because of their effectiveness but they were the only ones, most other countries recognised the role of guerrilla in occupied territory as highly valuable, even if they were just a very sharp tool to be used.  I know what my granddad did in the war, I know what he suffered and I have his medals to prove it.
 
Protocol 1 of the Geneva convention specifically recognises guerrilla forces and other "irregular" combatants and gives them the full protection of the convention, despite what your ill-informed post might suggest.
 
As a point though, a 2 second search of the internet shows that Afghanistan was a signatory to the 1949 Geneva Conventions, the insurgents are still fighting that war to get back their version of Afghanistan, therefore they are bound by exactly the same principle as you used for Milosevic above.  Happy now?
 
I think I'll leave this thread alone now before I say something I regret.


Perhaps you should. You seem unable to talk sense on account of what happened to your grandfather. I did not call irregulars vermin, I said that they were considered so in WW2 even by the allies thus:-

Before the attack, some German troops who were able to speak English disguised themselves as Allied soldiers. They made a point of changing road signs and generally spreading misinformation. Germans captured engaging in the subterfuge were executed by firing squad. Images 25-30 in this gallery chronicle one such execution. The three Germans, LIFE magazine reported in June 1945 — when the U.S. War Department released the images — were German intelligence officers who were captured, tried and shot.

The Nazis were carefully groomed for their dangerous mission [LIFE wrote]. They spoke excellent English and their slang had been tuned up by close association with American prisoners of war in German camps… Under the rules of the Hague Convention these Germans were classifiable as spies and subject to an immediate court martial by a military tribunal. After brief deliberation American officers found them guilty, and ordered the usual penalty for spies: death by firing squad.


Read more: Battle of the Bulge: LIFE Photos From Hitler’s Last Gamble, 1944-1945 | LIFE.com http://life.time.com.../#ixzz2kMSvc3Rn

Secondly not withstanding your unspecified provisions of Article 1, you seem to have forgotten that for Article 1 to apply, NATO and the Afghans would need to be bound by it. If they aren't then it really doesn't matter what is written there.

Thirdly and I'm surprised someone with legal training would do this. Milosevic was the head of government of Yugoslavia. The Taliban are not the government of Afghanistan that "they want their country back" isn't something included in the law. The Geneva Convention applies to the national army of Afghanistan not the Taliban.

#91 gingerjon

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 06:11 PM

Not that it makes much odds but the US government appears to have decided in 2002 that it would be bound by the Geneva Convention when fighting and dealing with the Taliban but not when dealing with al-Qaeda.

 

Given how slavish was our devotion to the US then I imagine we established similar rules of engagement.


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#92 Northern Sol

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 06:15 PM

Not that it makes much odds but the US government appears to have decided in 2002 that it would be bound by the Geneva Convention when fighting and dealing with the Taliban but not when dealing with al-Qaeda.
 
Given how slavish was our devotion to the US then I imagine we established similar rules of engagement.


As a signatory to the convention, you can choose to behave "better" than the convention requires you to but you can't behave worse. The point being that our morals here are set by ourselves not from a legal requirement. Neither Al Qaeda nor the Taliban get any protection under the Geneva Convention.

Edited by Northern Sol, 11 November 2013 - 06:15 PM.


#93 zorquif

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 10:56 AM

Perhaps you should. You seem unable to talk sense on account of what happened to your grandfather. I did not call irregulars vermin, I said that they were considered so in WW2 even by the allies thus:-


Read more: Battle of the Bulge: LIFE Photos From Hitler’s Last Gamble, 1944-1945 | LIFE.com http://life.time.com.../#ixzz2kMSvc3Rn

Secondly not withstanding your unspecified provisions of Article 1, you seem to have forgotten that for Article 1 to apply, NATO and the Afghans would need to be bound by it. If they aren't then it really doesn't matter what is written there.

Thirdly and I'm surprised someone with legal training would do this. Milosevic was the head of government of Yugoslavia. The Taliban are not the government of Afghanistan that "they want their country back" isn't something included in the law. The Geneva Convention applies to the national army of Afghanistan not the Taliban.

 

 

That all spoke of soilders, who were tried as spies. I didn't see the mention of irregulars. Admittedly I didn't read the whole article, but I assume you selected the most relevant passages.



#94 JohnM

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 12:02 PM

Rules of engagement, conventions whatever. What this guy did was just wrong.

 

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend's
Or of thine own were:
Any man's death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; 
It tolls for thee. 



#95 ckn

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 01:26 PM

I decided to post again here after spending a bit of time reading the ARRSE thread on this subject while this forum had a lunchtime wobble.  Thankfully, the general perspective there is that the conviction is right and no amount of self-righteous angst from the media will change it.  One bit running through there just really put my mind back into squaddie frame and re-convinced me why he shouldn't get even the first sniff of leniency:  Discipline should be so robust and consistently applied that someone else in a similar situation will be in absolutely no doubt as to what is required from them.

 

On that Telegraph petition, they're happy to ignore virtually every fact from the case and go with unsubstantiated tripe like "This is a man seemingly pushed to the brink by a war in which he was fighting for his country - his country should stand by him now".  Did it?  Really?  Does the word "seemingly" allow them to make unsubstantiated justifications for murder?  I know plenty of other people who can quite happily obey the law in similar situations and not murder helpless and injured prisoners.  He not only committed the act, he discussed it first and admitted he knew it was wrong.

 

A currently serving squaddie friend of mine put up a Facebook post that said "The court should give no single leniency crack in the wall that will allow a wedge to be driven in as once the wedge is in there then everything else can and will be justified because you're feeling a bit sorry for yourself.  Allow this then next you'll have the British version of Abu Ghraib defended as being committed by soldiers with PTSD who should be given a comforting hug and sent home, massacre a village and be sent on a therapy session to explore your feelings."


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#96 Northern Sol

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 02:06 PM

That all spoke of soilders, who were tried as spies. I didn't see the mention of irregulars. Admittedly I didn't read the whole article, but I assume you selected the most relevant passages.

I did.

 

The concepts of "irregulars" and "spies" are essentially the same thing. The view at the time was that soldiers wore uniforms, everybody else was a spy that could be shot out of hand. Hence the Geneva Convention gives no rights to those who do not wear uniforms; it only gives (AFAIK just the one) an exception to the requirement to wear uniforms. This is when a militia to oppose an invasion has just been formed and there has not been time to create uniforms. 



#97 Martyn Sadler

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 02:27 PM

I decided to post again here after spending a bit of time reading the ARRSE thread on this subject while this forum had a lunchtime wobble.  Thankfully, the general perspective there is that the conviction is right and no amount of self-righteous angst from the media will change it.  One bit running through there just really put my mind back into squaddie frame and re-convinced me why he shouldn't get even the first sniff of leniency:  Discipline should be so robust and consistently applied that someone else in a similar situation will be in absolutely no doubt as to what is required from them.

 

On that Telegraph petition, they're happy to ignore virtually every fact from the case and go with unsubstantiated tripe like "This is a man seemingly pushed to the brink by a war in which he was fighting for his country - his country should stand by him now".  Did it?  Really?  Does the word "seemingly" allow them to make unsubstantiated justifications for murder?  I know plenty of other people who can quite happily obey the law in similar situations and not murder helpless and injured prisoners.  He not only committed the act, he discussed it first and admitted he knew it was wrong.

 

A currently serving squaddie friend of mine put up a Facebook post that said "The court should give no single leniency crack in the wall that will allow a wedge to be driven in as once the wedge is in there then everything else can and will be justified because you're feeling a bit sorry for yourself.  Allow this then next you'll have the British version of Abu Ghraib defended as being committed by soldiers with PTSD who should be given a comforting hug and sent home, massacre a village and be sent on a therapy session to explore your feelings."

I take the points you make, and have great respect for your experience in the Armed Forces.

 

But what's the moral and legal distinction between what this soldier did and the killing of Osama bin Laden?

 

Should the American government be on trial for cold-bloodedly murdering bin Laden when they had him cornered and he was defenceless? Was bin Laden entitled to justice, notorious though he may have been? Was his notoriety in itself a justification for his treatment?

 

Can we equate what this soldier did to the completely unprovoked killing of Lee Rigby, for example?

 

Without having attended the trial of Marine A and heard the evidence, I don't feel qualified to comment on the verdict nor on the tariff that should be attached to the life sentence.



#98 Northern Sol

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 02:30 PM

Article 43 and 44 of Article 1 cover it in faull.

 

Art 43. Armed forces

1. The armed forces of a Party to a conflict consist of all organized armed forces, groups and units which are under a command responsible to that Party for the conduct of its subordinates, even if that Party is represented by a government or an authority not recognized by an adverse Party. Such armed forces shall be subject to an internal disciplinary system which, inter alia, shall enforce compliance with the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict.

2. Members of the armed forces of a Party to a conflict (other than medical personnel and chaplains covered by Article 33 of the Third Convention) are combatants, that is to say, they have the right to participate directly in hostilities.

3. Whenever a Party to a conflict incorporates a paramilitary or armed law enforcement agency into its armed forces it shall so notify the other Parties to the conflict.


Art 44. Combatants and prisoners of war

1. Any combatant, as defined in Article 43, who falls into the power of an adverse Party shall be a prisoner of war.

2. While all combatants are obliged to comply with the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict, violations of these rules shall not deprive a combatant of his right to be a combatant or, if he falls into the power of an adverse Party, of his right to be a prisoner of war, except as provided in paragraphs 3 and 4.

3. In order to promote the protection of the civilian population from the effects of hostilities, combatants are obliged to distinguish themselves from the civilian population while they are engaged in an attack or in a military operation preparatory to an attack. Recognizing, however, that there are situations in armed conflicts where, owing to the nature of the hostilities an armed combatant cannot so distinguish himself, he shall retain his status as a combatant, provided that, in such situations, he
carries his arms openly:

(a) during each military engagement, and
(B) during such time as he is visible to the adversary while he is engaged in a military deployment preceding the launching of an attack in which he is to participate.


Acts which comply with the requirements of this paragraph shall not be considered as perfidious within the meaning of Article 37, paragraph 1 ©.

4. A combatant who falls into the power of an adverse Party while failing to meet the requirements set forth in the second sentence of paragraph 3 shall forfeit his right to be a prisoner of war, but he shall, nevertheless, be given protections equivalent in all respects to those accorded to prisoners of war by the Third Convention and by this Protocol. This protection includes protections equivalent to those accorded to prisoners of war by the Third Convention in the case where such a person is tried and punished for any offences he has committed.

5. Any combatant who falls into the power of an adverse Party while not engaged in an attack or in a military operation preparatory to an attack shall not forfeit his rights to be a combatant and a prisoner of war by virtue of his prior activities .

6. This Article is without prejudice to the right of any person to be a prisoner of war pursuant to Article 4 of the Third Convention.

7. This Article is not intended to change the generally accepted practice of States with respect to the wearing of the uniform by combatants assigned to the regular, uniformed armed units of a Party to the conflict.

8. In addition to the categories of persons mentioned in Article 13 of the First and Second Conventions, all members of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict, as defined in Article 43 of this Protocol, shall be entitled to protection under those Conventions if they are wounded or sick or, in the case of the Second Convention, shipwrecked at sea or in other waters.

 

Tl;dr version.

 

In order to be protected, you need to follow the Geneva Convention yourself including uniform wearing or there are some exceptional circumstances, otherwise you do not have a right to the protected status of POW. However if the enemy does capture you then they should give an equivalent status to POW.
 



#99 zorquif

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 02:56 PM

I did.

 

The concepts of "irregulars" and "spies" are essentially the same thing. The view at the time was that soldiers wore uniforms, everybody else was a spy that could be shot out of hand. Hence the Geneva Convention gives no rights to those who do not wear uniforms; it only gives (AFAIK just the one) an exception to the requirement to wear uniforms. This is when a militia to oppose an invasion has just been formed and there has not been time to create uniforms. 

 

Who says that irregulars and spies are the same thing? Also, spies are protected by the Hague Convention. It says they must be tried. Not shot out of hand. Apparently

 

It says in the Time article that the spies were tried.

 

The three Germans, LIFE magazine reported in June 1945 — when the U.S. War Department released the images — were German intelligence officers who were captured, tried and shot.

The Nazis were carefully groomed for their dangerous mission [LIFE wrote]. They spoke excellent English and their slang had been tuned up by close association with American prisoners of war in German camps… Under the rules of the Hague Convention these Germans were classifiable as spies and subject to an immediate court martial by a military tribunal. After brief deliberation American officers found them guilty, and ordered the usual penalty for spies: death by firing squad.
 



#100 ckn

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 03:00 PM

I take the points you make, and have great respect for your experience in the Armed Forces.

 

But what's the moral and legal distinction between what this soldier did and the killing of Osama bin Laden?

 

Should the American government be on trial for cold-bloodedly murdering bin Laden when they had him cornered and he was defenceless? Was bin Laden entitled to justice, notorious though he may have been? Was his notoriety in itself a justification for his treatment?

 

Can we equate what this soldier did to the completely unprovoked killing of Lee Rigby, for example?

 

Without having attended the trial of Marine A and heard the evidence, I don't feel qualified to comment on the verdict nor on the tariff that should be attached to the life sentence.

I see your points.  Yes, his capture would have been legally preferable and was probably specifically ordered but then you don't send in the army and have high hopes of capturing people.  Rules of engagement for armies everywhere are that if someone has a gun or you legitimately think he has a gun and you or someone else on your side or innocent is likely to be injured then you fire first.

 

There's also a difference between an armed engagement scenario involving building-by-building combat and a situation where an enemy combatant has been captured and is in no way a threat.  The former is probably a soldier's worst nightmare for assault as it's so easy to take casualties, even if you have overwhelming force.  The latter has no precedent or legal support for murder.

 

In short, if I were a soldier tasked with capturing Bin Laden,  I went into a room in an authorised combat situation and felt in the slightest threatened by someone who is a known bad-guy then my training would kick in and the bad guy would be dead.  If I were a soldier who captured an enemy combatant then training is very specific that he's de-powered and detained with urgent care called for serious injuries to him.

 

Each soldier knows his rules of engagement, they differ for every theatre they're in.  It's something that's beaten into you.  For example, the yellow card for NI, the theatre specific ones for warzones, UN situations, etc.

The Lee Rigby scenario is also not related.  That was a pre-meditated murder that would have taken in the first likely squaddie that they found.

 

There's a genuine point of debate over the role of the army in certain areas.  The army is trained to be peacemakers at best, they're certainly not trained to be peacekeepers, the marines and other semi-special forces are even less likely to be trained to be peacemakers or peacekeepers.  If sent on UN duties, army units are there for their threat of retribution rather than their genuine peacekeeping skills.  In an ideal world, there would be an interim peacekeeping paramilitary force, essentially a hybrid between police and army, with training as heavily armed peacekeepers capable of looking after themselves and backed up by heavy duty army support when needed.  The current army structure is about as valid for peacekeeping duties as a WW1 dreadnaught would be in a modern navy.


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