Crimes of war atrocities, genocide, slaughter of innocent civilians (under the euphemism of ‘collateral damage’). Undoubtedly barbaric actions that need to be punished. The irony though is that it’s the ‘victor’ who determines the crime. Does the unjustifiable killing of hundreds of thousands of civilains in Iraq and Afghanistan not count?
|Two small words in your ear:
They appear to divide international law
14th August 2013 – headline from the Guardian
Notes: “Hague war crimes ruling threatens to undermine future prosecutions.” Generals and politicians could evade responsibility for war crimes in future because of a ruling requiring proof that they “specifically directed” atrocities, say some international lawyers and senior judges. A series of acquittals by the international criminal tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY)have created a novel judicial precedent that human rights groups fear will make it difficult to deliver justice in the wake of massacres. Three senior Serbian generals or police officers have been cleared of all charges in recent months. The judgments relate to charges of “aiding and abetting” war crimes levelled against those who were not on the ground when civilians were systematically targeted and murdered by paramilitary or specialist forces. The issue of their complicity revolves around legal interpretations of what constitutes mens rea, or intent, and how far “specific direction” must be proved to find a defendant guilty. The dispute has touched off a debate within the international law community that has global political implications. Accusations that the US and Israeli governments applied improper pressure on the tribunal to ensure military commanders could never be convicted of war crimes are among allegations in circulation. Other commentators have dismissed such fears as conspiracy-mongering.
- Hague war crimes ruling threatens to undermine future prosecutions (theguardian.com)