Crimes in War

Doing something wrong while doing something wrong
Rahman Mohamed

War is based upon doing whatever you can to win, rebelling against authority to win the territory of the opponent and getting what you need by using whatever force you can.  Did you know that there are actually international laws that govern how wars should be fought?

In international law there are documents that outline what are called “war crimes”. One of these documents is the Rome Statute of International Criminal Court of 1998.

Article 8, Section 2(a) say it’s a crime to wilfully kill a person who is said to be protected by the Geneva Convention 1949.  This includes journalists and others who aren’t taking part in combat.  On August 28, 2013 the Washington Times reported that

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 50 reporters have died since the civil war started 2 1/2 years ago. The Paris-based organization Reporters Without Borders, which includes citizen-journalists on its list of those who have died in Syria, puts the figure at 89 since 2011. The latter figure is roughly the same as the number of reporters who died in Iraq and Vietnam, both of which lasted much longer than two years

On May 6, 2013, after reporting a weekend airstrike from Israel against Syria, CBC spoke of “Syrian chemical weapons”.  On August 21 it was taken a step further when CTV reported that the “Syrian anti-government activists accused the regime of carrying out a toxic gas attack” and images and videos came to light.

It was reported that on August 25 Syria agreed “to a U.N. investigation into … [the] alleged chemical weapons attack outside Damascus

Today the world is divided.  Of the United Nations Security Council, France and the United States favour action against Syria; Russia and China oppose action; after a Parliamentary debate the United Kingdom voted against action Syria.  Much of the world is seeking more proof of the use of chemical weapons, waiting for the United Nations to complete its work in Syria, before deciding whether any military action should be taken.

On August 28 ABCNews reported that a Jordanian government spokesman stated “Jordan will not be used as a launching pad for attacks on Syria and the kingdom favors a diplomatic solution to the crisis”.

On August 29 the Montreal Gazette reported that “Pope Francis and Jordan’s king stressed … that dialogue and negotiations are the only way for ending Syria’s civil war” after the Pope met with Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Queen Rania for 20 minutes, greeting them “with a simple “welcome, your majesty,” as the couple arrived in the apostolic palace. Before journalists were ushered out of the hall, Queen Rania told Francis it was a “tremendous honour” to meet him.

Yet Syria is bracing for an attack from the West in a matter of days; “Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said his country would use “all means available” to defend itself””.

According to the Roman Statute, if chemical weapons were found to have been used by the Syrian government, an illegal weapon in war was used.

Before the use of gas in Syria there have been repeated reports of car bombings across Syria including Damascus “killing at least 18 people and wounding 56” less than a month ago.  These can also be defined as illegal war weapons.

In a war all parties involved are desperate for victory.  It’s common knowledge that weapons aren’t just a necessity in war, but it’s the best of weapons that are desired.  The best weapons are the ones that are the most destructive and harmful.

How can the weapons of a party be regulated, preventing them from using the most harmful?  Limiting weapons means limiting injury and death; but it also means limiting victory; it is the most powerful and most harmful weapons that are the most helpful towards victory.

But can you really do anything to limit victory in war?


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