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What makes a war criminal. War criminals are not only the wielders of the electric shock wire or other technique; war criminals by law are the leaders, organizers, instigators and accomplices. Common Plan or Conspiracy law applies.
See the law arising from the 13 Nuremberg trials at law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/nuremberg/NurembergIndictments. Better, go to the Nazi Documentation Center at Nuremberg itself, by the stadium that still stands. Or see Leni Riefenstahl's 1930's film, "Triumph of the Will," - look it up. Watch, transfixed.
1. Here is a small fair-use excerpt from the umkc.edu website, spacing changed for clarity: note that not only the immediate actors are the war criminals, but also the leaders, organizers, instigators and accomplices.
"The following acts, or any of them, are crimes coming within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal for which there shall be individual responsibility:
"(a) Crimes against Peace: namely, planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances, or participation in a Common Plan or Conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the foregoing;
"(b) War Crimes: namely, violations of the laws or customs of war. Such violations shall include, but not be limited to, murder, ill-treatment or deportation to slave labor or for any other purpose of civilian population of or in occupied territory, murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war or persons on the seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity;
Our issues, given our leadership and those who are expected to follow:"(c) Crimes against Humanity: namely, murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, and other inhumane acts committed against any civilian population, before or during the war,14 or persecutions on political, racial, or religious grounds in execution of or in connection with any crime within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal, whether or not in violation of domestic law of the country where perpetrated."Leaders, organizers, instigators, and accomplices participating in the formulation or execution of a Common Plan or Conspiracy to commit any of the foregoing crimes are responsible for all acts performed by any persons in execution of such plan."
2. Can or will a soldier or officer refuse to obey. When.
Educate yourself. See, for example, www.icrc.org/Web/Eng/siteeng0.nsf/html/57JQ7H - "Superior Orders and the International Criminal Court." Look up our human vulnerability to following authority, and in so doing, believe ourselves guiltless. See The Milgram Study, and here is a paper written about it and its acting out in police work, }Obedience to Authority and Unjustified Police Violence," by David Coady at this Police Ethics site, at ://www.utas.edu.au/philosophy/cape/WORD%20FILES/Police_Ethics.pdf/
Coady's thesis is roughly this: That the "selfish" man is far less a danger to society than is the "integrative" man, the one who surrenders his identity to the leader, or group -
- political party,
- another cause,
3. On what grounds can a country decide it will be not subject to that? Again, educate yourself.
We have an officer, Watadi, who refused as to Iraq, now a mistrial. See, for supportive overview, www.thankyoult.org/. ABC news says this:http://www.abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=2857628. How do those match up with the standard we applied at Nuremberg? And wasn't there a Japanese commander held responsible for atrocities committed far away from his presence as well? Need to keep the consistency going if we are to have a chance.
Update January 2009. Mr. President Obama. Laws cannot be flaunted, or laws fall down. Prosecute. For all our sakes.
Lighten up perhaps a little because this is so hopeless. Have to. Compelled. A frivolous alternative to hanging is to generate a Shakespearean insult. See william-shakespeare.org.uk/a1-shakespearean-insults-generator.