War Crimes in Gaza

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http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7850085.stm

Any Israeli soldiers accused of war crimes in the Gaza Strip will be given state protection from prosecution overseas, the country's PM has said.
While, I am unsure about any war crimes but I think it is bit disturbing that Israel wouldn't punish those who do war crimes.

(There have been other threads about the war consequences or ethics but I making this thread only to discuss the above statement of the Israel PM)
 

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  • #2
mgb_phys
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A government can make any statements it likes about it's own behavior. Whether this stands depends on if the overseas courts can bring enough military/political/economic pressure to bear on the country to force it to hand over any accused.
- in simple terms, war crimes are committed by the losers.
 
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  • #3
russ_watters
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While, I am unsure about any war crimes but I think it is bit disturbing that Israel wouldn't punish those who do war crimes.
The quote/article doesn't say that. It just says that Israel would not let others punish Israeli soldiers. That Israel wouldn't punish them themselves is something you are assuming.
 
  • #4
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The quote/article doesn't say that. It just says that Israel would not let others punish Israeli soldiers. That Israel wouldn't punish them themselves is something you are assuming.
"The commanders and soldiers that were sent on the task in Gaza should know that they are safe from any tribunal and that the State of Israel will assist them in this issue and protect them as they protected us with their bodies during the military operation in Gaza," he said.
Edit: I see he was referring to the oversees prosecutions .. But, there's little hope that he is willing to put any one on trail.

But, Israel is also conducting some investigations like the following one:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/7838465.stm
A spokeswoman for the Israeli military said the incident is now under investigation.
So, my assumption might be wrong.
 
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  • #5
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I still don't see though, how a state would have the power to protect war criminals in countries around the world. Would this have to be an agreement between the specific country after the fact. For example, do they mean that if you get arrested in state X, that Israel will fight state X to get you free?
 
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  • #6
mgb_phys
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do they mean that if you get arrested in state X, that Israel will fight state X to get you free?
Or at least put political pressure through a third country to release them.
If you are an Israeli artillery officer it might be a good idea to only visit countries friendly to Israel for a while - just to be on the safe side.
 
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  • #7
devil-fire
For example, do they mean that if you get arrested in state X, that Israel will fight state X to get you free?
If a soldier was arrested in France while on vacation for a war crime charge, Israel would not go to war with them. Israel would most likely claim the French police abducted the person unlawfully. Also, the USA might side with Israel, implying that the French did something unlawful, or otherwise inappropriate but it wouldn't come to use of physical force.

Specifically what Israel has in mind is if Iran, Saudi Arabia, the Netherlands, Canada or anyone else for that matter asks Israel to extradite someone to face a war crimes tribunal, Israel is stating they have no intention of complying with such a request.

The USA has made similar claims and I expect most other countries would have a similar policy but no one else has had much reason to make such a statement.
 
  • #8
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If a soldier was arrested in France while on vacation for a war crime charge, Israel would not go to war with them. Israel would most likely claim the French police abducted the person unlawfully. Also, the USA might side with Israel, implying that the French did something unlawful, or otherwise inappropriate but it wouldn't come to use of physical force.

Specifically what Israel has in mind is if Iran, Saudi Arabia, the Netherlands, Canada or anyone else for that matter asks Israel to extradite someone to face a war crimes tribunal, Israel is stating they have no intention of complying with such a request.

The USA has made similar claims and I expect most other countries would have a similar policy but no one else has had much reason to make such a statement.
i dont think canada will be requesting extradition of any war criminals. last time i checked canada took a very firm stance on the gaza crisis instead of what it normally does and observe for peace operations and getting help to where its needed.

aside from that its not hard to refuse to hand over war criminals based on international findings that war crimes were commited. Especially with the US on your side.

there are many many many people wanted in the world still (right now even say darfur crisis???) where the country will not surrender the convicted. i believe if Israel finds that any soldier or group of soldiers did any sort of crimes that they will punish themselves though so it isn't even like it matters that they don't give up the convicted...
 
  • #9
russ_watters
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Edit: I see he was referring to the oversees prosecutions ...
Ehh, the article's wording may have been a little sloppy.
 
  • #10
devil-fire
i dont think canada will be requesting extradition of any war criminals. last time i checked canada took a very firm stance on the gaza crisis instead of what it normally does and observe for peace operations and getting help to where its needed.
This is true, I can't imagine a possible scenario where Canada would make such accusations.

there are many many many people wanted in the world still (right now even say darfur crisis???) where the country will not surrender the convicted.
I think you mean 'the charged', not 'the convicted' since I expect the person's presence at trial would be required for a conviction
 
  • #11
mgb_phys
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Generally there isn't much precedence for a country willingly handing someone over for trial.
Libya handed over the men accused of the Pan-Am attacks to the UK and France handed over the agents responsible for sinking the Greenpeace ship to New Zealand. However both of these involved giving up a couple of low level agents in the face of heavy economic sanctions.

The first leader to be arrested while their state was still functioning and able to bring diplomatic pressure was probably Gen. Pinochet (former facist dictator of Chile) arrested in Britain at the request of Spain - even then Britain managed to find a loophole to release him (presumably trade with Chile was worth more than trade with Spain) and he was granted immunity by his own government on his return.
 
  • #12
tiny-tim
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legal protection, not military protection

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7850085.stm
Any Israeli soldiers accused of war crimes in the Gaza Strip will be given state protection from prosecution overseas, the country's PM has said.
That is the BBC's rather ambiguous reporting.

This http://thejc.com/articles/idf-fight-war-crimes’-charges" (a weekly British newspaper) article makes it clearer …
… To counter the lawsuits, Defence Minister Ehud Barak has ordered the establishment of a team of military legal experts and intelligence officers to prepare evidence that could be used to defend officers if indicted abroad.

Officers who could be charged include IDF Chief of Staff Lt-Gen Gabi Ashkenazi, head of the Southern Command Maj-Gen Yoav Galant as well as the commanders of the Golani, Givati and Paratrooper’s brigades.

One senior officer downplayed the possibility that he would be charged with war crimes, saying: “In the worst case scenario, I won’t be able to visit Buckingham Palace for several years.”

But Amos Guiora, a law professor and a former senior officer in the IDF’s Judge Advocate General’s Corps, said that Israel had a strong defence case.

Israel’s decision to drop flyers over areas of Gaza and to call over 250,000 homes ahead of ground operations created the legitimate basis for the ensuing operation, he said.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if someone files a charge sheet against these officers,” Mr Guiora said. “But Israel acted in classic self-defence based on the fact that this action came three years after Israel left the Gaza Strip and after it absorbed thousands of missiles.”
In other words, Israel has promised its soldiers the protection of lawyers, not military protection! :rolleyes:
Specifically what Israel has in mind is if Iran, Saudi Arabia, the Netherlands, Canada or anyone else for that matter asks Israel to extradite someone to face a war crimes tribunal, Israel is stating they have no intention of complying with such a request.
No … an extradition request for war crime is only lawful if the requesting country has jurisdiction, which means that the crime alleged was committed in that country, or (in a few cases) that a citizen of that country was a victim.

Neither of those would apply to Iran, Saudi Arabia, the Netherlands, Canada or indeed anywhere but Palestine.

The problem is not one of extradition, but of Israeli officers being arrested on holiday. :smile:
 
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  • #13
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There is a case where a Russian Billionaire who is wanted in Russia for all kinds of things, was granted permission from the UK to stay there. Russia wants him back, but the UK refuses. Russia became upset with the U.S. because one of George bushes Brothers does business with him. Essentially the guys money is dirty, and Russia would call it money laundering. But, what is russia going to do invade the UK?
 
  • #14
mgb_phys
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There is a case where a Russian Billionaire who is wanted in Russia for all kinds of things, was granted permission from the UK to stay there. Russia wants him back, but the UK refuses.
The UK would also like Russia to hand over the agent that off'ed Litvinenko with the radioactive sushi - but as he is now a Russian MP it ain't going to happen.
 
  • #15
Alfi
You are arguing about war crimes.

WAR is a crime.
 
  • #16
tiny-tim
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what's it all about, alfi?

WAR is a crime.
So if country A invades country B, then country B will be committing a crime if it resists?
 
  • #17
mjsd
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WAR is a crime.
So if country A invades country B, then country B will be committing a crime if it resists?
There is too much gray area on the issue of WAR and it is misleading to view it in such a yes/no (or black/white) situation.
People have different views as to what constitute a "crime", just as they may have different values and expectation in life.
 
  • #18
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What constitutes a crime is the violation of a law. The strongest authority makes the laws. The idea is that countries joint together to make a strong enough authority to enforce certain laws. Yes certain acts of war are against a law. There is a rule that you cannot invade a country unless they are threatening you. Another law is that you cannot use collective punishment. Certain weapons which are especially damaging to civilians are illegal to use in certain situations. White phosphorous is illegal in densely populated areas because it causes heavy civilian injury, death, and destruction. It is anything but a precise selective weapon.

The law gets kind of fuzzy when countries have enough power and influence to single handedly undermine the worlds attempts at global war authority.

The reason it would be ironic for Israel to undermine these laws, is that they were once the victims of these types of crimes, and that is one of the main reasons why the laws were made.
 
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  • #19
Alfi
There is a rule that you cannot invade a country unless they are threatening you.
oh that's going to be a hard one for some to defend.

coughcoughIraqcoughcoough


there is a rule .... who makes the rules?
 
  • #20
tiny-tim
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oh that's going to be a hard one for some to defend.

coughcoughIraqcoughcoough
Pretending you have weapons is just as threatening as actually having them. :frown:
 
  • #21
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"Preemptive war (or a preemptive strike) is waged in an attempt to repel or defeat a perceived inevitable offensive or invasion, or to gain a strategic advantage in an impending (allegedly unavoidable) war before that threat materializes. Preemptive war is often confused with the term preventive war. While the latter is generally considered to violate international law, and to fall short of the requirements of a just war, preemptive wars are more often argued to be justified or justifiable (although international law categorically rejects Preemptive war).[citation needed]"
...
Legality

Further information: War of aggression, Jus ad bellum, and UN Charter
There is some question as to the legality of this doctrine under international law. Article 2, Section 4 of the U.N. Charter is generally considered to be jus cogens, or a peremptory norm which cannot be violated. It bars the threat or use of force against any state in the absence of an acute and imminent actual threat. At the same time, however, Article 51 clearly permits self defense. The tension between these two principles is evident in the doctrine of preemptive war, which claims to be defensive, yet does not come in response to an attack.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preemptive_war

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_law

I'm not sure about legality, but S.H. was a mass murdering genocidal war criminal himself. If Hitler hadn't invaded anyone or threatened any country, but just exterminated the Jews, I would hope it would have still be legal to invade the Nazis.
 
  • #22
mjsd
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there is a rule .... who makes the rules?
definitely not you and me.
"Preemptive war (or a preemptive strike) is waged in an attempt to repel or defeat a perceived inevitable offensive or invasion, or to gain a strategic advantage in an impending (allegedly unavoidable) war before that threat materializes. Preemptive war is often confused with the term preventive war. While the latter is generally considered to violate international law, and to fall short of the requirements of a just war, preemptive wars are more often argued to be justified or justifiable (although international law categorically rejects Preemptive war).[citation needed]"
...
I'm not sure about legality, but S.H. was a mass murdering genocidal war criminal himself. If Hitler hadn't invaded anyone or threatened any country, but just exterminated the Jews, I would hope it would have still be legal to invade the Nazis.
legality? for invading someone? That's too subjective! Based on what do we judge someone is a real threat to us? Is there actually a standard or universal guidelines as to when one can go to war? As far as I know, there is no such standard.

Even if Hilter did not invade or threaten any country directly, one could well argue that given his actions against a race of ppl (Jews in that case), it is clear that he was a threat to humanity, and ppl may use that to justify preemption. Because if he could do it to the Jews, there was no telling whether he couldn't do it to someone else. But I wouldn't think in any case one declares "it is legal to do so!". One may do it for one's interests.

Same goes with war crimes per se, the main theme of this thread. How do you justify certain actions/mistakes becomes the sticking point, and often not the actions/mistakes themselves.

Since the rules are not set by us, our interpretation is no better or worse than the offender's.
 
  • #23
kyleb
Since the rules are not set by us, our interpretation is no better or worse than the offender's.
So then, when whoever wrote the law dies, then the law is out the window?

Wow, I suppose if I were a psychopath I'd go on a killing spree and take some peoples homes from them know that I know that the old laws against such things don't apply anymore.:devil:
 
  • #24
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definitely not you and me.

l
Since the rules are not set by us, our interpretation is no better or worse than the offender's.
Better or worse is subjective, but actions are actions and are undeniable. People know what they are doing, and truth is not subjective. If people abide to a common simplistic morality such as, 'do unto others as you would have them do unto you", or something of that sort, then we can all live in a better world and eliminate senselessness which can threaten us all.

If you murder someone, then no one should feel sorry when you be murdered. If you steal from people, then no one should care if your things be stolen. The world largely operates in terms of respect. If you don' show respect, then you are not entitled to respect.

If you violate basic human rights laws, then you lose respect and should no longer have the benefit of protection under those codes. If you wish for your rights to be protected, then you must not violate the rights of others.
 
  • #25
mgb_phys
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If people abide to a common simplistic morality such as, 'do unto others as you would have them do unto you", or something of that sort, then we can all live in a better world and eliminate senselessness which can threaten us all.
Although you should remember the 8th of God's "I'd Really Rather You Didn'ts"
 

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