30
Nov
2004

Setting the Conditions for War Crimes

by Marjorie Cohn

TruthOut

11/29/04

Free fire zones, and indiscriminate killing of civilians, which constitute willful killing, are grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions. The U.S. War Crimes Act considers grave breaches of Geneva to be war crimes, which can result in the death penalty for those convicted. Criminal liability for war crimes extends beyond the perpetrator. Under the doctrine of command responsibility, higher-ups can be just as liable if they knew or should have known their underlings were committing war crimes, but they failed to stop or prevent it. Commanders have a responsibility to make sure civilians are not indiscriminately hurt and that prisoners are not summarily executed. The rules of engagement are set at the top. The Marines are being told they can fire at anything that moves. Before entering Fallujah, the Marines had been pumped up by tough talking superiors...

//www.truthout.org/docs_04/113004A.shtml


Informant: Thomas L. Knapp
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