Thursday, April 14, 2011
An Evening of String & Dance at The Bhavan Centre, London
"I won't participate in an illegal war": military objectors, the Nuremberg defense, and the obligation to refuse illegal orders
Robert E. Murdough
When Army First Lieutenant (1LT) Ehren Watada refused to deploy to Iraq in 2006, he became the first U.S. Army officer of Operation Iraqi Freedom to disobey deployment orders. (1) First Lieutenant Watada believed the war in Iraq was illegal, and he declared it was "the duty, the obligation of every soldier, and specifically the officers, to evaluate the legality, the truth behind every order--including the order to go to war." (2) First Lieutenant Watada claimed he had personally researched the legal issues surrounding the war and had come to the conclusion the war was illegal, (3) and he insisted that "[t]he wholesale slaughter and mistreatment of the Iraqi people with only limited accountability is not only a terrible moral injustice, but a contradiction to the Army's own Law of Land Warfare." He further stated that his "participation would make [him a] party to war crimes." (4)
First Lieutenant Watada became a minor cause celebre within the American antiwar movement (5) primarily because of his rank as an officer, (6) but he was not the only servicemember to refuse orders to deploy to Iraq. At a congressional hearing in 2007, Sergeant Matthis Chiroux of the U.S. Army Individual Ready Reserve (IRR), who had received orders recalling him to active service, publicly declared his intention to disobey his recall orders, calling the war an "illegal and unconstitutional occupation." (7) Jeremy Hinzman, the first of several American deserters to attempt to avoid service in Iraq by seeking refuge in Canada, claimed his participation in the war would make him "a criminal." (8)
Often citing the International Military Tribunal (IMT) at Nuremberg as justification to refuse orders to fight, saying that soldiers bear responsibility for "crimes against the peace" and "wars of aggression," (9) and invoking the well-established duty of soldiers to refuse to follow illegal orders, these soldiers and others like them have claimed they could not, in good conscience, participate in the Iraq war. (10) They faced administrative and judicial punishment for refusing to obey orders.
This article examines whether soldiers have a defense when they refuse to participate in a war they believe is illegal and, consequently, claim an order to deploy is an illegal order. Part II of this article outlines the legal responsibilities of soldiers regarding illegal orders and discusses the difficulty of defining an illegal war under domestic law. Despite much litigation, the federal judiciary has rarely addressed the question of a war's legality, and when it has, it has consistently found the war in question to be legal. This article then examines whether, absent a determination that a war is illegal, a defense is still available under military law against a charge of desertion, dereliction of duty, missing movement, or failure to follow an order. (11) Part III considers the responsibility for illegal war under international law, including the precedents set in the 1940s at Nuremberg. This part also examines the philosophical distinctions between jus ad bellum (justice of war) and jus in bello (justice in war) and whether military personnel can be considered war criminals for their participation in an illegal war. Part IV addresses the significance of these issues and the danger to national security that would result from allowing soldiers to choose which wars to fight.
From Science Daily:
A British tourist was beaten to death by officers in a Dubai police station after being arrested for swearing, it was claimed yesterday.
Lee Bradley Brown, 39, was on holiday at a £1,000-a-night hotel in the Arab state when he was thrown into a filthy cell.
Police sources say he was ‘badly beaten up’ by a group of police officers, leaving him unconscious on the floor.
Inmates told how they watched officers bundle him into a body-bag and drag him out of the building.
During Mr Brown’s six days in Bur Dubai police station, guards refused to give him enough food and water and did not let him see a lawyer, it is alleged.
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Bush Condemned Property Via Eminent Domain to Build Rangers Stadium - And Made $14 Million Off the Deal
Murray Wardrop reports for the Telegraph:
Experts warn that unless we undergo a “radical cultural change”, Britain will slide into unprecedented depths of despair blighted by rising rates of suicide and depression.
A group of eminent British thinkers from the worlds of education, economics and politics – backed by the Dalai Lama – yesterday launched a campaign to halt the nation’s psychological decline.
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