From the Daily Mirror:
None of the 400 citizens returning here after fighting for Islamic State in Syria and Iraq have been charged with war crimes.
Yet the Council of Europe’s legal affairs committee recently ruled membership of the terror group, also known as Daesh, is enough for prosecution at the Hague’s International Criminal Court.
Labour Shadow Minister Liam Byrne, representing Britain, backed the decision.
He said: “We know British citizens were soldiers and commanders in Daesh’s army of evil. Yet not a single soldier captured on their return has been charged with war crimes or genocide.”
MI5 estimates that 850 Brits have slipped into Iraq and Syria to fight for IS – half of whom have returned.
They were outside the jurisdiction of the ICC while there but could have been deported to the Hague upon their return.
Mr Byrne added: “This cannot possibly be justice. The Government must look again at throwing the full weight of international law at those who took part in crimes against humanity.”
Byrne also had an op ed in The Times of London:
Britain has signed the Treaty of Rome. We support the International Criminal Court. Indeed, under the 1948 Genocide Convention, we have an obligation to take prompt and effective action both to prevent and punish acts of genocide. And we can try our own nationals for participating in crimes abroad, not least because there are good grounds for bringing charges against even those, who might claim “they were merely following orders”. UK policy is very clear; we allow the exercise of universal jurisdiction, like the ICC, over offences under international law.
That means we can prosecute those of our citizens caught in this country, who fought with militants abroad but then came home to escape a death on the battlefield.
MI5 believe that over 800 of our fellow country men women went to fight in Iraq and Syria. Over 400 have come home. Perhaps 150 have been deprived of their citizenship. But evidence supplied to a Council of Europe investigation suggests that just “eight returnees have been convicted for terrorist offences”. And answers to me in parliament last week confirm that not a single returning fighter has been prosecuted either for genocide or war-crimes.
Justice denied… is collaboration in both past and future crimes.
“Justice denied… is collaboration in both past and future crimes.
Yes, so if you are talking about international crimes, why don’t you start with, say, Henry Kissinger and George W. Bush. They are responsible for more torture and thousands more deaths than any ISIS participant.
I agree. Justice denied is collaboration in both past and future crimes. That’s why they keep doing it.
Folks like you, always obsessing about the little stuff, as long as it means non-white people.
“Justice Denied” is the fact that George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Tony Blair, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and all the rest who are responsible for the destruction of Iraq, Libya and Syria and the drone assassination program are still walking around free and not in the dock at the Hague being tried for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
BillB and Karl Kolchak,
Somewhere around a decade ago ( I don’t have time to search for it now) I wrote a post talking about how it is unreasonable to be against all war, but that if one was going to lead a country into a war, one had a responsibility to ensure that the war was prosecuted as quickly and effectively as possible and that the outcomes turned out well. I criticized the GW administration for failing on that regard. More recently I have pointed out that Hilary’s involvement in how Syria & Libya turned out were good reasons not to vote for her for President.
But I am puzzled about the whole non-white people comment. What makes you think I am only against ISIS because I’ve concluded that their M.O. is to attack WASPs?
Finally – regardless of my criticism of leaders who bring us to un-necessary, poorly thought out wars, there is a qualitative difference between most of them and an ISIS foot soldier who arrived from England or the US. Say what one will about Bush and Cheney on one hand, and Obama and HRC on the other – their goal wasn’t genocide. They didn’t watch beheading videos and say to themselves: “that could be me holding me the machete and raping a 12 year old if I make my way down Syria.”
Justice is coupled with due process. Without some sort of evidence to put before a court, there’s no prosecutable crime.
Acts that could be potentially proven might be related to immigration or customs evasion (probably misdemeanors at best). Anything more than that is going to take a large team of investigators years to unearth once the region is pacified. If it ever is, and also relying on a cooperative local government.
Either that or your sole evidence is a confession.
Anecdotally, you hear a number of stories where people indicate that the acts they took were under conditions of duress. They traveled then had second thoughts when they saw what was on the ground, they traveled with a friend or relative and got caught up in a situation they didn’t understand going in. There are crimes, but these people are probably not an imminent threat to the public, and the government has better things to do than find a way to put them in jail for six months.
They should be monitored, and if evidence becomes available (and efforts should be made to find it), they should be prosecuted at that time. There is no statute of limitations on war crimes.
I could comment on many aspects of a host of the things you stated and their direct implications, but I’ll limit my comment to just one statement you made:
“They didn’t watch beheading videos and say to themselves: “that could be me holding me the machete and raping a 12 year old if I make my way down Syria.””
You’re right, they didn’t watch videos and say that to themselves. But when they got to the Philippines, VN, Cambodia, and Iraq that’s what they did (with modern weapons replacing machetes however), as well as waterboarding (started before the US Philippines subjugations), throwing people into deep wells, with mass executions of men, women, and children with bullets to the back of the head while they were bound or held, and burying the stench in mass graves, Over time some of these atrocities of war becomes public, but most aren’t public. Oh and then there were concentration camps to prevent people from conspiring with the “enemy… actually just freedom fighters (like our revolutionary militia’s and soldiers) for providing food and shelter, and smuggling weapons, where-in those concentration camps people starved to death, died of disease, not to mention raped and beaten to pulp.
You can think soldiers of war are clean as the driven snow if you want, but they aren’t and never have been. For the record my cousin spent 5 tours of duty in VN and a ton of my former high-school classmates and friends did VN… what happens in war on foreign territory is hell on earth .. but if you want to live in a self made and propaganda induced fantasy that’s your choice. Also in post war Germany under the American occupation rapes were quite common immediately after the war by US GI’s and officers, and were still not unknown even as late as when I lived there. They were hushed up by both the German and American authorities and gov’ts to keep improving the peace and not give the former large numbers of still Nazi believers a reason to inflame the public’s opposition to the US occupation. It was worse in the French occupation zone, btw.
oh, and don’t forget rape, mass murder, and genocide of the American Indian’s. by US “soldiers” and committees of citizens who were “deputized”.
You live in fantasy land in this regard.. along with most of the rest of the public.
The most widely known and publicized atrocities of war.. actual war crime by any definition:
The My Lai Massacre was the mass murder of 347 to 504 unarmed citizens in South Vietnam, almost entirely civilians, most of them women and children, conducted by U.S. soldiers from the Company C of the 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 11th Brigade of the 23rd (American) Infantry Division, on 16 March 1968. Some of the victims were raped, beaten, tortured, or maimed, and some of the bodies were found mutilated. The massacre took place in the hamlets of Mỹ Lai and My Khe of Sơn Mỹ village during the Vietnam War. Of the 26 U.S. soldiers initially charged with criminal offenses or war crimes for actions at My Lai, only William Calley was convicted. Initially sentenced to life in prison, Calley had his sentence reduced to ten years, then was released after only three and a half years under house arrest”
Three American Servicemen ….who made an effort to halt the massacre and protect the wounded, were sharply criticized by U.S. Congressmen, and received hate mail, death threats, and mutilated animals on their doorsteps”
Yep, justice served, huh? 1 conviction, with 3 years under house arrest.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg because it became public..
It only became public because an independent reporter wrote a story on the AP in Nov. 1969. The military and congress had alredy een informed and white-washed it, commending (in writing) the commander of the unit in fact. This included Westmoreland and investigating officer of the unit involved … Major Collin Powel….. you known later General and then Sec State.
“Independent investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, after extensive interviews with Calley, broke the Mỹ Lai story on November 12, 1969, on the Associated Press wire service; on November 20, Time, Life and Newsweek magazines all covered the story, and CBS televised an interview with Paul Meadlo, a soldier in Calley’s unit during the massacre. The Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio) published explicit photographs of dead villagers killed at Mỹ Lai.:”
So gimmee a break about even having the public become aware of most atrocities in warefare, and the massive cover-ups to prevent the public from becoming aware. If you think this was an isolated one-time incient, you have no clue of reality. Which is precisely what you’re expected to know — as little as feasible.
If you read up on this (and other atrocities in each nation we’ve fought) you’ll find that these don’t become public through official rporting channels or even by those that are part of the unit conducting the atrocities, but by outsiders if they ever become public — though military archives has records of them locked away as “top secret”… top secret from the US public that is.
Shame on you Sammy for your making it appear as if this is what should be done to “conduct war” ..
And shame on you Mr. Kimel for promoting a one sided argument which tries to make it appear that ISIS doesn’t receive justice for it’s crimes against humanity without making it clear that their atrocities are no worse than ours have been.
Of 16 Officers charged by US Army in court’s martial for the Mai Lai massacres war crimes, only one was convicted (Lt Calley… serving 3 yeas under house arrest). The charges for 14 of the other 15 were all dropped. The remaining one was acquitted of charges by the court’s marshal.
Yep. Justice served alright. If the that independent reporter hadn’t followed up and reported it to the press, or had the press been restricted by war black-outs of “sensitive military matters” or had the press not been allowed in the war zone and free to move and do as they pleased, when they pleased, and where they pleased, none of this would have ever come to light.
So how much of what went on in Iraq came to light folks? You might find out in another 10 – 30 years if ever.
The quote you responded to was mine, not Sammy’s.
My grandfather toured Europe in the driver’s seat of a Sherman tank from early June of 1944 to the middle of 1945. He told me about some of the atrocities by US soldiers you mentioned. For the most part, they were in the nature of SS men not making it back to POW camps, and that happened after a widely reported on massacre by the SS of US prisoners. (I note – my grandfather got a commendation for running out in the middle of a battle and rescuing a German toddler who had somehow ended up in the middle of a firefight. A Wehrmacht soldier running out in the middle of a battle to rescue a little Jewish kid would have been, at a minimum, berated.)
Atrocities happen in war. On all sides. As they say, war is hell. But sometimes the alternative is even worse. It is hard to imagine what the US could have done in the 1970s that would have generated more atrocities than abandoning the Cambodian military and allowing the Khmer Rouge from taking the country, for example.
And atrocities are more likely to be committed by the side that can justify those atrocities to themselves. If your really think the Khmer Rouge, or ISIS, is no more likely to commit atrocities than American troops, the burden of evidence is on you since the data seems to show otherwise.
Note that I was against the Iraq War when it happened. Not because I didn’t support the removal of a brutal guy like Saddam, but because it was obvious that GW and his crew clearly weren’t serious about what it took to prosecute such a terrible thing as a war, so it was obvious that things were going to end poorly. We have seen the same half-assed approach to our involvement in Syria and Libya as well, which was a damn good reason not to vote for HRC.
“And atrocities are more likely to be committed by the side that can justify those atrocities to themselves. If your really think the Khmer Rouge, or ISIS, is no more likely to commit atrocities than American troops, the burden of evidence is on you since the data seems to show otherwise.”
Who says Khmer Rouge or ISIS are no more likely than Americans, since the evidence seems to show otherwise?
I suppose what you mean is that the evidence we know of shows other wise. But we have as much evidence decades and decades after the fact that we commit the same atrocities in the same magnitudes as we are aware of the Khmer Rouge and ISIS committing… the only reason you aren’t aware of them is because that information isn’t widely publicized 30 an 50 years after the fact.
And if you want to get picky about magnitudes of atrocities then where are the measurements? how would you know them? who in fact in the military or civilians affected even know how to count them or where would they report them if they could and who are the authorities that would investigate each such report? And who’s keeping track of all of the atrocities committed by both sides and tallying the difference?
You don’t have a clue Mr. Kimel. Indian Wars, Mexican American War, Civil War, Philippines War, South American “U.S. involvement”, War in the Pacific War in Europe, VN War, Iraq War, Afghanistan War, Syrian War and let’s not forget Nagasaki and Hiroshima for the atrocity it was in fact… or firebombing Dresden and Wurzburg in Europe.
You have a heavily biased nationalism view because of what you don’t know, which is by design you doofus, or haven’t you figured that out yet? .
The Khmer Rouge wiped out 21% – 25% of the population of the country, and did it in deliberate fashion. All but a small fraction of those deaths happened after they were in complete control of the country, and the atrocities weren’t committed in order to bring a war to an end or shorten a conflict. They also did not stop , but rather were stopped. So up that percentage to whatever. And remember, it was deliberate.
Now, the US has the power to wipe out 21% to 25%, if not something close to 100% of the population of, well, pick whatever country you choose, within the next 120 minutes or less.
ISIS, Hamas, and however many other entities, like the Khmer Rouge, are limited by their ability to inflict harm, not by their desire to inflict harm. If they had the ability to set up death factories, they would. On the other hand, the US has the ability but not any interest in running every single resident of the Middle East through a 21st Century Auschwitz. If the desire were there, it could be accomplished by the end of the year.
If you aren’t seeing a distinction between the Khmer Rouge and the US, there is something seriously wrong with you.