March 4, 2012

“Assuming this account is accurate, this was a war crime”

Heresy Corner on the story being serialized in the Daily Mail from Tony Banks:

Banks says that “we simply did not have the resources to take prisoners” and “they had started the war and they had not shown much respect for the white flag when they had shot my three mates who went forward to take the surrender at Goose Green.” Neither is an excuse recognised by the Geneva Convention.

To issue an order to take no prisoners is a fundamental violation of the principles of international law and thus a war crime. Section 40 of Additional Protocol I of the Geneva Conventions provides that soldiers who have clearly expressed an intention to surrender (for example by raising their arms or waving a white flag) are considered to be hors de combat and they must be given quarter (i.e. allowed to peacefully surrender). The officer who gave that order is not named but presumably Banks, along with other surviving members of his unit, knows who it was.

[. . .]

Assuming this account is accurate, this was a war crime. The fact that the Paras involved plainly knew that it was a war crime (hence the “brief argument”) exacerbates rather than mitigates their guilt. One soldier killed this boy in cold blood and the others covered up for him. That makes them all guilty, morally and legally. The fact that this took place thirty years ago is no reason why it cannot now be investigated and the perpetrators brought to trial. At the very least Banks should be taken in for questioning.

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