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.
Look out FPS gamers — the Red Cross has you in their sights:
Move aside, Milosevic. Out of the way, al-Bashir. It’s the world’s videogamers who should be hauled up on war crimes charges, some members of the Red Cross seem to think.
During the 31st International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, which took place in Geneva last week, attendees were asked to consider what response the organisations should make to the untold zillions of deaths that can be laid at the feet of videogamers.
[. . .]
There is “an audience of approximately 600 million gamers who may be virtually violating international humanitarian law (IHL),” it noted.
The key word there, folks, is ‘virtually’. Ruthlessly gunning down civilians, fellow combatants and/or extraterrestrial visitors may be a crime if you do it for real, but not if you merely imagine the action, even if helped by the realistic visuals of the likes of Battlefield 3 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.
Take back all the panic-mongering in this post. Cyclone Power Technologies assures us that their battlefield robot (the disturbingly named EATR) is on a strictly no human corpses diet:
Many commentators, our own Lewis Page included, not unreasonably took this vague “biomass in the environment” concept to mean anything EATR could get its robotic claws on, including humans.
Some press reports went further, suggesting EATR would suck nourishment from corpses as it went about its unholy business.
Cue an entertaining press release (pdf) from Cyclone, which stresses that EATR is “strictly vegetarian”. The company explains: “Despite the far-reaching reports that this includes ‘human bodies,’ the public can be assured that the engine Cyclone has developed to power the EATR runs on fuel no scarier than twigs, grass clippings and wood chips.”
Cyclone marvellously adds: “Desecration of the dead is a war crime under Article 15 of the Geneva Conventions, and is certainly not something sanctioned by DARPA, Cyclone or RTI.”