Just Sociology

Uncovering State Crimes and War Crimes in the US War on Terror

Throughout the United States’ War on Terror, allegations regarding state crimes and war crimes have arisen. The United States’ use of drone strikes that result in civilian deaths have been widely criticized as being in violation of international humanitarian law, while the Kunduz Trauma Centre attack has been deemed a war crime.

This article will delve into these topics and analyze them in-depth.

United States War on Terror and State Crimes

Civilian Deaths

During the United States’ War on Terror, the killing of civilians has been a major concern. International humanitarian law prohibits intentional attacks on civilians, and those who violate this law commit state crimes.

Investigative journalism has revealed that civilians have often been killed in drone strikes authorized by the United States. A study conducted by Reprieve found that, on average, 90% of people killed in US drone strikes are not the intended targets.

The use of signature strikes, where individuals are targeted based on patterns of behavior rather than on identified targets, has led to the deaths of many innocent civilians. The use of drones for strike operations by the United States government raises many concerns, not the least of which is their legality.

The United Nations has expressed doubts about the legality of drone strikes and the use of such tactics. In 2013, the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions presented a report that questioned the legal basis for targeted killings using drones.

The US government has defended its policy of targeted killings, arguing that they are necessary and legal under international law. However, many question whether these drone strikes constitute state crimes.

Legality of Drone Strikes

The legality of drone strikes by the United States continues to be a subject of debate. While the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has claimed that attacks against terrorist targets do not violate the laws of war, other experts argue that the use of drones in warfare raises many legal questions.

Specifically, drones are often used for targeted killings that may violate international humanitarian law, and the process for authorizing such strikes is not transparent. These factors have led many to question whether drones should be used in combat at all.

One key concern is that drone strikes often result in wide-scale destruction and civilian casualties. Reports from areas affected by drone strikes suggest that they have a profound impact on local communities, uprooting families and leaving populations traumatized.

The use of drones and the resulting civilian casualties raise important legal questions about the ethics of using such weapons in warfare. Furthermore, investigations into drone strikes have revealed that the US has often misidentified targets, leading to the deaths of innocent civilians.

Such acts constitute state crimes and war crimes.

Kunduz Trauma Centre and War Crimes

Kunduz Trauma Centre Attack

One of the most infamous incidents involving the United States’ War on Terror occurred on October 3, 2015, when the United States bombed the Kunduz Trauma Centre in Afghanistan, killing and injuring many patients and medical personnel. Mdecins Sans Frontires (MSF) ran the hospital, and it was one of the few hospitals serving the area.

The AC-130U gunship responsible for the attack spent more than an hour bombarding the hospital, even as MSF officials pleaded with the US military to stop the attack. The attack on the Kunduz Trauma Centre caused international outrage and led to calls for the United States to be held accountable for its actions.

Although the US government initially claimed that the attack was a mistake, an investigation by MSF concluded that the attack was a war crime.

Legality of Attack

The attack on the Kunduz Trauma Centre raised many questions about the legality of attacking medical facilities during wartime. International humanitarian law is clear that hospitals and medical personnel must be protected against attack during conflict.

The attack on the Kunduz Trauma Centre, which was a deliberate and prolonged assault, was clearly a violation of the law. Additionally, the attack on the Kunduz Trauma Centre raises broader questions about the rules of engagement in modern warfare.

Many believe that the United States’ War on Terror has led to an erosion of international humanitarian law and human rights. Critics argue that the United States’ use of force has become increasingly arbitrary, leading to unintended consequences such as the Kunduz Trauma Centre attack.

Conclusion:

The United States’ War on Terror has been marked by allegations of state crimes and war crimes. The drone strikes authorized by the US government have been widely criticized as being in violation of international humanitarian law, and the Kunduz Trauma Centre attack has been deemed a war crime.

These incidents raise important questions about the use of force in modern warfare and the need to uphold international humanitarian law and human rights. It is essential to hold those responsible for such acts accountable so that international norms can be maintained and atrocities can be prevented.

International Humanitarian Law

Basic Principles of International Humanitarian Law

International humanitarian law (IHL) is a set of rules designed to protect people who are not, or are no longer, taking an active part in hostilities due to war or armed conflict. The rules represent a balance between military necessities and humanitarian concerns.

The Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols serve as the primary instruments of IHL. IHL establishes basic principles for the conduct of hostilities, including the distinction between civilians and combatants, and the obligation to protect wounded and sick combatants.

The Geneva Conventions define civilian as any person who is not a member of the armed forces or is not engaged in any military or civilian activities associated with the conflict. Combatants, on the other hand, are defined as members of the armed forces or anyone engaged in direct participation in hostilities.

Both civilians and combatants are protected under IHL. In addition, the Geneva Conventions require that prisoners of war are to be treated humanely and not subjected to torture, cruel treatment, or any form of punishment beyond what is necessary for the security of the detaining power.

The Conventions prohibit the use of certain weapons, including those that cause unnecessary injury or suffering, such as chemical weapons and biological weapons.

Enforcement of International Humanitarian Law

International humanitarian law is not self-enforcing, and violations of its provisions have been widespread over the years. Enforcement of IHL is essential to ensure justice and to prevent further harm to innocent civilians.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is the primary institution charged with enforcing IHL. It has jurisdiction over four main categories of crimes: genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and crimes of aggression.

National courts also play a critical role in enforcing IHL, and they can prosecute war crimes in their jurisdiction. International tribunals have been established to ensure accountability for breaching the rules of IHL.

The Nuremberg trials, established after the Second World War, prosecuted Nazi leaders for their crimes against humanity. The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia have also been established to hold accountable those responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during those conflicts.

However, the ICC and other international tribunals have been criticized for their limited scope and effectiveness in prosecuting violators. The ICC has faced backlash from some international actors, including the United States, which has refused to ratify the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the ICC.

While the effectiveness of international courts is being questioned, their importance remains critical. IHL must be upheld, and those who violate its provisions should be held accountable to ensure that its principles are respected in future armed conflicts.

Conclusion:

International humanitarian law sets out rules and principles for the protection of people against harm caused by war and armed conflict. These principles include the protection of civilians and combatants, the obligation to care for wounded and sick combatants, and the humane treatment of prisoners of war.

IHL is essential in mitigating the impact that wars and armed conflict can have on individuals and communities. The enforcement of IHL is also essential to ensure accountability for violations and prevent further violations.

While international tribunals face limitations, their presence is critical in upholding IHL in nations around the world. In conclusion, the United States’ War on Terror has raised significant concerns regarding state crimes and war crimes, with the use of drone strikes and the Kunduz Trauma Centre attack being notable examples.

International humanitarian law serves as a framework for protecting people during armed conflict and upholding humanitarian considerations. The enforcement of IHL is essential to ensure justice for victims and to deter future violations.

Through our understanding of IHL, we can strive towards a world in which innocent civilians are protected, and conflicts are resolved peacefully.

FAQs:

1.

What is International Humanitarian Law? International humanitarian law is a set of rules designed to protect people who are not, or are no longer, taking an active part in hostilities due to war or armed conflict.

2. What are the basic principles of International Humanitarian Law?

The basic principles of IHL include the distinction between civilians and combatants, the obligation to protect wounded and sick combatants, and the humane treatment of prisoners of war. 3.

What are war crimes? War crimes are serious violations of international humanitarian law, including murder, torture, and other inhumane treatment of civilians and combatants.

4. What is the International Criminal Court?

The International Criminal Court is a judicial institution with the jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for international crimes, including war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. 5.

How are violations of International Humanitarian Law enforced? International humanitarian law is enforced through the International Criminal Court and national courts, which can prosecute crimes that constitute war crimes or crimes against humanity.

Popular Posts