Geneva Convention

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by DontMentionTheWar, Apr 12, 2007.

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  1. One for the legal beagles to fight over I suspect but I'd be interested in other lay-peoples (other than me) view on this.

    When captured were the 15 RN and RM subject to the Geneva Convention?

    Was discussing this last night, and I believe the answer to be a resounding no as they were not formally PW (as no state of war exists between UK / Iran (yet)).

    I proposed that the arrest that had taken place in what was believed to be Iranian waters (wrongly / rightly) and that as such the detainees were not entitled to PW protections and duties.

    What do the good people of ARRSE consider to this proposition?
  2. Personally I think that the captured we in fact PoWs. A formal declaration of a war is rare now. The very fact of the capture was really an act of a war. So the soldiers were PoWs.

    The Britons were uniformed, armed soldiers during a military mission.

    And what is an alternative of PoWs status? Maybe they were illegal combatants or armed citizens of a foreing state?

    Let's recall similar situation. American pilot Goodman was shot and captured by the Syrians in Lebanon. Apparently he was a PoW (as I remember Jessy Jackson went to Damascus to free him) despite the fact that there was no a state of war between USA and Syria.
  3. The same as for patrols who strayed south of the boredr in NI? Arrested for illegally carrying weapons?
  4. If, as Sergey says, the kidnapping was a de facto declaration of war and the Geneva Conventions apply - does this mean that we are still at war with Iran, since there has been no cessation of hostilities?

    No it wasn't an act of war and so the conventions do not apply.
  5. Sven, as I have said previously formal declarations of a state of war are rare (if ever happen) nowdays.

    There were so called 'incidents' on Soviet-Chinese border in 1970. Hundreds were killed. But there was no a state of was between Soviet Union and China.

    I understand your point of view and expressed my one. So we have exchanged by opinions.

    I siscerely believe that uniformed soldiers captured during military operation should be given a status of PoW. You disagree with it. No problem.
  6. KGB

    The difference between you and Sven is the fact that Sven beleives the Iranians should be given immediate UK citizenship with full voting rights and the oppurtunity to move their families over with them. Their unruly children should be rewarded for misbehaviour and anyone who disagrees with him is a bigot, racist, fascist, capitalist etc etc etc.
  7. I see the naval personnel as the same as illegal immigrants into the UK. Entered waters of a nation without proper authorisation and not at recognised port of entry. There will be argument about inside/outside but as I understand it the frontier there is still disputed from the Iran/Iraq war.
  8. :D
  9. By contrast Qman I believe that all Iranian illegal immigrants should be deported from the UK immediately and those that live in the UK should be checked for criminal records and eventually be sent to lovely jails. As for law-abiding Iranians that live in the UK (especially businessmen) then it would be helpfull to check how they pay taxes and don't they support (financially) terrorists.

    I assure you that next time the Iranians would be vey carefull.
  10. News headline : DMTW agrees with Sven shocker!
  11. Interesting question and one which I have also been mulling over.

    The reason I think this is particularly interesting is not to do with the Geneva convention but because conduct after capture in a war is different to conduct after 'arrest' in a non-war context.

    I have not criticised the conduct of the 15, partly because never having been in that situation I don't feel qualified but partly because I don't think they were Pow. Those that have criticised the conduct of the hostages seem to have done so on the assumption that they were PoW, however, if they weren't then criticism of their conduct on this basis is flawed.

    Let's face it, I am sitting in an air conditioned office with a mug of tea and I'm not entirely sure of their status, I am pretty sure that when they were looking at the wrong end of a gun, fearing for their lives in a shitty cell with a clever Iranian interigator running them, they certainly wouldn't have known either. It would have been easy to convince them that they had broken the law and were subject to above the board civilian legal precedings and PoW status simply didn't come into it (and they'd better start working hard to de-esculate the domestic demand for thir neck by apologising too).

    You see, conduct after 'arrest' is bound to be completely different from conduct after 'capture' unless clearer guidlines were issued. It is my view that in a black and white war situation this whole thing would have played out differently.

    Looking forward, I hope someone in the COC has decided to issue some direction on this as Iran seem to have a habit of doing this.
  12. In a prone to capture situation when things can turn nasty. The use of tact, diplomacy and a rifle muzzle jammed up the local commanders nostril has been succesfully used to negotiate safe passage in the past.
  13. For an international lawyer (by study not profession) the whole event raises a number of questions regarding the applicability of the Laws of Armed Conflict.

    The simple bit - Geneva Convention II of 1949 (which the UK and Iran have ratified) states:

    So whether in peace or in war they should be covered by the provisions of this Convention, especially as both Iran (although the old regime) and the UK have ratified it. It could also be argued that all states are bound by it due to its “customary” nature irrespective of ratification.

    If in peace, or if the Iranians believed that the sailors & marines “illegally” entered their territory and thereby committed an act of aggression the provisions of the Conventions should apply. Therefore it could be argued that the Iranians have breached this article by taking hostages and by humiliating them and degrading them irrespective of whether a state of “war” existed or not.

    Admittedly I was off on leave during the whole event and did not see all of the news, but why did the Red Cross or the Red Crescent not offer their assistance? Their role is to mediate and to provide assistance to the captured, yet they seemed to be absent as was any attempt by the Government to ask them to intervene. If this is the case, it is extremely worrying for all servicemen as it implies that either the Red Cross/Crescent deliberately did not get involved (which would be unusual) or, that the Government specifically did not want their involvement.
  14. With the exception of 'Drop Short' it's best understood that there is no one 'Geneva Convention' but a series of 'Conventions'. I'm not a lawyer but 25 years of military exposure to the subject gave me some base for the following opinions.

    It a complex ever evolving sequence of what starts as an opinion and can be ultimately rounded off as a 'law'. The use of landmines and cluster munitions are a particular theme under current discussion.
    In my NI days, we were being constantly 'reminded' that it was CS 'Smoke' and not 'Gas' because of the Geneva Protocols on this topic.

    The ICRC, Amnesty International et al were automatically red flagged after the crew capture. I can only surmise that our embassy officials elected to play it down and rely on their day to day contacts in Tehran to reach an unemotional conclusion, thereby putting ICRC on hold.

    Whereas I don't accept the 'POW' points of view, I do see a strong case for a diplomatic note referencing the 'Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment' signed in 1984.
    Convention 3 - Treatment of POW's, IHMO would be diplomatic overkill and serve against stabilising our relationships commercial and others, with Iran as quickly as possible.