Legal Implications for Officers Serving in an Illegal War?

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Bits, Oct 18, 2005.

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  1. Just seen this:

    I know PTP has very strict rules on discussing forthcoming court cases, and I do not wish to discuss the case itself.

    There are loads of us who have quietly harboured similar reservations about this war, and most of us have now reached the conclusion that what is done is done, and so the best we can do now is to make the best of it.

    However, if he wins his case, are there not very serious implications for every other officer who has served in Iraq, since their actions could very well be considered illegal under international law? Are there not also very serious implications for the government?

    Could someone with a better understanding of international law comment on what this case could mean for the rest of us?

    This case could be one to watch, even if we cannot discuss the details of the case here.

    [Edited to add working link to BBC, replacing Times link broken]
  2. Dear all,

    Please, as Bits requests and as I direct, do not talk about the specifics of the upcoming CM. I'm not interested in seeing "White feather" type posts or bringing this man's reputation into disrepute either.

    As Bits says, this could have "interesting" results. Please bear in mind , I don't want to pull the thread because people insist on talking about the impending case, as opposed to how the result could affect us all, not just the ruling classes.


  3. Bits

    That link isn’t working for me, any chance you could post the article as well?
  4. This will be interesting, can an RAF Officer refuse to obey an order if:

    1. He knows it to be illegal.
    2. He believes, or has grounds to believe, the order is illegal.
    3. Anybody can reasonably expect him to believe the order is illegal.

    And I've just been trawled!
  5. Can someone please tell who has declared this war illegal? What court of law has stated or declared this?

    Also, just because the UN did not sanction a war does not make it illegal. If people believe this, then i suggest they point out chapter and verse where the UK and US have signed up to this.
  6. Do you watch the news or read newspapers? its been on for months about the legality of the war, some crazy folk are saying that you cant bomb someone back to the stoneage just because you dont like their leader. crazy I tells ya!!
  7. I agree, but if, as you point out, if we have signed up to a treaty or convention, then failure to observe the terms of such could mean that our actions are illegal.

    I wish I knew more about this. Surely someone out there must at least have completed some international law module at university or something?
  8. What would be my decision about legality of Iraqi war if I were a judge?

    It was legal. Elected British parliament, legal British government made a decision. Was it right or wrong... no matter the decision was made using legal procedures.

    As to international law then it has lower priority in comparison with national one. We can discuss question about illegality from point of view of international law but it is irrelevant in our case.
  9. About 25 years ago there was an excellent essay in British Army Review by some Greenjacket officer oentitled "In defence of Superior Orders". This explored the fundamental inconsistency between the soldiers duty to obey orders and their obigation, established at Nuernberg, not to obey ordewrs which they believe to be illegal.

    At the time it was a rather academic argument. I suppose it may be about to be tested.
  10. now I have only two points to make on your statement:

    1. Youre not a judge

    2. As youre not a judge trained in international law, how do you know whether its legal or not?

    just wondering :wink:
  11. Foxie,

    i know what is going on in the papers, and both sides have articles ad infintium on the legality or otherwise, but what i want to know, is what court of law decreed that the war was illegal?

    last i check, Britain was a soverign nation and as such, is allowed to declare war on whom it likes!

    An illegal war is one where the loser has lots of media coverage.
  12. The following document provides information on the vote to declare war by the British Parliament, and might be of interest.

    Note the wording of the statement:

  13. I'm not a judge of course but as I know, any court looks only on national laws. Any country signing a conveniton, treaty has to implement them in national legal system. Way of implementation depends on national governments and(or) parliaments.

    Any decision of a judge should be founded on national laws. If an international law was violated then a judge should find a national law that was violated. Without it his decision would be unlawfull.