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The law also prohibits weapons calculated to cause unnecessary suffering so as to minimize harm that is not justified by military utility, either because of a lack of any utility at all or because the utility gained is considerably outweighed by the suffering caused.
The group engages in subjects as different as United Nations War Crimes Commission’s policy, Dutch trials in Indonesia, French trials in Indochina, Chinese trials and Soviet trials in Far East (Khabarovsk), and the position of India at Tokyo.
On first impression, beating the Islamic State fighters to death with shovels sounds like a clear-cut case of stooping to the enemy’s level of barbarity. 9: [The Islamic State] needs to understand that the Joint Force is on orders to annihilate them ...
Threatening to kill or harm fighters if they surrender is unlawful; declaring that you will protect them if they surrender but kill them if they do not surrender but continue to fight is simply a statement of the fundamental obligations and authorities set forth in the law of armed conflict. The means and methods by which the command sergeant major suggested killing the enemy, however, is not among those concerns.
In today’s world of drones, precision-guided munitions, and cyber and autonomous weapons, we can easily forget that war is just as often fought with AK-47s, improvised explosive devices, machetes and even bare hands.
An indiscriminate weapon is one that cannot be directed at a lawful military target or whose effects cannot be limited to a lawful military target.
A shovel certainly does not fit that description—the person wielding the shovel can only hit one person with the shovel and, barring extraordinarily bizarre circumstances, beating someone with a shovel will not have uncontrolled effects on persons or property nearby.The New York Times reports that Trump has asked the Department of Justice to prepare pardon materials for Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher, a Navy SEAL accused of shooting unarmed civilians and stabbing an enemy prisoner to death; Nicholas Slatten, a former Blackwater security contractor, who was found guilty of first-degree murder for his role in a shooting incident that left 14 Iraqi civilians dead and 18 injured; Maj. William Calley was guilty of war crimes in connection with the massacre at the Vietnamese hamlet of My Lai.Mathew Golsteyn, who was accused of killing an unarmed Afghan man who had been linked to the Taliban in 2010; and a group of Marine Corps snipers charged in connection with urinating on the bodies of dead Taliban fighters. Throughout Calley’s trial, there had been massive public outcry proclaiming his innocence.Distinction protects civilians—a core purpose of the law of war—by prohibiting deliberate attacks on civilians and requiring that fighters distinguish themselves from civilians to help protect civilians from the hazards of combat operations. But the statement here is about attacks on enemy fighters and has nothing to do with civilians whatsoever.Nothing in the law of war prevents one party to a conflict from declaring that they will kill enemy military personnel in the course of the conflict—indeed, although violent and distasteful, killing the enemy is a fundamental incident of war.This is absolutely unbecoming of an NCO [non-commissioned officer] — ANY NCO — and least of all our nation’s highest.Indeed, beating someone to death sounds like an act we should and must condemn as a barbaric crime—but is it? treatment of Islamic State fighters in combat or after capture.Finally, if one were to read the combative and brutal-sounding headline alone, one might imagine that the U. military is threatening to beat Islamic State soldiers with shovels after capturing them, as a form of revenge or show of brutal force.Like deliberate attacks on civilians, that would be a war crime.Shovels simply do not belong in this category—banning the use of shovels to beat an enemy over the head in hand-to-hand combat would lead to the absurd result of banning a soldier from using his rifle in the same manner after he ran out of ammunition and it was the only option for defending himself.Second, the law of war principle of distinction mandates that parties to a conflict distinguish between those who are fighting and those who are not and direct attacks only at those who are fighting. or any other armed force were to use shovels to attack civilians, that would be a war crime, just like any other deliberate attack on civilians with artillery, airstrikes or any other weapon.