Friday links Will they extradite “HH” before he finishes testifying?
Aug 052008

On July 15, CNN revealed that one of the Colombian Army commandos participating in “Operación Jaque” – the July 2 military operation that bloodlessly rescued 15 FARC hostages on July 2 – had worn an emblem of the International Red Cross. This is a violation of international humanitarian law; it complicates the work of the International Committee of the Red Cross in conflict zones, since combatants in future humanitarian operations may suspect ICRC representatives’ authenticity.

On July 16 Colombian President Álvaro Uribe said the following about the incident:

After press reports about the supposed appearance of an International Red Cross emblem, an internal investigation was ordered. …

The result of that investigation was that an official, in error and contrary to given orders, acknowledged that due to his nervousness, upon observing the number of armed guerrillas around the helicopter, he put over his vest a piece of cloth that bore the symbol of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

This officer, upon confessing his error to the high command, has said that when the helicopter was about to land, he saw such a quantity of guerrillas, that he became so very nervous, that he feared for his life and so he took out the piece of cloth with the International Committee of the Red Cross symbols, which he had in his pocket, and he put it over his vest.

We regret that this occurred.

It turns out that either President Uribe was misinformed, or he was lying, or the soldier got the jitters far earlier than previously thought. Yesterday Colombia’s RCN television network broadcast a video (excerpted here on the website of Semana magazine), recorded by the Colombian Army, showing more details of the preparations for Operación Jaque. The video shows clearly that one of the disguised Colombian commandos is wearing the Red Cross emblem on his chest even before the operation began, as the participants gathered around posing for photos.

It is now obvious that the Red Cross emblem’s use was no accident in defiance of orders. The rescuers posed as members of a false humanitarian NGO, as reporters from the Telesur and Ecuavisa networks, and – as is now plain – as a representative of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

This morning, the Colombian Presidency put out a terse communiqu̩ implying Рthough certainly not saying clearly Рthat the Colombian Army misled investigators of the Red Cross incident.

The President reiterates the need to allow all media to have equal and opportune access to the most imporant news.

It is serious that members of the Armed Forces clandestinely leaked news without coordination with their superiors. In addition, it is serious that not all of the truth came out in the first investigations of the Operation.

The use of the Red Cross emblem appears to have responded to a command decision, not the impulsive actions of a panicky soldier. As a result – painful as it is, since it happened in the context of a heroic rescue operation – those responsible for this international humanitarian law violation need to be investigated and punished, as do those responsible for the apparent cover-up.

The punishment may ultimately be light: the remarkable success of Operación Jaque makes a strong case for leniency. But the law was broken, and an investigative and judicial process must be initiated and allowed to run its course.

Colombia is trying to emerge from decades in which too many – narcos, corrupt politicians, paramilitaries, those who supported them – accumulated power and wealth by acting as though the law did not apply to them. Only by strict adherence to the rule of law – with no exceptions, even in politically difficult cases like the Red Cross emblem’s use in Operación Jaque – can Colombia show that it is truly leaving that dark past behind.

Update 5:30 PM EST: El Tiempo, covering Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos’s and Armed Forces Chief Gen. Freddy Padilla’s comments to the press, reports that, according to these officials, the army officer who wore the ICRC emblem lied to them, will be “sanctioned” and will not receive medals for his participation in the operation.

48 Responses to “The Red Cross emblem”

  1. Randy Paul Says:

    Good and typically thoughtfu post, Adam. Your last paragraph really nails it for me: laws inure to the benefit of both sides. Whether the FARC have used Red Cross emblems illegally is irrelevant. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

  2. jcg Says:

    Yes, there’s really no way around it. Either Uribe lied, which is far from unprecedented as we’ve seen before, or at least he was lied to and he just repeated the falsehood in turn. Whatever the case, Adam’s right, there was a cover-up and there should be some consequences for it, at least in principle.

    The decision to use the Red Cross emblem was made before the operation began, not at the very last minute inside the helicopter.

    But what seems curious to me, on a purely personal level, is that misusing the emblem in such a manner looks a little too cheap for it to be too convincing before anyone with a slightly above average intelligence (which admittedly, with all due respect, may not apply to the guerrillas in question, if only because they are poor and lack education). If they were going to break the law and misuse it, something more professional-looking could have been arranged, since a lot more effort was put into other aspects of the deception. Or, you know, not using it at all, since it doesn’t appear to have been vital to the operation’s success after all (and, one again, it was a violation of international law).

    That personal observation hardly makes any difference by now though.

    Btw, it would seem the same military source ended up selling the materials in question to RCN instead of CNN, who had apparently previewed them as well, back in mid-July. Their earlier description seems to match the video footage, so the government should have at least realized that their official story wasn’t going to stick once that stuff leaked out.

    It would also seem, contrary to popular belief (which, shockingly for some, isn’t always right), that perhaps there isn’t that much coordination between RCN and Casa de Nariño.

  3. Jaime Bustos Says:

    As Colombians have gotten used to get the truth from extremely government biased media channels, they haven’t realized that much of what is said on the news pages is a distortion of facts when not a deliberate lie.

    But in fact reading news issued by Colombian papers is useful for those who understand what is going on in Colombia, because when they stress a piece of “news” too much, you already recognize the lying pattern.

    The last news wave hammering Colombian minds is paramilitary Castaños’s Death: Sunday on El Espectador, Monday on Semana, today on El Tiempo.

    But what is curious is that they say that Castaño’s dead body Is in Currulao, and that rules out the bones that Mr. Iguaran recognized as his, being real, and that based thereon he so hastily acted to close all legal indictments against the killer.

    Jcg, maybe RCN is taking distance from you know who, but that cannot be assumed in retrospect.

  4. jcg Says:

    Jaime: Perhaps, but there it is. Also…Santos is already out trying to do damage control, so to speak. Make of that what you will.

    http://www.caracol.com.co/nota.aspx?id=646061

    As for Castaño…I believe there are two separate issues here. To specificy:

    ” El cofundador de las AUC Vicente Castaño habría sido asesinado el 12 de marzo de 2007

    Así lo informó el abogado del ex comandante de las autodefensas Miguel Ángel Mejía Munera, alias ‘el Mellizo’, quien agregó que el cadáver se encontraría en Currulao, en el Urabá antioqueño. ”

    http://www.eltiempo.com/colombia/justicia/2008-08-05/el-cofundador-de-las-auc-vicente-castano-habria-sido-asesinado-el-12-de-marzo-de-2007_4428093-1

    ” ENTREVISTA
    HH habla sobre la muerte de Carlos Castaño

    En entrevista con Semana.com, José Ever Veloza relata cómo cumplió la orden de Vicente Castaño de matar a Carlos Castaño, y asegura que cree que Vicente sigue vivo. (Video)
    Fecha: 08/03/2008 – ”

    http://www.semana.com/wf_InfoArticulo.aspx?idArt=114224

    Do you notice a certain contradiction?

  5. Jaime Bustos Says:

    Oh, I see what you mean, one was Castaño and the other was his brother, who according to HH continues to be alive… Here

    http://es.youtube.com/watch?v=8BuKVR5ruGg
    http://es.youtube.com/watch?v=fwJpfyovgyU

    Who do you think is “tu papa”?

  6. El Común Says:

    those responsible for this international humanitarian law violation need to be investigated and punished

    According to an El Tiempo’s editorial on July 17, the use of the ICRC emblem is not a war crime, nor is it punishable by international law. Moreover, the use of the ICRC emblem in “Jaque” did not appear to affect a subsequent hostage release made by the FARC with the help of the ICRC. Done have a link handy, but I think Adam mentioned in in one of his Friday News Roundups.

    What I find more troubling is the video of the raid on the Raul Reyes camp presumably released by the Colombian Defense ministry showing a screen that says “Hostigamiento de Terroristas” followed by the sound of automatic weapons fire. Ecuador claimed some of the FARC guerrillas had been executed by the Colombian military after having been initially wounded in the bombing. Colombia denied the claims. If the claims are true, this would be war crime.

  7. MZR Says:

    Adam: “The punishment may ultimately be light: the remarkable success of Operación Jaque makes a strong case for leniency.”

    Well, it doesn’t make a strong case for leniency. And how “successful” was the operation? It was certainly a success for the Colombian government. But what about for the other (peaceful) actors of the conflict? Sure, 15 hostages were released, which was a coup for the Colombian government. But should this translate into leniency? And the rescue mission has come at what price? For example,

    1) The army posed as [a] TeleSUR employee[s], endangering the lives of TeleSUR employees and (for those on this blog who hate TeleSUR) has also further endangered the lives of every journalist currently working in Colombia today;

    2) The Colombian government committed a war crime by posing as the Red Cross, endangering not only the lives of that organisation, but increasing the level of danger for every NGO and their employees working in Colombia today;

    3) The operation has arguably made a hostage exchange even less likely, attenuating the chances of the release of the hundreds (maybe thousands) of other hostages whom are still cruelly incarcerated by the FARC.

    4) The hostage mission has overshadowed other, more important news: such as the alleged (yet scarcely reported) 132 victims of extra-judicial killings last year, etc.

    In the long run, did the “hostage mission” do more good than bad? I realise that I’m probably in the minority here. But, for me, the operation is only a remarkable success if you look at it from a certain perspective: that of the Colombian government and the families of those released (as well as the released hostages themselves). It gained the Colombian government massive political capital and, if you believe in the popular accounts of the mission, made the guerrillas look like fools. But how can this translate into leniency for a war crime? And what about the NGOs? What about the remaining hostages? What about journalists in Colombia? What about the fact that the Colombian government committed a war crime by posing as the Red Cross and, indeed, now appear to be lying about this aspect (no surprises there)? So, do I view this mission as a success? On the whole, I’d have to say “no”.

    Now, as I mentioned, I realise that many will disagree with me, and that my thoughts are not shared by the majority on there, thus I am prepared for the backlash. But I can’t helping thinking that the life of Ingrid Betancourt is considered more valuable than the lives of all the other hostages held in Colombia’s jungles, or the victims of extra-judicial killings (if we consider the comparable air-time/reported news given to the hostage mission, for example).

    Also, this is old news. CNN had already reported existence of video footage showing the aforementioned military personally wearing the emblem before setting off for the mission. Moreover, as Gary Leech also pointed out, why hasn’t anybody seriously questioned the implications regarding international law if Uribe wasn’t lying/misinformed? That is to say, if the solider did carry a Red Cross emblem, then is this now standard Colombian army kit? How many other soldiers carry the emblem? These points were highlighted by Gary Leech on 17th July: http://www.colombiajournal.org/colombia288.htm

    Don’t get me wrong, I can see why the mission would be seen as a success. Indeed, for the Colombian government it really was a coup. But it cannot be considered a “blanket success”, in my opinion, therefore an argument for leniency doesn’t hold much weight for me.

  8. MZR Says:

    El Común, apologies but I don’t have much time to write at the moment. But, I’m almost certain that this does constitute a war crime. Can any one else verify/negate this claim?

    I will try to post later if there are no replies.

    Thanks, MZR.

  9. Jaime Bustos Says:

    MZR, I could not have said it better myself.

    Adolph, yes the famous one, the one everybody comes up with in the despair of their balderdash, would have made a good case for leniency in an anti Jew world order.

  10. El Común Says:

    MZR, regardless of whether or not the unauthorized use of the ICRC emblem is a war crime, it is a serious issue and I agree with many of your points, as I indicated in my blog after the story initially broke.

    The misuse of Telesur in Jaque is also troubling. FLIP, a Colombian NGO concerned about press freedom, released the following alert .

  11. Randy Paul Says:

    It is a violation of Article 38 of Protocol 1 of the Geneva Conventions:

    Art. 38. Recognized emblems

    1. It is prohibited to make improper use of the distinctive emblem of the red cross, red crescent or red lion and sun or of other emblems, signs or signals provided for by the Conventions or by this Protocol. It is also prohibited to misuse deliberately in an armed conflict other internationally recognized protective emblems, signs or signals, including the flag of truce, and the protective emblem of cultural property.

  12. jcg Says:

    Jaime Bustos: Those recordings are interesting. I don’t think I had heard them before. Though they only provide one side of the conversation and would need to be authenticated by authorities, Colombian or whichever ones you prefer. Is that unreasonable?

    If they are real, then the implications are worrying. But no, I can’t really say for sure who that person would be talking about. If that is a bad thing, so be it.

    MZR: I’d rather speak of proportionality: trying to measure exactly how those effects you list can be rightfully and fairly attributed to this violation(s) of the law , to whom and to what extent, rather than asking for leniency because of the success of the operation (though that is what the public will likely argue, anyways, whatever one might say). It is a war crime, but not all war crimes are created equal. Or must be punished in the same manner.

    In other words, the offense is already there, but the implications have to be narrowed down from the general to the specific. I won’t even try to do that here, as there are lawyers who could do it a million times better than me. Just as, naturally, there are prosecutors who could also make much better accusations and indictments about the violated norms.

    But one other thing that could be considered, and which Leech’s article pretty much sidesteps, is that the operation wasn’t really used to “to get close to an enemy and then killing him”, to quote Gustavo Gallón. In particular, note the “killing” part.

    In other words, that the operation was not used to attack the enemy, strictly speaking, but to free captives. It was not an entirely offensive operation, first and foremost, though you could argue that the capture of “César” and “Gafas” did inflict two causalities on the FARC.

    From what little I’ve read, apparently international law considers the misuse of the Red Cross to be a violation, per se, but Colombian law (even way before this operation was ever planned in the back of someone’s mind) specifies that the enemy must be taken advantage of and harm must be caused. Again, a specialized lawyer would be able to explain and debate this better, I’m just mentioning the point.

    On a different note, while it confirms that the Red Cross logo was used from the beginning, some of the specifics in “César’s” testimony appear to be contradicted by the latest video.

    # MZR Says:
    August 5th, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    Adam: “The punishment may ultimately be light: the remarkable success of Operación Jaque makes a strong case for leniency.”

    Well, it doesn’t make a strong case for leniency. And how “successful” was the operation? It was certainly a success for the Colombian government. But what about for the other (peaceful) actors of the conflict? Sure, 15 hostages were released, which was a coup for the Colombian government. But should this translate into leniency? And the rescue mission has come at what price? For example,

    1) The army posed as [a] TeleSUR employee[s], endangering the lives of TeleSUR employees and (for those on this blog who hate TeleSUR) has also further endangered the lives of every journalist currently working in Colombia today;

    2) The Colombian government committed a war crime by posing as the Red Cross, endangering not only the lives of that organisation, but increasing the level of danger for every NGO and their employees working in Colombia today;

    3) The operation has arguably made a hostage exchange even less likely, attenuating the chances of the release of the hundreds (maybe thousands) of other hostages whom are still cruelly incarcerated by the FARC.

    4) The hostage mission has overshadowed other, more important news: such as the alleged (yet scarcely reported) 132 victims of extra-judicial killings last year, etc.

    In the long run, did the “hostage mission” do more good than bad? I realise that I’m probably in the minority here. But, for me, the operation is only a remarkable success if you look at it from a certain perspective: that of the Colombian government and the families of those released (as well as the released hostages themselves). It gained the Colombian government massive political capital and, if you believe in the popular accounts of the mission, made the guerrillas look like fools. But how can this translate into leniency for a war crime? And what about the NGOs? What about the remaining hostages? What about journalists in Colombia? What about the fact that the Colombian government committed a war crime by posing as the Red Cross and, indeed, now appear to be lying about this aspect (no surprises there)? So, do I view this mission as a success? On the whole, I’d have to say “no”.

    Now, as I mentioned, I realise that many will disagree with me, and that my thoughts are not shared by the majority on there, thus I am prepared for the backlash. But I can’t helping thinking that the life of Ingrid Betancourt is considered more valuable than the lives of all the other hostages held in Colombia’s jungles, or the victims of extra-judicial killings (if we consider the comparable air-time/reported news given to the hostage mission, for example).

    Also, this is old news. CNN had already reported existence of video footage showing the aforementioned military personally wearing the emblem before setting off for the mission. Moreover, as Gary Leech also pointed out, why hasn’t anybody seriously questioned the implications regarding international law if Uribe wasn’t lying/misinformed? That is to say, if the solider did carry a Red Cross emblem, then is this now standard Colombian army kit? How many other soldiers carry the emblem? These points were highlighted by Gary Leech on 17th July: http://www.colombiajournal.org/colombia288.htm

    Don’t get me wrong, I can see why the mission would be seen as a success. Indeed, for the Colombian government it really was a coup. But it cannot be considered a “blanket success”, in my opinion, therefore an argument for leniency doesn’t hold much weight for me.

    —–

  13. jcg Says:

    I’m sorry about that unnecessarily long quote of MZR’s post up there.

  14. jcg Says:

    Randy Paul: That seems to indicate how it all stands on an international level, as I mentioned, so thanks for posting it.

    But there is still the issue of how Colombian law specifies, regulates or otherwise interacts with those norms. Which are not any less valid, mind you. Both of them are.

  15. MZR Says:

    Thank you Randy Paul for Article 38 of Protocol 1…

    Sorry jgc, I don’t really have time to reply fully to your post (I’m really busy today and will be away from my PC for a while in a few moments). But I felt compelled to comment on this part of your post:

    “But one other thing that could be considered, and which Leech’s article pretty much sidesteps, is that the operation wasn’t really used to “to get close to an enemy and then killing him”, to quote Gustavo Gallón. In particular, note the “killing” part.

    In other words, that the operation was not used to attack the enemy, strictly speaking, but to free captives. It was not an entirely offensive operation, first and foremost, though you could argue that the capture of “César” and “Gafas” did inflict two causalities on the FARC.”

    I disagree with you, jcg. This was a military operation. The military arguably rescued these hostages not, say, for the “good of their families and the hostages” but, largely, to gain political capital. If the FARC, for example, “rescued” some of its hostages in a blood-less operation, it would be seen as a military operation. Whether these hostages were combatants or not (and, importantly, military personnel were rescued and, obviously, are considered combatants) one can only consider this as a military operation. Therefore, Leech’s argument doesn’t side-step the argument in my opinion because, well, there isn’t an argument to side-step. This was a military operation performed by the Colombian military to rescue both soldiers and civilians captured by the FARC. Therefore, a war crime has taken place as the Red Cross emblem was used by the Colombian military. Moreover, the operation certainly attacked the “enemy” in terms of political capital and, indeed, in terms of negotiating the release of what the FARC would consider its soldiers. Moreover, as you pointed out, the operation captured two FARC members. Also, the operation could’ve easily turned bloody.

    Ok, I have to go. I look forward to your replies!

    MZR

  16. Boli-Nica Says:

    had worn an emblem of the International Red Cross. This is a violation of international humanitarian law; it complicates the work of the International Committee of the Red Cross in conflict zones, since combatants in future humanitarian operations may suspect ICRC representatives’ authenticity

    1. At most it is a “minor” violation of international humanitarian law, neither considered a war crime or sanctionable by any international court. Though it might violate Colombian statutory law.

    2. The FARC are first of all not considered combatants. So the proper inquiry here is within a law enforcement scenario, which still is a minor violation. And trickery has a place in law enforcement.

    3. The special circumstances and exigencies make it even less of a transgression as opposed to that of combatants. i.e the fact that the crosses themselves were not that prominently displayed versus the use of vehicles with a cross or crescent on them. In some ways this is analogous to SWAT team members pretending to be paramedics in a building where hostages are being held in a US city, versus a country’s army moving a strike team in vehicles with the red cross on them.

    4. The irony of all the griping, is the larger context of this being an operation to free long-held kidnapping victims. The FARC perpetrating internationally recognized war crimes, and criminal behavior, which do carry sanctions enforceable across borders.

  17. jcg Says:

    MZR: Again, I’d love to be a lawyer because then I could do justice, so to speak, to the issues I’m trying to bring to the table, in one direction or another, or even completely change my outlook. But I’m not, so I once again apologize for anything that a real lawyer who knows about the relevant field could do much better.

    Yet I quoted, from Leech’s own article, the words of someone who mentioned the term “killing”, yet it is clear and evident that “killing” and “not killing” are not equivalent, and as far as we know nobody died in this operation. Somebody could well have died, but they did not.

    Death and non-death cannot be equated, so those words and the resulting comparison, though they come from someone who does appear know about the law much better than myself , fall a bit flat on their own.

    To put it in other terms: the seriousness of the violation would no doubt be greater (and so would its presumed punishment) if there had been deaths involved. Since there were not, whatever punishment is required should take that into account. That is what I would believe, at least. No more, no less.

    Is gaining “political capital” equivalent to killing people? No. There has to be, even if it can only be defined by judges or courts, national or international, some sense of proportionality in terms of sentencing or assigning reparations (whatever applies). It may not agree with my own, that is obvious. But if that weren’t the case, punishment would be equal and arbitrary all across the board, regardless of the severity of each violation. And that’s not the case. Or shouldn’t be, anyways.

    It was certainly a military operation, that I do not question, but the degree of harm to FARC can be debated, for it was mostly political, not primarily military. Political and military harm are not equal.

    Military harm is usually self-evident, but I do not believe, from what little I know, that political harm is necessarily included when “harm” in general is alluded to. But that is not for me to decide, one way or another, as I am not a judge and do not know what is the precedent.

    After some Googling, this seems to be the Colombian norm that I was referencing:

    “ARTICULO 143. PERFIDIA. El que, con ocasión y en desarrollo de conflicto armado y con el propósito de dañar o atacar al adversario, simule la condición de persona protegida o utilice indebidamente signos de protección como la Cruz Roja o la Media Luna Roja, la bandera de las Naciones Unidas o de otros organismos Intergubernamentales, la bandera blanca de parlamento o de rendición, banderas o uniformes de países neutrales o de destacamentos militares o policiales de las Naciones Unidas u otros signos de protección contemplados en tratados internacionales ratificados por Colombia, incurrirá por esa sola conducta en prisión de cuarenta y ocho (48) a ciento cuarenta y cuatro (144) meses y multa de sesenta y seis punto sesenta y seis (66.66) a ciento cincuenta (150) salarios mínimos legales mensuales vigentes.

    En igual pena incurrirá quien, con la misma finalidad, utilice uniformes del adversario. ”

    http://www.caracol.com.co/nota.aspx?id=633277

    The notable part of the above is “con el propósito de dañar o atacar al adversario”. In other words, was the intention behind this operation to “harm or attack the enemy”?

    You say yes, and could argue that the result, evidently, did include the capture of two individuals from FARC and their losing political face. But was that the *main* motive behind the attack? And, more to the actual point, what amount of damage can be estimated from this, compared to actually killing someone, how should it be repaired or who should be punished and how much?

    That is for lawyers, judges and prosecutors to argue (if they always agreed, the justice system would work like clockwork). For this doesn’t stop anyone (who can) from suing the Colombian state at an international level if they so choose, I would imagine.

  18. MZR Says:

    Again, I have maybe 2 mintues to reply, so can’t give this post the time it deserves, so apologies again.

    But, this is completely false: “the fact that the crosses themselves were not that prominently displayed”. As we have seen, they were prominently displayed. Moreover, it seems that the use of the emblems were premeditated.

    Moreover, regardless of the classification of the FARC, the soldiers who were rescued are considered combatants, so this does implicate international law. Moreover, (and most importantly) the law is not written into the Geneva convention to protect combatants. It is wrriten into international law to protect the Red Cross, regardless of if the “combatants” are, indeed, considered combatants or terrorists, etc. Indeed, the stipulation of the aforementioned Geneva article prohibits the use of the Red Cross emblem “in an armed conflict” – regardless of the combatant status of the armed actors. And, importantly, it doesn’t refer to the conflict as a “civil war” which, for example, the Colombian government could refute (but would face opposition from many factions here too). The wording of “armed conflict” is very important. And, indeed, the Colombian situation constitutes an “armed conflict”.

    Moreover, who classifies this as a “minor” violation? Red Cross workers? The international community? NGOs? Who, exactly? For a lot of people I think this may constitute a grave violation.

    Boli-Nica, by your own admission, the FARC are not recognised as “combatants” by, say, the US, Colombia, EU, etc. Therefore: “The FARC perpetrating internationally recognized war crimes, and criminal behavior, which do carry sanctions enforceable across borders.” These war crimes may not apply to the FARC if it is not bound by the Geneva conventions given its “terrorist” status. Again, I understand this is open to interpretation of the Geneva conventions but, nonetheless, is a point that can be (and has been) argued in the past.

    jgc: again, thanks for the post and I don’t have time to give a complete reply. But, again, I must reiterate that this was a military operation and not a humanitarian one (by definition, the fact that military personnel carried out the operation attests to this). Therefore, wearing of the Red Cross emblem is a war crime under the stipulations of the Geneva convention. Nonetheless, law is never black-and-white, so I understand your arguments. But, however, I cannot agree with them.

    jgc: “To put it in other terms: the seriousness of the violation would no doubt be greater (and so would its presumed punishment) if there had been deaths involved. Since there were not, whatever punishment is required should take that into account.”

    But this is the whole point of the Geneva article. To prevent deaths in the future of NGO workers, in particular “The Red Cross”. The fact that, this time, no one was killed is not wholly relevant. The fact that now the chances of Red Cross workers being killed in the future is the whole point of the article. It is written as a preventive measure to protect the Red Cross. And this is why such a violation can be seen as extremely serious.

    Also, “Is gaining “political capital” equivalent to killing people?” I agree, no. But, as you’ll agree, war isn’t simply about killing people. Moreover, when you talk about “political and military” harm, they are certainly interlinked.

    I would love to post more and I feel that your points are interesting. But, alas, I have to go. I’ll try to post more tomorrow.

    MZR

  19. MZR Says:

    Sorry, I meant to say: “The fact that now the chances of Red Cross workers being killed in the future has increased in Colombia is the whole point of the article”. (i.e. the article is written to prevent this from happening).

  20. Jaime Bustos Says:

    MZR, thank god you didn’t have time, otherwise you would have posted an essay. :lol:

    By the way, the chain of law violations, originating in colombia, has already been downplayed even by red cross speakers. If they think that Mr Uribe should be forgiven for this one too, it’s not for us to discuss it here, having as we do, no power at all whatsoever.

    We have walked around the circle, and are befuddled to find ourselves in the starting point, once again.

  21. Boli-Nica Says:

    Boli-Nica, by your own admission, the FARC are not recognised as “combatants” by, say, the US, Colombia, EU, etc. Therefore: “The FARC perpetrating internationally recognized war crimes, and criminal behavior, which do carry sanctions enforceable across borders.” These war crimes may not apply to the FARC if it is not bound by the Geneva conventions given its “terrorist” status. Again, I understand this is open to interpretation of the Geneva conventions but, nonetheless, is a point that can be (and has been) argued in the past.

    I WAS MAKING A VERY GENERAL POINT…about how ridiculous it is to nitpick over Colombia’s alleged misuse of a red cross symbol in a MISSION TO RESCUE KIDNAP VICTIMS from a CRIMINAL ORGANIZATION that has held people for periods of up to ten years in captivity, that violates just about every country’s laws. Jeez,,,.even Fidel Castro has called the FARC’s treatment of captives as CRUEL.

    It is wrong and stupid to suggest ANY moral and legal equivalence between the legitimate, popularly elected of government of Colombia and the FARC. The FARC are criminals fighting to overthrow a legit government, period end of story They are also Communists, hated by most Colombians, have no legitimate demands or grievances, represent no unrepresented or marginal sector of Colombian society.. They do hold 700 hostages and deal drugs. I’m sorry, but while you are robbing a bank, if you grab a cop and hold him against your will, you have kidnapped him.

    4) The hostage mission has overshadowed other, more important news: such as the alleged (yet scarcely reported) 132 victims of extra-judicial killings last year, etc.

    HOW ON EARTH is your trotting out “alleged” violations by the armed forces from last year more important than the FARC’s loss of their biggest bargaining chips – with conflict ending potential-???????

    The fact is, most significant threat to Colombia’s legitimate state and democracy the past 15 years has been the FARC. And the FARC has worked as a i.huge criminal extortion and kidnapping organization, ii. drug cartel, iii. An illegal occupier and shadow unelected government in large parts of the territory iv. As a very dogmatic Marxist Leninist army whose overiding sense of mission since inception is the overthrow Colombia’s state and replacing it with a totalitarian one-party rule – a bankrupt system that has only caused dictatorship and misery.

    Reality is, however horrible their crimes, paramilitaries, gangsters, killers, and drug dealers at present do not function as a cohesive Leninist organization, under top-down control who want to overthrow the state as the FARC. They also do not have the overt/covert support of oil-rich ideologically compatiblle regimes. Or the networks of fellow travellers abroad whose objective is to isolate Colombia.

    Fact is the FARC is largely responsible for perpetuating the entire cycle of political violence even after they became ideologically irrelevant, and lost whatever political base they once had. Their 90’s rebirth as a formidable military force, with a common ideology, and a large presence in every aspect of cocaine trafficking led directly to the expansion in paramilitary and drug dealer armies, and contributed to their eventual consolidation into a political organization. In addition the FARC’s expansion and territory seizures arguably contributed to the degree of military -para collaborations. Lastly, the kidnapping tactics have led to the popular repudiation by the public and have given the paramilitary’s an ongoing justification for their existicence. In a larger sense the FARC’s ongoing fight provdes the very context for these abuses by security forces.

  22. Boli-Nica Says:

    I just fail to see how tricking some hillbilly Stalinists into giving up hostages by using a red cross symbol is wrong.

  23. Jaime Bustos Says:

    This Bola Ñuca must have different nick names. I have already read similar rubbish by supposedly dissimilar dramatists.

  24. Randy Paul Says:

    I just fail to see how tricking some hillbilly Stalinists into giving up hostages by using a red cross symbol is wrong.

    Because the next time someone shows up under similar circumstances who is legitimately working for the Red Cross they may very well be shot and killed because someone violated the Geneva Conventions by a false usage of this universally recognized symbol and the organization’s trust is violated.

    That’s the entire reason why this is a violation of the Geneva Conventions. I find it amazing that you don’t consider that possibility.

  25. Adam Isacson Says:

    On the international law question, in addition to what Randy posted, look at Protocol II of the Geneva Conventions, which covers “non-international armed conflicts” and to which Colombia is a signatory.

    Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts (Protocol II), 8 June 1977.

    http://www.icrc.org/ihl.nsf/FULL/475?OpenDocument

    1. Is the FARC a combatant? Yes, because they meet the definition in Part I, Article 1, point 1: “other organized armed groups which, under responsible command, exercise such control over a part of its territory as to enable them to carry out sustained and concerted military operations and to implement this Protocol”.

    2. Must the Red Cross emblem be respected? Yes, as laid out in Part III, article 12, “The distinctive emblem”: “Under the direction of the competent authority concerned, the distinctive emblem of the red cross, red crescent or red lion and sun on a white ground shall be displayed by medical and religious personnel and medical units, and on medical transports. It shall be respected in all circumstances. It shall not be used improperly.”

    Pretty clear on both counts.

  26. Randy Paul Says:

    Game, set and match.

  27. jcg Says:

    MZR: “These war crimes may not apply to the FARC if it is not bound by the Geneva conventions given its “terrorist” status. Again, I understand this is open to interpretation of the Geneva conventions but, nonetheless, is a point that can be (and has been) argued in the past.”

    Going by that reasoning, they could pretty much do anything without any consequences at all, wouldn’t they? Which would mean that the government, for example, could accumulate a list of war crimes (and already has), while FARC’s count would always remain at “0″ even if they did (and have) done unspeakable things, including war crimes, that I would like to describe but isn’t really necessary, I’d hope.

    I don’t see how just labeling FARC a “terrorist” organization makes them somehow immune or not bound by the Geneva Conventions, when they do meet at least some of the requirements as combatants, if not always formally then in practice and by extrapolation, if it is accepted that those Conventions apply to the Colombian conflict as a a whole, not only to one side. You can’t have it both ways, I’d think: apply the Conventions to the conflict but only to one party. Enforcing them is another matter, of course, and it’s a thousand times easier to act against the government, but that hardly would eliminate FARC’s responsibilities at the first opportunity.

    “jgc: again, thanks for the post and I don’t have time to give a complete reply. But, again, I must reiterate that this was a military operation and not a humanitarian one (by definition, the fact that military personnel carried out the operation attests to this).”

    I have not said that it was a “humanitarian” operation per se, anywhere, and once again I said it was a miltary (intelligence) operation. Though one could in fact argue about the consequences for the hostages and prisoners who were rescued, considering the nature of their treatment while they were captive as most can and would surely want to admit, being a verifiable improvement and thus humanitarian enough, as result.

    “But this is the whole point of the Geneva article. To prevent deaths in the future of NGO workers, in particular “The Red Cross”. The fact that, this time, no one was killed is not wholly relevant. The fact that now the chances of Red Cross workers being killed in the future is the whole point of the article. It is written as a preventive measure to protect the Red Cross. And this is why such a violation can be seen as extremely serious.”

    If you’re going to talk about the future, which is valid, then let’s also talk about the past and present. The Red Cross emblem has already been misused or otherwise violated before, this isn’t the first and only case, just the most publicized one by far, and it has happened in ways that would probably also count as war crimes and by other parties as well. More serious ones even, since they have directly involved the loss of life, and I don’t think that difference would be irrelevant when a punishment must be considered.

    I’m not saying this as a justification, the violation remains as I’ve pointed out several times, but the point is that there were already risks involved and this incident may increase them, but not from a low or non-existent level, and once again I would stress that not all violations would deserve exactly the same punishment, if details are to be estimated, contrasted and compared, by the appropiate national or international authorities. Otherwise, again, this is all arbitrary.

    “Also, “Is gaining “political capital” equivalent to killing people?” I agree, no. But, as you’ll agree, war isn’t simply about killing people. Moreover, when you talk about “political and military” harm, they are certainly interlinked.”

    Yes, but the differences are there, and how a court or judge would measure them and any interaction between them remains part of one of my points.

  28. Randy Paul Says:

    The Red Cross is not happy.

  29. jcg Says:

    And they shouldn’t be, since they were not told the entire truth, from what we can now tell. One way or another, the government lied to the Red Cross.

    Even under the official explanation, the incident was still a violation of the Geneva Convention, but the fact that it was done deliberately as part of the mission does mean that the proper responsibilities have to be investigated and pursued that much more seriously and, although some may not appreciate these words, proportionally and not arbitrarily.

  30. Randy Paul Says:

    And they shouldn’t be, since they were not told the entire truth, from what we can now tell. One way or another, the government lied to the Red Cross.

    And as so may politicians can tell you, from Richard Nixon to Bill Clinton, it’s the cover-up that comes back to bite you in the nether regions . . .

  31. MZR Says:

    Boli-Nica, it sounds like you’re a little upset because your post claiming that the Colombian government isn’t bound by the Geneva conventions regarding its internal conflict was, indeed, completely wrong and very wide of the mark. Not only did my post highlight this, but so did Adam’s. Indeed, I notice that you didn’t try to refute one thing that I mentioned about international law. You were also completely wrong about the Red Cross emblem/cross not being “prominently displayed”. You should get your facts straight before posting. So, Just accept that you were wrong and we will leave it at that.

    Boli-Nica: “I WAS MAKING A VERY GENERAL POINT…about how ridiculous it is to nitpick over Colombia’s alleged misuse of a red cross symbol in a MISSION TO RESCUE KIDNAP VICTIMS from a CRIMINAL ORGANIZATION that has held people for periods of up to ten years in captivity, that violates just about every country’s laws.”

    Haha – to “nitpick”. Look, we’re talking about international law. We’re talking about war crimes. We’re talking about the lives and safety of Red Cross workers. Boli-Nica, you are, again, failing to see the big picture. You’re looking at this from a very myopic “guerrilla vs. Colombian government” point of view. There are more than two-actors in this conflict. And the fact is the Colombian government’s “MISSION TO RESCUE KIDNAP VICTIMS” may, in the future, create more kidnap victims (or murder victims), most notably from the Red Cross, which highlights the importance of the Geneva conventions and why they should be strictly enforced. Why cannot you grasp this easy concept?

    Boli-Nica – “HOW ON EARTH is your trotting out “alleged” violations by the armed forces from last year more important than the FARC’s loss of their biggest bargaining chips – with conflict ending potential-???????”

    That statement says it all, really. You obviously think the blood of 15 hostages is more valuable than blood of 132 campesinos. I really don’t have to comment more on this point. Moreover, the allegations of the “132 victims” comes from a very good source. You can find the relevant report on this website.

    Boli-Nica: “[talking about the FARC] They are also Communists…”

    I’m pretty sure being a Communist doesn’t violate international law. Nor is it a war crime (I will check later… But I’m pretty sure).

    Boli-Nica – “Fact is the FARC is largely responsible for perpetuating the entire cycle of political violence even after they became ideologically irrelevant, and lost whatever political base they once had.”

    What utter nonsense and this perfectly highlights your limited and completely biased “knowledge” of this conflict (as well as international law). So you’re saying the paramilitaries, backed by factions of the army, were not also “largely responsible” for perpetuating violence? During the 1990s it was only the FARC? The paramilitaries whom NGOs usually equate to committing 75% of human rights abuses during the conflict? The paramilitaries who continue to commit terrible violence, threats of violence, etc? You really have a narrow minded view of this conflict. And what about the government’s role in drug trafficking? And the political landscape being inextricably linked with paramilitaries? To only see one side as the “bad guys” is so simplistic and ignorant.

    ——-

    jgc: “Going by that reasoning, they could pretty much do anything without any consequences at all, wouldn’t they? Which would mean that the government, for example, could accumulate a list of war crimes (and already has), while FARC’s count would always remain at “0″ even if they did (and have) done unspeakable things, including war crimes, that I would like to describe but isn’t really necessary, I’d hope.”

    Jcg, I’m not trying to argue that this is right or wrong (and, although the FARC is not a signatory to the Geneva conventions, unlike the Colombian government, I personally agree the the FARC can be prosecuted under these conventions). Rather, what I am pointing out is that by classifying the FARC as terrorists (instead of, say, belligerents) has implications in international law. It would also mean that the FARC loses certain protections guaranteed by the Geneva conventions, so it works both ways. Moreover, as I pointed out, the law is open to interpretation. But let’s assume for a moment that the Geneva conventions didn’t apply to the FARC, this does not mean that it can do anything without any consequences because the FARC is still bound by Colombian law (as Colombian citizens, for example, or foreign citizens acting on Colombian soil) and, indeed, it wouldn’t have the protections of the Geneva conventions to challenge the “criminal” prosecutions brought against it.

    jgc: “The Red Cross emblem has already been misused or otherwise violated before, this isn’t the first and only case, just the most publicized one by far, and it has happened in ways that would probably also count as war crimes and by other parties as well.”

    As you pointed out, this isn’t a justification. Many crimes go unpunished. Many crimes are successfully prosecuted when there is enough evidence to secure a conviction. So, in this case, international law has been broken and we have strong evidence to prove this. The use of the Red Cross emblem is considered a war crime under international law (indeed, the Colombian government is a signatory to the Geneva conventions, has subsequently ratified these conventions and therefore it agrees that the misuse of the Red Cross emblem constitutes a war crime). So, the government has committed a war crime which needs to be pursued. Whether we think it was a “small” or “huge” violation of international law is irrelevant. The fact is, the Colombian government is a signatory to the Geneva conventions and, thus, is bound by those conventions. Using the Red Cross emblem is a violation of those conventions therefore the government should be prosecuted (maybe in the ICC). Moreover, the fact that the Colombian government has typically lied about this case makes it even more sinister.

  32. MZR Says:

    Sorry, jcg…

    In my previous post I obviously meant “jcg” and not “jgc”. Apologies for the typo…

  33. jcg Says:

    MZR: Don’t think about it, that’s fine.

    Regardless of our differences about the details, I definitely agree that if there is a violation, and my own common sense tells me that there clearly is, it should be prosecuted and punished, following the proper procedures.

    How much or just how in general, etc. are subjects where we may differ, but that is probably not for us to ultimately determine either. We can only opine, and exchange those opinions.

  34. Camilla Says:

    The left said it wanted the hostages freed at any price. Well, they were. The left just didn’t like the price it took. What a bunch of hypocrites. I’m just waiting for them to urge the return of the hostages to their rightful Marxist kidnappers to make things right.

    By the way, does anyone notice that FARC still trusts the Red Cross? It gladly delivered additional hostages to their tender care once it realized the game was up with the loss of its ‘high value’ hostages. FARC didn’t let this wrongful /s rescue of Ingrid interfere with its good relations with the Red Cross. All the talk about the rescue of Ingrid endangering the Red Cross somehow hasn’t happened.

    By the way, FARC likes to use Red Cross as a cover to smuggle weapons, as does Hezbollah and Hamas. Charming crowd, those terrorists. Funny how the Red Cross’ ire doesn’t seem to rise much in those cases, though. Wonder why.

  35. Randy Paul Says:

    By the way, FARC likes to use Red Cross as a cover to smuggle weapons, as does Hezbollah and Hamas. Charming crowd, those terrorists. Funny how the Red Cross’ ire doesn’t seem to rise much in those cases, though. Wonder why.

    Probably because our expectations of good behavior from the FARC are non-existant, while we do expect the GOC to play by the rules. Unfair? Perhaps, but I was always raised to know that two wrongs don’t make a right.

    The left said it wanted the hostages freed at any price. Well, they were. The left just didn’t like the price it took. What a bunch of hypocrites. I’m just waiting for them to urge the return of the hostages to their rightful Marxist kidnappers to make things right.

    More strawmen than a roadshow production of the Wizard of Oz.

  36. MZR Says:

    Camilla: “The left said it wanted the hostages freed at any price. Well, they were. The left just didn’t like the price it took. ”

    Camilla, again, that is a very, very general statement (and simply not true). Who, exactly, comprise “the left”? Who, exactly, said they wanted hostages freed “at any price?” Can you reference this, please? Can you please provide sources? Even if some left-leaning commentators did say something along those lines, it is totally another thing to then claim all “the left” wanted hostages freed “at any cost”. This simply isn’t true, Camilla. (I certainly can’t remember reading such a strong proclamation from any “lefties”).

    Camilla: “By the way, FARC likes to use Red Cross as a cover to smuggle weapons, as does Hezbollah and Hamas. Charming crowd, those terrorists.”

    Yes, and I think we all agree that this is absolutely terrible and simply should not be tolerated. Similarly, the Colombian government uses the Red Cross as a cover for its military operations i.e. the freeing of its captured soldiers. Likewise, this should not be tolerated.

    You should also be careful when calling Hezbollah and Hamas “terrorists”. Now, I want to avoid getting into another Middle-East debate on this blog (given that it’s a Colombian blog), but Hamas and Hezbollah are, of course, seen as terrorists in the western world and media (CNN, ABC, etc). Nonetheless, both organisations are enjoying huge popularity in the Arab world and, indeed, it is Israel that is viewed as a terrorist state in these areas. You can see this article (quite balanced, with criticisms of Hezbollah) as evidence: http://www.tompaine.com/articles/2006/07/17/why_is_hezbollah_popular.php.

    Hezbollah garnered huge support after Israel illegally invaded and occupied The Lebanon in 1982 and again in 2006, in light of widespread international condemnation. Moreover, the Israeli’s were accused of indiscriminately killing thousands of Lebanese civilians during these invasions. (See, for example, this Human Rights Watch report: http://hrw.org/reports/2006/lebanon0806/). This has no doubt stimulated further support for Hezbollah. Indeed, there are millions of Arabs who don’t view these organisations as “terrorists”. Both organisations are very different from the FARC and, therefore, a comparison is somewhat difficult. Obviously, there are people who argue that the FARC are not terrorists. However, there are literally millions of people who would disagree of your classification of Hezbollah and Hamas as “terrorists”.

    jcg. Yes, I agree with you. I think I need to make it clear that I’m not saying Uribe should be imprisoned for this violation. Should he be found guilty of genocide, then that would, of course, be a different story. I’m not equating this violation with, say, Nazi genocide in WWII. But, what I am saying, is that this is still a grave violation of the Geneva conventions and should be dealt with accordingly. Likewise, it’s really not up to me to say what kind of punishment the GOC should face but this should be determined in a court of law (the ICC, for example).

  37. Latin American Thought » Blog Archive » The use of the Red Cross in Operation Jaque: Why did it take a leaked video for us to find out? Says:

    [...] offers a glimpse of the symbol. The next day, July 16, President Uribe made a speech in which he explained that “This officer, upon confessing his error to the high command, has said that when the [...]

  38. Boli-Nica Says:

    the Colombian government is a signatory to the Geneva conventions and, thus, is bound by those conventions. Using the Red Cross emblem is a violation of those conventions therefore the government should be prosecuted (maybe in the ICC)”

    You are the one who doesn’t have a clue about international law or legal reasoning in general.

    First of all

    Without even getting to the merits it is clear that The only Court having jurisdiction to punish misuse of the Red Cross symbol inside Colombia is COLOMBIA. Basically, Article 54 of the First Geneva Convention of 1949, leaves enforcement solely to the individual signatory states.

    The High Contracting Parties shall, if their legislation is not already adequate, take measures necessary for the prevention and repression, at all times, of the abuses referred to under Article 53″

    Colombias legislature enacted the law, and at that point reserved to its Courts sole jurisdiction over violations of misuse of the emblem within the territory, a right accepted and ratified by every other signatory to the treaty and by the ICRC.

    NO OTHER COURT CAN CLAIM JURISDICTION…

    Just so we are clear, on their face, the Geneva Convention Statutes do not create any special Courts for War Crimes committed in an “internal conflict.” In fact it has very limited rules applying to internal conflicts.

    As for the ICC it is a “court of last resort:” that “only tries those accused of the gravest crimes.”, which normally means things like ethnic cleansing and genocide.

    And again just on the bare minimum facts, there is no DEATH or INJURY to any protected party from the action. The II Protocol Article 85 applicable to internal conflicts, states that to be a grave breach of the convention,the action involved must be…

    .committed wilfully, in violation of the relevant provisions of this Protocol, and causing death or serious injury to body or health

    There is no death, no serious injury, therefore it does not fall into the category of a “grave breach”, which itself does not even guarantee it would be subject to Universal jurisdiction, much less reaching the ICC.

  39. Randy Paul Says:

    As for the ICC it is a “court of last resort:” that “only tries those accused of the gravest crimes.”, which normally means things like ethnic cleansing and genocide.

    Not true. It does try war crimes, but this is probably not an ICC issue.

  40. MZR Says:

    Boli-Nico – You are largely wrong about the ICC. The ICC does prosecute war crimes, and it specifically prosecutes those war crimes as stipulated under the Geneva Conventions. Ok, admittedly, the case probably wouldn’t make the ICC (1. I was simply giving an example, 2. clearly used the word “maybe” [i.e. "maybe the ICC"] and, 3. didn’t engage into deep discussion referring to the ICC… Which, I will do now). Nonetheless, just because it is a “court of last resort” doesn’t negate the fact that the case could still be taken on by the court. Indeed, should the Red Cross refer the case to the ICC, the court could (with admitted reservation) take it on.

    In particular reference to this case,

    Article 8 of the Rome Statue (of which the jurisdiction of the ICC is governed), clearly states:

    “The Court shall have jurisdiction in respect of war crimes in particular when committed as part of a plan or policy or as part of a large-scale commission of such crimes.”

    News emerging of the misuse of the Red Cross emblem arguably constitutes a premeditated “plan” or “policy” utilised by the Colombian government (a lawyer would probably utilise “plan” in any case).

    Now, within its definition of a war crime and with specific reference to this case, the Rome Statue includes as a war crime:

    “Making improper use of a flag of truce, of the flag or of the military insignia and uniform of the enemy or of the United Nations, as well as of the distinctive emblems of the Geneva Conventions, resulting in death or serious personal injury;”

    The Red Cross emblem constitutes and is defined as a “distinctive emblem” of the Geneva Conventions. With reference to your other point, if you were a lawyer, then you could argue that the Colombian military’s misuse of the Red Cross emblem has caused “death or serious personal injury” should a Red Cross worker be suspected of being murdered (or “injured”) as a result of the Colombian military’s misuse of the emblem. Now, admittedly, the passage above refers to international conflict. Nonetheless, if you check the wording, this could arguably also be enforced for internal conflict (or be used to supplement any such case). Admittedly very difficult, but not impossible.

    Moreover, if a particularly aggressive lawyer wanted to take the case even further, and imply that the misuse of the Red Cross emblem by the Colombian military constitutes an “intentional” (the emblem’s use was premeditated) and “direct” attack (if one argues that the Colombian government specifically used the emblem knowing a. the consequences and b. its effectiveness) on its organisation and its employees who use the Red Cross emblem (i.e. by placing it under severe danger and making Red Cross workers a direct target in this particularly bellicose country), then this stipulation may also apply:

    “Intentionally directing attacks against buildings, material, medical units and transport, and personnel using the distinctive emblems of the Geneva Conventions in conformity with international law;”

    Moreover, the “in conformity with international law” passage also implicates article 12 of the 2nd Protocol of the Geneva Conventions, which I cover now.

    As the “2nd Protocol” clearly stipulates (in Article 12):

    “Art 12. The distinctive emblem

    Under the direction of the competent authority concerned, the distinctive emblem of the red cross, red crescent or red lion and sun on a white ground shall be displayed by medical and religious personnel and medical units, and on medical transports. It shall be respected in all circumstances. It shall not be used improperly…”

    A lawyer could, therefore, push for Article 12 to be considered in the ICC to supplement any case presented to the court.

    Now, to be more reconciliatory with Boli-Nico (I at least respect that he/she has attempted to do some research on this matter), I wouldn’t doubt the claim that this would be a difficult case for the ICC and, indeed, I only gave the ICC as an example (e.g. I didn’t initially enter into deep discussion about the feasibility of pursuing such a case in the ICC). But you shouldn’t argue that the ICC cannot prosecute war crimes as stipulated by the Geneva Conventions. This is simply untrue and, indeed, the ICC specifically prosecutes war crimes using definitions promulgated by the Geneva Conventions.

    A further example to highlight the applicability of the Geneva Conventions to the ICC (from the Rome Statue):

    “For the purpose of this Statute, ‘war crimes’ means… In the case of an armed conflict not of an international character, serious violations of article 3 common to the four Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, namely, any of the following acts committed against persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat bysickness, wounds, detention or any other cause.” Etc, etc.

    Moreover, another one of your claims is completely false and shows a misunderstanding of the Geneva Conventions:

    Boli-Nico said: “Just so we are clear, on their face, the Geneva Convention Statutes do not create any special Courts for War Crimes committed in an “internal conflict.” In fact it has very limited rules applying to internal conflicts.”

    May I point out the 2nd Geneva Protocol (of which I have cited above) is specifically written for internal conflict and, therefore, the Geneva conventions do extensively cover intrastate conflict. It is titled: “Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts (Protocol II), 8 June 1977.” Moreover, in 1995, Colombia ratified Protocol II so it is legally bound to adhere to it. Moreover, “Special Courts” to be utilised for breaches of the Geneva Conventions are obviously not mentioned in these conventions as they were set up *after* the Geneva Conventions were written. Nonetheless, Colombia is a signatory to the Geneva Conventions, is also a signatory to the ICC and, as the Jurisdiction of the ICC is governed by the Rome Statue, Colombia can be prosecuted for war crimes in the ICC.

    Indeed, Article 12 of the Rome Statue:

    “Article 12
    Preconditions to the exercise of jurisdiction
    1. A State which becomes a Party to this Statute thereby accepts the jurisdiction of
    the Court with respect to the crimes referred to in article 5.”

    And war crimes, as I’ve outline above, are referred to as “crimes” in article 5.

    MZR

  41. MZR Says:

    Sorry – I obviously meant “Boli-Nica” and not “Boli-Nico”.

    Apologies for the typo.

  42. Boli-Nica Says:

    # Randy Paul Says:
    August 13th, 2008 at 9:59 am

    As for the ICC it is a “court of last resort:” that “only tries those accused of the gravest crimes.”, which normally means things like ethnic cleansing and genocide.

    Not true. It does try war crimes, but this is probably not an ICC issue

    I guess I didn’t make that clear oops…The Court absolutely covers War Crimes, the absolute worst and most blatant war crimes,..which is one of the main reasons it was set up.

    As The “Court of last resort” – which is the Courts own language. actually means the Court steps in where a “grave violation” by a signatory country goes unpunished. And it covers three areas – genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes (a fourth on Agression has not been ratified…) In other words, this is for the worst of the worst.

    The rules themselves, are a verbatim restatement of the worst war crimes listed in the 49 Geneva Conventions, (”grave breaches”) and the supplements that are listed the Protocols from the mid 70’s. And again, the list largely covers crimes in international conficts with a much more limited group of rules that applies to internal conflicts.

    In the case of the misuse of the emblems, the ICC rules creates a seven element test.
    Article 8 (2) (b) (vii)-4 War crime of improper use of the distinctive emblems of the Geneva Conventions
    War crime of improper use of the distinctive emblems of the Geneva
    Conventions
    Elements
    1. The perpetrator used the distinctive emblems of the Geneva Conventions.
    2. The perpetrator made such use for combatant purposes42 in a manner prohibited under the international law of armed conflict.
    3. The perpetrator knew or should have known of the prohibited nature of such use,
    4. The conduct resulted in death or serious personal injury.
    5. The perpetrator knew that the conduct could result in death or serious personal injury.
    6. The conduct took place in the context of and was associated with an international armed conflict.
    7. The perpetrator was aware of factual circumstances that established the existence of an armed conflict…..
    …..f 42 ‘Combatant purposes’ in these circumstances means purposes directly related to hostilities and not including
    medical, religious or similar activitity.M

    A very general point of statutory law is that a Court does not have authority to prosecute a case based on a statute, if the side bringing the action has not presented a factual basis for each single element of the offense or action in the statute.

    The bar is set much higher when it is for violation of a criminal statute because a defendant has due process rights and faces potential deprivation of liberty even before trial. For an international Court it is even harder. It must make a very seriouis evidentiary showing that one of its statutes was violated by defendant, that it is entitled to jurisdiction, and that it protects the Defendants due process rights. Reason being, that it is asking a sovereign nation to turn over one of its nationals for prosecution outside the country for a serious crime that ocurred INSIDE the territory of the country. Oh and that as a result of this trial a person can be deprived of their liberty.

    The ICC Statute itself only authorizes jurisdiction if the behavior in question was a crime under its statute. It will not “create:” or stretch the plain language of the laws to bring jurisidiction, and will apply any unclear language of the existing law in favor of the Defendant. .


    1.A person shall not be criminally responsible under this Statute unless the conduct in question constitutes, at the time it takes place, a crime within the jurisdiction of the Court.

    2.The definition of a crime shall be strictly construed and shall not be extended by analogy. In case of ambiguity, the definition shall be interpreted in favour of the person being investigated,
    prosecuted or convicted.

    Here the plain statutory language is not met. It is an undisputed fact that this is an internal conflict. An unarmed mission to free hostages held in miserable conditions is arguably not for “combatant” purposes – the Court would be forced to weigh this. Besides the rather unambiguous fact that no death or anything remotely close to a “serious personal injury” happened. There is no conduct that would have met the seven part test, establishing criminal responsibility under the Statute, therefore the Court does not have jurisdiction.

    And again THIS IS A CRIMINAL PROSECUTION.. PEOPLE POTENTIALLY GO TO JAIL FOR BREAKING THESE LAWS. You can’t “make up” violations because you think they might or might not apply in a case. You can;’t troll across borders claiming a right to prosecute someone with ambiguous facts that do not even meet the bare elements of a claim. This is for serious stuff.

  43. Boli-Nica Says:

    # Randy Paul Says:
    August 13th, 2008 at 9:59 am

    As for the ICC it is a “court of last resort:” that “only tries those accused of the gravest crimes.”, which normally means things like ethnic cleansing and genocide.

    Not true. It does try war crimes, but this is probably not an ICC issue

    I guess I didn’t make that clear oops…The Court absolutely covers War Crimes, the absolute worst and most blatant war crimes,..which is one of the main reasons it was set up.

    As The “Court of last resort” – which is the Courts own language. actually means the Court steps in where a “grave violation” by a signatory country goes unpunished. And it covers three areas – genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes (a fourth on Agression has not been ratified…) In other words, this is for the worst of the worst.

    The rules themselves, are a verbatim restatement of the worst war crimes listed in the 49 Geneva Conventions, (”grave breaches”) and the supplements that are listed the Protocols from the mid 70’s. And again, the list largely covers crimes in international conficts with a much more limited group of rules that applies to internal conflicts.

    In the case of the misuse of the emblems, the ICC rules creates a seven element test.
    Article 8 (2) (b) (vii)-4 War crime of improper use of the distinctive emblems of the Geneva Conventions
    War crime of improper use of the distinctive emblems of the Geneva
    Conventions
    Elements
    1. The perpetrator used the distinctive emblems of the Geneva Conventions.
    2. The perpetrator made such use for combatant purposes42 in a manner prohibited under the international law of armed conflict.
    3. The perpetrator knew or should have known of the prohibited nature of such use,
    4. The conduct resulted in death or serious personal injury.
    5. The perpetrator knew that the conduct could result in death or serious personal injury.
    6. The conduct took place in the context of and was associated with an international armed conflict.
    7. The perpetrator was aware of factual circumstances that established the existence of an armed conflict…..
    …..f 42 ‘Combatant purposes’ in these circumstances means purposes directly related to hostilities and not including
    medical, religious or similar activitity.M

    A very general point of statutory law is that a Court does not have authority to prosecute a case based on a statute, if the side bringing the action has not presented a factual basis for each single element of the offense or action in the statute.

    The bar is set much higher when it is for violation of a criminal statute because a defendant has due process rights and faces potential deprivation of liberty even before trial. For an international Court it is even harder. It must make a very seriouis evidentiary showing that one of its statutes was violated by defendant, that it is entitled to jurisdiction, and that it protects the Defendants due process rights. Reason being, that it is asking a sovereign nation to turn over one of its nationals for prosecution outside the country for a serious crime that ocurred INSIDE the territory of the country. Oh and that as a result of this trial a person can be deprived of their liberty.

    The ICC Statute itself only authorizes jurisdiction if the behavior in question was a crime under its statute. It will not “create:” or stretch the plain language of the laws to bring jurisidiction, and will apply any unclear language of the existing law in favor of the Defendant. .

    Art 22….
    1.A person shall not be criminally responsible under this Statute unless the conduct in question constitutes, at the time it takes place, a crime within the jurisdiction of the Court.

    2.The definition of a crime shall be strictly construed and shall not be extended by analogy. In case of ambiguity, the definition shall be interpreted in favour of the person being investigated,
    prosecuted or convicted.

    Here the plain statutory language is not met. It is an undisputed fact that this is an internal conflict. An unarmed mission to free hostages held in miserable conditions is arguably not for “combatant” purposes – the Court would be forced to weigh this. Besides the rather unambiguous fact that no death or anything remotely close to a “serious personal injury” happened. There is no conduct that would have met the seven part test, establishing criminal responsibility under the Statute, therefore the Court does not have jurisdiction.

    And again THIS IS A CRIMINAL PROSECUTION.. PEOPLE POTENTIALLY GO TO JAIL FOR BREAKING THESE LAWS. You can’t “make up” violations because you think they might or might not apply in a case. You can;’t troll across borders claiming a right to prosecute someone with ambiguous facts that do not even meet the bare elements of a claim. This is for serious stuff.

  44. MZR Says:

    I see the previous post is actually addressed to Randy Paul, but I will comment anyway…

    With all due respect, Boli-Nica, you seem to be heavily back-tracking with your last post. Nonetheless, giving the benefit of the doubt, I will accept that a misunderstanding may have arisen with regards to your views on war crimes and the ICC. (Although, this still doesn’t account for your egregious assertion that the Geneva Conventions have “very limited rules applying to internal conflicts” when Protocol II was specifically written to cover internal conflicts).

    Boli-Nica: “I guess I didn’t make that clear oops…The Court absolutely covers War Crimes, the absolute worst and most blatant war crimes,..which is one of the main reasons it was set up.”

    Well, as I stated above, the ‘war crime’ of misusing the Red Cross emblem is indeed covered by the ICC as stipulated in the Rome Statue. Obviously, this too is seen as “grave” by the ICC.

    Boli-Nica: “As The “Court of last resort” – which is the Courts own language. actually means the Court steps in where a “grave violation” by a signatory country goes unpunished. And it covers three areas – genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes (a fourth on Agression[sic] has not been ratified…) In other words, this is for the worst of the worst.”

    As already noted, misusing the Red Cross emblem is considered a punishable war crime under ICC jurisdiction. Moreover, the court may also “step-in” not only in the case of a matter going unpunished (because, say, of a corrupt judicial system). If, for example, a country’s judicial system is overloaded (therefore unable to take the case or it may take a protracted time before the case is heard), the ICC may also begin proceedings. As we have seen by Adam’s most recent post, Colombia’s judicial system can certainly be considered “overloaded”.

    Boli-Nica: “The rules themselves, are a verbatim restatement of the worst war crimes listed in the 49 Geneva Conventions”

    Again, read the Geneva Conventions and the Rome Statute and you will find that misusing and/or attacking the emblem of the Red Cross are considered war crimes punishable under ICC jurisdiction.

    Boli-Nica: “Reason being, that it is asking a sovereign nation to turn over one of its nationals for prosecution outside the country for a serious crime that ocurred INSIDE the territory of the country”

    Yes – of course – because the sovereign country, Colombia, is both a signatory to the Geneva Conventions (including Protocol II) and the ICC, therefore legally bound to adhere to legal requests from this court. As such, it is irrelevant that the crime occurred inside the territory of a particular country.

    “The ICC Statute itself only authorizes jurisdiction if the behavior in question was a crime under its statute. It will not “create:” or stretch the plain language of the laws to bring jurisidiction, and will apply any unclear language of the existing law in favor of the Defendant. .”

    As with any legal proceedings, a lawyer will build a case based on as many different factors and angles as he/she possibly can. There is no such thing as “plain language” in law (especially international law) – almost everything written into law is open to interpretation and it precisely how effectively a lawyer can convince a jury/judge(s) of his/her interpretation that is key in this instance. (One only has to look at the occupied territories as a perfect example of this in international law). Also, the court will not automatically “apply any unclear language” in favour of the defendant if a strong case is built.

    “Art 22.
    1.A person shall not be criminally responsible under this Statute unless the conduct in question constitutes, at the time it takes place, a crime within the jurisdiction of the Court.”

    As I have already mentioned, the conduct may well constitute a crime within the jurisdiction of the Court. That is to say, the misuse of the Red Cross emblem.

    Boli-Nica: “An unarmed mission to free hostages held in miserable conditions is arguably not for “combatant” purposes”

    The operation was a military operation carried out by Colombia’s armed forces to rescue captured soldiers. So, indeed, it could easily be defined as “Combatant” in nature.

    “And again THIS IS A CRIMINAL PROSECUTION”

    I’m not quite sure why you are stating this. Wouldn’t the International CRIMINAL court therefore have perfect jurisdiction to CRIMINALLY prosecute a, um, war CRIMINAL?

    Look, in all honesty, we could go on and on and on with this one. I am agreeing with you, Boli-Nica, that it would be very, very, very difficult to begin proceedings in the ICC but it simply isn’t impossible and the court absolutely does have jurisdiction to prosecute the misuse of the Red Cross emblem. Now, arguably, it is easier to begin proceedings of such misuse within the context of an international conflict but this does not mean it is impossible to bring forward proceedings for an internal conflict (please see my previous post).

  45. Boli-Nica Says:

    WOW, you continue to argue with 0 authority……even throwing in some legalese. funny in a small claims court sort of way.


    Moreover, another one of your claims is completely false and shows a misunderstanding of the Geneva Conventions:

    Boli-Nico said: “Just so we are clear, on their face, the Geneva Convention Statutes do not create any special Courts for War Crimes committed in an “internal conflict.” In fact it has very limited rules applying to internal conflicts.”

    May I point out the 2nd Geneva Protocol (of which I have cited above) is specifically written for internal conflict and, therefore, the Geneva conventions do extensively cover intrastate conflict.
    Although, this still doesn’t account for your egregious assertion that the Geneva Conventions have “very limited rules applying to internal conflicts” when Protocol II was specifically written to cover internal conflicts.

    Is that so? Long-established Black Letter Law on the applicability of the Geneva Convention to Internal Conflicts, the views of scholars, the sort of stuff that in my IL Casebook…….is wrong?
    Steven R. Ratner the co-author (with Jason S. Abrams)
    of Accountability for Human Rights Atrocities in International Law teaches International Law and International Humanitarian Law at the University of Michigan. He also co-wrote a widely used International Law Casebook, and contributed sections on International Versus Internal Conflict and Categories of War Crimes for the Crimes of War Project. In a summary of the applicable Black Letter Law from the Geneva Conventions he has to say:


    As for civil wars, unfortunately, international law today has fewer rules regulating the conduct of internal conflicts, which many States consider part of their domestic jurisdiction and, consequently, there is a shorter list of war crimes. Additional Protocol II of 1977, which contains basic rules for the conduct of internal conflicts, has no criminal liability provisions, and the reach of customary law war crimes is not as clear with respect to such wars as it is for international wars..


    The legal consequences of characterizing a conflict as solely internal have been quite significant.

    First, the Geneva Conventions provide only very basic protections in the event of civil wars through Article 3 common to the conventions. That article prohibits certain flagrant violations of human dignity like murder, torture, ill-treatment, and taking of hostages.

    Second, Additional Protocol II of 1977, which specifically addresses internal conflicts, provides fewer protections during such conflicts than the Geneva Conventions do for international conflicts.

    Third, for prosecution of war crimes, the conventions create criminal liability only for violations committed in international armed conflicts.

    This is pretty much Black Letter Law, and comes from a scholar – whose body of work can be cited as authority. You can take that to the bank.

    Now MZR..makes the following “point of law”:

    Again, read the Geneva Conventions and the Rome Statute and you will find that misusing and/or attacking the emblem of the Red Cross are considered war crimes punishable under ICC jurisdiction.

    the court absolutely does have jurisdiction to prosecute the misuse of the Red Cross emblem

    The Court only has jurisdiction (power over acts and people) over Crimes listed in the Rome Convention statute. Colombia agreed to be bound to the Courts jurisdiction for the list of “grave violations” covered by the Court in internal conflicts:

    From Prof. Ratner:

    The Statute of the ICC lists as war crimes for internal conflicts four serious violations of Common Article 3 (violence to life and person, outrages upon personal dignity, hostage taking, and summary executions), as well as twelve serious violations of the laws and customs of war (e.g., attacks on civilians, pillage, rape, or mutilation).

    The “misuse” under this set of facts is CLEARLY NOT APPLICABLE, THERE IS NO CRIME UNDER THE ACT. Articles 37 and 38 in 1st Protocol is for INTERNATIONAL CONFLICTS – The ICC’s law of “Article 8 (2) (b) (vii)-4 War crime of improper use of the distinctive emblems of the Geneva Conventions ONLY COVERS INTERNATIONAL CONFLICTS.. II Protocol only says it should be “respected”. The Court does not have ANY BASIS for jurisidiction.

    There is no such thing as “plain language” in law (especially international law) – almost everything written into law is open to interpretation and it precisely how effectively a lawyer can convince a jury/judge(s) of his/her interpretation that is key in this instance…..

    LMAO…”no such thing” as “plain language”, and “everything is open to interpretation”…

    Gee, since this is a criminal issue, lets look at an offense that is punished worldwide, murder:
    Common law:” A person who 1. kills another human being; 2.. knowingly or intentionally, commits murder, a felony
    Under Spanish language Civil Code: Será castigado con la pena de prisión, como reo de asesinato, 1. el que matare a otro 2. concurriendo alguna de las circunstancias siguientes:a.-Con alevosía.b.-Por precio, recompensa o promesa.cº.-Con ensañamiento,

    Whether in Peoria or Pereira, plain language of murder/asesinato requires an act by defendant: (under #1) killing of another human being , (under #2)with specific mental state THOSE ARE ELEMENTS OF THE CRIME, must have both for murder, can’t get to the mental state, without the killing. Same way the War Crime of Improper Use of the Geneva Convention symbol” requires “death or serious personal injury” resulting from the conduct as an element. And another factual element is that it must be in an international conflict.


    if you were a lawyer, then you could argue that the Colombian military’s misuse of the Red Cross emblem has caused “death or serious personal injury” should a Red Cross worker be suspected of being murdered (or “injured”) as a result of the Colombian military’s misuse of the emblem.

    “Should a Red Cross worker be suspected”…of “being murdered” is speculative nonsense. You either cause serious injury or death or you don’t. Recklessly shooting a gun in your backyard without hitting anyone, does not equate to murder.

    Prosecutors can’t get away with arguing “future” “possible” “interpretations” of statutory language to get jurisdiction, and charging someone with a serious crime under an international treaty. They have THE BURDEN OF PRESENTING FACTS – evidence – meeting the elements of the crime.

    You don’t seem to get the very basic concept that War Crimes and International War Tribunals are meant to PUNISH INDIVIDUALS FOR CRIMES OCCURING IN WARTIME.

    INDIVIDUALS TRIED FOR WAR CRIMES HAVE DUE PROCESS RIGHTS. PROSECUTORS THE BURDEN OF PROVING GUILT

    On one level dragging a defendant to Holland for commission of an alleged low level felony in Colombia, violates the defendants right to put on a defense, since it makes it extremely hard to produce evidence like witnesses and documents for defense .

    Besides there is the explicit rights of an accused. The ICC itself in 66 and 22:….The accused has a “presumption of innocence”… “burden of proof on prosecution”, that proof must be “beyond a reasonable doubt” And also in 22, is a restatement of the traditional rule that any unclear language will be interpreted in favor of the accused. Because the BURDEN OF PROOF IS ON PROSECUTORS….

    And that goes before trial. You can’t interrogate without a “reasonable suspicion, search property without probable cause. And detain or formally charge for a crime without “probable cause” To charge someone with a grave crime without probable cause, and not meeting the statutory language is close to prosecutorial misconduct and a due process violation.

    .The presumption of innocence means no matter how “strong” the “case is built” the Prosecutors must still present evidence BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT, and the defense has the right to contest it. Doesn’t matter if “everyone knows he did it” it still must be legally proven.

    the sovereign country, Colombia, is both a signatory to the Geneva Conventions (including Protocol II) and the ICC, therefore legally bound to adhere to legal requests from this court. As such, it is irrelevant that the crime occurred inside the territory of a particular country.

    Considering the fact it happened in an internal conflict in Colombia is not irrelevant, it MANDATORY that it occured in an international conflict, because it is an ELEMENT. You could have the entire 6 remaining elements of the crime including injury and/or death with intent, and it still would not apply.

    Arguing it does fall under that statute is as baseless as charging a person for murder for kicking a dog three states away.

    So, in this case, international law has been broken and we have strong evidence to prove this. The use of the Red Cross emblem is considered a war crime under international law (indeed, the Colombian government is a signatory to the Geneva conventions, has subsequently ratified these conventions and therefore it agrees that the misuse of the Red Cross emblem constitutes a war crime). So,the government has committed a war crime which needs to be pursued. Whether we think it was a “small” or “huge” violation of internat ional law is irrelevant. The fact is, the Colombian government is a signatory to the Geneva conventions and, thus, is bound by those conventions. Using the Red Cross emblem is a violation of those conventions therefore the government should be prosecuted

    And you still keeping on repeating your simplistic mantra that since Colombia” signed the Geneva Convention, that this is a “War Crime” covered by the Geneva Convention therefore Colombia should face some sort of international prosecution.

    No matter, that it should be self-evident this specific misuse is not in the list of War Crimes punishable by the ICC and is not a Grave Violation of Geneva Convention III 37 or Protocol I.

    this is still a grave violation of the Geneva conventions and should be dealt with accordingly. Likewise, it’s really not up to me to say what kind of punishment the GOC should face but this should be determined in a court of law (the ICC, for example)

    WOW….do you understand the very basic concept that there are bad acts, really bad acts, and really, really bad acts?

    Every body of criminal law classifies offenses from most serious to less serious, reflecting an understanding that some acts are worse than others. The State of Florida has something like 121 chapters in its Criminal Code, listing offenses from murder to conducting “simulated bullfighting exhibitions”. The same conduct can be differentiated by the intent of offender and gravity of result. For example in the murder statute cited if there is no “intent” it still is a “homicide”, if there is an act and no death, it can still be “attempted murder”.

    These words mean SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCES IN PENALTIES.. years in prison, which affect the accused basic rights. Just like you can “violate the Geneva Convention” by breaking a provision, you can violate the “criminal code” of Florida by murdering someone or “willfully” disturbing “any assembly of people met for the worship of God” One can get you the electric chair, the other 60 days in jail.

    Moreover, who classifies this as a “minor” violation? Red Cross workers? The international community? NGOs? Who, exactly? For a lot of people I think this may constitute a grave violation.

    The Geneva Conventions penalizes a broad range of behavior in wartime, ranging from minor technical violations applying to POW camps to massive atrocities. Like the Criminal Code in Florida THERE ARE MINOR AND MAJOR VIOLATIONS. The Grave Breaches under the Geneva Convention and Protocol I, has the entire list of grave breaches, Geneva Article III’s and Protocol I, listing of the worst crimes applicable to internal Conflicts. – repeated by the ICC:

    But outside of those violations, Ratner tells us:

    Most violations of the Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocols are not grave breaches. Of those not listed as grave breaches, many are still considered war crimes, although in those cases States do not have the same obligation to extradite or prosecute as they do for grave breaches.

    Other nongrave breaches are not war crimes, but simply illegal acts for which only the violating State is responsible under international law. To give one simple example, if the commander of a POW camp failed to keep a record of all disciplinary punishments (a violation of Article 96 of the Third Geneva Convention), he would likely not be committing a war crime—although some may disagree

    Which points out your “egregious” failure to understand the simple reality that the facts here do not constitute a major violation of the Geneva Convention or a particularly heinous War Crime. That is what is based on the existing law. This behavior squarely falls within Colombia’s criminal law.

  46. MZR Says:

    This is utterly boring now, Boli-Nica. And I really can’t be bothered to read the entirety of your drivel, which I’m pretty sure will continue to back-track, then back-track some more, then back-track some more, just like your previous posts. Moreover, you completely ignore what I’ve written (or you’re incapable of comprehending it, I think it is the latter). For example: the excerpts of your above post that I have read, continue to talk about “grave violations” and the misuse of the red cross emblem not being applicable here because you deem this not to be a “grave violation”. As I have told you numerous times before, the misuse of the red cross emblem is defined as a violation punishable under the jurisdiction of the ICC. This is not me making up the laws – this is written in black and white in the Rome Statute (which I’m sure you still haven’t read yet, nor do you actually know what it is). Is it easier to prosecute crimes in international conflicts? Yes, I wouldn’t deny this (which I have stated on more than one occasion. Read my posts if necessary).

    Again, for example, “Is that so? Long-established Black Letter Law on the applicability of the Geneva Convention to Internal Conflicts, the views of scholars, the sort of stuff that in my IL Casebook…….is wrong?

    BL, you were arguing that the Geneva Conventions hardly covered internal conflict. You were wrong. Nowhere did I argue that the Conventions prosecuted internal conflict more vigorously than international conflict (in fact, I think I actually argued to the contrary). But, nonetheless, your statements about the Conventions are largely false. I’ve pointed this out above. I don’t need to do it again.

    Moreover, your quote from Steven R. Ratner is wholly irrelevant (yet you accuse me of discussing with 0 authority. How funny…). For example, pointing out that crimes in international conflicts can be prosecuted more rigorously than internal conflict well… Your point is? Not one person has argued against this, including me. Again, I will leave it up to the reader to make his/her own conclusions.

    Moreover, you idiotically stated that the ICC does not prosecute war crimes (for evidence, please read Boli-Nica’s original posts. Try not to laugh at his/her later back-tracking). I was not alone on this blog in pointing out how wrong you were. Then you back-track with a “I guess I didn’t make that clear oops [oops?! Haha]…” Followed by, “The Court absolutely covers War Crimes, the absolute worst and most blatant war crimes,..which is one of the main reasons it was set up.”

    Haha – laughable back-tracking. And, AGAIN, the war crime of the misuse and attack of the Red Cross emblem IS COVERED, I repeat, IS COVERED, by the Rome Statute. Please read the court’s jurisdiction, Boli-Nica. I’m bored of having to repeat myself. Your definition of what “grave” constitutes is, like most of your posts, wholly irrelevant. Read the statute, please Boli-Nica ($100 bet says he comes back pronouncing that he has already read it many moons ago, is an authority on the statute, etc, when all the evidence of his posts shows that he simply has no idea about the jurisdiction of the ICC nor has he knowledge of the Rome Statute).

    As for you “LMAO” statement, are you actually arguing that legal definitions are not interpreted, challenged, etc, in International Law? If this statement were not true, then the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would be much closer to a conclusion than where it is at the moment (I’m talking Res 242, for example).

    Sorry, but I really am finding this utterly boring. I’ve made my points above. So, Boli-Nica will come back with insults, a few more copy and pastes, etc, but you still cannot hide your idiotic statements and back-tracking. I tried a more reconciliatory tone with my previous post but your insults continued (hence my tone here… I know, I shouldn’t have lowered myself…). Nonetheless, I think I have pretty much said what is needed here and any reader who cares to read the post can surely make their own conclusion(s). As such, I think this will be my last post on the topic, unless I’m subjected to more insults, in which I won’t be able to help myself.

    So, for the sake of sanity: Boli-Nica, I apologise for my tone in this post, I apologise for calling you an idiot (or, rather, that you have idiotic tendencies) and I apologise for wasting your time by not (fully) reading your extensive post above. Indeed, Boli-Nica, I fully retract my statements that you’re idiotic. I will, instead, call you an astute human being, whom I don’t know personally, and probably is a wonderful, charming person. Now, hopefully, this will prevent another round of insults. Can we at least agree on that, Mr/Miss/Mrs Boli-Nica? A truce on the insults?

  47. Boli-Nica Says:

    ^nice meltdown Sally. I imagine it hurts to get schooled like that… Spend 3 years in law school pass a state’s bar, write hundreds of pleadings, briefs and contracts involving jurisdictional issues and then get back to me. Meanwhile leave interpretation of points of law to lawyers – or for that matter laypeople with half a brain. ….The only idiot here is the one who keeps arguing that the ICC applies….

  48. MZR Says:

    “nice meltdown Sally”

    Um… What? Was that meant to be a “come-back?” I give up… What a tool…

    “Leave interpretation of points of law to lawyers?”

    Well, your interpretation that the ICC doesn’t cover war crimes, as postulated in your earlier post, means that I just can’t take you seriously (or any of your posts for that matter). Indeed, you have been wrong on pretty much all of your posts. Even the author of this blog, Adam Isacson, felt compelled to rebuke your statement that the FARC would not be considered combatants under international law (I noticed you didn’t reply to Adam, who also showed what an idiot you actually are). As such, your insinuation that you’re a lawyer means that you’re either the worst lawyer on the face of the planet or you’re simply lying (from your posts I actually assumed you were about 16 years old). Come on, Boli-Nica, do you really expect us to believe that you’re a lawyer or that you know anything about international law? How do you expect anyone on this blog to take you seriously after all your false statements concerning international law that you’ve posted above? Idiot…

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