Friday, September 07, 2007

Culpable on the Basis of Command

By Cernig

Right now, in Croatia, there's an ongoing war-crimes trial to decide whether two senior officers are culpable on the basis of command responsibility for actions committed by Croatian army soldiers during a military operation to regain control over a Serb-held area of Croatia known as the “Medak Pocket”.

At least 29 Serb civilians were killed and dozens were seriously injured during the operation, and the indictment also alleges that Croatian forces killed at least five Serb soldiers who had been captured or wounded.

The indictment was originally brought by the Hague tribunal, which referred the Ademi-Norac case to Croatia in 2005, making it the first case of its kind.

Meanwhile, US troops have a less-than-avid adherance to international law against torture, rape and other atrocities, US officers are offered a simple slap on the wrist when their troops commit said atrocities, and General Petreaus can get away with sitting on an ethics report for five months before he utters a word about it.

No wonder Bush refused to sign up to the International Court by ratifying a treaty Bill Clinton was fully on board with. But U.S. officers in Iraq might do well to ponder the fate of these Croatians - the memory of international law is a long one.

(P.S. Does anyone know if Hillary has made a statement on whether she would ratify the treaty or not?)