Tuesday, December 11, 2007


The Rationalization of War Crimes

Detainees may be questioned, but any form of physical or mental coercion is prohibited (Geneva III, art. 17; Geneva IV, art. 31).

"Physical or mental coercion" is the internationally accepted diplomatic definition of torture.

A good dictionary definition is "to cause physical pain or mental anguish, particularly to obtain confession of a crime or secret information".

Torture or inhuman treatment of prisoners-of-war (or any captured and detained individuals, during any armed conflict) are grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions, and are considered war crimes (Geneva III, arts. 17, 87, and 130; Geneva IV, arts. 32 and 147).

QUESTION ONE: Is "waterboarding" torture?

Waterboarding is the process of submerging a restrained individual, with cloth gag in mouth, in an inclined, supine position into water, head first. The intent is to simulate the sensation of drowning in order to promote the cooperation of the individual with questioning to obtain military intelligence.

Waterboarding clearly causes mental anguish and physical distress. It is clearly physical and mental coercion for the purpose of obtaining secret information.

Waterboarding is clearly and unequivocally torture.

QUESTION TWO: Is "waterboarding" a war crime?

Waterboarding is clearly torture. If is done upon individuals who are prisoners of war or who are detained in relation to an armed conflict, then it is clearly a war crime.

QUESTION THREE: What is wrong with us?

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?