So you believe that "it" is not
a gross violation of the Geneva Convention
... and yet is
a "war crime"??
I’ve maintained the whole time that it is a violation of the Geneva Convention and a war crime.
I originally said gross violation, but after you did a comparison to genocide and such, I figured gross might be too strong a word, so I said “OK, strike gross”. What I meant was of course that it is not gross when compared to genocide.
But when you take that out of context and state “You believe it is not a gross violation of the Geneva Convention” it becomes very misleading, as you make it sound like I thought it’s negligible, which it is not. Looking at the websites of the ICC (International War Crimes Court) and the ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross), it seems the correct legal term is “a grave breach of the Geneva Convention”, and as such it does constitute a war crime.
Strangelove wrote:You keep referring to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. I believe the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court defers to the Geneva Convention.
Uhm.. not quite, but in a way. See my next answer.
Strangelove wrote:You seem to understand the settlements are not a "war crime" under the Geneva Convention. But you don't seem to grasp that they are also not a "war crime" according to the International Criminal Court.
Now, you are free to speculate on whether or not the ICC might one day rule they are a "war crime".
But until that day comes (it never will, I think you know that) they are NOT... according to the ICC.
You mustn't neglect the all-important "COURT" part of the International Criminal Court!
Until a court rules y'see....
OK, pro primo, the Geneva Convention does not have a definition of what a war crime is. It just sets a number of rules that apply to international conflicts. In popular speech, breaches of the Geneva Convention are often referred to as war crimes, but there are various different definitions of war crimes, so the usage varies.
When however the International War Crimes Tribunal (now called the ICC, ie the International Criminal Court) was created, they actually did define war crimes in its statutes. The war crimes listed in their statutes can be divided into three groups:
1) Grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocol I
2) Other serious violations of the laws and customs of war applicable in international armed conflicts
(based primarily on the 1899 Hague Declaration, the 1907 Regulations annexed to the Hague Convention No. IV, the 1925 Geneva Protocol, the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and its protocols, the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child, the 1994 Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel, and the Statute of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia);
3) Serious violations of the laws and customs of war applicable in non-international armed conflicts
(based primarily on Article 3 common to the four Geneva Conventions of 1949, their Additional Protocol II of 1977, the 1999 Optional Protocol to the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child, the 1994 Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel, the Statutes of the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, and the Statute of the Special Court for Sierra Leone).
Source: http://www.icrc.org/eng/resources/docum ... 311008.htm
Thus, violations (or breaches) of the rules set forth in the 1949 Geneva Convention are now (since 2002) declared war crimes in the 2002 Rome Statute, but they are only a subset of its total list of war crimes.
Pro segundo, I think the wording of Art. 8 (2) (b) (viii) of the Rome Statute’s list of war crimes makes it rather clear that the settlements do qualify as such:
The transfer, directly or indirectly, by the Occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies, or the deportation or transfer of all or parts of the population of the occupied territory within or outside this territory
As you may notice the wording is very similar to what can be found in Article 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention.
Pro tercio, I agree that it is unlikely that this will ever land in the ICC, mainly because so far the ICC only has jurisdiction over the countries that have ratified the Rome Statute (and Israel has not); but with 121 countries of the roughly 193 there are already having done this, and a further 32 having signed but not ratified, I’d say it is close to being universally agreed upon, and then it will start to qualify as customary law even for those that have not agreed to it.
I do however maintain that it is a war crime, regardless of whether Israel is bound by the rules or not and regardless of whether there ever will be a ruling.
Just as Nicole Simpson was murdered, regardless of whether or not anyone will ever be convicted of it, the settlements are a war crime, regardless of whether anyone will ever be convicted of it.
Besides, as you said:
Using the phrase 'war crime' in this case equates to 'name calling' and is neither diplomatic nor favourable.
You also said:
"As for the legality issue, why don't we leave it to the lawyers to fight it out?" and concluded it's "open to debate".
.... why then do you continue to call the settlements a "war crime"?
Well, diplomats have their own set of rules. Just the other month a whole bunch of reporters were trying to get anyone at the Swedish department of foreign affairs on record saying that Saudi Arabia is a dictatorship, which it of course is, but everyone kept dodging and evading the word.
“We don’t tend to use that kind of labels…”
“I’m not sure I would use that word, but it’s certainly authoritarian…”
Even though I once contemplated looking for employment at the foreign department, I never did, and thus I feel free to call a spade a spade. And the Israeli settlements on the West Bank do
constitute a war crime, as defined by the Rome Statute.
What is open to debate is whether Israel is bound by these rules, having not ratified the treaty.
Some argue that the wording of the statute says it is only binding to those who have ratified it, others argue that with roughly two thirds of the world on board and this specific crime already being outlawed by the universally accepted Geneva Convention, it is binding even to those who have not.
I’m not enough of an expert of international law* to say which side is right, but I do understand politics enough to understand that no government of a western nation is going to say outright that they consider Israel guilty of war crimes. They really have nothing to gain by doing so, and they could stand to lose a whole lot.
*the little international law I have studied was mainly contract and business law, and does not apply to this situation
After all, one could lable every nation on Earth as "war criminals" by that definition
... if one wanted to open the history books amirite?
Not so sure… let’s see what you can do with eg Norway, holding in mind that laws cannot be applied retro-actively. Looking forward to what you can dig up!
Strangelove wrote:Please stop trying to paint Israel as "the bad guys"!
I’m not. I’m saying “peas in a pod”.
Strangelove wrote: Per wrote:
Some have suggested that Gaza is neither autonomous nor occupied, but rather a gigantic prison camp.
Well those folk should not neglect to point the finger at the jailer to west: Egypt!
Agreed. But interestingly, neither Egypt nor Israel like to point out that they are basically allies.