Friday, August 15, 2008

Beyond the Pale

The trouble with engaging in military operations in a big grey area of international law... is that sometimes it comes back to bit you in the ass.

Canada may be powerless to take action in death of Canadian soldier

OTTAWA - The probe into the possible friendly fire death of a Canadian soldier by a private security force falls into a grey area of international law that could end up in Afghanistan's dysfunctional justice system, says a legal expert...

Hendin said if Canadian officials intend to diligently pursue the matter, they'll have some unpalatable and uncomfortable choices to make.

There are sections under the fourth Geneva Conventions that allow countries to prosecute civilians in other countries who wound or kill soldiers during a military operation. But to invoke those provisions the Canadian government would have toss out the claim that it's fighting an insurgency .

It would have to publicly declare Afghanistan to be in a "state of armed conflict" - a international legal definition that places an entirely new set of human rights responsibilities on Ottawa.

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