Geneva convention!

Should the Geneva convention be changed?

  • No!

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • It could do with a tweak here and there

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Not bothered

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  • Its fine as it is!

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  • Total voters

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Well, what do you all make of this? I think the expression could be 'sh*t hitting the fan', well its bound to raise a few heads!

John Reid demanded sweeping changes to international law yesterday to free British soldiers from the restraints of the Geneva conventions and make it easier for the west to mount military actions against other states.
In his speech, the defence secretary addressed three key issues: the treatment of prisoners, when to mount a pre-emptive strikes, and when to intervene to stop a humanitarian crisis. In all these areas, he indicated that the UK and west was being hamstrung by existing inadequate law.

Mr Reid indicated he believed existing rules, including some of the conventions - a bedrock of international law - were out of date and inadequate to deal with the threat of international terrorists.

"We are finding an enemy which obeys no rules whatsoever", he said, referring to what he called "barbaric terrorism".

The conventions, he said, were created more than half century ago "when the world was almost unrecognisable". They dealt with how the sick and injured and how prisoners of war were treated, "and the obligations on states during their military occupation of another state", he said.

Given the big changes undertaken by the military over the past 50 years, he added, "serious questions" must be asked about whether "further changes in international law in this area are necessary".

story here
I see nothing wrong with the suggestion. I suspect there is quite a lot that could do with tidying up in this area to make International Law on the general subject of war clearer and reflect life today. Laws change as societies develop and change themselves. Things that were legal in the Uk 100 years ago are illegal today and vice versa and the same applies in most countries so why should there not be a review on the law regarding war.

Mr Reid has his views and I suspect that others will have theirs. After all these changes will have to reach a consensus before they are accepted so it is not as if he will get his way, perhaps the community will go further who knows, and I suspect if the review starts it will last longer than his carreer as Minister of Defence.


edit to improve spelling p


Lantern Swinger
Quote "Mr Reid declined to say whether he had come round to the US view that detainees at Guantánamo bay should not be allowed the protection of the conventions or the courts. Similarly, he would not say if he thought Britain should support the US practice of extraordinary rendition, the transferring of prisoners to secret camps where they risk being tortured. However, he said, it was not "sufficient just to say [Guantánamo] is wrong"."
I have in my posession a copy of form WO Code No. 13662 titled "Geneva Prisoner of War Convention 1949" this was issued to me in 1982 during the Falklands when I was on a hospital ship.
Para 2 of this states "Members of the regular armed forces are not the only persons entitled on capture to be treated as prisoners of war. Members of Militia, volunteer corps, civilians holding military identy cards, seamen holding identy cards issued by their governments and under certain conditions members of resistance movements in occupied territories are also entitled to be so treated.
In cases of doubt a captured person must be given the benefit of the doubt and treated initially as a prisoner of war"
This I believe applies only in the case of if war has been declared. So if war has not been declared does the Geneva Convention apply? I am NOT saying prisoners can be tortured just that are not covered by the Geneva Convention
Plse feel free to comment and point out any errors in my understanding of this. I realise that this only applies to a "small" part of the full article quoted


Lantern Swinger
The point about fighting an enemy that does not adhere to the Geneva convention is valid in my opinion. If the enemy wants to play Jungle Rules then we need to allow our men and women to get down and dirty and beat them at their own game.
Of course the law needs changing, what to do when dealing with an enemy that actualy welcomes death as a victory? That is why our red friends had so much trouble in Afghanistan.

I know the yanks have been a bit fruity with their POW's, Lyndi England springs to mind, but a bit of humiliation cannot be compared to beheadings and buggery. Ask some 91 desert storm vets.

I am not a bible thumper but the fight fire with fire analogy rings true here, if you can't fight on a level field, you might as well stay in the rear.

Same thing applies to our police, it is way overdue for them to start dishing out the discipline again without being hauled up in front of discipline and complaints, if the oik gobs in your face you crack his dome.
Tell me I am wrong???


This worries me a bit. Firstly there's the moral issue. Of course it makes things hard for us if we have to fight an enemy that is using a different set of rules. But if we sink to their level then why are we fighting at all? If all we're bringing is a regime with no respect for human rights, well they had one of those before, there was no need for us to bother.

Secondly there are the practical considerations.
The report talks about changes to the treatment of prisoners. Does it really make our job easier or victory more likely if we treat prisoners badly? I don't think so, in fact on the occasions where we or the americans have been caught doing so it's made things harder for us as we lose the support of the local population.
It also talks about broadening the circumstances when we can mount a pre-emptive strike. Why on earth do we need that change? Most people's reaction to the war in Iraq was not "We need more wars like that, preferably on an even flimsier basis next time"

I've got to admit that I've never been at the sharp end. Perhaps there are situations where the geneva convention stops you from doing something which would a) make your life much easier and b) help the campaign long term. I can't think of anything though.


Lantern Swinger
I still don't see how the Yanks can justify their actions at Guantamano Bay. How can they be above the law and deny a prisoner a fair trial rather that a Kangaroo Court. But the the Septics have always thought they were a law unto themselves until they get into trouble then they want everyone else to come to their rescue

Oh I forgot, "Yes we will give then a fair trial and then we'll take them out a shoot them"


Lantern Swinger
Lets level the playing field and play by our enemies’ rules (or lack of). And while we are at it lets amend the rules on drug taking in sport. The honest competitor is being hamstrung by those who cheat so why prevent them from using drugs?

The fight on terror is not an act of war but a civil endeavour. If the politicians want to draft up new laws then fine, but what is the point when our ally, the US, despite initially signing up to the ICC treaty under Bill Clinton withdrew its signature in 2002. It seems that nobody wants to play by any rules if it does not suit them.

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Simple question really, if this changes would the armed force’s JSPs change to?
JSP's were always a waste of paper anyway. The best advice was always to make sure that if you put someone down, make sure they were not in a position to compain about it...... ever.
Let's do it to them before they do it to us. Better to be judged by 12 than to be carried by 6.


From the article it doesn't sound like JSPs would change, it sounds more like bigger picture stuff ie should we be there in the first place, should prisoners have access to a justice system and if so who's. That kind of thing.