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95 votes
Accepted

Why are Russian combatants in Ukraine considered soldiers rather than terrorists?

The third Geneva convention says in its second article (emphasis added): the present Convention shall apply to all cases of declared war or of any other armed conflict which may arise between two or ...
phoog's user avatar
  • 37.9k
52 votes

2022: Is Ukraine at war with Russia?

Actual hostilities suffice to conclude that there is a war. Per Art. 2 of the Geneva Convention 1949, the present Convention shall apply to all cases of declared war or of any other armed conflict ...
user6726's user avatar
  • 215k
38 votes
Accepted

Would it be legal according to the laws of war if Ukrainian forces killed Putin in Moscow?

Yes Providing the attack was otherwise made in accordance with the rules of war, enemy civilian leaders who are directly responsible for the prosecution of the conflict (so, the Minister of Defence, ...
Dale M's user avatar
  • 213k
29 votes

Can prisoners of war be exchanged against their will?

This question is investigated here. If we take the refugee question off the table for a moment, we need only consider the Third Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War which is ...
user6726's user avatar
  • 215k
25 votes

What happens if Congress declares war, but POTUS refuses to fight it?

If President Trump refuses to execute the war, does that become an act of treason on his part? Probably not, but it depends on the definition of treason. Congress could decide that it is, impeach ...
phoog's user avatar
  • 37.9k
25 votes

Do persons accused of being "enemy combatants" have the right to a speedy trial, or can the US government hold them for as long as the govt wishes?

Enemy combatants do not have a right to a speedy trial and do not have the same rights as criminal defendants, but Senator Graham is incorrect in asserting that they may be held without trial "...
ohwilleke's user avatar
  • 221k
23 votes

2022: Is Ukraine at war with Russia?

Legally No. No War has been declared, but that's not new, declaring war(that is a specific legal act under international law, that can only be formally concluded by a peace treaty) is old fashioned ...
Eugene's user avatar
  • 2,122
23 votes
Accepted

What constitutes murder in war?

As with all international law, it depends on "who says so": I will draw on the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War as most relevant. Article 3 ...
user6726's user avatar
  • 215k
20 votes
Accepted

Does the Geneva Convention apply to the party denying that the war is going on?

International Humanitarian Law applies to all armed conflicts The Geneva Conventions are a part of the overarching body of this law. It applies to all armed conflicts, not just declared wars. An armed ...
Dale M's user avatar
  • 213k
15 votes
Accepted

Were this character's actions legal in 'SAS: Rogue Heroes'?

That an enemy combatant does not have their weapon on them right now does not render them a non-combatant. If the Axis soldiers had been unconscious, it would have been a different story, but "...
Arno's user avatar
  • 1,534
14 votes

Have any military personnel serving a democratic state been prosecuted according to the fourth Nuremberg principle (superior order)?

William Calley Convicted of 22 counts of premeditated murder during the My Lai massacre, during his defence he testified: Well, I was ordered to go in there and destroy the enemy. That was my job on ...
Dale M's user avatar
  • 213k
13 votes
Accepted

Is capital punishment for prisoners of war legal?

Under Art. 99 of the Geneva Convention, No prisoner of war may be tried or sentenced for an act which is not forbidden by the law of the Detaining Power or by international law, in force at the time ...
user6726's user avatar
  • 215k
12 votes
Accepted

Did Sokka commit the war crime of false flag? (ATLA S01E17)

No. Assuming both the Fire Nation and Water Tribes are signatories to the Geneva conventions, the rules only apply to uniformed members of the signatory member nations. Such as the water tribes have ...
hszmv's user avatar
  • 23k
11 votes

2022: Is Ukraine at war with Russia?

The present war between Ukraine and Russia started in 2014 and not in 2022. It just intensified in 2022. The definition of "war" is pretty much elastic, but one can use few common criteria: ...
fraxinus's user avatar
  • 1,299
11 votes

What's counts as "taking active part in the hostilities" under the Geneva Convention?

Members of the armed forces who are not hors de combat are taking an “active part” Hors de combat is not there for padding - its a defined term of the Convention: A person is hors de combat if: (a) ...
Dale M's user avatar
  • 213k
10 votes

Does civilians' defence of their cities absolve advancing soldiers of war crimes?

Civilians taking active part in hostilities are legitimate targets This is enshrined in Rule 6 of customary International Humanitarian Law. Rule 6. Civilians are protected against attack, unless and ...
Dale M's user avatar
  • 213k
10 votes

Is capital punishment for prisoners of war legal?

Yes There have been many examples of such trials, the most famous being the Nuremberg trials following World War II. While some of the defendants were civilians, many were service personnel and ...
Dale M's user avatar
  • 213k
9 votes

At what point can a surrendered military force resume fighting?

Under the Geneva Convention a prisoner-of-war may lawfully resume fighting once they have successfully escaped. Under Article 91: The escape of a prisoner of war shall be deemed to have succeeded ...
Dale M's user avatar
  • 213k
9 votes
Accepted

What war crime (if any) is being committed in this fictional story?

According to the detractors, the Humans are using the POWs as Human Shields (or Meat Shields), claiming this is no different from placing POWs around a SAM battery emplacement (and that even forcing a ...
ohwilleke's user avatar
  • 221k
9 votes

Would it be legal for foreign volunteers to fight in Ukraine?

It’s legal under Ukrainian law for foreign nationals to join their defense forces Indeed, this is so common it may be considered the default position internationally: the US, UK, France, and Australia ...
Dale M's user avatar
  • 213k
8 votes

What war crime (if any) is being committed in this fictional story?

Assuming the aliens are covered by the 1929 Geneva Convention Relative to Prisoners of War, this seems to violate several provisions: Art. 7: As soon as possible after their capture, prisoners of war ...
Nate Eldredge's user avatar
8 votes
Accepted

Which country's laws take precedence in a war?

The original country laws by default, but that can change. Once a country(let's say Elbonia) takes unconstested control of a town/region(let's say Silvania), it becomes an occupying power and has the ...
SJuan76's user avatar
  • 5,879
8 votes

Do the laws of war cover misinformation and psychological warfare?

You have four questions. This made me wonder, do the laws of war say anything about misinformation or psychological warfare? Yes, a little. Mostly in the form of specific prohibitions. Is it e.g. a ...
sharur's user avatar
  • 8,811
7 votes

Can President Trump shoot off the nukes whenever he wants to, even for no reason?

The Commander-in-chief powers are quite broad. The War Powers Resolution limits his ability to engage unilaterally in military action, by requiring him to report to Congress within 48 hours, and if ...
user6726's user avatar
  • 215k
7 votes
Accepted

Is assassination of presumed civilian informants considered a war crime and/or crime against humanity?

What factors go into determining whether or not killing targeted non-combatants is considered a war crime? The cynical answer is "it depends on who wins and who judges". There are various ...
sharur's user avatar
  • 8,811
7 votes

Is it legal to commit war crimes if the other party in a war commited a war crime first?

No, you may not commit war crimes on the grounds that your opponent commits war crimes. Is the war crime of intentionally bombing a hospital "excused" if the hospital (partially) is part of ...
Lag's user avatar
  • 17.4k
6 votes

On which jurdical/legal ground can the FBI declare a foreign military officer a " wanted" person?

If the FBI has reason to believe they have committed a crime under US law Being an official of a foreign (or domestic) government in a military or civilian capacity does not make a person immune from ...
Dale M's user avatar
  • 213k
6 votes
Accepted

Is the United States at war?

Is it possible for the US to be at war with a non-nation actor (ISIL, Al-Quaeda), in the same way that the US was at war with other recognized nations in WWII? Yes. Basically. As noted in the ...
ohwilleke's user avatar
  • 221k

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