Geneva Convention - Question

Discussion in 'Modern' started by Arsenal VG-33, Feb 15, 2010.

  1. Arsenal VG-33

    Arsenal VG-33 Member

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    Not sure if this is the right place to ask this question, but perhaps someone here is versed enough in the Geneva Convention as to answer this question: What are the laws concerning traitors found in enemy uniform? I got into an interesting debate with severals friends as to the appropriate response a military could take in times of war in dealing with a traitor (one of their own nationals helping the enemy).

    The subject turned to whether or not there were technicalities, such as on or off the battlefield. Specifically, we were discussing John Walker Lindh, and whether or not he could have been justifyably shot for treason on the spot. Is there a technicalitiy within the conventions which deals with this? Does it make a difference if a traitor is found with a weapon or wearing the enemy's uniform as a combattant, or if he was giving aid to the enemy government as a non-combattant? Is summary execution of such individuals justified or not? Also wondering if such laws changed in the course of history (since the Geneva Conventions appeared...WW 1...WW2?? ).

    Thanks for your insight.
     
  2. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    "Traitors" is kind of a judgment call. There were German Americans who returned to the fatherland to fight for Germany during both World Wars. It's hard to label them as traitors when they have lived in both countries.

    If the person is wearing an enemy uniform and is captured, he become a prisoner or war and is to be treated accordingly. From chapter 1 article 3 of the Geneva Convention:
    The Lindh case is an atypical case. He was initially captured by the Northern Alliance and was being questioned by the CIA when the camp was attacked by the Taliban. He was recaptured again by the Northern Alliance and finally turned over to the Americans as a detainee. Was he an enemy combatant? Yes. But he also signed a confession that he was also a member of Al Qaeda. Being a member of Al Qaeda makes a difference. It is a similar instance with Germans POWs being members of the SS.
     
  3. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    Good point on "Traitor". In truth, that is not a military call as much as a civilian call. As much as I understand it. A spy, is a domestic or alien working for the enemy out of uniform on domestic turf. However, a spy doesn't neccessarily mean a traitor. For instance, most Military Attaches who work out of an Embassy are essentially spies. They check up on what a given country is doing in the military realm and act as a liason between militaries. Further, during the cold war, the Soviets essentially considered all Western Journalist as spies. Some actually were, but even those that weren't performed the same function.

    A traitor would need to at least have a domestic passport AND be actively working for the enemy. But even that point is fuzzy. An example is Lord Haw-Haw, William Joyce. The guy spent WW2 making radio programs against the British. He was executed by the British after the war as being a Traitor ash he held a US Passport and was a naturalized German (he also held a British passport that he had lied on the application to get). He was hanged as a traitor even though there is reasonable questioning of his nationality. But the British had him, they were really pissed off at him and nobody was going to lift a finger to stop them from hanging him.

    So, traitors are more a subjective question when compared to a spy. Tokoy Rose (even though there were several women who went under the name of Tokoyo Rose, as was the case with Lord Haw-Haw) was a traitor, but she wasn't a spy. It may not've been here desire to do so, but she qualified as a traitor for having done similar things to Lord Haw-Haw .
     
  4. Arsenal VG-33

    Arsenal VG-33 Member

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    I recall reading about this. Wasn't Lindh involved in a POW uprising/ breakout attempt in which his CIA interrogator was killed?
     
  5. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    Yes. He was being held at Qala-i-Jangi, near Mazār-e Sharīf. He was being questioned by Mike Spann when the Taliban attacked the prison. Hundreds were killed, including Spann. Londh was wounded in the thigh during the attack and hid in a basement with about 300 other prisoners. When the Northern Alliance rerouted an irrigation channel, it flushed out Lindh and about 80 others, the rest drowned.
     
  6. Butters

    Butters Member

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  7. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    I would think traiters are not covered under international laws, but under state laws since it's an internal issue and not an international.
     
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