US soldiers immunity.




 
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March 31st, 2005  
Italian Guy
 
 

Topic: US soldiers immunity.


Since the journalist incident happened earlier this month, the US soldiers immunity from foreign law has come back to fashion.
We had an incident in Italy back in 1998 when a pilot accidentally flew his plane on some skilift wires and had the cabin fall down: 20 people died. Anger mounted back then because the piloto was not brought before Italian justice.
Paradoxically enough, I agree with the decision. I mean the principle.
I can understand that relying on any foreing justice or judge may seriously jeopardize the US military's safety in general.
But my question is: where does this tradition come from? How long ago was it established? Where is is written and formalized? And then of course know as much as possible about your opinions.

Thanks.
March 31st, 2005  
A Can of Man
 
 
I do understand this somewhat... a military group ALWAYS takes care of its own. Meaning that if one of their members screw up, it's up to fellow members to issue the punishment. That makes sense.
However there are times when they get away scott free.
In Korea we had that incident where two school girls were crushed under what I believe was an APC. It happened at night.
The Koreans didn't help this situation by EXAGERRATING as usual what happened... calling the incident a murder incident etc. And the usual anti-American rhetoric flowed like a white water rapid.
But the biggest mistake of all in the end was that not one American was found guilty of this manslaughter incident and everyone got away scott free. The only message this sent to Koreans was "to these guys, we're not even people." Sent Korean-American relations back to the stone age.
Now this isn't an incident of humiliation, or the bending of a rule here or there. Here, two people DIED as a result of someone's mistake.
So even though this keeping it in the family thing makes sense, you have to do it RIGHT.
March 31st, 2005  
03USMC
 
 
In some cases the US Military will turn members of the Service over too Foreign Goverments for legal action if the offense meets the criteria of the Status of Force Agreement between the two nations. I saw this happen four times in Okiniawa. 4 Marines seperate incidents were tried in Prefecture Court by the Japanese Goverment and sentenced to Naha Prison under Japanese Criminal Law. But the offenses were part of the Status of Force Agreement.

What a Status of Force agreement does is outlines the Offenses which fall under the Host Nations Jurisdiction and the US Militaries Jurisdiction. Example pursuent to the SOFA Okinawa Agreement a Marine and a Sailor mixing it up in the middle of Gate 2 street with no Japanese involved is Military Jurisdiction. If it involves a Japanese Citizen or Damages Japanese Property it is the Jurisdiction of the Japanese.

If two Marines mix it up in front of the Camp Schwab PX and a Japanese Citizen is injured it is Military Jurisdiction because it occured on base regardless of who is involved.

I don't what the Status of Forces Agreements are now in Italy or The ROK.In the 80's the Italians would release minor infractions to the Military, the times I was there we never had major infractions. Korea was pretty much the same.

As far as releasing the soliders involved in the Reporter Incident to the Italian Courts. I really don't see their Jurisdiction in the incident as it was not on Italian Soil or Italian controlled territory. If they want it convened by the UN I also don't see where their jurisdiction could extend into a US military operation where the UN has no part.
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March 31st, 2005  
chewie_nz
 
all of that seems fine and resonable 03,

but what happens in the case of a potential war crime? the US investigates it's self?

what i am oh so subtley refering to is the US refesing to take part in the international criminal court

what are your thoughts?
March 31st, 2005  
03USMC
 
 
First let me tell you what I would agree with in the investigation of war crimes if the idea of the US investigating their own does not appeal to you.

A Military Court made up of the Countries Actually having troops in country. Not Nations that had, were thinking about it, or might send troops. But countries who's contingents are on the ground. Not solely the US but all Countries involved in the effort. I could agree with that.

What I could not agree with, and what I think is the major sticking right now. Is turning over Service Members to an international court as designated by an Organization who has called the war illegal. Who will with out a doubt appoint members from Countries who for the past three years have bashed the US and it's policies and who IMHO would convict any US Military members as a matter course to prove they were right.

In short I don't believe such a court would weigh the evidence and give an impartial judgement.
April 1st, 2005  
Young Winston
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 03USMC
First let me tell you what I would agree with in the investigation of war crimes if the idea of the US investigating their own does not appeal to you.

A Military Court made up of the Countries Actually having troops in country. Not Nations that had, were thinking about it, or might send troops. But countries who's contingents are on the ground. Not solely the US but all Countries involved in the effort. I could agree with that.

What I could not agree with, and what I think is the major sticking right now. Is turning over Service Members to an international court as designated by an Organization who has called the war illegal. Who will with out a doubt appoint members from Countries who for the past three years have bashed the US and it's policies and who IMHO would convict any US Military members as a matter course to prove they were right.

In short I don't believe such a court would weigh the evidence and give an impartial judgement.
So you are suggesting that every time we have a different war somewhere in the world, the members of this military court would have to change, reflecting the nationality of the troops on the ground.

I wonder whether or not this will be practical? Any court of law needs integrity and consistency. A court panel of international representatives would be very concerned that they would be demonstrating to the world that they are fair in their dealings with any accused soldier.

Any political pressure brought to bear on admissible evidence, verdicts and sentencing would quickly cause this court to lose respect in the world community, and then its probable demise.
April 1st, 2005  
Italian Guy
 
 
Before you answer Aussiejohn's questions I wanted to say good point. I didn't know about the Force Agreement.
As far as the Reporter Incident, somebody thinks it should be Italian Jurisdiction because it involved an Italian citizen.
April 1st, 2005  
Corocotta
 
 
Quote:
A Military Court made up of the Countries Actually having troops in country. Not Nations that had, were thinking about it, or might send troops. But countries who's contingents are on the ground. Not solely the US but all Countries involved in the effort. I could agree with that.
Well, if those judges are chossen by the Goverments involved in the war I donīt think thet they could give an impartial judgament neither.
The premise for an independent Court is independent judges, that happens in all democracies around the world.
April 1st, 2005  
Strongbow
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by staurofilakes
Quote:
A Military Court made up of the Countries Actually having troops in country. Not Nations that had, were thinking about it, or might send troops. But countries who's contingents are on the ground. Not solely the US but all Countries involved in the effort. I could agree with that.
Well, if those judges are chossen by the Goverments involved in the war I donīt think thet they could give an impartial judgament neither.
The premise for an independent Court is independent judges, that happens in all democracies around the world.
Yes, that is a good point. Not very confident that 03's military court would be workable and any more fair than a broad international cross-section of legal experts (proposed by aussiejohn) on this court.
April 1st, 2005  
03USMC
 
 
[quote="aussiejohn"]
Quote:
Originally Posted by 03USMC
So you are suggesting that every time we have a different war somewhere in the world, the members of this military court would have to change, reflecting the nationality of the troops on the ground.

I wonder whether or not this will be practical? Any court of law needs integrity and consistency. A court panel of international representatives would be very concerned that they would be demonstrating to the world that they are fair in their dealings with any accused soldier.

Any political pressure brought to bear on admissible evidence, verdicts and sentencing would quickly cause this court to lose respect in the world community, and then its probable demise.
So let me ask you this. Do you feel an Aussie Troop, an Italian troop, or a Brit should just be turned over to a UN convened court at their whim? Thats my problem.

The militaries are militaries stood up, paid and supplied by their respective nations. To give an outside Organization Judicial Control of their troops is akin to giving up control of their military.