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Old 11-05-04, 06:49
Vets Dottir
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Question Geneva Convention???

I wanted to learn about what the Geneva Convention was/is ??? ,,, found this U.N. link

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Old 14-05-04, 11:06
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Hanno Spoelstra Hanno Spoelstra is online now
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Do a Google search for "Geneva convention" to find ample information.
But don't believe that Defense Secretary living south of you

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Old 14-05-04, 12:57
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Bill Alexander Bill Alexander is offline
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Default Geneva Conventions

Karmen the Geneva Conventions are human rights charters that deal specifically with the treatment of people (combatant and non-combatant) in war situations. The Geneva Convention was named after the city where it was created, but has since been incorportated into the UN. On the page you found, click Full list of human rights instruments and on the next page and you will find a listing of UN Human Rights conventions including ones that deal with the treatment of prisoners (look under the following sections, Human Rights and the Administration of Justice, War Crimes, and Humanitarian Law, this last is where the Geneva Conventions are found.) These are the key documents governing the international rules of war. Or go directly to INTERNATIONAN HUMAN RIGHTS INSTRUMENTS
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Old 14-05-04, 21:30
Vets Dottir
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Default Thanks guys.

Thanks HANNO and BILL for the advice and the explanation ... and links!

I was confused that it may have been just brought in for WW2 ... but wasn't sure. You're a big help to me... thanks guys. I was HOPING someone would reply

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Old 15-05-04, 00:05
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DaveCox DaveCox is offline
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Location: Sussex, England
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Following recent news articles I believe that I've worked out what all these treaties mean -

People of other nations can mistreat us, but we can't do it back!!
(and they can do it with the apparent support of amnesty international et al!)
Wear a poppy - support our Veterans and the Royal British Legion

A wasted youth is better by far than a wise and productive old age!! (Meatloaf)
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Old 15-05-04, 01:15
Vets Dottir
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Unhappy Ouch :(

I've been reading and even taking part in a couple of conversations about the current stuff happening.

All I know from where I sit, protected (illusion?) in my little Canadian kitchen, is that the images have stayed in my head, they haunt me, along with a nauseaus feeling in my belly and fear in my mind about whats gonna come of all this.... and when! AmI being paranoid?

My stance? In my ignorance I don't know where to stand. I do know that I hate to see the actions of a few reflect negatively on a whole.

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Old 17-05-04, 11:02
Vets Dottir
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Default news story

I hope its okay to post this from the CBC Online site ... about the Geneva Convention. Most of you people probably already read this anyways K.

The Geneva Conventions
CBC News Online | May 13, 2004

The Geneva Conventions have one aim to protect both soldiers and
civilians as much as possible from the horrors of war. Those conventions
now outline the rules for the treatment of prisoners of war, civilian
internees and sick, wounded or shipwrecked members of fighting forces.

Violating the Geneva Conventions, breaking the rules may constitute either
war crimes or crimes against humanity. Today's conventions, negotiated
after the Second World War, and including some updated amendments
from the late 1970s, are the result of a century of diplomatic wrangling and
lobbying by humanitarian organizations.

The first important
convention was actually
signed in The Hague in
1907 and ratified by
most of the world's
nations in the following
years. That convention
tried to set out rules for
fighting wars, and where
it hasn't been
supplemented by later
agreements is still in
force. A key clause in
the 1907 Hague
Convention that called
for wars to be conducted
within "the laws of
humanity and the
requirements of public
conscience" became the
basis of the later idea of
"crimes against

The limits of the 1907
Convention became
clear during the First
World War. In 1929,
many of the world's
nations signed a Geneva
Convention governing
the treatment of
prisoners of war. The
Second World War again showed the previous conventions need amending
and updated, so in 1949 diplomats negotiated four Geneva Conventions.
They are:

Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded
and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field.
Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of Wounded, Sick
and Shipwrecked Members of Armed Forces at Sea.
Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War.
Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of

The first two conventions cover members of armed forces involved in a
conflict who are no longer able to fight (hors de combat is the legal term).
The third convention regulates the treatment of prisoners of war. The
fourth convention for the first time laid down rules for the treatment of
civilians both during the fighting and in occupied territories. The
supplements to the Geneva conventions neogiated in 1977, Protocols I
and II, widened the definition from declared war to "armed conflicts" and
recognized both "international" and "non-international" (such as civil wars)

Prisoners of War

The 1949 Geneva Convention on the treatment of prisoners of war defines
PoWs as members of the armed forces captured during a conflict, or:
Members of other militias and members of other volunteer corps,
provided that such militias or volunteer corps fulfil the following

That of being commanded by a person responsible for his
That of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance;
That of carrying arms openly;
That of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and
customs of war.

PoW or Unlawful combatant?

The United States created a new controversy over the conventions after the
attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. The Bush administration quickly declared that
members of al-Qaeda captured on the battlefield were "unlawful
combatants" and not subject to the Geneva Conventions.

Mary Robinson, the UN human rights chief, said they should be considered
prisoners of war, as defined by the Geneva Conventions. At the time, U.S.
Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other military officials called them
"detainees" or "unlawful combatants."

Rumsfeld repeated that contention during the controversy over abuse of
Iraqi prisoners by American soldiers at the Abu Ghraib prison near
Baghdad. He said that prisoners in Iraq were covered by the conventions,
while members of al-Qaeda are not, adding, "Terrorists don't comply with
the laws of war. They go around killing innocent civilians."

The Americans argued that captured members of al-Qaeda do not fall into
any of these categories, saying that al-Qaeda members don't wear
uniforms ("fixed distinctive sign") or obey the laws of war. Rumsfeld
labeled them "unlawful combatants," and said the rules of the Geneva
Convention did not apply.

An American military pamphlet on the law of war provides this definition:
An unlawful combatant is an individual who is not authorized to take a
direct part in hostilities but does. ... Unlawful combatants are a proper
object of attack while engaging as combatants. ... If captured, they may be
tried and punished. As examples, the pamphlet mentions civilians who
engage in war without authorization; non-combat members of the military,
such as medics or chaplains, who engage in combat; and soldiers who fight
out of uniform. In the Second World War, the United States captured eight
German saboteurs who were out of uniform and executed six of them.

However, under the Geneva Conventions, it's up to an independent judge
to determine the status of the "detainees," not whoever detains them. As
well, Canadian regulations on prisoner-of-war status dictate that detainees
must be brought before a military tribunal to determine whether they're
prisoners of war or not.

Lawyers for prisoners held at the American prison camp at Guantanamo
Bay, Cuba, as well as those representing two U.S. citizens held in a navy
brig as enemy combatants, have challenged the policy before the United
States Supreme Court. A decision is expected in mid-summer.

Even if they are found to be "unlawful combatants" they still have rights
under international humanitarian law to humane treatment, to a fair trial
if charged with a crime, and not to be tortured.

Rumsfeld has defended the use of interrogation techniques such as dietary
changes, sleep deprivation, forcing prisoners to sleep naked and forcing
them into "stress positions" as justified against unlawful combatants.
Humanitarian organizations and some U.S. senators say those practices
"go far beyond the Geneva Convention."

Occupied territories

The key phrases of the
fourth convention
covering civilians in
occupied territories cover
both the occupier and
the occupied. The
occupier is required to
treat people properly,
while the population of
an occupied state can
forfeit rights if they take
part in acts such as
spying or sabotage. But
the convention also adds
that detainees cannot be
deprived of their rights
indefinitely. Those rights
must be restored when
the security situation
permits. Critics of the
Bush policy have pointed
out if what the U.S. calls
the "war against
terrorism" goes on for
years, prisoners could be
held without rights

Article 1 of the
convention states:
Persons taking no active
part in the hostilities,
including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and
those placed hors de combat [unable to fight] by sickness, wounds,
detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated
humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion
or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.

To this end the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time
and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:

(a) violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation,
cruel treatment and torture;
(b) taking of hostages;
(c) outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading
(d) the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without
previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording
all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by
civilized peoples.

Violation of prohibitions

Violation of prohibitions are covered by Article 5, which states:

Where in the territory of a Party to the conflict, the latter is satisfied that
an individual protected person is definitely suspected of or engaged in
activities hostile to the security of the State, such individual person shall
not be entitled to claim such rights and privileges under the present
Convention as would, if exercised in the favour of such individual person,
be prejudicial to the security of such State.

Where in occupied territory an individual protected person is detained as a
spy or saboteur, or as a person under definite suspicion of activity hostile
to the security of the Occupying Power, such person shall, in those cases
where absolute military security so requires, be regarded as having
forfeited rights of communication under the present Convention.

In each case, such persons shall nevertheless be treated with humanity
and, in case of trial, shall not be deprived of the rights of fair and regular
trial prescribed by the present Convention. They shall also be granted the
full rights and privileges of a protected person under the present
Convention at the earliest date consistent with security of State or
Occupying Power as case may be.
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Old 17-05-04, 12:11
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DaveCox DaveCox is offline
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Posts: 394


It's one thing to write and agree 'paper treaties' on human rights, and quite another to ensure that they are adhered to in the field. When considering the current affairs in the Middle East and associated areas, we have to remember that any totilitarian regime needs fear and terror to survive - witness the treatment of POWs by the Japanese and Nazis in WW2, the communists in Malaya, Vietnam, Cambodia et.all. and by the Muslim extremist movements in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq etc.
We should also remember that when placed in a combat situation, whether it was occupied France in WW2, Vietnam, or the Middle East the soldier 'on the spot' doesn't know if the next person he passes in the street will be carrying a bomb, a gun, or a knife. Any suspicious occurance must be checked immediately, and information is needed NOW; if you sit an potential killer down with a cup of tea and a bickie will he tell you where his base is, where their weapons are stored, where the bomb he has just planted is........I don't think so ......, but if you strip him so that he is emabarrased, cover his head so that he is deprived of light, and point a gun at him he may just tell you, and save your life, your friends lives and those of innocent civilians that he would otherwise murder without hesitation.
These methods of 'extracting information' are used less now, but have been around since the middle ages. It's only seen now because the 'media' have access to more areas of a conflict than before, and because there are more 'do gooder' groups publicising and complaining about our conduct whilst refusing to condem our opponents who use exactly the same methods, or in some cases, worse.
I do not condone the more extreme 'tortures' that have been alleged to have taken place, but when we sit here at our PC, our lives are not on the line, so it's easy to make judgements that we would maybe regret if we were in the firing line.
Wear a poppy - support our Veterans and the Royal British Legion

A wasted youth is better by far than a wise and productive old age!! (Meatloaf)
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Old 17-05-04, 12:52
Vets Dottir
Posts: n/a
Wink Hi Dave

[QUOTE]Originally posted by DaveCox

It's one thing to write and agree 'paper treaties' on human rights, and quite another to ensure that they are adhered to in the field.

Hi Dave... thanks for your response here. Its good...makes me think, as almost every post in the MLU does.

My attitude these days is that whateever the rules that are used should realistically depend on the nature of the adversary ... etc

I'm openminded ...
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