By Asif Mehmood
Collective punishment is illegal. Only the culprit must be punished and not the innocent civilian is an established law. It has no legal justification to kill 140 innocent people fear each terrorist. Under Geneva Convention collective punishment is a war crime. Before the Geneva Convention Collective punishment has been regarded a valid tool. Initially the principle was laid down by Union general William Tecumseh Sherman in his Special field order 120, November 9, 1864 which laid out the rules for his “March to the sea in the American Civil War:
“V. To army corps commanders alone is entrusted the powers to destroy mills, houses, cotton gins etc ”
The British justified such actions in Boer wars and the Germans in Franco-Prussian war and World War I as being in accordance with the law. In World War I and II killing of innocent people including women and children was considered a lawful act of reprisal by the invaders. It is believed that the drafters of the Geneva conventions had in mind the reprisal killings of World War I and II and Article 33 was an outcome of this prudence. But unfortunately Now US is considering the act of reprisal justified on one pretext on the other.
On June 18, 2009 in Raghazai, US drone fired two missiles in a compound. And when people gathered there to look after the wounded the drone struck again. The act of US implied that no one should take care of those wounded in drone attack and if someone dare, he shall face the consequences. However the law provides to the contrary.
According to Article 17 of Additional Protocol 1 (Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of August 12, 1949 and relating to the protection of victims of International Armed Conflicts June 8, 1977):
“The civilian population shall respect the wounded, sick and shipwrecked even if they belong to the adverse party and shall commit no act of violence against them. The civilian population and aid societies, such as National Red Cross Societies shall be permitted even on their own initiative, to collect and care for the wounded, sick and shipwrecked even in invaded or occupied areas. No shall be harmed for such humanitarian acts.”
*(to be continued)
**(you can read the previous episode here)