Friday, September 16, 2005

The International Criminal Court - no thanks, I'll pass.

For those who have never heard of John Keegan, or read any of his wonderful books on military history, here is a short piece on the ICC and why it does not work in a battle zone.

The legal code, in short, is highly destructive of the emotions, comradeship, mutual concern and responsibility of seniors for juniors on which the military system operates. Traditionally, the British Army always recognised that the intrusion of civilian law into its way of life was undesirable. In consequence it maintained its own legal system in which, under court martial, soldiers were judged by other soldiers.

There was a lot that was wrong with the court martial system, which produced much rough justice. There was, however, also a lot that was right. Under court martial, it is unlikely that officers or soldiers, pleading that their actions should be understood within the military realities of fear, confusion and concern for each other's safety, would be condemned for lack of understanding of such circumstances. Good civil law is likely to make for bad military law. Only a lawyer would argue otherwise.
Keegan and Ambrose are my favorite mil-history authors, Keegan for his in-depth analysis of the why behind the what, and Ambrose for the who that was doing it.

No comments: