David Thompson wrote:
Johaaanan -- You wrote: (1)
But what I mostly find very peculiar at this thread is that actually nobody argued on the basic question which started it: Were those war crimes or not?
If you're talking about the killings at Pancevo, until your post at http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 0#p1647880
there wasn't enough information to argue. If you're talking about the legality of reprisals during WWII in a general sense, we already have open threads on the subject. See, for example, this 16-page thread:
Atrocity at Kastelli 1941
and "On Reprisals" at http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=159640
To be honest about it I was expecting that 'Axis defenders' would bring American standard of the time- ''U.S. Basic Field Manual (Rules of Land Warfare)'' to the table and argue that reprisal civillian killings may be legal at specific situations.
The standard wasn't just American. You can see examples from other countries in the two threads I mentioned above. What did the pre-1941 Yugoslav military manuals say about the legality of reprisals and hostage-taking?
I personaly believe that even with ''The Hostages Trial'' ( aka. ''The USA vs. Willhelm List, et al.'', or the seventh of twelve 'Subsequent Nuremberg Trials' ) findings that those people at ''Sudost'' were actually commiting war crimes , the fact that "Ameri" were using their warfare code book as a standard which approved of civillian killing at some situations ( which actually gave people as ''Walter Post- author of Die verleumdete Armee" grounds to write such stuff ) is A SHAME, especially given the fact that those trials totally excluded Control Council Law No. 10 and the Charter of the Nurenberg International Military Tribunal, both of which include “ killing of hostages ” in their definition of “ war crimes.”
Both Control Council Law No. 10 and the Charter of the Nuremberg (Nürnberg) International Military Tribunal refer to war crimes in the context of "violations of the laws or customs of war":
(b) War Crimes. Atrocities or offenses against persons or property constituting violations of the laws or customs of war, including but not limited to, murder, ill treatment or deportation to slave labour or for any other purpose, of civilian population from occupied territory, murder or ill treatment of prisoners of war or persons on the seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity.
Control Council Law No. 10
(b) WAR CRIMES: namely, violations of the laws or customs of war. Such violations shall include, but not be limited to, murder, ill-treatment or deportation to slave labor or for any other purpose of civilian population of or in occupied territory, murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war or persons on the seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity;
Charter of the International Military Tribunal
For interested readers, the judgment in "the Hostage Case" can be seen here:
NMT judgment in the "Hostage case"
(4) I also personaly believe that Americans might have been using such legal standards directly oposing most of International Laws on the matter to cover up some of missdeeds of their own, but again, it's a totally different matter.
If you have information on American or any other country's misdeeds in the 1900-1999 period, you've come to the right place to discuss them. Please check to see if we already have a pre-existing thread discussing the incident or incidents; if we don't, step right up and start a new thread.
I am familiar with the legal side of the issue and find it to be a never-ending-story. That's actually the basic reason why some of the legal stuff regulating the issue was in a way altered in the period after the war.
I also think that legal interpretations of the subject shouldn't be even attempted at such kind of forums ( this thread or any else ), and believe me, I know what I am talking about- nothing good usually comes out of it, just a zillion different points of view.
But for this thread I was relating to the specific American legal standard, since it was specificaly the one used at Nurenberg.
25+ years later it was consequently used in a process against one of the defendants from this specific event, both in Munchen and Darmstadt. The starter of this thread quoted a text which basicly comes from the book cited, and which actually directly connects the two legal events- Nuremberg and Munchen/Darmstadt ones, on the grounds of a same legal standard being used, but with quite different outcomes.
Furthermore, in the post- war era the subject was constantly chalenged by a broad number of Yugoslavia's officials and legal specialists, related to not extradicting the persons wanted on war crimes charges by the western countries ( approx. 2000 extradicted out of 5000 wanted ) , and especially to a number of trials to those persons held in BRD.
It is my mistake that my posting was fragmented and that I failed to connect the thread to the issue I started. I hope the above clears it, it wasn't my intention to go OT here.
( A digression: you would be surprised that the same legal standard actually played a significant role in Serbia's contemporary historiography changes: when introducing the Law on equalization of Cetniks and Partisans in 2004, both in the Parliament and numerous historian's discussions, the legal logic that ''acording to international law standard, used at IMT, reprisal civillian killings may be legal, and therefore Cetniks were 'entitled and in a way bound' to hold up any agressive actions against the ocupier'' was broadly used
So basically the statement about the legal standard was originaly given because it is directly connected to the essence of this thread and no other reason at all.
The original statement about the 'missdeads' is my personal conviction based on a belief that the decision to use this specific standard in Nuremberg ( even though some earlier agreements on the issue were made, Moscow Declaration, London Agreement, etc., and those were in a way contrary to such a decision; also the UK which was also represented at IMT didn't have the specific legal point of view regarding reprisal killings of hostages, on the contrary ) was not a legal but rather a political decision, and the only logical reason I can attach to it is that such a presedan directly obtained additional protection from certain issues, such as Dresden or Hiroshima, ever ocuring in a legal sence.
So again, it wasn't my intention to try to estimate how it would be possible to determine weather a whole population is hostile and therefore can be subjected to reprisal killings, with a legal sence of being accomplices, or to start a discussion on any other crimes but the one from this thread.
Anyway, it was an OT remark not related to the thread and I apologise for it.