Leningrad siege War crimes or not?

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florecita36
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Leningrad siege War crimes or not?

Post by florecita36 » 22 Sep 2007 21:08

Greetings

If anybody can please help me with this:Had been considered War crimes the leningrad siege under International law?

Sorry my english is very bad,but i would like to know if in WWII and even today site a city or town is considered War crimes or not,in special what happens in Leningrad..
I dont know if I make myself clear..

Thank you :| :? :)

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Helly Angel
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Post by Helly Angel » 24 Sep 2007 04:02

Yes Florecita, Leningrad was taken as a War Crime against the URSS by Germans in the International Nuremberg Trial.

Today this kind of militar or paramilitar actions against a city are taken as Crime against the Humanity accord with the "Rome Statute" (El Estatuto de Roma) you can found this law in spanish in Caracas where the laws are in sale in front to the Courts, I bought one in "Pajaritos corner".

To learn about the action see this:

http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sitio_de_Leningrado

Best,

Helly

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florecita36
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Post by florecita36 » 24 Sep 2007 10:01

Thank you Helly,i have been talked with people that said that site a city in WWII like leningrad or even today is not a crime because is WAR! :x

And also about the grade of responsability from the germans,Finnish and Spanish soldiers in the Leningrad siege,only germans were responsable?not Finnish or Spanish Division were charged with any kind of responsability?they were there helping the nazis,to destroy that city and kill people!



Buen dia,Helly Angel 8-) :D [/i]

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Helly Angel
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Post by Helly Angel » 24 Sep 2007 13:20

Hola Florecita,

I´m writing a PM with the explication in spanish, I can´t exlain in english.

Chau,

Stephan
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Post by Stephan » 24 Sep 2007 15:54

I presume part of the accusation was the Hitlers order not to storm the city if possible, but rather to starve it to death.

I dont know anything about spanish soldiers there. Please tell more, as you apparently know about them.

Finnish soldiers didnt participated in attack on the city itself, but held big parts of the coast around Ladoga-lake. In that they were more or less neutral, themselves not attacking either the city OR the winter-ways over Ladoga. Them, used to winter conditions and winter warfare, surely could stop the winter-transport. They choosed not to do.

Thus, they de facto PROTECTED the city.

This I did read as late as the other day on our parallell swedish forum.

JamesL
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Post by JamesL » 24 Sep 2007 17:09

Perhaps one could specify the particular war crime(s) being committed?

I am not aware of any law which forbids siege or encirclement operations. I gather the Soviets had more soldiers defending the city than did the Germans attacking it. Leningrad was a military target and was heavily defended.




Under international humanitarian law and the Rome Statute, the death of civilians during an armed
conflict, no matter how grave and regrettable, does not in itself constitute a war crime. International
humanitarian law and the Rome Statute permit belligerents to carry out proportionate attacks against
military objectives, even when it is known that some civilian deaths or injuries will occur.

Luis Moreno-Ocampo
Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court
The Hague, 9 February 2006

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Helly Angel
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Post by Helly Angel » 24 Sep 2007 17:21

Leningrad was a city stronged defended by militaries but with 3.000.000 civilians. It was not a military city, completed families dead by starve and the weather.

The particular war crime commited is the paralization of water and foods to the civilian poblation in encirclement operations, even the regulation in the war have the obligation of the surrender as offer to the enemy forces encircled, not the siege until the death. There were several agreements about this after the WWI.

To learn something about this (I didn´t read),

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Leningrad

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Helly Angel
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Post by Helly Angel » 24 Sep 2007 17:25

JamesL wrote:
Under international humanitarian law and the Rome Statute, the death of civilians during an armed
conflict, no matter how grave and regrettable, does not in itself constitute a war crime. International
humanitarian law and the Rome Statute permit belligerents to carry out proportionate attacks against
military objectives, even when it is known that some civilian deaths or injuries will occur.

Luis Moreno-Ocampo
Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court
The Hague, 9 February 2006
After 2006, not accord the legislation of 1940s. I recommend you read the statutes of Nuremberg Military Trial. We are talking about 1941-1944. This stament you post is to justificated the war crimes in Irak, etc. We are talking about facts in WWII.

JamesL
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Post by JamesL » 24 Sep 2007 17:57

Helly Angel - YOU brought up the Rome Statute. I merely responded to YOUR point.

Regarding Leningrad ......

Did the Soviets make any attempt to remove civilians from Leningrad? Did the Soviet Command contact the German command to ask the Germans to let civilians pass through the lines?

Did Soviet civilians digging trenches and tank traps or making ammunition in Leningrad have some exemption from being a legitimate target?

Did the Germans have a legal responsibility to send food into a city they were attacking? Would the Soviets guarantee that the food would be given ONLY to civilians and not Soviet soldiers?

Ship of Fools
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Post by Ship of Fools » 24 Sep 2007 20:50

Presumably the Soviets also had the option of declaring the city an open city which has been done in the past.

For example, I think, Paris 1871 when faced with a siege and starvation the French goverment surrendered the city - or rather key forts on the outskirts and arranged a ceasefire. There has been no suggestion since that Bismarck should have supplied the city with food to allow them to keep on resisting.

In 1940 I believe the French Government declared Paris an open city rather the go into siege warfare and concommitant civilian suffering.

In other words the besieged power also has responsibilities to its civilians and if it choses to allow them to starve rather than surrender then I believe it is their responsiblity.

TRose
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Post by TRose » 25 Sep 2007 00:24

As the main base for the Soviet Baltic fleet Leninngrad was a militiary target. But some of the German shelling and bombing semed to be aimed to kill civilians and not aimed at militiary targets. Which would have been a warcrime.

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Post by ChristopherPerrien » 25 Sep 2007 00:50

A defended city is fair-game in war, cities can be battlefileds in wars just like "open fields". The idea of a "seige" merely denotes that it is a lengthy battle. The seige/battle for Lenigrad was no warcrime, find me any relevant laws of war for the era that say otherwise. IIRC ( Artillery/Bombing) of defended cities was specifically mentioned as "legal" under the 1895 Geneva Conventions and nothing had been changed by WWII.

Chris

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Post by David Thompson » 25 Sep 2007 01:52

The International Military Tribunal (IMT) indictment charged certain acts which took place during the seige of Leningrad as war crimes:
(b) Murders and ill-treatments at places in the Eastern Countries and in the Soviet Union, other than in the camps referred to in (a) above, included), on various dates during the occupation by the German Armed Forces:

* * * * *

In the Leningrad region there were shot and tortured over 172,000 persons, including over 20,000 persons who were killed in the city of Leningrad by the barbarous artillery barrage and the bombings.

* * * * *

On the territory of the Soviet Union the Nazi conspirators destroyed or severely damaged 1,710 cities and more than 70,000 villages and hamlets, more than 6,000,000 buildings and made homeless about 25,000,000 persons.

Among the cities which suffered most destruction are Stalingrad, Sevastopol, Kiev, Minsk, Odessa, Smolensk, Novgorod, Pskov, Orel, Kharkov, Voronexh, Rostov-on-Don, Stalino, and Leningrad.

As is evident from an official memorandum of the German command, the Nazi conspirators planned the complete annihilation of entire Soviet cities.

In a completely secret order of the Chief of the Naval Staff (Staff Ia No; 1501/41, dated 29. IX. 1941) addressed only to Staff officers, it was said:
"The Fuehrer has decided to erase from the face of the earth St Petersburg. The existence of this large city will have no further interest after Soviet Russia is destroyed. Finland has also said that the existence of this city on her new border is not desirable from her point of view. The original request of the Navy \that docks, harbor, etc. necessary for the fleet be preserved—is known to the Supreme Commander of the Military Forces, but the basic principles of carrying out operations against St. Petersburg do not make it possible to satisfy this request.

"It is proposed to approach near to the city and to destroy it with the aid of an artillery barrage from weapons of different calibers and with long air attacks....

"The problem of the life of the population and the provisioning of them is a problem which cannot and must not be decided by us.

"In this war . . . we are not interested in preserving even a part of the
population of this large city."
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 522#399522

The IMT judgment, on the other hand, only mentions Leningrad in passing, in its judgment against Alfred Jodl individually:
On 7 October 1941, Jodl signed an order that Hitler would not accept an offer of surrender of Leningrad or Moscow, but on the contrary he insisted that they be completely destroyed. He says this was done because the Germans were afraid those cities would be mined by the Russians as was Kiev. No surrender was ever offered.
IMT judgment against Alfred Jodl
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=71478

Refusal to grant quarter is a violation of both the laws and customs of war, but since the Soviets never offered to surrender the city, no quarter was asked. This remark in the IMT judgment pertains only to Jodl's willful intent to commit war crimes.

From the fact that this is the only mention of Leningrad in the IMT judgment, and the fact that the IMT did not convict any German government agencies or individual defendants on the charges of war crimes in connection with the siege, we can conclude that the IMT did not consider the siege itself as a war crime.

For an extensive discussion of the siege here in the H&WC section, see:

The Siege of Leningrad in German Documents
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=6860

Had Leningrad been razed to the ground after capture -- as the Germans intended -- that act would have been the war crime of spoliation, but as it happened the Germans were unable to conquer the city and the Nazi plans remained unrealized.

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Post by Andreas » 25 Sep 2007 18:17

Ship of Fools wrote:Presumably the Soviets also had the option of declaring the city an open city which has been done in the past.
As David points out, they did not have that option. Well, they had the option to declare it such, but the Germans had orders not to accept it, which means that there was never an option of Leningrad becoming an open city. It would be interesting to know if the Soviet command was aware of these orders.

All the best

Andreas

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LWD
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Post by LWD » 25 Sep 2007 19:23

Doesn't it mean that they did not have that option after the date of the order (7 October 41)? Not to say that the Germans would have honored it before that date but it is not clear they wouldn't have either.

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