Saturday, 29 September 2007

Defense of superior orders

Article 33 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court says that following orders is no defense when the order is 'manifestly unlawful'. When we teach this, we generally look for hypothetical examples, or cases drawn from the movies. The war in Iraq has given us a real case. Soldier Evan Vela, a US sniper, told a court on Thursday of how an unarmed Iraqi stumbled upon a sniper's den. He was ordered by his commanding officer to kill the Iraqi. It looks like a pretty classic case of a 'manifestly unlawful' order. There are several news reports. This one was in the International Herald Tribune:

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