VC winner branded 'war criminal' - wore a German paratrooper's smock to dupe snipers

Discussion in 'Historiography' started by Jim Clay, Apr 10, 2006.

  1. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Assuming this case were to go to law...

    Who would try it out of interest? Thinking on the current state of the law re. 90+ year olds and the departed etc. this is not a case as such.

    Back in WW2 though would the British have actually taken this one through a whole process? Assuming sufficient evidence that a case might be made etc. Or entertained German requests to do such?

    Was there German insignia on the smock, did he speak German, carry false papers etc.

    As I said, I think the Germans might have shot him either way but did legally we "have to"? I wonder.

    I just think a V.C. well deserved there, and if there was ever a "case", the law should have been busier elsewhere. They shouldn't just cherry pick the "easiest" and "closest" cases to pursue. In terms of what he was alleged to have done what was the actual punishment that the "law says now" or "then" should have fit the crime.

    Apologies for my blank stares :rolleyes: The whole things still a bit of a mystery to me, but I'd love to know more about what people think was the ultimate point there (in the gist of the argument of the writers of the original comments mentioned in post#1)

    All the best,

  2. RCG

    RCG Senior Member, Deceased

    This case would never have or never will be considered to be taken to court.

    There is not one piece of evidence to show a crime was committed.

    As the Germans were the aggressors then, all is needed is that Sgt Hulme pleads self defense.

    The authors of a new book suggest that Sgt Hulme's ruse of donning a German para's smock to dupe German snipers was "an act of perfidy under international law", and another NZ academic suggests that Sgt Hulme's actions (killing enemy soldiers while wearing their uniform) were "prima facie a war crime".

    Prima facie. Latin for "at first sight." Prima facie may be used as an adjective meaning "sufficient to establish a fact or raise a presumption unless disproved or rebutted;" e.g., prima facie evidence.

    In the context of war, perfidy is a form of deception in which one side promises to act in good faith (such as by raising a flag of truce) with the intention of breaking that promise once the enemy is exposed (such as by coming out of cover to capture the "surrendering" enemy).

    Article 37. – Prohibition of perfidy
    1. It is prohibited to kill, injure or capture an adversary by resort to perfidy. Acts inviting the confidence of an adversary to lead him to believe that he is entitled to, or is obliged to accord, protection under the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict, with intent to betray that confidence, shall constitute perfidy. The following acts are examples of perfidy:
    (a) The feigning of an intent to negotiate under a flag of truce or of a surrender;
    ( B) The feigning of an incapacitation by wounds or sickness;
    (c) The feigning of civilian, non-combatant status; and
    (d) The feigning of protected status by the use of signs, emblems or uniforms of the United Nations or of neutral or other States not Parties to the conflict.
    2. Ruses of war are not prohibited. Such ruses are acts which are intended to mislead an adversary or to induce him to act recklessly but which infringe no rule of international law applicable in armed conflict and which are not perfidious because they do not invite the confidence of an adversary with respect to protection under that law. The following are examples of such ruses: the use of camouflage, decoys, mock operations and misinformation.
    Article 38. – Recognized emblems
    1. It is prohibited to make improper use of the distinctive emblem of the red cross, red crescent or red lion and sun or of other emblems, signs or signals provided for by the Conventions or by this Protocol. It is also prohibited to misuse deliberately in an armed conflict other internationally recognized protective emblems, signs or signals, including the flag of truce, and the protective emblem of cultural property.
    2. It is prohibited to make use of the distinctive emblem of the United Nations, except as authorized by that Organization.
    Article 39. – Emblems of nationality
    1. It is prohibited to make use in an armed conflict of the flags or military emblems, insignia or uniforms of neutral or other States not Parties to the conflict.
    2. It is prohibited to make use of the flags or military emblems, insignia or uniforms of adverse Parties while engaging in attacks or to shield, favour, protect or impede military operations.
    3. Nothing in this Article or in Article 37, paragraph 1 ( d ), shall affect the existing generally recognized rules of international law applicable to espionage or to the use of flags in the conduct of armed conflict at sea.

    At the Dachau Trials, the issue of whether the donning of enemy uniforms to approach the enemy without drawing fire was within the laws of war was established under international humanitarian law at the trial in 1947 of the planner and commander of Operation Greif, Otto Skorzeny. Skorzeny was found not guilty by an American military tribunal of a crime by ordering his men into action in American uniforms. He had passed on to his men the warning of German legal experts, that if they fought in American uniforms, they would be breaking the laws of war, but they probably were not doing so just by wearing American uniforms. During the trial, a number of arguments were advanced to substantiate this position and that the German and U.S. military seem to be in agreement on it. In its judgement, the tribunal noted that the case did not require that the tribunal make findings other than those of guilty or not guilty, so consequently, no safe conclusion could be drawn from the acquittal of all accused
    Smudger Jnr likes this.

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