Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgeler

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Legal Beagle: A war crimes inquiry; or why Nicky Hager is wrong

78 Responses

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  • Alfie, in reply to Katharine Moody,

    The executive branch of government has far less influence in respect of a Police investigation than it would an inquiry, I suspect.

    The illegal and unjustified Police raid on Nicky Hager's home following the publication of Dirty Politics would tend to suggest otherwise.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1381 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody,

    I also find it disturbing that Bill English is “not ruling out” an inquiry – but accepts the NZDF position that “the allegations of war crimes now seem to apply to some other place” and therefore (accepting that location difference as fact), it would “very much narrow down the scope for inquiries”.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/90868532/bill-english-says-sas-inquiry-unlikely-after-defence-force-attacks-hit-and-run-inaccuracies

    If we think of these statements in terms of Lukes’ typology of power – limiting the terms of reference of any inquiry is an example of Lukes’ second order “power over process”, that being:

    The ability to systematically exclude competitors from the process of decision making, or to confine decision making to ‘safe’ issues

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to Alfie,

    The illegal and unjustified Police raid on Nicky Hager’s home following the publication of Dirty Politics would tend to suggest otherwise.

    Granted. But the lawyers representing the villagers, if unhappy with the outcome of an in-country Police investigation, I assume have remedy to thereafter refer the matter to a higher (i.e., international) authority? Graeme might understand that in terms of legal process.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie,

    Dr Jon Johansson, a senior lecturer in politics at Victoria University, discusses the relationship between the military and politicians and asks why a final green light for the failed operation was ever required from then PM John Key.

    Bill English, an empiricist if ever there was one, needs to familiarise himself with the evidence produced and then reassert control. One way he could do this is by standing Keating down until an inquiry is conducted - because by his words and actions Keating is a barrier to finding out the truth.

    Newsroom: Why Lieutenant-General Keating must be stood down

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1381 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    limiting the terms of reference of any inquiry

    Or to describe it more correctly....
    Making sure the shit don't stick.

    You may not have guessed it, but I have a low opinion of people who do this kind of thing, politicians and others.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1881 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Seems to me that any prosecution would come unstuck on the "which are not military objectives" bit. Whoever in the chain of command found themselves in court could rely on the fact that they had information that the village was a "military objective".

    Of course, what is defensible under the Geneva Conventions doesn't necessarily match with what we want our troops to do as a nation - especially when they've embarked on a conflict of no benefit to NZ.

    Which suggests that maybe a public inquiry could look into what is really a matter of public policy rather than criminal law - why do we send troops to "other people's wars" knowing that any such action is likely to result in civilian casualties?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Whoever in the chain of command found themselves in court could rely on the fact that they had information that the village was a “military objective”.

    That excuse wouldn't hold water for the second raid several days later, where they blew up the remaining parts of the civilian homes they'd almost destroyed in the first raid. That in itself is a war crime.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1381 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Alfie,

    asks why a final green light for the failed operation was ever required from then PM John Key.

    I had wondered about that aspect. Was it the obvious potential for civilian deaths?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19680 posts Report Reply

  • bob daktari, in reply to Sacha,

    ego and potentially good PR material methinks - PM got him some guts action

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 537 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie, in reply to bob daktari,

    ego and potentially good PR material...

    You nailed it in one, Bob.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1381 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Alfie,

    Well, he made a full three-handed shake of that, didn't he :-/

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1886 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie,

    This is interesting. Speaking with Gavin Ellis this morning, Kathryn Ryan said RNZ had discovered a NYTimes report from 2010 -- two days after the abortive raid reported in Hit and Run. That report named the same two villages as the book, which suggests that the Defense Department's "Look... over there... another village" claim is complete and utter bollocks.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1381 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Alfie,

    Debatable, if you read the material I linked.

    The Geneva Conventions were drafted and agreed as a lowest common denominator, covering desperate, 1941 type situations and attempting to provide something that would be accepted by states very far from being liberal democracies.

    One issue here, which could be explored by an inquiry, is who sets the rules of engagement, military commanders or ministers, and what general principles do they start from in doing this.

    Simply saying that a 'crime' has been committed and we're going to nail Corporal X to the wall for it make make some people happy, but doesn't get to the root of the problem.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Alfie,

    Kathryn Ryan said RNZ had discovered a NYTimes report from 2010 – two days after the abortive raid reported in Hit and Run. That report named the same two villages as the book, which suggests that the Defense Department’s “Look… over there… another village” claim is complete and utter bollocks.

    This is not a new discovery. The article is footnoted in Hit & Run.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3202 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Debatable, if you read the material I linked.

    I presume you’re referring to one of my earlier comments Rich -- probably my reference to war crimes. According to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court

    A war crime is an act that constitutes a serious violation of the law of war that gives rise to individual criminal responsibility.[1] Examples of war crimes include intentionally killing civilians or prisoners, torture, destroying civilian property, taking hostages, perfidy, rape, using child soldiers, pillaging, declaring that no quarter will be given, and using weapons that cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering.

    That sound pretty clear to me.
    (My bolding)

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1381 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie,

    David Fisher says the NZDF has destroyed evidence critical of our involvement in Afghanistan to prevent the media getting hold of it.

    Evidence relied on by the NZ Defence Force to shelve a highly critical report of our decade-long deployment to Afghanistan was destroyed, it has said.

    This means there are no documents left in existence to support a senior military commander's decision to refuse to accept a report which raised serious questions about the way the Defence Force ran our longest, large-scale military mission.

    See: NZDF says a critical report was too inaccurate to be released but destroyed evidence proving it

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1381 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Alfie,

    David Fisher says the NZDF has destroyed evidence critical of our involvement in Afghanistan to prevent the media getting hold of it.

    IANAL but that might put them in breach of the Public Records Act 2005

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2929 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming,

    After reading Jon Stephenson's rebuttal, I think some comms idiot gave Keating appalling advice. JS makes it clear that the two villages named in the book are part of the area that Keating names. Someone's in trouble at NZDF...

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2929 posts Report Reply

  • william blake,

    IANAL contender for WOTY.

    Since Mar 2010 • 378 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to william blake,

    But it's been around since forever. Back before the internet had pictures, even
    #FuckI'mOld

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2929 posts Report Reply

  • william blake,

    Not come across that acronym before, makes me very happy. Internet pictures made up out of various scattered letters for light and shade C1989. #soami

    Since Mar 2010 • 378 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen R, in reply to nzlemming,

    After reading Jon Stephenson's rebuttal, I think some comms idiot gave Keating appalling advice. JS makes it clear that the two villages named in the book are part of the area that Keating names. Someone's in trouble at NZDF...

    I just can't understand why, having had their arse handed to them last time they accused Jon Stephenson of lying/being wrong, that they chose this response to the book. It just makes them look stupid.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2009 • 259 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Stephen R,

    It just makes them look stupid.

    Perhaps it's not just the look...

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2929 posts Report Reply

  • bob daktari,

    they may look stupid but the entire story is now 100% fixed on map locations, village names and not the actual events, you know the actual story/allegations - the spin has spun the story into the realm the public will now zone out of, if they've not already... which doesn't help with maintaining pressure on a very hesitant to do anything English to launch an inquiry

    right now I imagine the comms team and/or PR peeps at NZDF are feeling pretty good about this skirmish

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 537 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to bob daktari,

    right now I imagine the comms team and/or PR peeps at NZDF are feeling pretty good about this skirmish

    Except that they put Keating in a position where he basically lied, while proclaiming integrity. Not a clever thing to do to the boss.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2929 posts Report Reply

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