Thursday, February 27, 2003
# Posted 9:24 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
Lawyer BVK writes that
In response to your (perhaps rhetorical) question re Human Rights Watch's statement on US culpability for killing human shields, they are in part right. Legal responsibility can lie on both sides of an action, even if one side initiates it. For example, when a criminal takes a hostage, the police cannot simply shoot through the hostage to kill the bad guy. Even though the criminal has initiated the situation by putting a hostage between him and the gun, the police officer has a responsibility to assess whether there is a means of apprehending/killing the criminal without endangering the life of the hostage. he end result might be shooting the hostage to get to the criminal, but absent a good justification (more lives would be in danger otherwise) that cop is going to jail.Sounds good to me. Non-lawyer MJ adds that "There is a difference between an innocent civilian human shield in the form of an Iraqi held against his will and a volunteer who chooses to stand where bombs are likely to fall. I don't consider volunteers to protect targets to be civilians at all." I think I'm going to side with BVK on the legal merits and MJ on moral grounds. Regardless, the US should probably do its best to avoid hitting the shields f(if possible) for the practical reason that it will lead to another damaging public fight with assorted European governments. If only the shields were willing to deploy themselves in Israel instead, all this trouble could be avoided... (5) opinions -- Add your opinion
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