-Z- (Z@Gundam.Com)
Thu, 12 Aug 1999 18:54:01 -0700


At 19:51 8/12/1999 -0400, you wrote:
>Now that I am in a political rut...
>
>Today is the 50th Anniversary of the Geneva Conventions.

70th anniversary, actually. The original Geneva Conventions were
established in 1929, following World War I. They were amended and updated
in 1949, following World War II. These new Geneva Conventions were almost
immediately violated by the North Koreans, who used a combination of
physical and psychological torture to obtain "confessions" to "war crimes"
from captured American soldiers.

> Conducts of war
>is always a favorite subject for Tomino, especially in ZZ, he included
>many serious and/or funny (sometimes silly) plots into the story.

There's a lot to ridicule in the Geneva Conventions with regard to the
keeping and treatment of prisoners, mainly because the Conventions are
based on a class system that was already outmoded at the time they were
written. Officers are, by definition, gentlemen and, by extension, must be
treated like aristocrats. Non-Commissioned Officers are entitled to
certain privileges, but are pretty much left to fend for themselves.
Enlisted ranks are little better than slaves can only refuse to work if it
involves acting against their own forces. The scene in original Gundam
where Kozun demands a bottle of wine with his dinner, in accordance with
the Geneva Conventions, is a classic.

It should be noted that the Japanese were not signatories to the original
Geneva Conventions and only became de facto signatories to the 1949
amendment because Japan was under occupation by America at the time.

It should also be noted that Monsha's treatment of Zeon POWs is a
court-martial offense under both the Geneva Conventions and a section of
the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) known as the Laws of Engagement
(LOE). LOE specifies everything from when you may lawfully fire your
weapon to when and how to honor a flag of truce. One of the provisions of
both the GC and LOE is that only a trained interrogator may question
prisoners and then only in the presence of a witness equipped to make and
keep a record of the proceedings. Use of force or the threat of force is
also prohibited and, in a move the predates the Miranda warning for
American civilians by a good 25 years, both the GC and LOE specify that a
prisoner may refuse to answer any question save his true identity, which
information may be limited to name, rank, date of birth and service number.
 On the other hand, giving a false identity, such as a general masquerading
as one of his enlisted men to escape responsibility or criminal charges or
an enlisted man impersonating an officer to get better treatment, are both
crimes in and of themselves and may result in charges of espionage, which
is a capital offense.

-Z-

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