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HOWEVER - the two MAIN "group" charges relating to the war were "Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of crime against peace" and "Planning, initiating and waging wars of aggression and other crimes against peace" - and judged against "the laws and customs of law" - i.e NO charge against the breach of any section of the Hague Conventions, even though the 1941 attack on Russia was CLEARLY a breach of the requirements for a Declaration of War...in other words, the two charges were SO phrased because the Hague Convention didn't apply to Germany as the other combatant wasn't a signatory.Part of the defence was that some treaties were not binding on the Axis powers because they were not signatories. This was addressed in the judgment relating to war crimes and crimes against humanity contains an expansion of customary law "the Convention Hague 1907 expressly stated that it was an attempt 'to revise the general laws and customs of war,' which it thus recognised to be then existing, but by 1939 these rules laid down in the Convention were recognised by all civilised nations, and were regarded as being declaratory of the laws and customs of war which are referred to in Article 6 (b) of the [London] Charter." The implication under international law is that if enough countries have signed up to a treaty, and that treaty has been in effect for a reasonable period of time, then it can be interpreted as binding on all nations not just those who signed the original treaty. This is a highly controversial aspect of international law, one that is still actively debated in international legal journals.
Even at that late point before hostilities commenced, the USSR's position is not clear-cut. STALIN made it so in July...the adherence of the enemy to the principles of humanity or international law is not to be counted on
In OTHER words...the idea that Germany AND the USSR were both covered by the Hague Conventions when at war is spurious - the IMT's opinion only covered GERMANY'S position in relation to the USSR - NOT the USSR's position in relation to Germany!Most of the prohibitions of both the Hague and Geneva Conventions, considered in substance, are clearly an expression of the accepted views of civilized nations and binding upon Germany and the defendants on trial before us in the conduct of the war against Russia
Discussion of WHO the Conventions apply to most certainly IS irrelvant to Dresden - as there the situation is VERY clear-cut; the combatants were Great Britain and Germany, both were High Contracting Powers to the Conventions, and they applied to both Germany and Great Britain. In the case of strategic and tactical bombing of civilian targets - neither power was going to make use of the "wriggle room" to stop it or condemn it, for both had engaged in it. And in the specifics of both Conventions, there is nothing banning it UNLESS it can be PROVED that it was the lives of civilians themselves that had been specifically targeted.The Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907 are not irrelevant to any discussion on Dresden as they contain the international legislation most closely touching on the bombing of cities and provide the wriggle room under which all parties engaged in it technically legally or might have stopped it legally. Indeed, the third Hague Conference sceduled for 1916, but cancelled due to WWI, was due to deal with the topic of bombing, amongst others.
Sid, that would have to be regarded as entirely spurious, in that case, with no part in this discussion.all powers eventually declined to follow
That makes them irrelevant to the discussion. If they were never ratified, and "all powers eventually declined to follow" them, then one can't use them to justify or condemn anything. They are meaningless. That's why I suggested "what if." Then maybe they'd be worth discussing. It just doesn't make sense to discuss something based on conditions that didn't apply.sid guttridge wrote:Why? The Hague Rules of Air Warfare of 1923 seem never to have been ratified and, as I posted, "all powers eventually declined to follow" them.