Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Command responsibility and the new DOD Law of War Manual

Major Patrick Walsh, Associate Professor in the International and Operational Law Department at the U.S. Army’s Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School in Charlottesville, has written an insightful post at Just Security on the command responsibility discussion in the Defense Department's new Law of War Manual. Bottom line:
The eight page dissertation of command responsibility in the DOD Law of War Manual is a significant step forward in ensuring the United States is in agreement with the international community on the nature of a commander’s obligation to ensure his soldiers comply with the law of war. Unfortunately, it is not sufficient to provide clear guidance to military commanders on what variation of command responsibility will apply to them and how the United States will enforce this principle of international humanitarian law on its own soldiers. Perhaps now it is time for Congress to finally amend the UCMJ to include, in some form, the principle of command responsibility so that it can readily be used to hold senior military commanders responsible if they fail in their duties to ensure their subordinates comply with the law of war. After 70 years of enforcing the principle on the rest of the world, it is time that the US Military is given the legal ability to apply this doctrine to its own Service Members.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are subject to moderation and must be submitted under your real name. Anonymous comments will not be posted (even though the form seems to permit them).