Thursday, July 27, 2017

A soldier's perennial dilemma

Global Military Justice Reform contributor Wing Cdr (ret) U C Jha has written this op-ed for DNA India on the dilemma faced by military personnel concerning the use of lethal force. His concluding observations:
The dividing line between a terrorist and civilian is not readily visible, either on the ground or in the law. Since insurgents/terrorists do not follow any rules of engagement, it is becoming increasingly difficult for a soldier to religiously follow the principle of distinction. Moreover, this principle does not specify a level of certainty that soldiers must achieve, or a level of risk they must accept to achieve that level of certainty. While a soldier has a duty not to harm a civilian, he cannot take a chance when there is a likely threat to comrades or persons he is protecting. While judicial officers have ample time to decide a case, a soldier on the ground has to take life-and-death decisions in a split second.

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