General Question

Mtl_zack's avatar

If country A and B are at war...

Asked by Mtl_zack (6762points) August 26th, 2008

if a civilian of country A kills a civilian of country B, and country A and B are at war, is it considered murder, or part of the war?

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11 Answers

simone54's avatar

It’s murder.

jrpowell's avatar

Depends on the circumstances. Killing a guy pointing a RPG at you is justified. Killing a child getting water from a well is murder.

El_Cadejo's avatar

Even if your at war its still murder. Theres no such thing as justified killing of another person. Your taking someones life, end of story.

Indy318's avatar

Civilians that looted during the aftermath of Katrina were considered thieves, regardless of the fact that they were trying to survive. Just because a certain situation such as war and choas relinquishes common law and order, it does not rationalize the reality of a life being taken away.

Randy's avatar

@uber, even in self defense? If someone in my town came up with a knife/gun/big stick and said that they we’re going to kill me and began to attempt to do so, then I’m going to fight them until they stop. Even if that means I have to kill them. If given the chance, I’ll run from them, but I’m not going to just let them kill me.

I think jp said it best.

simone54's avatar

@Bearfish. It would still be murder though. I personally think it’s justified but is still murder.

qashqai's avatar

Word “civilian” and word “war” doesn’t get well together.
Soldiers make war, not civilians.

winblowzxp's avatar

Civilians make wars…Soldiers fight wars.

andrew's avatar

Isn’t there something in the Geneva Conventions about this?

Harp's avatar

This is from the ICRC (Red Cross) website:

‘Derived from Common article 3 to the Geneva Conventions, the notion of “direct” or “active” participation in hostilities is found in multiple provisions of international humanitarian law (IHL). Direct participation in hostilities by civilians entails loss of immunity from attack during the time of such participation and may also subject them, upon capture, to penal prosecution under the domestic law of the detaining state. Despite the serious legal consequences involved, neither the Geneva Conventions nor their Additional Protocols include a definition of what constitutes “direct participation in hostilities”.

Even though it is not a violation of IHL for a civilian to fight for his or her country, the lack of combatant or prisoner of war status implies that civilians directly participating in hostilities may be prosecuted under domestic law for their acts regardless of whether or not they violated IHL. It is not clear, however, whether domestic criminal prosecution could ensue for the mere fact of directly participating in hostilities or whether such participation must involve an act prohibited under domestic law or international law.’

Despite the ambiguities mentioned above, it seems pretty clear that in the scenario of this question, the killer would be subject to prosecution for murder under domestic or international law.

winblowzxp's avatar

It’s pure unadulterated murder.

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