When photos tell a lie

Nov 2015
1,678
Kyiv
#51
I also heard that it was the rule for North Vietnamese partisans in South Vietnam to kill all wounded American soldiers in a battle with a head shot. For that none of them accidentally survived. So they did after every successful fight. And since it is difficult for partisans to keep as prisoners of those they captured - most partisans from different countries and times kill POWs. Hence the attitude to the partisans of the enemy armies. There are no laws and regulations of war in most wars with partisans
 

Naomasa298

Forum Staff
Apr 2010
32,097
T'Republic of Yorkshire
#52
If the story behind the photo is true, then the Viet Cong agent just killed the executioner's mother/wife/children by slitting their throats. A bullet to the head is getting off easy. Most people probably would have done way worse. If anyone should be at fault, it should be the upper management who shouldn't have allowed the captain to be anywhere near the agent, as the South Vietnamese captain was obviously going to be emotionally compromised. In fact, anyone that emotionally compromised shouldn't be left in charge of a lemonade stand, much less soldiers with guns. The law shouldn't punish people for things beyond their ability to control. And when your entire family was murdered, the captain's going to be seeing red and you can't expect him to be in the vicinity of the murderer and do nothing.

And of course, the agent could have tried NOT slitting the throats of women/children/elderly. At the very least it couldn't have hurt his chances of getting out alive.
Minor correction - the man being shot is a captain, the man doing the shooting is a brihadier general.

The captain had slit the throats of an officer under the general's command and that officer's family.
 
May 2011
13,736
Navan, Ireland
#53
It is far from being that "pretty simple". I might be wrong, but I have the impression You forget the "law" part, that exists in "Martial Law".

Under martial Law, there is a trial. Do You know if there was a trial or not?
As I understand it the executed soldier was captured out of uniform deliberately targeting civilians (Policemen's families) as such it is legal to summarily execute him.
 
Mar 2019
315
Kansas
#56
Geneva Convention 1949.
Unfortunately I am not seeing the reference you might be referring to in the document. As I understand the convention we have three options

Regular military member

Irregular military member

Criminal

Even if martial law is declared, reasonable cause has to be shown for why there was an imperative for a summary execution of the criminal.
 
May 2011
13,736
Navan, Ireland
#57
"..According to Article 4 of the Third Geneva Convention of 1949, irregular forces are entitled to prisoner of war status provided that they are commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates, have a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance, carry arms openly, and conduct their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war. If they do not meet all of these, they may be considered francs-tireurs (in the original sense of "illegal combatant") and punished as criminals in a military jurisdiction, which may include summary execution.[8].."

Execution of Nguyễn Văn Lém - Wikipedia
 
Mar 2019
315
Kansas
#58
"..According to Article 4 of the Third Geneva Convention of 1949, irregular forces are entitled to prisoner of war status provided that they are commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates, have a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance, carry arms openly, and conduct their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war. If they do not meet all of these, they may be considered francs-tireurs (in the original sense of "illegal combatant") and punished as criminals in a military jurisdiction, which may include summary execution.[8].."

Execution of Nguyễn Văn Lém - Wikipedia
Well if we want to go down the illegal combatant road (which was defined very differently in 1969 than it is today), I would suggest we defer to article 3 section (d) of the same convention

(d) the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgement pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples
 
May 2011
13,736
Navan, Ireland
#59
Well if we want to go down the illegal combatant road (which was defined very differently in 1969 than it is today), I would suggest we defer to article 3 section (d) of the same convention

(d) the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgement pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples
But he was illegal combatant and could be 'legally' executed on the spot.
 

Naomasa298

Forum Staff
Apr 2010
32,097
T'Republic of Yorkshire
#60
But the point is that we can't tell any of this from the photo. What it *appears* to show is the execution of a helpless civilian by an army officer. Well. helpless he might be bur a civilian he was not, and certainly not an innocent one.

And lest we are too quick to judge - if a Jew had a chance to shoot Heydrich or Himmler dead during WW2 under the same circumstances, I'm sure he would have done it and we would have applauded the act.
 

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