Letter wrong about trials of soldiers in war crimes

Published 8:50 pm Monday, January 3, 2011

To the Editor:

In the Nov. 19 issue of the TDB was an article in reply to my letter of Oct. 8 in regard to the international criminal court. The article was written by Mr. John Washburn who is associated with ICC.

This letter more or less confirms one of my basic fears and that is a trial by an international court of our troops for war crimes or genocide against civilians.

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I personally dont condone genocide, but this leaves some unanswered questions.

Suppose a pilot fires a rocket into a building where known enemy combatants are gathered and there happens to be a civilian in the midst. Is that pilot guilty of a war crime? Who decides? Does the ICC decide?

Mr. Washburn, you say theres no jury trial. So that rules out a jury of your peers. You also say theres no jury in a military trial. Thats right, but in the Navy we came under the UCMJ or Uniform Code of Military Justice and were convened by United States military officers in a court martial.

To me, thats close to a jury of your peers. Youd also be represented by military attorneys from J.A.G.

Suppose a soldier is tried and convicted and sentenced to several years in prison. Where does he serve out his sentence?&bsp; &bsp;

In one of these loaner prisons furnished by some foreign country where his family and loved ones cant afford to visit or somewhere in the U.S. where hell have visitation rights? If his right to trial by jury is taken away, what other rights are sacrificed? Too many inconsistencies involved here.

Its strange to me that they want to move the terrorists from Guantanamo and try them in the U.S. where they will get full constitutional protection and move our troops overseas to be tried where a lot of these rights are denied.

Some people in Washington seem to be asleep at the wheel.

Wayne Bilbrey