When you head overseas on military duty, you aim to make the world a better place. Without you, citizens of the world would continue to suffer violence and atrocities from those claiming power in their countries. It can be galling when you find yourself accused of the kind of acts you set out to stop years after returning home.
Last month the Pentagon announced an independent inquiry into U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) and U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). The investigation aims to discover how these two groups dealt with reports of war law violations and what steps they took to reduce the chance of them happening. It may lead to a host of accusations against those who served in Iraq, Syria and other recent conflicts.
War crimes trials garner a lot of attention
It can be tough to get a fair trial if accused of a war-related crime. As soon as someone uses the term “war crime,” it springs memories of previous atrocities committed by dictators and rebel forces across the world. The media and public mood can soon swing against you. Foreign governments may apply pressure for courts to convict you and hand down harsh sentences.
War zones can be an incredibly complex place to understand for someone who has not been there themselves. Actions done in self-defense at the time could be seen differently later. Following orders in the field could lead to charges against you later, even though not following them could have led to charges at the time. People’s memories of events can distort with time. If accused of any kind of war crime, it is crucial you seek experienced legal help to fight for justice. Serving your country should not lead to your serving time.