International laws hinder UK troops – Reid: Defence secretary calls for Geneva conventions to be redrawn (Richard Norton-Taylor and Clare Dyer, April 4, 2006, The Guardian)
John Reid demanded sweeping changes to international law yesterday to free British soldiers from the restraints of the Geneva conventions and make it easier for the west to mount military actions against other states.
In his speech, the defence secretary addressed three key issues: the treatment of prisoners, when to mount a pre-emptive strikes, and when to intervene to stop a humanitarian crisis. In all these areas, he indicated that the UK and west was being hamstrung by existing inadequate law.
Mr Reid indicated he believed existing rules, including some of the conventions – a bedrock of international law – were out of date and inadequate to deal with the threat of international terrorists.
“We are finding an enemy which obeys no rules whatsoever”, he said, referring to what he called “barbaric terrorism”.
Unless the rules of war could be guaranteed to bind our enemies–which they never have and never will–they’re not just useless but intolerable.