An interesting story in the aftermath of the fall of Tripoli has arisen. Euronews retells the story and interviews a Gadaffi loyalist which has committed heinous war crimes. Follow the previous jump to see the video and read the full story.
One 19 year-old woman was a sniper. Now she is to stand trial for executing 16 rebel prisoners.
She claims that she was forced by her family to leave her hometown of Zawiah and join up a year ago. She adds she had worked in an office until only recently. Then the nightmare began. The killing, and the rape by three officers she identified by name, including a General.
Now she can only hope for forgiveness from the victims’ families, or she could face a death penalty.
They gave me a weapon and each time they brought me one or two people and asked me to kill them. They were around me all the time, two on each side and one behind, and they told me ‘Kill them or you will be killed’.
Then they put some more under some trees and asked me to shoot.
Yes, I shot them, But each time I turned my head away when I fired.”
“How do you feel about this job they forced you to do now?”
“I regret it, I really regret it.”
“How were you treated in the Gaddafi forces?”
“Not well at all.”
Her regret is not a legal defense and is merely an invocation of what is generally known as the Nürnberg defense. She claims to have only "followed orders", which is not an excuse for her crimes. Her duty as a soldier is to deny fulfilling orders which are against the Geneva Convention and international law, despite the threat to her own health and life. She has failed in that duty.
It is easy to be sympathetic to her story, but it should not divert the attention from the evil deeds she has committed. As a soldier, she must face the same punishment as every other soldier which has committed war crimes in the fighting: death penalty. (I am not in favor of the death penalty in any condition, and hope she and all other war criminals will be incarcerated for life. But more important is equal punishment for equal crimes.)
It may also be used as an argument against placing women on the battle field as their penchant for violence in clearly no less that of men, and the threat of rape is more tangible than towards men. It is also much easier to sympathize with their position, and it will be interesting to see how this case develops.