War has a tendency to slide towards genocide and General David Richards, Britain’s chief of the defence staff, illustrated that over the weekend.
The general said he wanted Nato member states to support the targeting of Libyan infrastructure:
“The military campaign to date has been a significant success for Nato and our Arab allies. But we need to do more. If we do not up the ante now there is a risk that the conflict could result in Gaddafi clinging to power,”
“At present, Nato is not attacking infrastructure targets in Libya. But if we want to increase the pressure on Gaddafi’s regime then we need to give serious consideration to increasing the range of targets we can hit.”
General David Richards’ intention to attack civilian infrastructure indicates an intent to commit war crimes, breaking the laws of war including:
Rule 1.The parties to the conflict must at all times distinguish between civilians and combatants. Attacks may only be directed against combatants. Attacks must not be directed against civilians.
Rule 2. Acts or threats of violence the primary purpose of which is to spread terror among the civilian population are prohibited.
Rule 7. The parties to the conflict must at all times distinguish between civilian objects and military objectives. Attacks may only be directed against military objectives. Attacks must not be directed against civilian objects.
Rule 6. Civilians are protected against attack, unless and for such time as they take a direct part in hostilities.