Article 3

We have been hearing a lot of “facts” about what the President would like to see as far as Congress’ review of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions. What has been missing in all of the news coverage is the actual wording of Article 3.

Here is the unedited version of Article 3:

In the case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties, each Party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum, the following provisions:

1. Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of the armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all cases be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, color, religion or faith, sex, birth of wealth, or any other similar criteria.

To this end the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:

(a) violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;

(b) taking of hostages;

(c) outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment;

(d) the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgement pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.

2. The wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for.

An impartial humanitarian body, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, may offer its services to the Parties to the conflict.The Parties to the conflict should further endeavor to bring into force, by means of special agreements, all or part of the other provisions of the present Convention.

The application of the preceding provisions shall not affect the legal status of the Parties to the conflict.

So what is it that the President wants?

Well you just read Article 3; did anything jump out to you?

The President would like a clearer definition of “(c) outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment;” This wording is very vague.

This section is so vague that no al Qaeda could be questioned by a female…this would be “humiliating and degrading” to them because of their religious belief.

What are we to do? We are facing an enemy that would do anything to destroy us and we have people that are more concerned about what others think of us than in stopping the enemy. The President is not asking Congress to completely throw out the convention just to define the vague statements within it.

We are not going to become a nation of terrorists, beheading those that disagree with us or bombing children in the name of our God, by defining our treatment of the enemy. This will give us the ability to show the whole world that the preservation of life as well as the protection of our country can co-exist.

We must urge Congress to detail out what Article 3 means.

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