Laws in the United States and international laws both impose restrictions on behaviors even during times of war.
While war is violent and deadly, this does not mean that there are not codes of conduct that must be followed and behavioral standards that must be upheld. In fact, there are strict rules and those who violate those rules and regulations could potentially be charged with war crimes under federal law.
If you are charged with war crimes, you should be aware that these charges are extremely serious. You could be sentenced to harsh penalties that derail your life and you could be left with a federal criminal record. You need to understand how laws on war crimes work, what a prosecutor needs to prove, and how you can defend yourself if you hope to avoid some of the most serious penalties imposed within the federal justice system.
Not all federal criminal defense lawyers have the knowledge or experience to handle war crimes cases, so finding the right attorney is imperative to trying to protect your future. That means reaching out to LV Criminal Defense is one of the smartest things you can do when you are under investigation for war crimes or if you have been charged.
Our firm has extensive knowledge of laws on war crimes and we can successfully work to represent you in either fighting for acquittal or negotiating a favorable plea agreement with a prosecutor to lessen the penalties that could be imposed.
You should make certain to get legal help as soon as you’re under investigation or charged with war crimes, so give us a call today to find out about the assistance our compassionate and knowledgeable legal team can provide.
Nick Wooldridge has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in Nevada.
Federal laws on war crimes are found in 18 U.S. Code Chapter 118. There are just two statutes within the relevant chapter of the U.S. Code. However, the two statutes are very comprehensive and clear regarding what is permitted vs. prohibited.
The first of the statutes, 18 U.S. Code section 2441, is the general war crime statute. The second, 18 U.S. Code section 2442, addresses recruitment or use of child soldiers.
According to 18 U.S. Code section 2441, the term war crime is defined to include:
When a defendant has been convicted of a war crime, either inside of the United States or outside of it, the defendant could face fines and could be sentenced to a lengthy prison term, up-to-and-including life imprisonment. If the victim was killed as a result of a defendant’s war crimes, it will be more likely for the convicted defendant to be sentenced to life in prison.
However, the statute does contain some carve-outs and clarifying rules to ensure people are not unfairly prosecuted for their conduct during war. For example, laws against taking hostages do not apply in the case of prisoner exchanges during times of war.
In addition to the war crimes statute within Title 18 Chapter 118, there are also statutes addressing the recruitment of child soldiers.
The law makes clear that penalties can be imposed for knowingly recruiting, enlisting or con-scripting a person to serve in an armed force or group while knowing the person is under the age of 15. It also makes it unlawful to use a person aged 15 or under to participate in heavy hostilities.
Penalties for recruiting or using child soldiers could include up to 20 years of imprisonment , a fine, or both. However, if anyone dies as a result of the solicitation or use of child soldiers, then the defendant who committed the offense could be sentenced to up to life imprisonment.
The statute gives the federal government jurisdiction to prosecute defendants accused of using child soldiers in a wide variety of circumstances, including in circumstances when the defendant is a United State’s national; when the defendant is a stateless person without a habitual residence in the U.S.; if the alleged offender habitually lives in state prison; if the alleged offender is present in the U.S., or if the offense occurs either fully or partially within the United States.
A federal criminal defense attorney at LV Criminal Defense will guide you through developing and implementing a strategic response to war crimes charges.
It is often difficult for prosecutors to prove war crimes beyond a reasonable doubt because obtaining conclusive evidence of what happened during times of war is no easy feat. Because it is the prosecutor’s burden to prove the case, you simply must introduce doubt about your guilt to avoid a guilty verdict and the resulting penalties.
LV Criminal Defense helps you to investigate evidence, build strategic defenses, and respond in the most appropriate way to charges to try to avoid or lessen the penalties that could be imposed when you are charged with a war crime under 18 U.S. Code Chapter 118. To find out more about how our firm can help you to deal with war crimes charges, give us a call today.