Exploring the extent of ethical disobedience through the lens of the Srebrenica and Rwanda genocides: can soldiers disobey lawful orders?

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1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Although obligation in the military world implies a strict duty to obey the orders that are given, this obligation is conditional on the lawfulness of these orders. In other words, soldiers have the moral duty to disobey orders that would lead them to commit unlawful actions. Therefore, ethical disobedience is an important feature of the armed forces and cannot be ignored. This text contemplates an extended version of this logic by considering whether or not soldiers have the duty to disobey lawful orders that, if respected, will likely result in harm to civilians, such as war crimes and/or genocide. Based on the examples of the genocide of Srebrenica in 1995 and Rwanda in 1994 and from moral arguments, this text discusses that ethical disobedience should include such a possibility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalCritical Military Studies
Volume5
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2 2019

Fingerprint

Rwanda
genocide
soldier
obligation
war crime
military
Military
Soldiers
Disobedience
Genocide
Obligation

Keywords

  • duty to rescue
  • Ethical disobedience
  • military
  • protection of civilians
  • Rwanda
  • Srebrenica

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Law

Cite this

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