French soldiers asked to refuse illegal orders

Published on Yahoo Groups rael-science-select, Feb 2, 2006.

… The French army has clarified its rules of discipline, telling soldiers to refuse any order that would lead to an illegal action, and to immediately report it to the military top officials.

“The subordinate must refuse to follow an order that would clearly lead to an illegal action. Otherwise, the subordinate that will have carried out this order will expose himself to disciplinary and legal action” says the military bylaw, published in the Official Bulletin of the Armies in December (2005).

This bulletin “targets the way each articles of the July 2005 bylaw will be applied, in relation to the general discipline of the military” It is, however, more precise than the bylaw itself, published before the incident of M. Mahe, a civilian in Ivory Coast, assassinated by soldiers.

The bylaw said, in article 7, that the “subordinate must not execute” any illegal order, without clearly using the verb “refuse”.

Firmin Mahe, accused by French soldiers of violence toward local populations was killed by suffocation, his head in a plastic bag, in an armoured vehicle of the French Army on May 13th, 2005 in Ivory Coast … (full text).

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