In a video posted to X and also shared by Telegram channel “Aerobomber” with a description in Ukrainian text translated to “We destroy a horde of bastards with drones”, an egregious violation of the Geneva Convention can be seen if the footage is legitimate. The telegram channel has posted numerous videos of cowardly drone strikes on individual troops and small units, almost exclusively bearing the 30th Mechanized Brigade logo in the top right corner.
The video in question, which is one of the few that doesn’t display the above emblem, shows overhead footage of likely a drone hovering over a soldier in the open. It drops an explosive device on the soldier’s position and wounds him.
After an edit, the video then shows what appears to be the same soldier lying on the ground waving his hands in surrender and pointing to his leg at what looks like a field tourniquet he applied. The drone then drops another ordinance as the unarmed, surrendering soldier attempts to evacuate the blast radius as the ordinance detonates.
Once again, the soldier can be seen frantically waving his arms in surrender as the drone, shockingly, drops a third explosive device on his location.
**Warning: the video in the X post below contains graphic images**
30th Mechanised Brigade continue destroy Orcs near Bakhmut Donetsk region
This Ork came to Ukraine with weapons in order to kill and destroy our cities.
After dropping the drone, he asked to “mercy” him, but he would rather stay at home pic.twitter.com/FMD6LwfAIv
— Cloooud | (@GloOouD) September 21, 2023
According to the Basic Rules of the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols published by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), this is a violation of the international humanitarian law in armed conflicts. The ICRC document states:
Summary: Basic rules of international humanitarian law in armed conflicts
1. Persons hors de combat and those who do not take a direct part in hostilities are entitled to respect for
their lives and their moral and physical integrity. They shall in all circumstances be protected and treated
humanely without any adverse distinction.
2. It is forbidden to kill or injure an enemy who surrenders or who is hors de combat.
3. The wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for by the party to the conflict which has them in its
power. Protection also covers medical personnel, establishments, transports and equipment. The emblem of the red
cross or the red crescent is the sign of such protection and must be respected.
Another ICRC document states “a combatant is Hors de Combat if:
- he is in the power of an adverse party;
- he clearly expresses an intention to surrender; or
- he has been rendered unconscious or is otherwise incapacitated by wounds or sickness, and is therefore incapable of defending himself.
Cambridge University Press also published The Rules of Surrender in International Humanitarian Law, which states:
“It is inconvertible that under international humanitarian law it is unlawful to directly target an enemy who has surrendered.“
The argument was posed in the comments of the X post that the drone cannot detain the soldier and therefore he cannot surrender. To the contrary, detainment is not a requirement for surrender according to the above-mentioned ICRC casebook, citing the ICRC’s “Customary International Humanitarian Law Volume I”:
“The rule of surrender does not require the opposing force to detain surrendered persons as prisoners of war (although they can if they wish)”
As the United States continues to fund the Ukrainians in this war with billions of dollars, against the will of the majority of its population, there needs to be investigations and assurances that the Geneva Convention is being followed in regards to humanitarian law.