War Crimes of the First Order

Kylo Ren is a war criminal with sins equal to the My Lia Massacre. In his pursuit to find and kill his uncle Luke Skywalker, Ren lead First Order Stormtroopers to Jakku to recover a map to Skywalker. The Troopers opened fired on unarmed civilians and captured those left alive. Ren murdered Lor San Tekka with his lightsaber and ordered the Stormtroopers to “kill them all,” when questioned on what to do with the villagers.

All of these acts were before Ren committed Han-icide. While General Leia Organa might have unconditional love for her son, there are limits to a mother wanting a mass murderer back. At what point does Leia order Kylo Ren be killed?

The villagers on Jakku were civilians whose only crime was being in the way of the First Order. There is the legal maxim that “Enemy prisoners are not subject to summary execution by their captors. Military law has long held that the killing of an unresisting prisoner is murder.” United States v Calley, 48 C.M.R. 19, 25 (U.S. C.M.A. 1973), citing Winthrop’s Military Law and Precedents, 2d ed., 1920 Reprint, at 788-91. Moreover, “[w]hile it is lawful to kill an enemy “in the heat and exercise of war,” yet “to kill such an enemy after he has laid down his arms . . . is murder.” Id. Furthermore, nations are prohibited from committing murder on “persons taking no active part in the hostilities.” USCS Geneva IV, Article 3, section (1)(a).

The First Order Stormtroopers quickly overran the Jakku villagers. The civilians were rounded up and summarily executed. There is no colorable argument that the villagers were part of the Resistance, let alone offering resistance.

Kylo Ren literally quoted Lt. William Calley when he ordered the Stormtroopers to “kill them all.” In Calley’s appeal in the My Lia Massacre, the Court found the following:

Conceding for the purposes of this assignment of error that Calley believed the villagers were part of “the enemy,” the uncontradicted evidence is that they were under the control of armed soldiers and were offering no resistance. In his testimony, Calley admitted he was aware of the requirement that prisoners be treated with respect. He also admitted he knew that the normal practice was to interrogate villagers, release those who could satisfactorily account for themselves, and evacuate the suspect among them for further examination. Instead of proceeding in the usual way, Calley executed all, without regard to age, condition, or possibility of suspicion. On the evidence, the court-martial could reasonably find Calley guilty of the offenses before us.

Calley, at *25.

The First Order committed a war crime on Jakku by killing every civilian at the village. Kylo Ren could be prosecuted for giving the order to commit murder. The one person who refused to follow orders was FN-2187. First Order Stormtrooper FN-2199 should watch calling “Finn” a traitor, because Finn is the only one who refused to commit a war crime. That makes Finn the hero.