Desertion and Gaps in International Humanitarian Law: Dealing with Changes of Allegiance in the Singapore War Crimes Trials

Asian Journal of International Law, Forthcoming

19 Pages Posted: 31 Oct 2016

See all articles by W.L. Cheah

W.L. Cheah

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Faculty of Law

Date Written: October 31, 2016

Abstract

By studying British Indian Army (BIA) desertions during the Second World War and British post-war trial responses, this article explores the complicated dimensions of desertion and draws attention to the need for a more explicit and comprehensive approach to desertion in international humanitarian law. This article focuses on less known British trials dealing with desertion, namely, war crimes trials conducted by the British in Singapore. It examines how these trials dealt with contested interpretations of desertion. Drawing on lessons from these trials, this article then highlights gaps in today’s international humanitarian law framework, specifically, the need to take into account the realities of desertion, its different permutations, and the difficulties of differentiating between POWs and deserters.

Keywords: International criminal law, international humanitarian law, war crimes trials

Suggested Citation

Cheah, W.L., Desertion and Gaps in International Humanitarian Law: Dealing with Changes of Allegiance in the Singapore War Crimes Trials (October 31, 2016). Asian Journal of International Law, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2861784

W.L. Cheah (Contact Author)

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Faculty of Law ( email )

469G Bukit Timah Road
Eu Tong Sen Building
Singapore, 259776
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