Friday, August 26, 2005

Sea Bed Mission Stirs Falklands Ghosts

Sea Bed Mission Stirs Falklands Ghosts. This is an article from the Guardian that recounts a 2003 National Geographic Society mission to visit the wreck of the General Belgrano. This ship had been sunk by the British in the Falklands Islands War of 1982.

During the attack, 323 Argentine sailors died. It was the heaviest loss of life for either side from any single engagement during the war. (It is worth noting that the General Belgrano had previously been the USS Phoenix and it had survived the Pearl harbor attack in 1941.)

What really caught my attention was this paragraph from the article. It reads, "According to the Argentinean navy, the Belgrano was steaming out of the 200-mile maritime exclusion zone fixed by Britain, and therefore there was no reason to attack it...But in July 2000 two Argentinean families filed a lawsuit against Britain for sinking the Belgrano outside the 200-mile exclusion zone, on the grounds that it violated their sons' "right to life", protected under the European convention on human rights."

What? If I remember this correctly, Argentina and the United Kingdom were at war. As such, it seems perfectly reasonable and legal to sink a ship from the other side regardless where it is at. Argentina also sank a few ships including the HMS Sheffield and the HMS Antelope. I do not suppose any British families sued Argentina for the wrongful loss of life.

Fortunately, the case brought by the Argentinean families was dismissed. But you have to wonder what the families were thinking when they brought this frivolous case to court. Did they really think they could win?


hank_F_M said...

If I member correctly the 200 mile zone was:

Self imposed by the United Kingdom, a restriction not required by any law, so I do not see how it could create a right.

The zone was of “inside we shoot on suspicion – outside we shoot only on positive ID of a military target” nature.

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