According to a press release on Monday, Sweden’s Supreme Court has established that posing with a dead body during armed conflict constitutes a war crime. This comes following an array of judgements contemplating whether the term protected persons under the Act on Criminal Responsibility for Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes covers dead persons.
The ruling stems from the prosecution of a man who served as a soldier in the Kurdish Peshmerga forces during the Iraqi civil war and posed with dead bodies for photographs and film on at least four occasions. These photos and films were all posted on social media.
According to the courts, the definition of protected persons under the Act regarding humiliating or degrading treatment refers to the use of the term for customary purposes in international humanitarian law. The Swedish court deemed dead persons to fall under the term protected persons, meaning that they are entitled to safeguards against the violation of their dignity.
As such, the man was sentenced in light of the penal value of the criminal acts as well as the fact that war crimes constitute crimes of character, which call for imprisonment of one year.