The War Crime of Wilful Killing is an offence under section 268.24 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth), which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.
To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:
You ‘caused’ the person’s death if your conduct substantially contributed to it.
You were ‘reckless’ if you were aware there was a substantial risk that the person was protected under a Geneva Convention, but went ahead with your actions regardless.
Persons protected under the Geneva Conventions include:
‘International armed conflict’ includes, “all cases of declared war or of any other armed conflict which may arise between two or more… [nations] even if the state of war is not recognized by one of them”. It covers “all cases of partial or total occupation of the territory… [of a nation], even if the said occupation meets with no resistance”.
Self defence is a complete defence to the charge.
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