The Deneb Accords were the interstellar agreement concerning the law of war in the Post Diaspora era. Historians sometimes noted the similarity in spirit of the Geneva Conventions[1] of Pre-Diaspora Earth.

Signatory star nations[edit | edit source]

Many civilized worlds, perhaps even most when considering the size of the Solarian League, agreed to the Deneb Accords.[2] The Accords were in force, at least formally, on both sides during the First Manticoran-Havenite War, and the Solarian League acted, at least nominally, as the neutral monitoring party. (HH7, HH8)

Subjects[edit | edit source]

The Deneb Accords were strictly applied to wars declared between star nations.

  • Combatants acting without the legal orders of their own government were not protected by such law. (HH12)
  • Commerce raiders were entitled to be protected like prisoners of war when they operated under the legal orders of their own government. Such provision probably included privateers also. (HHA3.1: MMH, HH6, SI1)
For example personnel of Task Force 496, SLN, captured at the Battle of Spindle, were not automatically subject to the Deneb Accords.

Section 27[edit | edit source]

Section 27 dealt with the treatment of prisoners of war.[3] It specifically prohibited criminal proceedings (including trial) against enemy personnel in time of war.

Subsection 41[edit | edit source]

Subsection 41[4] defined an exception to the POW protection rules established in Section 27. A POW's status as a prisoner of war could be vacated if there were prior proceedings (convictions, sentences, etc) which predated the present conflict. Thus, such situations could, in essence, continue as though the conflict did not exist; continuation of judicial or penal business as usual. (HH7)

The Deneb Accords had been amended by that provision after the Kersey Association's war against the Manitoban Republic. The Kerseyites put convicted Manitoban murderers into uniform and then claimed their status as prisoners of war protected them from the execution of their sentences.
In 1911 PD, Havenite Secretary of Public Information Cordelia Ransom exercised Subsection 41 to transfer Commodore Honor Harrington, RMN, from military custody into the hands of the Office of State Security, in order to execute her on the grounds that Harrington had been convicted of murder committed in 1901 PD, prior to the start of the current conflict.[5]

Subsection 42[edit | edit source]

Nullum crimen sine lege.

Subsection 42 allowed wartime trials for violations of local (pre-occupation) law.

This prevented ex post facto trials under the later laws.
Most legal authorities interpreted this to mean that those accused of violations should be tried in civilian courts following the end of hostilities. However, due to an unusual and emergency situation Admiral Honor Harrington decided to establish a military court, and appoint to it officers drawn from those imprisoned on Hades.
The military tribunal on Hades tried StateSec personnel under the criminal law of the People's Republic of Haven, in accord with provisions of the People's Uniform Code of Conduct and the Field Regulations. (HH8)

Other provisions concerning POWs[edit | edit source]

Notification of capture[edit | edit source]

Belligerents were obliged to notify the monitors of the capture of prisoners, especially those with high status or value. (HH6, HH7)

Assault on captors[edit | edit source]

POWs who assaulted their captors other than in escape attempts, or in self-defense, forfeited the protections of the Accords, though the punishment for such actions could not be capital, even for murder. (HH7)

Provoked incident was an excuse to explain, why senior personnel of Allied Cruiser Squadron 18 weren't transferred into regular POW camp, but taken into custody by the Havenite Office of State Security. It seems it was a case without precedent however:
  • it wasn't mentioned that any combatant bonded treecat was captured earlier,
  • Nimitz' unique status was not claimed before captors and recognized by them, like:
  • the Havenite government did not recognize Nimitz as a sentient creature; Cordelia Ransom of the Committee of Public Safety issued orders to shoot him immediately with the excuse that POWs should not possess pets,
  • self-defense issue:
    • the only person entitled to act in direct self-defense was Nimitz,
    • because of their bonding, Commodore Harrington was forced to defend Nimitz,
    • Grayson law obliged members of the Harrington Guard to defend their steadholder,
    • not all present CruRon 18 personnel made an assault on StateSec functionaries.

POW camp monitoring[edit | edit source]

Places where prisoners of war were detained had to be monitored by a neutral party, typically a monitoring power. (HH7)

During both the First and Second Havenite-Manticoran War, the Solarian League monitored both sides' treatment of prisoners, at least nominally. The People's Republic of Haven notified it of captured combatants kept in the POW camps managed by the People's Navy only. Prisoners kept in the prisons managed by the Havenite Office of State Security were not monitored.[6]

Exchange of prisoners[edit | edit source]

The Deneb Accords also regulated the exchange of a Prisoner of war between belligerent parties. (HH8)

There was no exchange of prisoners during the First Havenite-Manticoran War. Exchange occurred during the truce however. (SI1)

Parole[edit | edit source]

Conditions of a parole were binding until proper exchange of paroled Prisoner of war. The Charleston Center referenced the Greenbriar-Chanticleer War when it created an exception to the accords. (SI2)

Torture[edit | edit source]

Torture was outlawed.

Psych adjustment[edit | edit source]

Psych adjustment was outlawed, however nations had to constantly improve counter-techniques. (HHA2.2: WPD)

Other rules of the interstellar law of war[edit | edit source]

There were some issues concerning the interstellar law of war without referring to the Deneb Accords.

Unlawful assault[edit | edit source]

Assaulted party was entitled to scuttle warships belonged to assaulter. (SI2)

Neutral territory[edit | edit source]

The armed vessels of belligerent powers were to leave the sovereign territory of neutral powers within forty-eight T-hours of notice being given by one party to the conflict. A system's territorial limit extended half a standard light-day from its primary. (HHA1.2: AGT)

After that time limit expired, combat on the neutral territory was legitimate, if a party to the conflict had not obeyed the requirement to leave a neutral territory.
If a neutral authority refused to give the required notice, its territory lost neutral status.

Survivors[edit | edit source]

It was forbidden to shoot at shipwrecked persons. (HH8, HH14, HHA1.2: AGT)

Protection of the civilians[edit | edit source]

The interstellar law of war concerning the protection of the civilians was influenced by Amendment 97 of the Constitution of the Solarian League called the Eridani Edict. (HH8)

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Pre-Diaspora law of war was the Hague Conventions in fact.
  2. Exceptions among spacegoing nations included Masada and, probably covertly, Mesa.
  3. Another such agreement was the Geneva Convention on Old Earth.
  4. Also referred to as Article 41
  5. Harrington's prosecution and conviction (in absentia) was primarily a public relations exercise to blunt the Manticoran claim that a Havenite Q-ship had precipitated the Basilisk terminus takeover attempt.
  6. Cordelia Ransom unofficially viewed the Accords as "archaic remnants of the plutocratic past", and only followed them because of the anticipated damage to the PRH's public image should they be prominently violated.
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