Identification of Bullets: Human Right and Human Responsibility?
TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 5 May 2014
Much is made of the implications of the arms trade and the spread of weapons, notably manufactured by the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. This has become a fact of life and is accepted as such.
Curiously it is less evident whose weapons are used in the final killing of individuals in combat — especially the weapons used “illegally” by insurgents. The following is a brief exploration of the possibility of identifying who supplied the bullet which finally entered the body of the person maimed or killed.
Does the person so wounded — or the relatives of those killed — have the right to know who produced the bullet? Is this a fundamental human right or a matter of human responsibility?
Whereas not many years ago it would have been considered ridiculous to sell fruit individually identified by marks enabling their precise origin to be determined — even to the person who packed them — such labelling is now commonplace. The argument is that in the event of a threat to health associated with the product, whether fruit or other consumer products, responsibility can be precisely established. Such labelling may be a requirement governing import of foreign products.
If precise labelling can be justified for sources of life-giving human nourishment, because of their potential threat to health, is there not a case for denitrifying those products intended as a means of incapacitating individuals, possibly terminally? Do relatives have a right to the bullet by which a loved one was killed?
More generally is it appropriate to be able to indicate, with as much details as possible, who was responsible for the manufacture of the bullet? Should the bullets used in insurgency operations be a matter of public knowledge?
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 5 May 2014.
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