Red Cross Uses 'Star Wars' Through Twitter to Explain the Rules of War

To celebrate the release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the International Committee of the Red Cross demonstrated the rules of war through Star Wars movies on Twitter.

It doesn’t matter if you’re in this galaxy or one far, far away.

The rules of war still apply.#TheRiseofSkywalker  is out in cinemas so let’s imagine how those rules could apply to Star Wars.

We won’t spoil the plot, but we might spoil your favourite movie. #thread pic.twitter.com/u643xBOVWt

— ICRC (@ICRC) December 20, 2019

Citing examples from the original Star Wars trilogy, the Red Cross, which is based in Geneva, Switzerland, explained different rules of war according to the International Humanitarian Law (IHL)

"It doesn't matter if you're in this galaxy or one far, far away," the organization wrote. "The rules of war still apply."

IHL was developed during the Geneva Conventions and is almost universally respected internationally. The laws are designed to limit the effects that conflict have on civilians and other people not participating in hostilities.

The Red Cross also noted that while IHL was written on Earth to govern terrestrial warfare, "the rules of war apply in every galaxy." The organization also cited the Outer Space Treaty, which was written in 1967, "confirms that IHL also applies in space." The Outer Space Treaty does forbid nations from storing weapons of mass destruction in space though (Star Wars: A New Hope was not released until 1977).

The thread began with an example from A New Hope. When the Rebel ship is captured by the Imperial star destroyer, the following battle still respected the rules of war, because "the battle is between fighters only."

Nonetheless, the Red Cross still called out Darth Vader for committing war crimes, when he strangled Rebel Captain Raymus Antilles. "The captain had already surrendered. He was no longer part of the fight." Red Cross wrote that hors de combat applies. Hors de combat, which translates to "out of combat," protects fighters who are incapable of battle due to wounds, illness, captured or surrendered.

The Red Cross also wrote that destruction of Alderaan, Princess Leia's home planet, in A New Hope is a definite violation of IHL. "A whole planet was destroyed and millions of civilians were killed," the Red Cross tweeted. Due to the huge number of civilian casualties, the Red Cross called this an "indiscriminate attack," which is forbidden by IHL.

The Red Cross acknowledged that sometimes the rules of war can be a little more complicated in some scenarios. Discussing the Ewoks in Return of the Jedi, Red Cross wrote that the furry creatures may be viewed as civilians when they first encounter Han Solo, Luke and Leia Skywalker. "But when they attacked Imperial forces you could say they became part of the fight... and lost their protection," the organization wrote.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is in theaters now.

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HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 19: A "Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker" screening during "Star Wars" Marathon hosted by Nerdist on December 19, 2019 in Hollywood, California. JC Olivera/Getty Images/Getty