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105th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 1st Session                                                    105-204
_______________________________________________________________________


 
                    EXPANDED WAR CRIMES ACT OF 1997

                                _______
                                

 July 25, 1997.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

_______________________________________________________________________


Mr. Smith of Texas, from the Committee on the Judiciary, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                            DISSENTING VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 1348]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

  The Committee on the Judiciary, to whom was referred the bill 
(H.R. 1348) to amend title 18, United States Code, relating to 
war crimes, having considered the same, report favorably 
thereon with an amendment and recommend that the bill as 
amended do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
The Amendment....................................................     2
Purpose and Summary..............................................     2
Background and Need for Legislation..............................     2
Hearings.........................................................     7
Committee Consideration..........................................     7
Vote of the Committee............................................     7
Committee Oversight Findings.....................................     7
Committee on Government Reform and Oversight Findings............     8
New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures........................     8
Congressional Budget Office Estimate.............................     8
Constitutional Authority Statement...............................     9
Section-by-Section Analysis and Discussion.......................     9
Agency Views.....................................................    10
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............    10
Dissenting Views.................................................    12

  The amendment is as follows:
  Strike out all after the enacting clause and insert in lieu 
thereof the following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``Expanded War Crimes Act of 1997''.

SEC. 2. DEFINITION OF WAR CRIMES.

  Section 2441 of title 18, United States Code, is amended--
          (1) in subsection (a), by striking ``grave breach of the 
        Geneva Conventions'' and inserting ``war crime'';
          (2) in subsection (b), by striking ``breach'' each place it 
        appears and inserting ``war crime''; and
          (3) so that subsection (c) reads as follows:
  ``(c) Definition.--As used in this section the term `war crime' means 
any conduct--
          ``(1) defined as a grave breach in any of the international 
        conventions signed at Geneva 12 August 1949, or any protocol to 
        such convention to which the United States is a party;
          ``(2) prohibited by Articles 23, 25, 27, or 28 of the Annex 
        to the Hague Convention IV, Respecting the Laws and Customs of 
        War on Land, signed 18 October 1907;
          ``(3) which constitutes a violation of common Article 3 of 
        the international conventions signed at Geneva 12 August 1949, 
        or any protocol to such convention to which the United States 
        is a party and which deals with non-international armed 
        conflict; or
          ``(4) of a person who, in relation to an armed conflict and 
        contrary to the provisions of the Protocol on Prohibitions or 
        Restrictions on the Use of Mines, Booby-Traps and Other Devices 
        as amended at Geneva on 3 May 1996 (Protocol II as amended on 3 
        May 1996), when the United States is a party to such Protocol, 
        willfully kills or causes serious injury to civilians.''.

                          Purpose and Summary

    H.R. 1348, as reported by the Committee, would amend 
section 2441 of title 18, U.S. Code, by expanding the number of 
war crimes violation of which would subject the perpetrator to 
criminal penalties.

                Background and Need for the Legislation

   I. Public Law 104-192 and the Punishment of Perpetrators of Grave 
                   Breaches of the Geneva Conventions

    In the 104th Congress, H.R. 3680, the ``War Crimes Act of 
1996'', was favorably reported by the Judiciary 
Committee.1 The legislation was passed by the House 
and the Senate. It was enacted into law on August 21, 1996, 
becoming Public Law 104-192.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\ The Judiciary Committee's report is available as H.R. Rep. No. 
104-698, 104th Cong., 2d Sess. (1996) (hereinafter referred to as 
``Committee Report on H.R. 3680''), reprinted in 1996 U.S.C.C.A.N. 
2166.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    H.R. 3680 carried out the obligation the United States 
incurred when it ratified the 1949 Geneva Conventions for the 
Protection of Victims of War 2 to provide criminal 
penalties for grave breaches of the conventions.3
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \2\ There were four conventions: Convention for the Amelioration of 
the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field, 
Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of Wounded, Sick, and 
Shipwrecked Members of Armed Forces at Sea, Convention Relative to the 
Treatment of Prisoners of War, and Convention Relative to the 
Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War.
    \3\ See Committee Report on H.R. 3680 for a description of the 
Geneva Conventions, ``grave breaches'' thereof, and the punishment of 
the perpetrators of war crimes generally.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    H.R. 3680 created a new Chapter 118 of title 18 of the 
United States Code entitled ``War Crimes.'' The Chapter 
contains a new section 2441, providing that whoever, whether 
inside or outside the United States, commits a grave breach of 
the Geneva Conventions in two specified circumstances shall be 
fined under title 18 or imprisoned for life or any term of 
years, or both, and if death results to the victim, shall also 
be subject to the penalty of death.
    The two circumstances are (1) the person committing the 
breach is a member of the armed forces of the United States or 
a national of the United States, and (2) the victim of the 
breach is a member of the armed forces of the United States or 
a national of the United States. ``Grave breach of the Geneva 
Conventions'' means conduct defined as a grave breach in any of 
the four Geneva Conventions, or any protocol to the conventions 
to which the United States is a party.4
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \4\ Presently, two protocols have been drafted: Protocol I 
(Relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed 
Conflicts) and Protocol II (Relating to the Protection of Victims of 
Non-International Armed Conflicts). They were opened for signature in 
1977 and have not been ratified by the United States.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

 II. Administration Request that the Scope of the Statute be Broadened

    When the Immigration and Claims Subcommittee held hearings 
on H.R. 2587, the predecessor bill to H.R. 3680, Michael J. 
Matheson, Principal Deputy Legal Adviser to the Department of 
State, advised that the bill be amended to criminalize under 
domestic law ``war crimes'' other than grave breaches of the 
Geneva Conventions. The Committee agrees with the Department's 
recommendation.
    Excerpts from Mr. Matheson's testimony follow:

          [T]he Administration supports expanding the types of 
        violations of international humanitarian law to be 
        addressed by H.R. 2587. We suggest that the provision 
        cover not only grave breaches of the 1949 Geneva 
        Conventions, but a more general category of ``war 
        crimes'' that would be defined to include certain 
        violations of the laws of war in addition to grave 
        breaches. Specifically:
          We believe H.R. 2587 should make it a crime under 
        U.S. law to commit violations of the rules specified in 
        Common Article 3 and Additional Protocol II to the 1949 
        Geneva Conventions that apply during non-international 
        armed conflict, that is, civil wars and other internal 
        conflicts. As the grim experience in Rwanda reminds us, 
        some of the most horrible war crimes occur in internal 
        armed conflicts, as to which the grave breach 
        provisions of the 1949 Geneva Conventions may not be 
        applicable.
          For example, Common Article 3 of the Geneva 
        Convention prohibits murder, cruel treatment, and 
        torture of persons, such as civilians or captured or 
        wounded combatants, taking no active part in 
        hostilities during a non-international armed conflict. 
        As evidence of the importance of the protections of 
        international law in non-international armed conflicts, 
        the United States has taken the position that the 
        Statute of International Criminal Tribunal for the 
        Former Yugoslavia, which give the Tribunal jurisdiction 
        over ``persons violating the laws or customs of war,'' 
        includes violations of Common Article 3 and the 
        additional protocols to the Geneva Conventions. We 
        believe that such violations should similarly be 
        treated as war crimes for purposes of U.S. law, and 
        thus should be covered by an expanded H.R. 2587.
          Further, H.R. 2587 should be expanded to cover 
        violations of Articles 23, 25, 27, and 28 of the Annex 
        to the Hague Convention IV, Respecting the Laws and 
        Customs of War on Land, of October 18, 1907, applicable 
        to international armed conflict. The 1907 Hague 
        Convention is an important source of international 
        humanitarian law, and it served as an important basis 
        of law for the Nuremberg Tribunal.
          Article 23 of the Convention lists a series of acts 
        prohibited in war, including, among other things, using 
        poison weapons, killing individuals who have laid down 
        their arms and surrendered, and employing arms 
        calculated to cause unnecessary suffering. Article 25 
        prohibits the bombardment of undefended towns, 
        villages, dwellings, or buildings. Article 27 requires 
        forces to take steps to spare, as far as possible, 
        buildings dedicated to religion, art, science, or 
        charitable purposes, historic monuments, hospitals, and 
        places where the sick and wounded are collected, 
        provided they are not being used at the time for 
        military purposes. Article 28 prohibits pillage. 
        Provisions such as these have provided the basis for 
        Article 3 of the Statute of International Criminal 
        Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, which gives the 
        Tribunal jurisdiction over ``persons violating the laws 
        or customs of war.''
          The Administration believes such violations should 
        also be treated as war crimes in H.R. 2587.
          Finally, the United States has recently participated 
        in the successful negotiation of an amendment to 
        Protocol II (on land mines) to the Convention on 
        Conventional Weapons, to which the United States is a 
        Party. The amended Protocol, which will soon be 
        submitted to the Senate for its advice and consent, 
        will require the imposition of penal sanctions against 
        persons who, in relation to armed conflict and contrary 
        to the provisions of the Protocol, willfully kill or 
        cause serious injury to civilians.
          The United States should take care now, in H.R. 2587, 
        to provide for making such offenses criminal under U.S. 
        law when the amended Protocol comes into force for the 
        United States. (We fully expect favorable Senate 
        consideration, and hopefully entry into force, next 
        year.) Doing so would ensure, for example, that 
        deliberate, indiscriminate use of anti-personnel mines 
        to harm civilians would constitute an offense under 
        U.S. law. This objective is entirely consistent with 
        Congressional sentiments and Administration policy on 
        ending the humanitarian crisis posed by these 
        weapons.5
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \5\ See War Crimes Act of 1995: Hearing on H.R. 2587 Before the 
Subcomm. On Immigration and Claims of the House Comm. on the Judiciary, 
104th Cong., 2d Sess. 12-13 (1996) (hereinafter referred to as 
``Hearing''). A representative of the Department of Defense testified 
similarly. Id. at 15-16.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                             III. H.R. 1348

A. The legislation

    H.R. 1348 carries out the recommendation of the Department 
of State to expand the number of offenses commission of which 
would subject perpetrators to federal criminal penalties under 
section 2441 of title 18, U.S. Code. The new offenses are 
conduct:
          Prohibited by articles 23, 25, 27, or 28 of the Annex 
        to the Hague Convention IV, Respecting the Laws and 
        Customs of War on Land, signed 18 October 1907; 
        6
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \6\ The Hague Convention was ratified by the United States on 
November 23, 1909.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
          which constitutes a violation of common article 3 of 
        the 1949 Geneva Conventions, or any protocol to such 
        conventions to which the United States is a party and 
        which deals with non-international armed conflict; 
        7 or
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \7\ Protocol II of the Geneva Conventions (Relating to the 
Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts) has never 
been ratified by the United States. Thus, the United States is not yet 
a party to the protocol.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
          of a person who, in relation to an armed conflict and 
        contrary to the provisions of the Protocol on 
        Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Mines, 
        Booby-Traps and Other Devices as amended at Geneva on 3 
        May 1996, when the United States is a party to such 
        Protocol, willfully kills or causes serious injury to 
        civilians.8
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \8\ Senate hearings on this protocol are expected to commence in 
the fall of 1997. Article 14 of the Protocol provides in part that:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

          (1) Each High Contracting Party shall take all appropriate 
        steps, including legislative and other measures, to prevent and 
        suppress violations of this Protocol by persons or on territory 
        under its jurisdiction or control.
          (2) The measures envisaged in paragraph 1 of this Article 
        include appropriate measures to ensure the imposition of penal 
        sanctions against persons who, in relation to an armed conflict 
        and contrary to the provisions of this Protocol, willfully kill 
        or cause serious injury to civilians and to bring such persons 
        to justice.
S. Treaty Doc. 105-1 (Protocols to the 1980 Conventional Weapons 
Convention) at 51 (The entire protocol is reproduced in this 
document.). Like the four Geneva Conventions, this protocol thus 
requires signatory countries to enact domestic criminal legislation to 
punish violators. See Committee Report on H.R. 3680 at 3.

B. Relevant provisions of treaties that have been ratified by the 
        United States

            1. Article 23 of the Hague Convention
    [I]t is especially forbidden:
          (a) To employ poison or poisoned weapons;
          (b) To kill or wound treacherously individuals 
        belonging to the hostile nation or army;
          (c) To kill or wound an enemy who, having laid down 
        his arms, or having no longer means of defence, has 
        surrendered at discretion;
          (d) To declare that no quarter will be given;
          (e) To employ arms, projectiles, or material 
        calculated to cause unnecessary suffering;
          (f) To make improper use of a flag of truce, of the 
        national flag, or of the military insignia and uniform 
        of the enemy, as well as the distinctive badges of the 
        Geneva Convention;
          (g) To destroy or seize the enemy's property, unless 
        such destruction or seizure be imperatively demanded by 
        the necessities of war;
          (h) To declare abolished, suspended, or inadmissible 
        in a Court of Law the rights and actions of the 
        nationals of the hostile party.
    A belligerent is likewise forbidden to compel the nationals 
of the hostile party to take part in the operations of war 
directed against their own country, even if they were in the 
belligerent's service before the commencement of the war.
            2. Article 25 of the Hague Convention
    The attack or bombardment, by whatever means, of towns, 
villages, dwellings, or buildings which are undefended is 
prohibited.
            3. Article 27 of the Hague Convention
    In sieges and bombardments all necessary steps must be 
taken to spare, as far as possible, buildings dedicated to 
religion, art, science, or charitable purposes, historic 
monuments, hospitals, and places where the sick and wounded are 
collected, provided they are not being used at the time for 
military purposes.
    It is the duty of the besieged to indicate the presence of 
such buildings or places by distinctive and visible signs, 
which shall be notified to the enemy beforehand.
            4. Article 28 of the Hague Convention
    The pillage of a town or place, even when taken by assault, 
is prohibited.
            5. Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions
    In the case of armed conflict not of an international 
character occurring in the territory of one of the High 
Contracting Parties, each Party to the conflict shall be bound 
to apply, as a minimum, the following provisions:
          (1) Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, 
        including members of armed forces who have laid down 
        their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, 
        wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all 
        circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse 
        distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, 
        sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.
          To this end, the following acts are and shall remain 
        prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with 
        respect to the above-mentioned persons:
                  (a) violence to life and person, in 
                particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, 
                cruel treatment and torture;
                  (b) taking of hostages;
                  (c) outrages upon personal dignity, in 
                particular humiliating and degrading treatment;
                  (d) the passing of sentences and the carrying 
                out of executions without previous judgment 
                pronounced by a regularly constituted court, 
                affording all the judicial guarantees which are 
                recognized as indispensable by civilized 
                peoples.
          (2) The wounded and sick shall be collected and cared 
        for.
    An impartial humanitarian body, such as the International 
Committee of the Red Cross, may offer its services to the 
Parties to the conflict.
    The Parties to the conflict should further endeavor to 
bring into force, by means of special agreements, all or part 
of the other provisions of the present Convention.
    The application of the preceding provisions shall not 
affect the legal status of the Parties to the conflict.

                                Hearings

    No hearings were held on H.R. 1348. However, during the 
104th Congress, the Committee's Subcommittee on Immigration and 
Claims held one day of hearings on H.R. 2587, the predecessor 
bill to H.R. 3680.9
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \9\ See Hearing.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                        Committee Consideration

    On July 15, 1997, the Subcommittee on Immigration and 
Claims met in open session and ordered reported the bill H.R. 
1348 by a voice vote, a quorum being present. On July 23, 1997, 
the Committee met in open session and ordered reported 
favorably the bill H.R. 1348 without amendment by a recorded 
vote of 17 to 4, a quorum being present.

                         Vote of the Committee

    Vote on Final Passage: Adopted 17 to 4.
        AYES                          NAYS
Mr. Hyde                            Mr. Conyers
Mr. McCollum                        Mr. Scott
Mr. Gekas                           Mr. Watt
Mr. Coble                           Mr. Delahunt
Mr. Smith
Mr. Gallegly
Mr. Canady
Mr. Inglis
Mr. Buyer
Mr. Bono
Mr. Bryant
Mr. Chabot
Mr. Jenkins
Mr. Cannon
Mr. Nadler
Ms. Lofgren
Mr. Meehan

                      Committee Oversight Findings

    In compliance with clause 2(l)(3)(A) of rule XI of the 
Rules of the House of Representatives, the Committee reports 
that the findings and recommendations of the Committee, based 
on oversight activities under clause 2(b)(1) of rule X of the 
Rules of the House of Representatives, are incorporated in the 
descriptive portions of this report.

         Committee on Government Reform and Oversight Findings

    No findings or recommendations of the Committee on 
Government Reform and Oversight were received as referred to in 
clause 2(l)(3)(D) of rule XI of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives.

               New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures

    Clause 2(l)(3)(B) of House rule XI is inapplicable because 
this legislation does not provide new budgetary authority or 
increased tax expenditures.

               Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

    In compliance with clause 2(l)(3)(C) of rule XI of the 
Rules of the House of Representatives, the Committee sets 
forth, with respect to the bill, H.R. 1348, the following 
estimate and comparison prepared by the Director of the 
Congressional Budget Office under section 403 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                     Washington, DC, July 24, 1997.
Hon. Henry J. Hyde,
Chairman, Committee on the Judiciary,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 1348, the Expanded 
War Crimes Act of 1997.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Susanne S. 
Mehlman.
            Sincerely,
                                         June E. O'Neill, Director.
    Enclosure.

H.R. 1348--Expanded War Crimes Act of 1997

    CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 1348 would not result in 
any significant cost to the federal government. Because 
enactment of H.R. 1348 could affect direct spending and 
receipts, pay-as-you-go procedures would apply to the bill. 
However, CBO estimates that any impact on direct spending and 
receipts would not be significant.
    Under current law, a perpetrator of certain war crimes in 
violation of the 1949 Geneva Conventions would be subject to 
criminal prosecution in the United States if either the victim 
or the perpetrator is a member of the U.S. armed forces or is a 
U.S. national. Enacting H.R. 1348 would make additional war 
crimes federal offenses that could be prosecuted by the U.S. 
government. Thus, CBO expects that under H.R. 1348 the 
government would be able to pursue cases that it otherwise 
would have been unable to prosecute. Based on information from 
the Department of Defense, however, CBO does not expect the 
government to pursue many additional cases. Thus, CBO estimates 
that enacting H.R. 1348 would not have a significant impact on 
the cost of federal law enforcement activity.
    Because those prosecuted and convicted of committing war 
crimes could be subject to fines, the government might collect 
additional fines if H.R. 1348 is enacted. Collections of such 
fines are recorded in the budget as governmental receipts, or 
revenues, which are deposited in the Crime Victims Fund and 
spent in the following year. Any such collection from enacting 
H.R. 1348 are likely to be negligible, however, because it is 
not likely that the federal government would pursue many cases 
under this bill. Because any increase in direct spending would 
be the same as the amount of fines collected with a one-year 
lag, the additional direct spending also would be negligible.
    Section 4 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform act of 1995 
excludes from the application of that act legislative 
provisions that are necessary for the ratification or 
implementation of international treaty obligations. CBO has 
determined that the provisions of H.R. 1348 fit within that 
exclusion because the bill would implement penal provisions of 
the Geneva Conventions of 1949.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Susanne S. 
Mehlman. This estimate was approved by Robert A. Sunshine, 
Deputy Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

                   Constitutional Authority Statement

    Pursuant to rule XI, clause 2(l)(4) of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the Committee finds the authority for 
this legislation in Article I, section 8, clause 10 of the 
Constitution.
    The constitutional authority to enact federal criminal laws 
relating to the commission of war crimes is undoubtedly the 
same as the authority to create military commissions 
10 to prosecute perpetrators of these crimes. The 
Supreme Court affirmed such authority in In Re Yamashita: 
11
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \10\ For information on military commissions, see Committee Report 
on H.R. 3680 at 5-6.
    \11\ 327 U.S. 1 (1946).

          In Ex parte Quirin * * * we had occasion to consider 
        at length the sources and nature of the authority to 
        create military commissions for the trial of enemy 
        combatants for offenses against the law of war. We 
        there pointed out that Congress, in the exercise of the 
        power conferred upon it by Article I, sec. 8, cl. 10 of 
        the Constitution to ``define and punish * * * Offences 
        against the Law of Nations * * *,'' of which the law of 
        war is a part, had by the Articles of War * * * 
        recognized the ``military commission'' appointed by 
        military command, as it had previously existed in 
        United States Army practice, as an appropriate tribunal 
        for the trial and punishment of offenses against the 
        law of war.12
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \12\ Id. at 7.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                      Section-by-Section Analysis

Section 1. Short title

    The Act may be cited as the ``Expanded War Crimes Act of 
1997.''

Section 2. Definition of war crimes

    Section 2441 of title 18, U.S. Code, provides that whoever, 
whether inside or outside the United States, commits a grave 
breach of the Geneva Conventions in two specified circumstances 
shall be fined under title 18 or imprisoned for life or any 
term of years, or both, and if death results to the victim, 
shall also be subject to the penalty of death. The two 
circumstances are (1) the person committing the breach is a 
member of the armed forces of the United States or a national 
of the United States, and (2) the victim of the breach is a 
member of the armed forces of the United States or a national 
of the United States. ``Grave breach of the Geneva 
Conventions'' means conduct defined as a grave breach in any of 
the four international conventions relating to the laws of 
warfare signed at Geneva on August 12, 1949, or any protocol to 
the conventions to which the United States is a party.
    Section 2 of H.R. 1348 expands the offenses that would 
subject a perpetrator to criminal penalties under section 2441 
from ``grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions'' to ``war 
crimes.'' As defined in section 2, this term includes not only 
such grave breaches, but also conduct (1) prohibited by 
articles 23, 25, 27,13 or 28 of the Annex to the 
Hague Convention IV, Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on 
Land, signed 18 October 1907, (2) which constitutes a violation 
of common article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, (3) which 
constitutes a violation of any protocol to the Geneva 
Conventions to which the United States is a party and which 
deals with non-international armed conflict,14 and 
(4) of a person, who, in relation to an armed conflict and 
contrary to the provisions of the Protocol on Prohibitions or 
Restrictions on the Use of Mines, Booby-Traps and Other Devices 
as amended at Geneva on 3 May 1996 (Protocol II), when the 
United States is a party to such Protocol, willfully kills or 
causes serious injury to civilians.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \13\ Article 27 was incorrectly referred to as ``article 17'' in 
H.R. 1348 as introduced. Pursuant to authority granted by the Judiciary 
Committee to committtee staff to make technical and conforming changes, 
this reference was corrected. Certain other purely technical errors in 
H.R. 1348 as introduced were also corrected.
    \14\ See n.4.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                              Agency Views

    The Administration has submitted no views as to H.R. 1348. 
The Committee Report to H.R. 3680 (from the 104th Congress) 
contains the comments of the Department of State and the 
Department of Defense as to H.R. 2587, the predecessor bill to 
H.R. 3680.15
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \15\ Committee Report on H.R. 3680 at 12-16.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

  In compliance with clause 3 of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by the 
bill, as reported, are shown as follows (existing law proposed 
to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new matter is 
printed in italic, existing law in which no change is proposed 
is shown in roman):

              SECTION 2441 OF TITLE 18, UNITED STATES CODE

          * * * * * * *

Sec. 2441. War crimes

  (a) Offense.--Whoever, whether inside or outside the United 
States, commits a [grave breach of the Geneva Conventions] war 
crime, in any of the circumstances described in subsection (b), 
shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for life or any 
term of years, or both, and if death results to the victim, 
shall also be subject to the penalty of death.
  (b) Circumstances.--The circumstances referred to in 
subsection (a) are that the person committing such [breach] war 
crime or the victim of such [breach] war crime is a member of 
the Armed Forces of the United States or a national of the 
United States (as defined in section 101 of the Immigration and 
Nationality Act).
  [(c) Definitions.--As used in this section, the term ``grave 
breach of the Geneva Conventions'' means conduct defined as a 
grave breach in any of the international conventions relating 
to the laws of warfare signed at Geneva 12 August 1949 or any 
protocol to any such convention, to which the United States is 
a party.]
  (c) Definition.--As used in this section the term ``war 
crime'' means any conduct--
          (1) defined as a grave breach in any of the 
        international conventions signed at Geneva 12 August 
        1949, or any protocol to such convention to which the 
        United States is a party;
          (2) prohibited by Articles 23, 25, 27, or 28 of the 
        Annex to the Hague Convention IV, Respecting the Laws 
        and Customs of War on Land, signed 18 October 1907;
          (3) which constitutes a violation of common Article 3 
        of the international conventions signed at Geneva 12 
        August 1949, or any protocol to such convention to 
        which the United States is a party and which deals with 
        non-international armed conflict; or
          (4) of a person who, in relation to an armed conflict 
        and contrary to the provisions of the Protocol on 
        Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Mines, 
        Booby-Traps and Other Devices as amended at Geneva on 3 
        May 1996 (Protocol II as amended on 3 May 1996), when 
        the United States is a party to such Protocol, 
        willfully kills or causes serious injury to civilians.

                            Dissenting Views

    H.R. 1348 would expand the definition of ``war crime'' to 
include not only grave breaches of the Geneva Convention, but 
also breaches of any other Convention or Protocol to which the 
U.S. is or becomes a signatory. Companion legislation 
establishing federal jurisdiction over war crimes became law in 
the 104th Congress. That legislation included a provision which 
permitted imposition of the death penalty in cases where the 
victim of the war crime was killed.
    While we fully support U.S. implementation of war crime 
legislation, we do not believe such legislation must include a 
death penalty in order to be effective. By building on last 
year's legislative base, the expanded definition of war crime 
included in H.R. 1348 has the net effect of broadening the 
scope of the death penalty.
    As a matter of principle, we oppose any legislation which 
includes or expands the use of the death penalty. Therefore, we 
are unable to support H.R. 1348.

                                   John Conyers, Jr.
                                   Melvin L. Watt.
                                   Maxine Waters.
                                   Bobby Scott.
                                   William D. Delahunt.