Billionaire presidential candidate Donald Trump said Tuesday that the United States should kill the family members of ISIS terrorists in order to defeat the jihadist group, a tactic that would likely be considered a war crime.
In an interview with Fox and Friends, the Republican frontrunner said he would “knock the hell out” of ISIS with an aggressive military strategy if elected president. That strategy, he said, would include using deadly force on people who are related to ISIS members.
“We’re fighting a very politically correct war,” he said in response to a question about avoiding civilian causalities. “And the other thing is with the terrorists, you have to take out their families. They, they care about their lives. Don’t kid yourself. But they say they don’t care about their lives. You have to take out their families.”
The purposeful murder of civilians during wartime is widely considered a crime against humanity. Specifically, under the U.S.-signed Hague Conventions, the U.S. has agreed not to intentionally use violence against civilian non-combatants during wartime.
ISIS itself has committed numerous war crimes, including ethnic cleansing and attempted genocide of the minority Yazidi community in Iraq. The terrorist groups has also beheaded journalists, aid workers, and civilians.
In fact, ISIS members have reportedly threatened to kill members of their own families unless they “repent,” according to the International Business Times. That report cited a video in which an ISIS militant held up photos of his family members and warned that they would be killed. The sister of one ISIS fighter told the New York Times last month that she herself hoped her brother would die.