War crime
Overview
 
War crimes are serious violations of the laws applicable in armed conflict (also known as international humanitarian law
International humanitarian law
International humanitarian law , often referred to as the laws of war, the laws and customs of war or the law of armed conflict, is the legal corpus that comprises "the Geneva Conventions and the Hague Conventions, as well as subsequent treaties, case law, and customary international law." It...

) giving rise to individual criminal responsibility. Examples of such conduct include "murder, the ill-treatment or deportation of civilian residents of an occupied territory to slave labor camp
Labor camp
A labor camp is a simplified detention facility where inmates are forced to engage in penal labor. Labor camps have many common aspects with slavery and with prisons...

s", "the murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war
Prisoner of war
A prisoner of war or enemy prisoner of war is a person, whether civilian or combatant, who is held in custody by an enemy power during or immediately after an armed conflict...

", the killing of prisoners, "the wanton destruction of cities, towns and villages, and any devastation not justified by military, or civilian necessity".
Similar concepts, such as perfidy
Perfidy
In the context of war, perfidy is a form of deception, in which one side promises to act in good faith with the intention of breaking that promise once the enemy has exposed himself .The practice is specifically prohibited under the 1977 Protocol I Additional to the...

, have existed for many centuries as customs between civilized countries, but these customs were first codified as international law in the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907
Hague Conventions (1899 and 1907)
The Hague Conventions were two international treaties negotiated at international peace conferences at The Hague in the Netherlands: The First Hague Conference in 1899 and the Second Hague Conference in 1907...

.
Discussions
Encyclopedia
War crimes are serious violations of the laws applicable in armed conflict (also known as international humanitarian law
International humanitarian law
International humanitarian law , often referred to as the laws of war, the laws and customs of war or the law of armed conflict, is the legal corpus that comprises "the Geneva Conventions and the Hague Conventions, as well as subsequent treaties, case law, and customary international law." It...

) giving rise to individual criminal responsibility. Examples of such conduct include "murder, the ill-treatment or deportation of civilian residents of an occupied territory to slave labor camp
Labor camp
A labor camp is a simplified detention facility where inmates are forced to engage in penal labor. Labor camps have many common aspects with slavery and with prisons...

s", "the murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war
Prisoner of war
A prisoner of war or enemy prisoner of war is a person, whether civilian or combatant, who is held in custody by an enemy power during or immediately after an armed conflict...

", the killing of prisoners, "the wanton destruction of cities, towns and villages, and any devastation not justified by military, or civilian necessity".
Similar concepts, such as perfidy
Perfidy
In the context of war, perfidy is a form of deception, in which one side promises to act in good faith with the intention of breaking that promise once the enemy has exposed himself .The practice is specifically prohibited under the 1977 Protocol I Additional to the...

, have existed for many centuries as customs between civilized countries, but these customs were first codified as international law in the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907
Hague Conventions (1899 and 1907)
The Hague Conventions were two international treaties negotiated at international peace conferences at The Hague in the Netherlands: The First Hague Conference in 1899 and the Second Hague Conference in 1907...

. The modern concept of a war crime was further developed under the auspices of the Nuremberg Trials
Nuremberg Trials
The Nuremberg Trials were a series of military tribunals, held by the victorious Allied forces of World War II, most notable for the prosecution of prominent members of the political, military, and economic leadership of the defeated Nazi Germany....

 based on the definition in the London Charter
London Charter of the International Military Tribunal
The London Charter of the International Military Tribunal was the decree issued on August 8, 1945, that set down the laws and procedures by which the Nuremberg trials were to be conducted.The charter stipulated that crimes of the European Axis Powers could be tried...

 that was published on August 8, 1945. (Also see Nuremberg Principles
Nuremberg Principles
The Nuremberg principles were a set of guidelines for determining what constitutes a war crime. The document was created by the International Law Commission of the United Nations to codify the legal principles underlying the Nuremberg Trials of Nazi party members following World War II.- Principle...

.) Along with war crimes the charter also defined crimes against peace and crimes against humanity
Crime against humanity
Crimes against humanity, as defined by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Explanatory Memorandum, "are particularly odious offenses in that they constitute a serious attack on human dignity or grave humiliation or a degradation of one or more human beings...

, which are often committed during wars and in concert with war crimes.

Article 22 of the Hague IV ("Laws of War: Laws and Customs of War on Land (Hague IV); October 18, 1907") states that "The right of belligerents to adopt means of injuring the enemy is not unlimited" and over the last century many other treaties have introduced positive laws that place constraints on belligerents (see International treaties on the laws of war). Some of the provisions, such as those in the Hague, the Geneva, and Genocide Conventions, are considered to be part of customary international law, and are binding on all. Others are only binding on individuals if the belligerent power to which they belong is a party to the treaty which introduced the constraint.

History

Early example

The trial of Peter von Hagenbach
Peter von Hagenbach
Peter von Hagenbach was a Bourguignon knight from Alsace and Germanic military and civil commander....

 by an ad hoc tribunal of the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

 in 1474, was the first "international" war crimes trial, and also of command responsibility
Command responsibility
Command responsibility, sometimes referred to as the Yamashita standard or the Medina standard, and also known as superior responsibility, is the doctrine of hierarchical accountability in cases of war crimes....

. He was convicted and beheaded for crimes that "he as a knight was deemed to have a duty to prevent", although he had argued that he was only "following orders".

Hague Conventions

The Hague Conventions were international treaties negotiated at the First and Second Peace Conferences at the Hague
The Hague
The Hague is the capital city of the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. With a population of 500,000 inhabitants , it is the third largest city of the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam...

, Netherlands in 1899 and 1907, respectively, and were, along with the First and Second Geneva Conventions (1864 and 1909), among the first formal statements of the laws of war
Laws of war
The law of war is a body of law concerning acceptable justifications to engage in war and the limits to acceptable wartime conduct...

 and war crimes in the nascent body of secular international law
International law
Public international law concerns the structure and conduct of sovereign states; analogous entities, such as the Holy See; and intergovernmental organizations. To a lesser degree, international law also may affect multinational corporations and individuals, an impact increasingly evolving beyond...

.

Geneva Conventions

The Geneva Conventions
Geneva Conventions
The Geneva Conventions comprise four treaties, and three additional protocols, that establish the standards of international law for the humanitarian treatment of the victims of war...

 are four related treaties adopted and continuously expanded from 1864 to 1949 that represent a legal basis and framework for the conduct of war under international law. Every single member state of the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 has currently ratified the conventions, which are universally accepted as customary international law
Customary international law
Customary international law are those aspects of international law that derive from custom. Along with general principles of law and treaties, custom is considered by the International Court of Justice, jurists, the United Nations, and its member states to be among the primary sources of...

, applicable to every situation of armed conflict in the world. However, the Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions adopted in 1977 containing the most pertinent, detailed and virulent protections of nternational humanitarian law for persons and objects in modern warfare are still not ratified by a number of States continuously engaged in armed conflicts, namely the United States, Israel, India, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, and others. Accordingly, states retain different codes and values with regard to wartime conduct. Some signatories have routinely violated the Geneva Conventions in a way which either uses the ambiguities of law or political maneuvering to sidestep the laws' formalities and principles.

Leipzig War Crimes Trial

Several German military commanders of the First World War were tried in 1921 by the German Supreme Court for war crimes.

London Charter / Nuremberg Trials 1945

The modern concept of war crime was further developed under the auspices of the Nuremberg Trials
Nuremberg Trials
The Nuremberg Trials were a series of military tribunals, held by the victorious Allied forces of World War II, most notable for the prosecution of prominent members of the political, military, and economic leadership of the defeated Nazi Germany....

 based on the definition in the London Charter
London Charter of the International Military Tribunal
The London Charter of the International Military Tribunal was the decree issued on August 8, 1945, that set down the laws and procedures by which the Nuremberg trials were to be conducted.The charter stipulated that crimes of the European Axis Powers could be tried...

 that was published on August 8, 1945. (Also see Nuremberg Principles
Nuremberg Principles
The Nuremberg principles were a set of guidelines for determining what constitutes a war crime. The document was created by the International Law Commission of the United Nations to codify the legal principles underlying the Nuremberg Trials of Nazi party members following World War II.- Principle...

.) Along with war crimes the charter also defined crimes against peace and crimes against humanity, which are often committed during wars and in concert with war crimes.

International Military Tribunal for the Far East 1946

Also known as the Tokyo Trial, the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal or simply as the Tribunal, it was convened on May 3, 1946 to try the leaders of the Empire of Japan for three types of crimes: "Class A" (crimes against peace), "Class B" (war crimes), and "Class C" (crimes against humanity), committed during World War II.

International Criminal Court 2002

On July 1, 2002, the International Criminal Court
International Criminal Court
The International Criminal Court is a permanent tribunal to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression .It came into being on 1 July 2002—the date its founding treaty, the Rome Statute of the...

, a treaty-based court located in The Hague
The Hague
The Hague is the capital city of the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. With a population of 500,000 inhabitants , it is the third largest city of the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam...

, came into being for the prosecution of war crimes committed on or after that date. Several nations, most notably the United States, China, Russia, and Israel, have criticized the court. The United States still participates as an observer. Article 12 of the Rome Statute provides jurisdiction over the citizens of non-contracting states in the event that they are accused of committing crimes in the territory of one of the state parties.
However the court only has jurisdiction over these crimes where they are "part of a plan or policy or as part of a large-scale commission of such crimes".

Prominent indictees

Heads of state & government
To date, the present and former heads of state
Head of State
A head of state is the individual that serves as the chief public representative of a monarchy, republic, federation, commonwealth or other kind of state. His or her role generally includes legitimizing the state and exercising the political powers, functions, and duties granted to the head of...

 and heads of government
Head of government
Head of government is the chief officer of the executive branch of a government, often presiding over a cabinet. In a parliamentary system, the head of government is often styled prime minister, chief minister, premier, etc...

 that have been charged with war crimes include:
  • German Großadmiral and President Karl Dönitz
    Karl Dönitz
    Karl Dönitz was a German naval commander during World War II. He started his career in the German Navy during World War I. In 1918, while he was in command of , the submarine was sunk by British forces and Dönitz was taken prisoner...

     and Japanese Prime Ministers and General
    General
    A general officer is an officer of high military rank, usually in the army, and in some nations, the air force. The term is widely used by many nations of the world, and when a country uses a different term, there is an equivalent title given....

    s Hideki Tōjō
    Hideki Tōjō
    Hideki Tōjō was a general of the Imperial Japanese Army , the leader of the Taisei Yokusankai, and the 40th Prime Minister of Japan during most of World War II, from 17 October 1941 to 22 July 1944...

     and Kuniaki Koiso
    Kuniaki Koiso
    - Notes :...

     in the aftermath of World War II.
  • Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milošević
    Slobodan Milošević
    Slobodan Milošević was President of Serbia and Yugoslavia. He served as the President of Socialist Republic of Serbia and Republic of Serbia from 1989 until 1997 in three terms and as President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from 1997 to 2000...

     was brought to trial for alleged war crimes, but died in custody in 2006 before the trial could be concluded after more than 4 years of proceedings.
  • Former Liberian President Charles G. Taylor was also brought to the Hague charged with war crimes; his trial stretched from 2007 to March 2011; a verdict is still being awaited.
  • Former Bosnian Serb President
    Politics of Republika Srpska
    This article is about the politics of the Republika Srpska, one of the two entities that together comprise the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the other being the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.-Presidents of Republika Srpska:...

     Radovan Karadžić
    Radovan Karadžic
    Radovan Karadžić is a former Bosnian Serb politician. He is detained in the United Nations Detention Unit of Scheveningen, accused of war crimes committed against Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats during the Siege of Sarajevo, as well as ordering the Srebrenica massacre.Educated as a...

     was arrested in Belgrade on 18 July 2008 and brought before Belgrade's War Crimes Court a few days after. He was extradited to the Netherlands, and is currently in The Hague, in the custody of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
    International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
    The International Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia since 1991, more commonly referred to as the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia or ICTY, is a...

    . The trial began in 2010 and is expected to continue until 2014.
  • Omar al-Bashir
    Omar al-Bashir
    Lieutenant General Omar Hassan Ahmad Al-Bashir is the current President of Sudan and the head of the National Congress Party. He came to power in 1989 when he, as a brigadier in the Sudanese army, led a group of officers in a bloodless military coup that ousted the government of Prime Minister...

    , current head of state of Sudan
    Sudan
    Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...

    , for actions in Darfur
    War in Darfur
    The Darfur Conflict was a guerrilla conflict or civil war centered on the Darfur region of Sudan. It began in February 2003 when the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army and Justice and Equality Movement groups in Darfur took up arms, accusing the Sudanese government of oppressing non-Arab Sudanese in...

    .
  • Former Libyan
    Libyan
    A Libyan is a person or thing of, from, or related to Libya in North Africa.The term Libyan may also refer to:* A person from Libya, or of Libyan descent. For information about the Libyan people, see Demographics of Libya and Culture of Libya. For specific persons, see List of Libyans.* Libyan...

     leader Muammar Gaddafi
    Muammar Gaddafi
    Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar Gaddafi or "September 1942" 20 October 2011), commonly known as Muammar Gaddafi or Colonel Gaddafi, was the official ruler of the Libyan Arab Republic from 1969 to 1977 and then the "Brother Leader" of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya from 1977 to 2011.He seized power in a...

     has been indicted for allegedly ordering the killings of protesters and civilians during the 2011 Libyan civil war
    2011 Libyan civil war
    The 2011 Libyan civil war was an armed conflict in the North African state of Libya, fought between forces loyal to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and those seeking to oust his government. The war was preceded by protests in Benghazi beginning on 15 February 2011, which led to clashes with security...

    , however he was killed before he could stand trial in October 2011.


Other prominent indictees:
  • Yoshijirō Umezu, a general in the Imperial Japanese Army
    Imperial Japanese Army
    -Foundation:During the Meiji Restoration, the military forces loyal to the Emperor were samurai drawn primarily from the loyalist feudal domains of Satsuma and Chōshū...

  • Seishirō Itagaki, War minister
    Ministry of War of Japan
    The , more popularly known as the Ministry of War of Japan, was cabinet-level ministry in the Empire of Japan charged with the administrative affairs of the Imperial Japanese Army...

     of the Empire of Japan
    Empire of Japan
    The Empire of Japan is the name of the state of Japan that existed from the Meiji Restoration on 3 January 1868 to the enactment of the post-World War II Constitution of...

  • Hermann Göring
    Hermann Göring
    Hermann Wilhelm Göring, was a German politician, military leader, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. He was a veteran of World War I as an ace fighter pilot, and a recipient of the coveted Pour le Mérite, also known as "The Blue Max"...

    , Commander in Chief of the Luftwaffe
    Luftwaffe
    Luftwaffe is a generic German term for an air force. It is also the official name for two of the four historic German air forces, the Wehrmacht air arm founded in 1935 and disbanded in 1946; and the current Bundeswehr air arm founded in 1956....

    .
  • Ernst Kaltenbrunner
    Ernst Kaltenbrunner
    Ernst Kaltenbrunner was an Austrian-born senior official of Nazi Germany during World War II. Between January 1943 and May 1945, he held the offices of Chief of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt , President of Interpol and, as a Obergruppenführer und General der Polizei und Waffen-SS, he was the...

     and Adolf Eichmann
    Adolf Eichmann
    Adolf Otto Eichmann was a German Nazi and SS-Obersturmbannführer and one of the major organizers of the Holocaust...

    —high ranking members of the SS.
  • Wilhelm Keitel
    Wilhelm Keitel
    Wilhelm Bodewin Gustav Keitel was a German field marshal . As head of the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht and de facto war minister, he was one of Germany's most senior military leaders during World War II...

    Generalfeldmarschall
    Generalfeldmarschall
    Field Marshal or Generalfeldmarschall in German, was a rank in the armies of several German states and the Holy Roman Empire; in the Austrian Empire, the rank Feldmarschall was used...

    , head of the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht
    Oberkommando der Wehrmacht
    The Oberkommando der Wehrmacht was part of the command structure of the armed forces of Nazi Germany during World War II.- Genesis :...

    .
  • Erich Raeder
    Erich Raeder
    Erich Johann Albert Raeder was a naval leader in Germany before and during World War II. Raeder attained the highest possible naval rank—that of Großadmiral — in 1939, becoming the first person to hold that rank since Alfred von Tirpitz...

    —Großadmiral, Commander in Chief of the Kriegsmarine
    Kriegsmarine
    The Kriegsmarine was the name of the German Navy during the Nazi regime . It superseded the Kaiserliche Marine of World War I and the post-war Reichsmarine. The Kriegsmarine was one of three official branches of the Wehrmacht, the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany.The Kriegsmarine grew rapidly...

    .
  • Albert Speer
    Albert Speer
    Albert Speer, born Berthold Konrad Hermann Albert Speer, was a German architect who was, for a part of World War II, Minister of Armaments and War Production for the Third Reich. Speer was Adolf Hitler's chief architect before assuming ministerial office...

    —Minister of Armaments and War Production in Nazi Germany
    Nazi Germany
    Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

     1942-45.
  • Ratko Mladić
    Ratko Mladić
    Ratko Mladić is an accused war criminal and a former Bosnian Serb military leader. On May 31, 2011, Mladić was extradited to The Hague, where he was processed at the detention center that holds suspects for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia...

    , indicted for genocide amongst other violations of humanitarian law during the Bosnian War
    Bosnian War
    The Bosnian War or the War in Bosnia and Herzegovina was an international armed conflict that took place in Bosnia and Herzegovina between April 1992 and December 1995. The war involved several sides...

    ; he was captured in Serbia in May 2011 and has been extradited to face trial in the Hague,

Definition

War Crimes are those serious violations of the rules of customary and treaty law concerning international humanitarian law
International humanitarian law
International humanitarian law , often referred to as the laws of war, the laws and customs of war or the law of armed conflict, is the legal corpus that comprises "the Geneva Conventions and the Hague Conventions, as well as subsequent treaties, case law, and customary international law." It...

 that have become accepted as criminal offences for which there is individual responsibility.
Colloquial definitions of war crime include violations of established protections of the laws of war, but also include failures to adhere to norms of procedure and rules of battle, such as attacking those displaying a peaceful flag of truce, or using that same flag as a ruse of war
Ruse of war
A ruse of war, or ruse de guerre, is an action taken by a belligerent in warfare to fool the enemy in order to gain intelligence or a military advantage against an enemy.-Modern history:* American Civil War General George Meade's General Order No...

 to mount an attack. Attacking enemy troops while they are being deployed by way of a parachute is not a war crime. However, Protocol I, Article 42 of the Geneva Conventions
Geneva Conventions
The Geneva Conventions comprise four treaties, and three additional protocols, that establish the standards of international law for the humanitarian treatment of the victims of war...

 explicitly forbids attacking parachutists who eject from damaged airplanes, and surrendering parachutists once landed. War crimes include such acts as mistreatment of prisoners of war
Prisoner of war
A prisoner of war or enemy prisoner of war is a person, whether civilian or combatant, who is held in custody by an enemy power during or immediately after an armed conflict...

 or civilians. War crimes are sometimes part of instances of mass murder
Mass murder
Mass murder is the act of murdering a large number of people , typically at the same time or over a relatively short period of time. According to the FBI, mass murder is defined as four or more murders occurring during a particular event with no cooling-off period between the murders...

 and genocide
Genocide
Genocide is defined as "the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group", though what constitutes enough of a "part" to qualify as genocide has been subject to much debate by legal scholars...

 though these crimes are more broadly covered under international humanitarian law
International humanitarian law
International humanitarian law , often referred to as the laws of war, the laws and customs of war or the law of armed conflict, is the legal corpus that comprises "the Geneva Conventions and the Hague Conventions, as well as subsequent treaties, case law, and customary international law." It...

 described as crimes against humanity
Crime against humanity
Crimes against humanity, as defined by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Explanatory Memorandum, "are particularly odious offenses in that they constitute a serious attack on human dignity or grave humiliation or a degradation of one or more human beings...

.
War crimes are significant in international humanitarian
Humanitarianism
In its most general form, humanitarianism is an ethic of kindness, benevolence and sympathy extended universally and impartially to all human beings. Humanitarianism has been an evolving concept historically but universality is a common element in its evolution...

 law because it is an area where international tribunals such as the Nuremberg Trials
Nuremberg Trials
The Nuremberg Trials were a series of military tribunals, held by the victorious Allied forces of World War II, most notable for the prosecution of prominent members of the political, military, and economic leadership of the defeated Nazi Germany....

 and Tokyo trials
International Military Tribunal for the Far East
The International Military Tribunal for the Far East , also known as the Tokyo Trials, the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal, or simply the Tribunal, was convened on April 29, 1946, to try the leaders of the Empire of Japan for three types of crimes: "Class A" crimes were reserved for those who...

 have been convened. Recent examples are the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
The International Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia since 1991, more commonly referred to as the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia or ICTY, is a...

 and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda
International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda
The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda is an international court established in November 1994 by the United Nations Security Council in Resolution 955 in order to judge people responsible for the Rwandan Genocide and other serious violations of international law in Rwanda, or by Rwandan...

, which were established by the UN Security Council acting under Chapter VIII of the UN Charter
United Nations Charter
The Charter of the United Nations is the foundational treaty of the international organization called the United Nations. It was signed at the San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center in San Francisco, United States, on 26 June 1945, by 50 of the 51 original member countries...

.

Under the Nuremberg Principles
Nuremberg Principles
The Nuremberg principles were a set of guidelines for determining what constitutes a war crime. The document was created by the International Law Commission of the United Nations to codify the legal principles underlying the Nuremberg Trials of Nazi party members following World War II.- Principle...

, war crimes are different from crimes against peace which is planning, preparing, initiating, or waging a war of aggression
War of aggression
A war of aggression, sometimes also war of conquest, is a military conflict waged without the justification of self-defense usually for territorial gain and subjugation. The phrase is distinctly modern and diametrically opposed to the prior legal international standard of "might makes right", under...

, or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements, or assurances.
Because the definition of a state of "war" may be debated, the term "war crime" itself has seen different usage under different systems of international and military law. It has some degree of application outside of what some may consider to be a state of "war", but in areas where conflicts persist enough to constitute social instability.

The legalities of war have sometimes been accused of containing favoritism toward the winners ("Victor's justice
Victor's justice
The label "victor's justice" is a situation in which an entity partakes in carrying out "justice" on its own basis of applying different rules to judge what is right or wrong for their own forces and for those of the enemy. Advocates generally charge that the difference in rules amounts to...

"), as certain controversies have not been ruled as war crimes. Some examples include the Allies' destruction of civilian Axis targets during World War II, such as the firebombing
Firebombing
Firebombing is a bombing technique designed to damage a target, generally an urban area, through the use of fire, caused by incendiary devices, rather than from the blast effect of large bombs....

 of the German city of Dresden
Dresden
Dresden is the capital city of the Free State of Saxony in Germany. It is situated in a valley on the River Elbe, near the Czech border. The Dresden conurbation is part of the Saxon Triangle metropolitan area....

 and the use of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
During the final stages of World War II in 1945, the United States conducted two atomic bombings against the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan, the first on August 6, 1945, and the second on August 9, 1945. These two events are the only use of nuclear weapons in war to date.For six months...

; the use of Agent Orange
Agent Orange
Agent Orange is the code name for one of the herbicides and defoliants used by the U.S. military as part of its herbicidal warfare program, Operation Ranch Hand, during the Vietnam War from 1961 to 1971. Vietnam estimates 400,000 people were killed or maimed, and 500,000 children born with birth...

 against civilian targets in the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

; the mass killing of Biharies by Kader Siddique and Mukti Bahini before or after victory of Bangladesh Liberation War
Bangladesh Liberation War
The Bangladesh Liberation War was an armed conflict pitting East Pakistan and India against West Pakistan. The war resulted in the secession of East Pakistan, which became the independent nation of Bangladesh....

 in Bangladesh between 1971 and 1972; and the Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

n occupation of East Timor
East Timor
The Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, commonly known as East Timor , is a state in Southeast Asia. It comprises the eastern half of the island of Timor, the nearby islands of Atauro and Jaco, and Oecusse, an exclave on the northwestern side of the island, within Indonesian West Timor...

 between 1976 and 1999.

Another example is the Allied re-designation of German POWs (under the protection of the Geneva conventions) into Disarmed Enemy Forces
Disarmed Enemy Forces
Disarmed Enemy Forces , and—less commonly—Surrendered Enemy Forces, was a U.S. designation, both for soldiers who surrendered to an adversary after hostilities ended, and for those previously surrendered POWs who were held in camps in occupied German territory at that time. It is mainly referenced...

 (allegedly unprotected by the Geneva conventions), many of which then were used for forced labor such as clearing minefields. By December 1945 it was estimated by French authorities that 2,000 German prisoners were being killed or maimed each month in mine-clearing accidents.

See also

Country listings
  • List of war crimes
  • German war crimes
    German war crimes
    The government of Germany ordered, organized and condoned several war crimes in both World War I and World War II. The most notable of these is the Holocaust in which millions of people were murdered or died from abuse and neglect, 60% of them Jews...

  • Consequences of German Nazism
    Consequences of German Nazism
    Nazism and the acts of the Nazi German state profoundly affected many countries, communities and peoples before, during and after World War II. While the attempt of Germany to exterminate several nations viewed as subhuman by Nazi ideology was eventually stopped by the Allies, Nazi aggression...

  • Allied war crimes during World War II
  • American war crimes
    War crimes committed by the United States
    The United States of America has been accused of committing war crimes at various points throughout its history. Most, but not all contemporary war crimes are defined by the International Criminal Court , the Geneva Conventions, and the associated laws of war under international law...

  • War crimes of the Wehrmacht
    War crimes of the Wehrmacht
    War crimes of the Wehrmacht were those carried out by the German armed forces during World War II. While the principal perpetrators of the Holocaust amongst German armed forces were the Nazi German 'political' armies , the regular armed forces represented by the Wehrmacht committed war crimes of...

  • Soviet war crimes
  • Japanese war crimes
    Japanese war crimes
    Japanese war crimes occurred during the period of Japanese imperialism, primarily during the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II. Some of the incidents have also been described as an Asian Holocaust and Japanese war atrocities...

  • International Military Tribunal for the Far East
    International Military Tribunal for the Far East
    The International Military Tribunal for the Far East , also known as the Tokyo Trials, the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal, or simply the Tribunal, was convened on April 29, 1946, to try the leaders of the Empire of Japan for three types of crimes: "Class A" crimes were reserved for those who...

  • United States Senate Committee on the Philippines
    United States Senate Committee on the Philippines
    The Committee on the Philippines was a standing committee of the United States Senate from 1899 to 1921. The committee was established by Senate resolution on December 15, 1899, to oversee administration of the Philippines, which Spain had ceded to the United States as part of the settlement of the...

  • 1971 Bangladesh atrocities
    1971 Bangladesh atrocities
    Beginning with the start of Operation Searchlight on 25 March 1971 and continuing throughout the Bangladesh Liberation War, there were widespread violations of human rights in East Pakistan perpetrated by the Pakistan Army, with support from local political and religious militias, especially...

  • Armenian Genocide
    Armenian Genocide
    The Armenian Genocide—also known as the Armenian Holocaust, the Armenian Massacres and, by Armenians, as the Great Crime—refers to the deliberate and systematic destruction of the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire during and just after World War I...


Legal issues
  • Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts Project (RULAC)
    Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts Project (RULAC)
    The Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts Project is an initiative of the to support the application and implementation of the international law of armed conflict.-Overview:...

  • Laws of war
    Laws of war
    The law of war is a body of law concerning acceptable justifications to engage in war and the limits to acceptable wartime conduct...

  • Command responsibility
    Command responsibility
    Command responsibility, sometimes referred to as the Yamashita standard or the Medina standard, and also known as superior responsibility, is the doctrine of hierarchical accountability in cases of war crimes....

  • War Crimes Law (Belgium)
    War Crimes Law (Belgium)
    Belgium's War Crimes Law invokes the concept of universal jurisdiction to allow anyone to bring war crime charges in Belgian courts, regardless of where the alleged crimes have taken place....

  • Russell Tribunal
    Russell Tribunal
    The Russell Tribunal, also known as the International War Crimes Tribunal or Russell-Sartre Tribunal, was a public body organized by British philosopher Bertrand Russell and hosted by French philosopher and playwright Jean-Paul Sartre...

  • The International Criminal Court and the 2003 invasion of Iraq
    The International Criminal Court and the 2003 invasion of Iraq
    The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court reported in February 2006 that he had received 240 communications in connection with the invasion of Iraq in March 2003 which alleged that various war crimes had been committed. The overwhelming majority of these communications came from...

  • Special Court for Sierra Leone
    Special Court for Sierra Leone
    The Special Court for Sierra Leone is an independent judicial body set up to "try those who bear greatest responsibility" for the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Sierra Leone after 30 November 1996 during the Sierra Leone Civil War...

  • American Service-Members' Protection Act

Miscellaneous
  • Crime against humanity
    Crime against humanity
    Crimes against humanity, as defined by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Explanatory Memorandum, "are particularly odious offenses in that they constitute a serious attack on human dignity or grave humiliation or a degradation of one or more human beings...

  • Crime against peace
    Crime against peace
    A crime against peace, in international law, refers to "planning, preparation, initiation, or waging of wars of aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances, or participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the foregoing"...

  • Doctors' Trial
    Doctors' Trial
    The Doctors' Trial was the first of 12 trials for war crimes that the United States authorities held in their occupation zone in Nuremberg, Germany after the end of World War II. These trials were held before U.S...

  • NKVD prisoner massacres
  • Consequences of German Nazism
    Consequences of German Nazism
    Nazism and the acts of the Nazi German state profoundly affected many countries, communities and peoples before, during and after World War II. While the attempt of Germany to exterminate several nations viewed as subhuman by Nazi ideology was eventually stopped by the Allies, Nazi aggression...

  • Human shield
    Human shield
    Human shield is a military and political term describing the deliberate placement of civilians in or around combat targets to deter an enemy from attacking those targets. It may also refer to the use of civilians to literally shield combatants during attacks, by forcing the civilians to march in...

  • International Criminal Court investigations
  • Transitional justice
    Transitional justice
    Transitional justice generally refers to a range of approaches that states may use to address past human rights violations and includes both judicial and non-judicial approaches. They include series of actions or policies and their resulting institutions, which may be enacted at a point of...

  • Nazi human experimentation
    Nazi human experimentation
    Nazi human experimentation was a series of medical experiments on large numbers of prisoners by the Nazi German regime in its concentration camps mainly in the early 1940s, during World War II and the Holocaust. Prisoners were coerced into participating: they did not willingly volunteer and there...

  • Nuremberg Principles
    Nuremberg Principles
    The Nuremberg principles were a set of guidelines for determining what constitutes a war crime. The document was created by the International Law Commission of the United Nations to codify the legal principles underlying the Nuremberg Trials of Nazi party members following World War II.- Principle...

  • Katyn massacre
    Katyn massacre
    The Katyn massacre, also known as the Katyn Forest massacre , was a mass execution of Polish nationals carried out by the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs , the Soviet secret police, in April and May 1940. The massacre was prompted by Lavrentiy Beria's proposal to execute all members of...

  • Srebrenica massacre
    Srebrenica massacre
    The Srebrenica massacre, also known as the Srebrenica genocide, refers to the July 1995 killing, during the Bosnian War, of more than 8,000 Bosniaks , mainly men and boys, in and around the town of Srebrenica in Bosnia and Herzegovina, by units of the Army of Republika Srpska under the command of...

  • Forensic archaeology
    Forensic archaeology
    Forensic archaeology, a forensic science, is the application of archaeological principles, techniques and methodologies in a legal context .-Overview:...

  • Terror bombing
  • Winter Soldier Investigation
    Winter Soldier Investigation
    The "Winter Soldier Investigation" was a media event sponsored by the Vietnam Veterans Against the War from January 31, 1971 – February 2, 1971. It was intended to publicize war crimes and atrocities by the United States Armed Forces and their allies in the Vietnam War...


External links

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