Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
War crimes 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 flag of truce, or using that same flag as a ruse of war to mount an attack.
It comprises such acts as mistreatment of prisoners of war or civilians. War crimes are sometimes part of instances of mass murder and genocide though these crimes are more broadly covered under international humanitarian law described as crimes against humanity.
War crimes are significant in international humanitarian law because it is an area where international tribunals such as the Nuremberg Trials have been convened. Recent examples are the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, which were established by the UN Security Council acting under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.
On July 1, 2002 the International Criminal Court, a treaty based court located in The Hague, came into being for the prosecution of war crimes committed on or after that date. However, several nations, most notably the United States, China, and Israel, have criticized the court, refused to participate in it or permit the court to have jurisdiction over their citizens.
To date, the former heads of state that have been charged with war crimes include Karl Dönitz of Germany, ex prime minister Hideki Tojo of Japan, former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, former Liberian President Charles Taylor, and former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.
Recently there have also appeared testimonies of "peace crimes" committed against the Nazi children in the peace time after the war, after 1945, as part of the victors' celebration. These peace crimes reflect the complexity of justice when the winners' mentality dominates in international criminal tribunals.
- Crime against peace
- Crime against humanity
- laws of war
- War Crimes Law (Belgium)
- List of War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity
- Iraqi Special Tribunal
- Rome Treaty of the International Criminal Court
- Special Court for Sierra Leone
- UN International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
- UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda
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