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A Write Up On War Crimes

  • According to international law, war crimes are those breaches of treaties or customary law that subject the perpetrator to criminal prosecution.
  • It is defined in the Article 8 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.


  • Several international treaties and conventions define and address war crimes, and important legislations and provisions provide the legal foundation for their punishment.
  • Principle VI, Nuremberg Charter
  • Article 8 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court
  • First Geneva Convention of 1949
  • Second Geneva Convention of 1949
  • Third Geneva Convention of 1949
  • Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949

Elements of War Crimes:

  • Contextual element: the conduct took place in the context of and was associated with an international/non-international armed conflict;
  • Mental element: intent and knowledge both with regard to the individual act and the contextual element.

Difference Between War Crimes, Genocide & Crimes Against Humanity

Unlike crimes against humanity and genocide, war crimes are always committed against victims of a variety of backgrounds, including combatants and non-combatants, depending on the nature of the crime. They also have to occur within the framework of an armed conflict, whether it be international or domestic. Victims in international armed conflicts include civilians, prisoners of war, and injured and ill personnel of the armed forces on land and at sea. Those who do not actively participate in hostilities are protected in non-international armed conflicts. Civil defence officers, medical professionals, and religious leaders are likewise protected in both kinds of conflicts.

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