War crime

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A picture taken by the Polish Underground of Nazi Secret Police rounding up Polish intelligentsia at Palmiry near Warsaw in 1940 for mass execution (German AB-Aktion in occupied Poland). Polish hostages preparing by Nazi Germans for mass execution 1940.jpg
A picture taken by the Polish Underground of Nazi Secret Police rounding up Polish intelligentsia at Palmiry near Warsaw in 1940 for mass execution (German AB-Aktion in occupied Poland).

A war crime is an act that constitutes a serious violation of the laws of war that gives rise to individual criminal responsibility. [1] Examples of war crimes include intentionally killing civilians or prisoners, torturing, destroying civilian property, taking hostages, performing a perfidy, raping, using child soldiers, pillaging, declaring that no quarter will be given, and seriously violating the principles of distinction and proportionality, such as strategic bombing of civilian populations. [2]

Crimes against humanity deliberate attack against civilians

Crimes against humanity are certain acts that are deliberately committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian or an identifiable part of a civilian population. The first prosecution for crimes against humanity took place at the Nuremberg trials. Crimes against humanity have since been prosecuted by other international courts as well as in domestic prosecutions. The law of crimes against humanity has primarily developed through the evolution of customary international law. Crimes against humanity are not codified in an international convention, although there is currently an international effort to establish such a treaty, led by the Crimes Against Humanity Initiative.

Hostage person or entity which is held by one of two belligerent parties to the other or seized as security for the carrying out of an agreement, or as a preventive measure against certain acts of war

A hostage is a person who is held by one of two belligerent parties to the other or seized as security for the carrying out of an agreement, or as a preventive measure against war.

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 unsuspecting enemy is exposed. Perfidy constitutes a breach of the laws of war and so is a war crime, as it degrades the protections and mutual restraints developed in the interest of all parties, combatants, and civilians.

Contents

The concept of war crimes emerged at the turn of the twentieth century when the body of customary international law applicable to warfare between sovereign states was codified. Such codification occurred at the national level, such as with the publication of the Lieber Code in the United States, and at the international level with the adoption of the treaties during the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907. Moreover, trials in national courts during this period further helped clarify the law. [1] Following the end of World War II, major developments in the law occurred. Numerous trials of Axis war criminals established the Nuremberg principles, such as notion that war crimes constituted crimes defined by international law. Additionally, the Geneva Conventions in 1949 defined new war crimes and established that states could exercise universal jurisdiction over such crimes. [1] In the late 20th century and early 21st century, following the creation of several international courts, additional categories of war crimes applicable to armed conflicts other than those between states, such as civil wars, were defined. [1]

Customary international law is an aspect of international law involving the principle of 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 international law.

Sovereign state political organization with a centralized independent government

In international law, a sovereign state, sovereign country, or simply state, is a nonphysical juridical entity that is represented by one centralized government that has sovereignty over a geographic area. International law defines sovereign states as having a permanent population, defined territory, one government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood that a sovereign state is neither dependent on nor subjected to any other power or state.

The Lieber Code of April 24, 1863, also known as General Order No. 100, was an instruction signed by U.S. President Abraham Lincoln to the Union Forces of the United States during the American Civil War that dictated how soldiers should conduct themselves in wartime. Its name reflects its author, the German–American legal scholar and political philosopher Franz Lieber.

History

Suzhou, China, 1938. A ditch full of the bodies of Chinese civilians, killed by Japanese soldiers. Chinese killed by Japanese Army in a ditch, Hsuchow.jpg
Suzhou, China, 1938. A ditch full of the bodies of Chinese civilians, killed by Japanese soldiers.

Early examples

The trial of Peter von Hagenbach by an ad hoc tribunal of the Holy Roman Empire in 1474 was the first "international" war crimes trial, and also of command responsibility. [3] [4] 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 "just following orders".

Peter von Hagenbach Alsatian knight and ruler

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

Ad hoc is a Latin phrase meaning literally "for this". In English, it generally signifies a solution designed for a specific problem or task, non-generalizable, and not intended to be able to be adapted to other purposes.

Holy Roman Empire varying complex of lands that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe

The Holy Roman Empire was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western and Central Europe that developed during the Early Middle Ages and continued until its dissolution in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars. The largest territory of the empire after 962 was the Kingdom of Germany, though it also came to include the neighboring Kingdom of Bohemia, the Kingdom of Burgundy, the Kingdom of Italy, and numerous other territories.

In 1865, Henry Wirz, a Confederate States Army officer, was held accountable by a military tribunal and hanged for the appalling conditions at Andersonville Prison, where many Union prisoners of war died during the American Civil War.

Henry Wirz Swiss-born Confederate officer in the American Civil War

Heinrich Hartmann Wirz, better known as Henry Wirz, was a Swiss-American officer of the Confederate Army during the American Civil War. Wirz was the commandant of the stockade of Camp Sumter, a Confederate prisoner-of-war camp near Andersonville, Georgia, where terrible conditions led to a high mortality rate of Union detainees. After the war, Wirz was tried and executed for conspiracy and murder relating to his command of the camp, and was one of only two people convicted for war crimes during the American Civil War.

Confederate States Army Army of the Confederate States

The Confederate States Army (C.S.A.) was the military land force of the Confederate States of America (Confederacy) during the American Civil War (1861–1865), fighting against the United States forces. On February 28, 1861, the Provisional Confederate Congress established a provisional volunteer army and gave control over military operations and authority for mustering state forces and volunteers to the newly chosen Confederate president, Jefferson Davis. Davis was a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, and colonel of a volunteer regiment during the Mexican–American War. He had also been a United States Senator from Mississippi and U.S. Secretary of War under President Franklin Pierce. On March 1, 1861, on behalf of the Confederate government, Davis assumed control of the military situation at Charleston, South Carolina, where South Carolina state militia besieged Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor, held by a small U.S. Army garrison. By March 1861, the Provisional Confederate Congress expanded the provisional forces and established a more permanent Confederate States Army.

Union (American Civil War) United States national government during the American Civil War

During the American Civil War (1861–1865), the Union, also known as the North, referred to the United States of America and specifically to the national government of President Abraham Lincoln and the 20 free states, as well as 4 border and slave states that supported it. The Union was opposed by 11 southern slave states that formed the Confederate States of America, also known as "the Confederacy" or "the South".

Hague Conventions

The Hague Conventions were international treaties negotiated at the First and Second Peace Conferences at The Hague, Netherlands, in 1899 and 1907, respectively, and were, along with the Geneva Conventions, among the first formal statements of the laws of war and war crimes in the nascent body of secular international law.

The Hague City and municipality in South Holland, Netherlands

The Hague is a city on the western coast of the Netherlands and the capital of the province of South Holland. It is also the seat of government of the Netherlands.

International law regulations governing international relations

International law is the set of rules generally regarded and accepted in relations between nations. It serves as a framework for the practice of stable and organized international relations. International law differs from state-based legal systems in that it is primarily applicable to countries rather than to individual citizens. National law may become international law when treaties permit national jurisdiction to supranational tribunals such as the European Court of Human Rights or the International Criminal Court. Treaties such as the Geneva Conventions may require national law to conform to respective parts. National laws or constitutions may also provide for the implementation or integration of international legal obligations.

Geneva Conventions

The Geneva Conventions 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 has currently ratified the conventions, which are universally accepted as customary international law, 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 international 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.

Geneva Conventions Treaties establishing humanitarian laws of war

The Geneva Conventions comprise four treaties, and three additional protocols, that establish the standards of international law for humanitarian treatment in war. The singular term Geneva Convention usually denotes the agreements of 1949, negotiated in the aftermath of the Second World War (1939–45), which updated the terms of the two 1929 treaties, and added two new conventions. The Geneva Conventions extensively defined the basic rights of wartime prisoners, established protections for the wounded and sick, and established protections for the civilians in and around a war-zone. The treaties of 1949 were ratified, in whole or with reservations, by 196 countries. Moreover, the Geneva Convention also defines the rights and protections afforded to non-combatants, yet, because the Geneva Conventions are about people in war, the articles do not address warfare proper—the use of weapons of war—which is the subject of the Hague Conventions, and the bio-chemical warfare Geneva Protocol.

International humanitarian law (IHL) is the law that regulates the conduct of war. It is that branch of international law which seeks to limit the effects of armed conflict by protecting persons who are not participating in hostilities, and by restricting and regulating the means and methods of warfare available to combatants.

Three conventions were revised and expanded with the fourth one added in 1949:

Two Additional Protocols were adopted in 1977 with the third one added in 2005, completing and updating the Geneva Conventions:

Leipzig War Crimes Trial

A small number of German military personnel of the First World War were tried in 1921 by the German Supreme Court for alleged war crimes.

London Charter / Nuremberg Trials 1945

The modern concept of war crime was further developed under the auspices of the Nuremberg Trials based on the definition in the London Charter that was published on August 8, 1945. (Also see Nuremberg Principles.) 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

Bodies of some of the hundreds of Vietnamese villagers who were killed by U.S. soldiers during the My Lai Massacre. My Lai massacre.jpg
Bodies of some of the hundreds of Vietnamese villagers who were killed by U.S. soldiers during the My Lai Massacre.

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. 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. [9]

War crimes are defined in the statute that established the International Criminal Court, which includes:

  1. Grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions, such as:
    1. Willful killing, or causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health
    2. Torture or inhumane treatment
    3. Unlawful wanton destruction or appropriation of property
    4. Forcing a prisoner of war to serve in the forces of a hostile power
    5. Depriving a prisoner of war of a fair trial
    6. Unlawful deportation, confinement or transfer
    7. Taking hostages
    8. Directing attacks against civilians
      Bodo League massacre during the Korean War in 1950 Prisoners on ground before execution,Taejon, South Korea.jpg
      Bodo League massacre during the Korean War in 1950
    9. Directing attacks against humanitarian workers or UN peacekeepers
    10. Killing a surrendered combatant
    11. Misusing a flag of truce
    12. Settlement of occupied territory
    13. Deportation of inhabitants of occupied territory
    14. Using poison weapons
    15. Using civilians as shields
    16. Using child soldiers
    17. Firing upon a Combat Medic with clear insignia.
  2. The following acts as part of a non-international conflict:
    1. Murder, cruel or degrading treatment and torture
    2. Directing attacks against civilians, humanitarian workers or UN peacekeepers
  3. The following acts as part of an international conflict:
    Civilians killed in shelling in eastern Ukraine. According to the HRW report, "The use of indiscriminate rockets in populated areas violates international humanitarian law, or the laws of war, and may amount to war crimes." Lugansk-2014-06-18.jpeg
    Civilians killed in shelling in eastern Ukraine. According to the HRW report, "The use of indiscriminate rockets in populated areas violates international humanitarian law, or the laws of war, and may amount to war crimes."
    1. Taking hostages
    2. Summary execution
    3. Pillage
    4. Rape, sexual slavery, forced prostitution or forced pregnancy

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". [11]

Prominent indictees

Heads of state and government

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, wanted by the ICC for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Omar al-Bashir, 12th AU Summit, 090131-N-0506A-342.jpg
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, wanted by the ICC for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

To date, the present and former heads of state and heads of government that have been charged with war crimes include:

Other prominent indictees

Definition

Aftermath of the Malmedy massacre (1944). Malmedy Massacre.jpg
Aftermath of the Malmedy massacre (1944).

War crimes are serious violations of the rules of customary and treaty law concerning international humanitarian law that have become accepted as criminal offenses for which there is individual responsibility. [18] 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 to mount an attack on enemy troops. The use of chemical and biological weapons in warfare are also prohibited by numerous chemical arms control agreements and the Biological Weapons Convention. Wearing enemy uniforms or civilian clothes to infiltrate enemy lines for espionage or sabotage missions is a legitimate ruse of war, though fighting in combat or assassinating individuals behind enemy lines while so disguised is not, as it constitutes unlawful perfidy. [19] [20] [21] [22] Attacking enemy troops while they are being deployed by way of a parachute is not a war crime. [23] However, Protocol I, Article 42 of the Geneva Conventions explicitly forbids attacking parachutists who eject from disabled aircraft and surrendering parachutists once landed. [24] Article 30 of the 1907 Hague Convention IV – The Laws and Customs of War on Land explicitly prohibits belligerents to punish enemy spies without previous trial. [25]

The rule of war, also known as the Law of Armed Conflict, permit belligerents to engage in combat. A war crime occurs when superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering is inflicted upon an enemy. [26]

War crimes also include 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. In 2008, the U.N. Security Council adopted Resolution 1820, which noted that "rape and other forms of sexual violence can constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity or a constitutive act with respect to genocide"; see also war rape. [27] In 2016, the International Criminal Court convicted someone of sexual violence for the first time; specifically, they added rape to a war crimes conviction of Congo Vice President Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo. [28]

Mass grave of Soviet POWs, killed by Germans. Some 3.3 million Soviet POWs died in Nazi custody. Soviet soldiers mass grave, German war prisoners concentration camp in Deblin, German-occupied Poland.jpg
Mass grave of Soviet POWs, killed by Germans. Some 3.3 million Soviet POWs died in Nazi custody.

War crimes also included deliberate attacks on citizens and property of neutral states, as at the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. As the attack on Pearl Harbor happened while the U.S. and Japan were at peace and without a just cause for self-defense, the attack was declared by the Tokyo Trials to go beyond justification of military necessity and therefore constituted a war crime. [29] [30] [31]

War crimes are significant in international humanitarian law [32] because it is an area where international tribunals such as the Nuremberg Trials and Tokyo 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 VIII of the UN Charter.

Under the Nuremberg Principles, war crimes are different from crimes against peace which is planning, preparing, initiating, or waging a war of aggression, 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"), [33] as some controversies have not been ruled as war crimes. Some examples include the Allies' destruction of Axis cities during World War II, such as the firebombing of Dresden, the Operation Meetinghouse raid on Tokyo (the most destructive single bombing raid in history), and the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. [34] In regard to the strategic bombing during World War II, there was no international treaty or instrument protecting a civilian population specifically from attack by aircraft, [35] therefore the aerial attacks on civilians were not officially war crimes. The Allies at the trials in Nuremberg and Tokyo never prosecuted the Germans, including Luftwaffe commander-in-chief Hermann Göring, for the bombing raids on Warsaw, Rotterdam, and British cities during the Blitz as well as the indiscriminate attacks on Allied cities with V-1 flying bombs and V-2 rockets, nor the Japanese for the aerial attacks on crowded Chinese cities. [36] Although there are no treaties specific to aerial warfare, [35] Protocol 1, Article 51 of the Geneva Conventions explicitly prohibits the bombardment of cities where civilian population might be concentrated regardless of any method. [24] (see Aerial bombardment and international law).

Controversy arose when the Allies re-designated German POWs (under the protection of the 1929 Geneva Convention on Prisoners of War) as Disarmed Enemy Forces (allegedly unprotected by the 1929 Geneva Convention on Prisoners of War), many of which then were used for forced labor such as clearing minefields. [37] By December 1945, six months after the war had ended, it was estimated by French authorities that 2,000 German prisoners were still being killed or maimed each month in mine-clearing accidents. [37] The wording of the 1949 Third Geneva Convention was intentionally altered from that of the 1929 convention so that soldiers who "fall into the power" following surrender or mass capitulation of an enemy are now protected as well as those taken prisoner in the course of fighting. [38] [39]

See also

Country listings

Miscellaneous

Footnotes

  1. 1 2 3 4 Cassese, Antonio (2013). Cassese's International Criminal Law (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. pp. 63–66. ISBN   978-0-19-969492-1. Archived from the original on April 29, 2016. Retrieved October 5, 2015.
  2. See generally, Article 8 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
  3. The evolution of individual criminal responsibility under international law Archived September 10, 2009, at the Wayback Machine By Edoardo Greppi, Associate Professor of International Law at the University of Turin, Italy, International Committee of the Red Cross No. 835, p. 531–553, October 30, 1999.
  4. highlights the first international war crimes tribunal by Linda Grant, Harvard Law Bulletin.
  5. "Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armies in the Field. Geneva, 6 July 1906". International Committee of the Red Cross. Archived from the original on February 22, 2014. Retrieved July 20, 2013.
  6. "1949 Geneva Convention (I) for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field – Centre for International Law". nus.edu.sg. Archived from the original on February 21, 2014.
  7. David P. Forsythe (June 17, 2007). The International Committee of the Red Cross: A Neutral Humanitarian Actor. Routledge. p. 43. ISBN   0-415-34151-5.
  8. "Human Rights Watch: Saudi strikes in Yemen violated international law Archived July 22, 2015, at the Wayback Machine ". Deutsche Welle. June 30, 2015.
  9. "Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, 1998". UN Treaty Organization. Archived from the original on October 19, 2013. Retrieved October 13, 2010.
  10. "Ukraine: Unguided Rockets Killing Civilians Archived July 24, 2014, at the Wayback Machine ". Human Rights Watch. July 24, 2014.
  11. "Rome Statute, Part II, Article 8". United Nations Office of Legal Affairs. Archived from the original on October 19, 2013. Retrieved October 18, 2013.
  12. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on August 18, 2017. Retrieved August 17, 2017.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  13. "Trial of Charles Taylor ends – Europe". Al Jazeera English. Archived from the original on April 1, 2011. Retrieved May 2, 2012.
  14. "Radovan Karadzic, a Bosnian Serb, Gets 40 Years Over Genocide and War Crimes". The New York Times . Archived from the original on March 24, 2016. Retrieved March 24, 2016.
  15. "Karadzic sentenced to 40 years for genocide". CNN. Archived from the original on March 26, 2016. Retrieved March 26, 2016.
  16. "UN appeals court increases Radovan Karadzic's sentence to life imprisonment". Washington Post. Retrieved 2019-03-20.
  17. "BBC News – Ratko Mladic trial: Charge sheet amended – Brammertz". Bbc.co.uk. June 1, 2011. Archived from the original on February 24, 2012. Retrieved May 2, 2012.
  18. Shaw, M.N (2008). International Law. Cambridge University Press. pp. 433–434. ISBN   978-0-521-89929-1.[ permanent dead link ]
  19. Smith, Michael (2007). Killer Elite: The Inside Story of America's Most Secret Special Operations Team. New York, New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN   0-312-36272-2.
  20. Beckwith, Charlie A.; Knox, Donald (2003). Delta Force: The Army's Elite Counterterrorist Unit. Avon. ISBN   0-380-80939-7.
  21. "United States of America, Practice Relating to Rule 65. Perfidy, Section I. Simulation of civilian status". International Red Cross. Archived from the original on September 26, 2013. Retrieved September 22, 2013.
  22. "United States of America, Practice Relating to Rule 62. Improper Use of Flags or Military Emblems, Insignia or Uniforms of the Adversary". International Red Cross. Archived from the original on September 26, 2013. Retrieved September 22, 2013.
  23. From the Library of Congress, Military Legal Resources. Archived December 18, 2017, at the Wayback Machine
  24. 1 2 Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of August 12, 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflict, International Committee of the Red Cross, Geneva, Switzerland.(Protocol I) Archived December 10, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  25. "Convention (IV) respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land and its annex: Regulations concerning the Laws and Customs of War on Land. The Hague, 18 October 1907". International Committee of the Red Cross. Archived from the original on September 26, 2013. Retrieved July 24, 2013.
  26. Smith, S; Devine, M; Taddeo, J; McAlister, VC (2017). "Injury profile suffered by targets of antipersonnel improvised explosive devices: prospective cohort study". BMJ Open. 7: e014697. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2016-014697. PMC   5691184 . PMID   28835410.
  27. "Security Council Demands Immediate and Complete Halt to Acts of Sexual Violence". un.org. Archived from the original on August 23, 2014. Retrieved June 29, 2017.
  28. Kevin Sieff (March 21, 2016). "In historic ruling, international court cites rape in war crimes conviction of ex-Congo official". Washington Post.
  29. Geoff Gilbert (September 30, 2006). Responding to International Crime (International Studies in Human Rights). p. 358. ISBN   90-04-15276-8.
  30. Yuma Totani (April 1, 2009). The Tokyo War Crimes Trial: The Pursuit of Justice in the Wake of World War II. Harvard University Asia Center. p. 57.
  31. Stephen C. McCaffrey (September 22, 2004). Understanding International Law. AuthorHouse. pp. 210–229.
  32. "The Program for Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research, "Brief Primer on IHL"". Archived from the original on April 19, 2010.
  33. Zolo, Danilo (November 2, 2009). Victors' Justice: From Nuremberg to Baghdad. Verso. ISBN   978-1-84467-317-9.
  34. "The Atomic Bombing, The Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal and the Shimoda Case: Lessons for Anti-Nuclear Legal Movements by Yuki Tanaka and Richard Falk". Wagingpeace.org. Archived from the original on March 18, 2012. Retrieved May 2, 2012.
  35. 1 2 Javier Guisández Gómez (June 30, 1998). "The Law of Air Warfare". International Review of the Red Cross (323): 347–363. Archived from the original on April 3, 2013. Retrieved June 21, 2013.
  36. Terror from the Sky: The Bombing of German Cities in World War II. Berghahn Books. 2010. p. 167. ISBN   1-84545-844-3.
  37. 1 2 S. P. MacKenzie "The Treatment of Prisoners of War in World War II" The Journal of Modern History, Vol. 66, No. 3. (Sep. 1994), pp. 487–520.
  38. ICRC Commentaries on the Convention (III) relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War Archived April 4, 2013, at the Wayback Machine Article 5 Archived October 23, 2013, at the Wayback Machine "One category of military personnel which was refused the advantages of the Convention in the course of the Second World War comprised German and Japanese troops who fell into enemy hands on the capitulation of their countries in 1945 (6). The German capitulation was both political, involving the dissolution of the Government, and military, whereas the Japanese capitulation was only military. Moreover, the situation was different since Germany was a party to the 1929 Convention and Japan was not. Nevertheless, the German and Japanese troops were considered as surrendered enemy personnel and were deprived of the protection provided by the 1929 Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War."
  39. ICRC Commentaries on the Convention (III) relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War Archived April 4, 2013, at the Wayback Machine Article 5 Archived October 23, 2013, at the Wayback Machine "Under the present provision, the Convention applies to persons who "fall into the power" of the enemy. This term is also used in the opening sentence of Article 4, replacing the expression "captured" which was used in the 1929 Convention (Article 1). It indicates clearly that the treatment laid down by the Convention is applicable not only to military personnel taken prisoner in the course of fighting, but also to those who fall into the hands of the adversary following surrender or mass capitulation."

Further reading

Related Research Articles

Universal jurisdiction allows states or international organizations to claim criminal jurisdiction over an accused person regardless of where the alleged crime was committed, and regardless of the accused's nationality, country of residence, or any other relation with the prosecuting entity. Crimes prosecuted under universal jurisdiction are considered crimes against all, too serious to tolerate jurisdictional arbitrage.

In general, a civilian is "a person who is not a member of the military or of a police or firefighting force". The definition distinguishes from persons whose duties involves risking their lives to protect the public at large from hazardous situations such as terrorism, riots, conflagrations, or wars. It also does not include "criminals" in the category, as authorities and the media wants to distinguish between those who are law-abiding and those who are not.

Unlawful combatant person who directly engages in armed conflict in violation of the laws of war

An unlawful combatant, illegal combatant or unprivileged combatant/belligerent is a person who directly engages in armed conflict in violation of the laws of war or is fighting outside of internationally recognized military forces. An unlawful combatant may be detained or prosecuted under the domestic law of the detaining state for such action, subject to international treaties on justice and human rights.

Law of war International law concerning acceptable conditions for wars

The law of war refers to the component of international law that regulates the conditions for war and the conduct of warring parties. Laws of war define sovereignty and nationhood, states and territories, occupation, and other critical terms of international law.

Combatant is the legal status of an individual who has the right to engage in hostilities during an international armed conflict. The legal definition of "combatant" is found at article 43 of Additional Protocol One to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 [AP1]. It states that "Members of the armed forces of a Party to a conflict are combatants, that is to say, they have the right to participate directly in hostilities."

The Nuremberg principles are 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.

Victors justice

Victor's justice is a term for a type of injustice where a victorious entity applies "justice" using different rules to judge themselves and the defeated entity. Victor's justice generally sees punishment of the defeated being excessive or unjustified and the victor receiving light punishment or clemency. Opponents argue that the difference in rules amounts to hypocrisy and revenge under the guise of retributive justice, leading to injustice, and targets of the label may consider it derogatory.

The Charter of the International Military Tribunal – Annex to the Agreement for the prosecution and punishment of the major war criminals of the European Axis was the decree issued by the European Advisory Commission on 8 August 1945 that set down the rules and procedures by which the Nuremberg trials were to be conducted.

Summary execution execution immediately after being accused of a crime, without a fair trial; usually understood to mean capture, accusation, and execution all conducted during a very short span of time

A summary execution is an execution in which a person is accused of a crime and immediately killed without benefit of a full and fair trial. Executions as the result of summary justice are sometimes included, but the term generally refers to capture, accusation, and execution all conducted simultaneously or within a very short period of time, and without any trial at all. Under international law, refusal to accept lawful surrender in combat and instead killing the person surrendering is also categorized as a summary execution.

Command responsibility

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

Martens Clause

The Martens Clause was introduced into the preamble to the 1899 Hague Convention II – Laws and Customs of War on Land. The clause took its name from a declaration read by Friedrich Martens, the delegate of Russia at the Hague Peace Conferences of 1899. It reads as follows:

Until a more complete code of the laws of war is issued, the High Contracting Parties think it right to declare that in cases not included in the Regulations adopted by them, populations and belligerents remain under the protection and empire of the principles of international law, as they result from the usages established between civilized nations, from the laws of humanity and the requirements of the public conscience.

A war crimes trial is the trial of persons charged with criminal violation of the laws and customs of war and related principles of international law committed during armed conflict.

Air warfare must comply with laws and customs of war, including international humanitarian law by protecting the victims of the conflict and refraining from attacks on protected persons.

The Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts Project is an initiative of the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights to support the application and implementation of the international law of armed conflict.

Atrocity crimes refer to the three legally defined international crimes of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. In 2017 the International Criminal Court (ICC) will be deciding upon whether or not to include crimes of aggression within their jurisdiction; effectively adding a fourth atrocity crime. These crimes are defined in the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, the 1949 Geneva Conventions and their 1977 Additional Protocols, and the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

Sexual violence includes, but is not limited to rape. Although there is no agreed upon definition of sexual violence, commonly applied ones encompass any act of a sexual nature or attempt to obtain a sexual act carried out through coercion. Sexual violence also includes physical and psychological violence directed at a person's sexuality, including unwanted comments or advances, or acts of traffic such as forced prostitution or sexual slavery.

The International Military Tribunal for the Far East Charter, also known as the Tokyo Charter, was the decree issued by General Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers in Allied-occupied Japan, on January 19th, 1946 that set down the laws and procedures by which the Tokyo Trials were to be conducted. The charter was issued months following the surrender of Japan on September 2nd, 1945, which brought World War II to an end.