war crime

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war crime

a concept of international law that denotes prohibited activities even during the carnage of war. It includes crimes against humanity, genocide and mistreatment of civilians and captured combatants. The problem has been that familiar in international law of enforcement. The high point of recognition was in the Nuremberg trials of German politicians, soldiers and others after the Second World War. In more recent times, the establishment of a war crimes tribunal, which has tried individuals during a state of conflict, has lent the concept a stronger core.

The statute of the International Criminal Court defines war crimes. It is directed to conduct which takes place in the context of and was associated with an international armed conflict where the perpetrator was aware of factual circumstances that established the existence of an armed conflict. The enumerated crimes are: the transfer, directly or indirectly, by the Occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies, or the deportation or transfer of all or parts of the population of the occupied territory within or outside this territory; attacking protected objects; attacking undefended places; attacking personnel or objects involved in a humanitarian assistance or peacekeeping mission; attacking objects or persons using the distinctive emblems of the Geneva Conventions; attacking civilians; attacking civilian objects; biological experiments; compelling service in hostile forces; compelling participation in military operations; cruel treatment; denying quarter; depriving the nationals of the hostile power of rights or actions; destroying or seizing the enemy's property; destruction and appropriation of property; employing prohibited bullets; employing prohibited gases, liquids, materials or devices; employing poison or poisoned weapons; enforced sterilization; enforced prostitution; excessive incidental death, injury, or damage; forced pregnancy; improper use of a flag, insignia or uniform of the hostile party; improper use of the distinctive emblems of the Geneva Conventions; improper use of a flag of truce; improper use of a flag, insignia or uniform of the United Nations; inhuman treatment; killing or wounding a person hors de combat; medical or scientific experiments; murder; mutilation; outrages upon personal dignity; pillaging; rape; sentencing or execution without due process; sexual violence; sexual slavery; starvation as a method of warfare; taking hostages; torture; treacherously killing or wounding; unlawful deportation and transfer; unlawful confinement; using protected persons as shields; wilful killing; wilfully causing great suffering.

Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006
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