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War crimes are defined as acts that violate international humanitarian law in the treatment of both the neutral civilian population and belligerent parties during times of armed conflict and war. While the term war crime might initially appear to be an oxymoron because the act of war itself is based on and justifies the act of killing that would normally be punishable by law, determining the parameters of legality in conflict (in other words, the rules of war) protects conflicting parties from further harm and sets the fundamental and inviolable rights of populations involved in conflict. The idea of establishing standardized norms of conduct during war has a long history dating to the first Geneva Convention of 1864, developed to protect the sick and ...

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