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War crimes are serious violations of laws and customs of war that can be committed during an internal or international armed conflict. The codification of international humanitarian law that regulates acceptable wartime conduct began at the end of the 19th century. Following the end of World War II in 1945, the Nuremberg trials established the standard for addressing war crimes. Since then, war crimes have been increasingly tried by ad hoc tribunals and international criminal justice.

In this entry, war crimes and the various codifications of war crimes are placed in historical context. Then, the concept of individual criminal responsibility for war crimes is discussed, as well as notorious war crimes and trials for war crimes. Finally, criticisms regarding prosecuting war criminals are noted.

Codification and Definition ...
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