War crimes have been a part of customary law for centuries and more recently were codified by treaties and conventions. The United States codified international law rules of land warfare during the Civil War and published the results. In 1907, an international conference drew up the Hague Convention on Land Warfare, detailing existing customary laws of war and defining war crimes. After the bloody events of World War II and the war crimes trials in Nuremburg and Tokyo, states again collaborated, penning the Geneva Conventions of the Laws of War. This entry examines the roles of customary law, the Geneva Conventions, and the International Criminal Court and includes examples of specific war crimes.

War Crimes Defined

Before war crimes were described in detail by the Geneva Conventions, ...

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