List of war crimes

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This article lists and summarizes the war crimes committed since the Hague Convention of 1907 and the crimes against humanity and crimes against peace that have been committed since these crimes were first defined in the Rome Statute.[1]

Since many war crimes are not ultimately prosecuted (due to lack of political will, lack of effective procedures, or other practical and political reasons[2]), historians and lawyers will often make a serious case that war crimes occurred, even if there was no formal investigations or prosecution of the alleged crimes or an investigation cleared the alleged perpetrators.

War crimes under international law were firmly established by international trials such as the Nuremberg Trials and the Tokyo Trials, in which German and Japanese leaders were prosecuted for war crimes committed during World War II.

Contents

1914–1918: World War I[edit]

World War I was the first major international conflict to take place following the codification of war crimes at the Hague Convention of 1907, including derived war crimes, such as the use of poisons as weapons, as well as crimes against humanity, and derivative crimes against humanity, such as torture, and genocide.

Armed conflict Perpetrator
World War I Imperial Germany
Incident Type of crime Persons responsible Notes
Rape of Belgium War crimes, crimes against humanity (mass murder of civilians and destruction of property) No prosecutions In defiance of the 1907 Hague Convention on Land Warfare, the German occupiers engaged in mass atrocities against the civilian population of Belgium and looting and destruction of civilian property, in order to flush out the Belgian guerrilla fighters, or francs-tireurs, in the first two months of the war, after the German invasion of Belgium on August 1914.[3] In addition, since Belgium was officially neutral after hostilities in Europe broke out and Germany invaded the country without explicit warning, this act was in breach of the treaty of 1839 and the 1907 Hague Convention on Opening of Hostilities.[4]
World War I All major belligerents
Employment of poison gas Use of poisons as weapons No prosecutions Poison gas was introduced by Imperial Germany, and was subsequently used by all major belligerents in the war, in violation of the 1899 Hague Declaration Concerning Asphyxiating Gases and the 1907 Hague Convention on Land Warfare[5][6]
World War I Ottoman Empire
Armenian Genocide[7][8][9][10][11][12] War crimes, crimes against humanity, crime of genocide (Extermination of Armenians in Western Armenia) The Turkish Courts-Martial of 1919–20 as well as the incomplete Malta Tribunals were trials of certain of the alleged perpetrators. The Young Turk regime ordered the wholesale extermination of Armenians living within Western Armenia. This was carried out by certain elements of their military forces, who either massacred Armenians outright, or deported them to Syria and then massacred them. Over 1.5 million Armenians perished.

The Republic of Turkey, the successor state of the Ottoman Empire, does not accept the word genocide as an accurate description of the events surrounding this matter.[13]

World War I United Kingdom
Baralong Incidents War crimes (murder of shipwreck survivors) No prosecutions On 19 August 1915, a German submarine, U-27, while preparing to sink the British freighter Nicosian, which was loaded with war supplies, after the crew had board the lifeboats, was sunk by the British Q-ship HMS Baralong. Afterwards, Lieutenant Godfrey Herbert ordered his Baralong crew to kill the survivors of the German submarine while still at sea, including those who were summarily executed after boarding the Nicosian. The massacre was reported to a newspaper by American citizens who were also on board the Nicosian.[14] Another attack occurred on 24 September a month later when Baralong destroyed U-41, which was in the process of sinking the cargo ship Urbino. According to U41's commander Karl Goetz, the British vessel was flying the American flag even after opening fire on the submarine, and the lifeboat carrying the German survivors was rammed and sunk by the British Q-ship.[15]

Aftermath of World War I[edit]

1935–1937: Second Italo-Abyssinian War[edit]

1936–1939: Spanish Civil War[edit]

At least 50,000 people were executed during the Spanish Civil War.[17][18] In his updated history of the Spanish Civil War, Antony Beevor writes, "Franco's ensuing 'white terror' claimed 200,000 lives. The 'red terror' had already killed 38,000."[19] Julius Ruiz concludes that "although the figures remain disputed, a minimum of 37,843 executions were carried out in the Republican zone with a maximum of 150,000 executions (including 50,000 after the war) in Nationalist Spain."[20] César Vidal puts the number of Republican victims at 110,965.[21] In 2008 a Spanish judge, Socialist Baltasar Garzon, opened an investigation into the executions and disappearances of 114,266 people between 17 July 1936 and December 1951. Among the executions investigated was that of the poet and dramatist Federico García Lorca.[22][23]

1937–1945: Second Sino-Japanese War[edit]

This section includes war crimes up to and through December 5, 1941 when the Second Sino-Japanese War became the Asian Theater of World War II, due to the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. For war crimes after this date see the section called World War II: Japan perpetrated crimes.

Armed conflict Perpetrator
Second Sino-Japanese War Japan
Incident Type of crime Persons responsible Notes
Attack on China in 1937 Crimes against peace (Waging unprovoked war against China (count 27 at the Tokyo Trials[24] in contravention of the Nine-Power Treaty, Tanggu Truce, and Kellogg–Briand Pact)) Sadao Araki, Kenji Doihara, Kingoro Hashimoto, Shunroku Hata, Hiranuma Kiichirō, Kōki Hirota, Naoki Hoshino, Seishirō Itagaki, Okinori Kaya, Kōichi Kido, Heitarō Kimura, Kuniaki Koiso, Jirō Minami, Akira Mutō, Takazumi Oka, Hiroshi Ōshima, Kenryo Sato, Mamoru Shigemitsu, Shigetarō Shimada, Teiichi Suzuki, Toshio Shiratori, Shigenori Tōgō, Hideki Tōjō, Yoshijirō Umezu A minor clash between the Chinese National Revolutionary Army and the Imperial Japanese Army at the Marco Polo Bridge Incident on 6–9 July 1937 escalated into a full-scale war after Japan used the incident as a pretext to launch an all-out invasion of China to conquer as much territory as possible.
Nanking Massacre,[24] China, 1937–38 Crimes against humanity; War crimes (Mass murder of civilian population & POWs, rape, looting) General Asaka Yasuhiko, commander, Japanese Shanghai Expeditionary Force, Imperial Japanese Army. General Iwane Matsui, Commanding general of Japanese forces in China, Imperial Japanese Army. Lieutenant General Hisao Tani, commanding officer of the Japanese 10th Army, Imperial Japanese Army. Chief of staff of the Army Kotohito Kan'in, Minister of War Hajime Sugiyama. It is debated how culpable Emperor Hirohito was. After the Battle of Nanking, on 13 December 1937, the Japanese entered and occupied the city virtually resistance free. From then for a period of about 6 weeks after, until early February 1938, widespread war crimes were committed including mass rape, looting, arson, the killing of civilians and prisoners of war. Most estimates put deaths at between 150,000 and 300,000 dead.
Battle of Wuhan, China, 1938 Use of chemical weapons on the battlefield No prosecutions During the Battle of Wuhan, the IJA launched 9,667 red gas artillery shells and 32,162 red gas grenades against Chinese forces over 375 times in total from August to October 1938.[25] The use of poison gas by the IJA was in violation of the 1899 Hague Declaration (IV, 2) which prohibited the launching of projectiles containing asphyxiating or poisonous gas[26] and Article 23 (a) of the 1907 Hague Convention IV - The Laws and Customs of War on Land which prohibited the use of "poison or poisoned weapons" in warfare.[27] Japan was a signatory to these both agreements.[28][29]
Hankow massacre, China, 1938 War crimes (Mass execution of POWs) General Shunroku Hata, commander, China Expeditionary Army, Imperial Japanese Army. War crimes were committed including the killing of civilians and prisoners of war.[30]

1939–1945: World War II[edit]

Axis powers[edit]

The Axis Powers (particularly Germany and Japan) were perhaps some of the most systematic perpetrators of war crimes in modern history. Contributing factors included Nazi race theory, a desire for "living space" that justified the eradication of native populations, and militaristic indoctrination that encouraged the terrorization of conquered peoples and prisoners of war. The Holocaust, the German attack on the Soviet Union and occupation of much of Europe, the Japanese occupation of Manchuria and the Philippines and attack on China all contributed to well over half of the civilian deaths in World War II and the conflicts that led up to the war. Even before post-war revelations of atrocities, both nations were notorious for their brutal treatment of captured combatants.

Crimes perpetrated by Germany[edit]

According to the Nuremberg Trials, there were four major war crimes that were alleged against German military (and Waffen-SS and NSDAP) men and officers, each with individual events that made up the major charges.

1. Participation in a common plan of conspiracy for the accomplishment of crimes against peace

2. Planning, initiating and waging wars of aggression and other crimes against peace

3. War Crimes Atrocities against enemy combatants or conventional crimes committed by military units (see War crimes of the Wehrmacht), and include:

4. Crimes against Humanity Crimes committed well away from the lines of battle and unconnected in any way to military activity.

Other crimes against humanity included:

  • The Porajmos, the Nazi pogrom against the Romany peoples of Europe
  • The Łapanka or "Catching Game", – Nazi roundups of Poles in the major cities for slave labor and other purposes
  • Nikolaev Massacre
  • Operation Tannenberg, the AB Action and the Massacre of Lwów professors, all Nazi actions in Poland meant to mass murder the Polish intelligentsia and other potential leaders of resistance.
  • Both "encouraging" and "compelling" abortion, prosecuted as a crime against the child in the womb. The crime consisted of three parts: (a) providing abortion services, (b) withdrawing the protection of German law from the unborn child, (c) refusing to enforce existing Polish law prohibiting abortion.[32][33]
  • The Nazi T-4 Euthanasia Program, an aborted eugenics program meant to kill German children who were mentally or physically handicapped. 200,000 people were gassed to death due to this program.
  • The Nazi crimes against Soviet POWs, resulted in some 3.3 million to 3.5 million deaths, about 60% of all Soviet POWs.[34]

At least 10 million, and perhaps over 20 million innocent non-combatants were systematically murdered by the Nazi regime in the commission of crimes against humanity, of which the Holocaust lives on in particular infamy, since the largest number of deaths happened among Jewish citizens of states invaded or controlled by the Nazi regime. At least 5 to 6 million Jews were murdered by the Nazis, although a complete count may never be known. Though much of Continental Europe suffered from the Nazi murders, Poland and Russia, in particular, were the states most devastated by these crimes, with many of their Jewish and a good number of their Christian citizens slaughtered by the Nazi aggressor. After the war, from 1945 to 1949, the Nazi regime was put on trial in two tribunals in Nuremberg, Germany by the victorious Allied powers. The first tribunal indicted 24 major Nazi war criminals, and resulted in 19 convictions (of which 12 led to death sentences) and 3 acquittals, 2 of the accused died before a verdict was rendered, at least one of which by killing himself with cyanide.[35] The second tribunal indicted 185 members of the military, economic, and political leadership of Nazi Germany, of which 142 were convicted and 35 were acquitted. In subsequent decades, approximately 20 additional war criminals who escaped capture in the immediate aftermath of World War II were tried in West Germany and Israel. In Germany and many other European nations, the Nazi Party is outlawed.

Crimes perpetrated by Hungary[edit]

Incident Type of crime Persons responsible Notes
Novi Sad massacre[36][37] Crimes against humanity; Crime of genocide (murder of civilians, ethnic cleansing) After the war, most of the preparators were convicted by the People's Tribunal. The leaders of the massacre, Ferenc Feketehalmy-Czeydner, József Grassy and Márton Zöldy were sentenced to death and later extradited to Yugoslavia, together with Ferenc Szombathelyi, Lajos Gaál, Miklós Nagy, Ferenc Bajor, Ernő Bajsay-Bauer and Pál Perepatics. After a trial at Novi Sad, all of them were sentenced to death and executed. 4,211 civilians (2,842 Serbs, 1,250 Jews, 64 Roma, 31 Rusyns, 13 Russians and 11 ethnic Hungarians) rounded up and killed by Hungarian troops in reprisal for resistance activities.
Kamianets-Podilskyi massacre[38][39] Crimes against humanity; Crime of genocide (murder of civilians, ethnic cleansing) After the war, the preparator of the massacre, Friedrich Jeckeln was sentenced to death and executed in the Soviet Union. 14000-16000 Jews were deported by Hungarian troops to Kamianets-Podilskyi to be executed by SS troops. Part of the first large-scale mass murder in pursuit of the "Final Solution".
Sarmasu massacre[40][41] Crimes against humanity; Crime of genocide (murder of civilians, ethnic cleansing) The People's Tribunal at Cluj sentenced to death 7 Hungarian officer in absentia, two local Hungarian were sentenced to imprisonment. Torture and killing of 126 Jews by Hungarian troops in the village of Sarmasu.
Treznea massacre [42] Crimes against humanity The People's Tribunal at Cluj sentenced to death Ferenc Bay in absentia, 3 local Hungarian were sentenced to imprisonment, 2 person were acquitted. 93 to 236 Romanian and Jewish civilians (depending on sources) executed as reprisal for alleged attacks from locals on the Hungarian troops.
Ip massacre [42] Crimes against humanity A Hungarian officer was sentenced to death by the People's Tribunal at Cluj in absentia, 13 local Hungarian was sentenced to imprisonment, 2 person were acquitted. 150 Romanian civilians executed by Hungarian rogue troops and paramilitary formations as reprisal for the death of two Hungarian soldiers in an explosion.
Hegyeshalom death march [43][44] Crimes against humanity; Crime of genocide (murder of civilians, ethnic cleansing) After the war most of the responsibles were sentenced by the Hungarian people's tribunals, including the whole Szálasi-government About 10,000 Budapest Jews died as a result of exhaustion and executions while marching toward Hegyeshalom at the Austrian border.

Crimes perpetrated by Italy[edit]

Main article: Italian war crimes
  • Invasion of Abyssinia: Waging a war of aggression for territorial aggrandizement, War crimes, Use of poisons as weapons, Crimes against humanity; in violation of the Kellogg-Briand Pact, and the customary law of nations, Italy invaded the Kingdom of Abyssinia in 1936 without cause cognizable by the law of nations, and waged a war of annihilation against Ethiopian resistance, using poisons against military forces and civilian persons alike, not giving quarter to POWs who had surrendered, and massacring civilians.
  • Invasion of Albania: Waging a war of aggression for territorial aggrandizement; Italy invaded the Kingdom of Albania in 1939 without cause cognizable by the law of nations in a brief but bloody affair that saw King Zog deposed and an Italian proconsul installed in his place. Italy subsequently acted as the suzerain of Albania until its ultimate liberation later in World War II.
  • Invasion of Yugoslavia: Aerial bombardment of civilian population; Concentration camps (Rab, Gonars)
  • No one has been brought to trial for war crimes, although in 1950 the former Italian defense minister was convicted for collaboration with Nazi Germany.

Crimes perpetrated by Japan[edit]

Main article: Japanese war crimes

This section includes war crimes from 7 December 1941 when the United States was attacked by Japan so entering World War II. For war crimes before this date which took place during the Second Sino-Japanese War please see the section above called 1937–1945: Second Sino-Japanese War.

Incident Type of crime Persons responsible Notes
World War II[citation needed] Crimes against peace (Overall waging and/or conspiracy to wage a war of aggression for territorial aggrandizement, as established by the Tokyo Trials) General Doihara Kenji, Baron Hirota Koki, General Seishirō Itagaki, General Kimura Heitaro, General Matsui Iwane, General Muto Akira, General Hideki Tōjō, General Araki Sadao, Colonel Hashimoto Kingoro, Field Marshal Hata Shunroku, Baron Hiranuma Kiichiro, Hoshino Naoki, Kaya Okinori, Marquis Kido Kōichi, General Koiso Kuniaki, General Minami Jiro, Admiral Oka Takasumi, General Oshima Hiroshi, General Sato Kenryo, Admiral Shimada Shigetaro, Shiratori Toshio, General Suzuki Teiichi, General Yoshijirō Umezu, Togo Shigenori, Shigemitsu Mamoru The persons responsible were tried by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East.
Attack on the United States in 1941[24] Crimes against peace (Waging aggressive war against the United States (count 29 at the Tokyo Trials)[24] Kenji Doihara, Shunroku Hata, Hiranuma Kiichirō, Naoki Hoshino, Seishirō Itagaki, Okinori Kaya, Kōichi Kido, Heitarō Kimura, Kuniaki Koiso, Akira Mutō, Takasumi Oka, Kenryo Sato, Mamoru Shigemitsu, Shigetarō Shimada, Teiichi Suzuki, Shigenori Tōgō, Hideki Tōjō, Yoshijirō Umezu[24] Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, Commander-in-Chief of the Japanese Combined Fleet was ordered by his militarist superiors to start the war with a bloody sneak attack on a U.S. Naval Base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941. The attack was in violation of the 1928 Kellogg-Briand Pact, which prohibited war of aggression, and the 1907 Hague Convention (III), which prohibited the initiation of hostilities without explicit warning, since the U.S. was officially neutral and was attacked without a declaration of war or an ultimatum at that time.[45] In addition, Japan violated the Four-Power Treaty by attacking and invading the U.S. territories of Wake Island, Guam, and the Philippines which began simultaneously with the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Attack on the British Commonwealth in 1941[24] Crimes against peace (Waging aggressive war against the British Commonwealth (count 31 at the Tokyo Trials)[24] Kenji Doihara, Shunroku Hata, Hiranuma Kiichirō, Naoki Hoshino, Seishirō Itagaki, Okinori Kaya, Kōichi Kido, Heitarō Kimura, Kuniaki Koiso, Akira Mutō, Takasumi Oka, Kenryo Sato, Mamoru Shigemitsu, Shigetarō Shimada, Teiichi Suzuki, Shigenori Tōgō, Hideki Tōjō, Yoshijirō Umezu[24] Simultaneously with the bombing of Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941 (Honolulu time), Japan invaded the British colonies of Malaya and bombed Singapore and Hong Kong, without a declaration of war or an ultimatum, which was in violation of the 1907 Hague Convention (III) and the 1928 Kellogg-Briand Pact since Britain was officially neutral with Japan at the time.[46][47]
Crimes against peace (Waging aggressive war against the Netherlands (count 32 at the Tokyo Trials)[24] Kenji Doihara, Shunroku Hata, Hiranuma Kiichirō, Naoki Hoshino, Seishirō Itagaki, Okinori Kaya, Kōichi Kido, Heitarō Kimura, Kuniaki Koiso, Akira Mutō, Takasumi Oka, Kenryo Sato, Mamoru Shigemitsu, Shigetarō Shimada, Teiichi Suzuki, Shigenori Tōgō, Hideki Tōjō, Yoshijirō Umezu[24]
Crimes against peace (Waging aggressive war against France in Indochina (count 33 at the Tokyo Trials)[24] Mamoru Shigemitsu, Hideki Tōjō[24]
Crimes against peace (Waging aggressive war against the USSR (counts 35 and 36 or both at the Tokyo Trials)[24] Kenji Doihara, Hiranuma Kiichirō, Seishirō Itagaki[24]
Nanjing Massacre; Narcotics Trafficking; Bacteriological Warfare [24] War crimes ("ordered, authorized, and permitted" inhumane treatment of Prisoners of War (POWs) and others (count 54 at the Tokyo Trials)[24] Kenji Doihara, Seishirō Itagaki, Heitarō Kimura, Akira Mutō, Hideki Tōjō[24]
Nanjing Massacre; Narcotics Trafficking; Bacteriological Warfare [24] War crimes, Crimes against humanity, Crime of torture ("deliberately and recklessly disregarded their duty" to take adequate steps to prevent atrocities (count 55 at the Tokyo Trials)[24] Shunroku Hata, Kōki Hirota, Heitarō Kimura, Kuniaki Koiso, Iwane Matsui, Akira Mutō, Mamoru Shigemitsu[24]
"Black Christmas", Hong Kong, December 25, 1941,[48] Crimes against humanity (Murder of civilians; mass rape, looting) no specific prosecutions, although the conviction and execution of Takashi Sakai included some activities in Hong Kong during the time frame On the day of the British surrender of Hong Kong to the Japanese, Japanese soldiers also terrorised the local population by murdering many, raping an estimated 10,000 women, and looting.
Banka Island Massacre, Dutch East Indies, 1942 Crimes against humanity (Murder of civilians) no prosecutions The merchant ship Vyner Brooke was sunk by Japanese aircraft. The survivors who made it to Banka Island were all shot or bayonetted, including 22 nurses ordered into the sea and machine-gunned. One nurse Vivian Bullwinkel survived the massacre and later testified at a war crimes trial in Tokyo in 1947[49]
Bataan Death March, Philippines, 1942 Crime of torture, war crimes (Torture and murder of POWs) General Masaharu Homma was convicted by an Allied commission of war crimes, including the atrocities of the death march out of Bataan, and the atrocities at Camp O'Donnell and Cabanatuan that followed. He was executed on April 3, 1946 outside Manila. Approximately 75,000 Filipino and US soldiers, commanded by Major General Edward P. King, Jr. formally surrendered to the Japanese, under General Masaharu Homma, on April 9, 1942, which forced Japan to accept emaciated captives outnumbering them. Captives were forced to march, beginning the next day, about 100 kilometers north to Nueva Ecija to Camp O'Donnell, a prison camp. Prisoners of war were beaten randomly and denied food and water for several days. Those who fell behind were executed through various means: shot, beheaded or bayoneted. Deaths estimated at 650-1,500 U.S. and 2,000 to over 5,000 Filipino-,[50][51]
Enemy Airmen's Act War crimes (Murder of POWs) General Shunroku Hata Promulgated on August 13, 1942 to try and execute captured Allied airmen taking part in bombing operations against targets in Japanese-held territory. The Act contributed to the murder of hundreds of Allied airmen throughout the Pacific War.
Operation Sankō (Three Alls Policy) Crime of genocide, Crimes against humanity (Extermination of civilians) General Yasuji Okamura Authorized in December 1941 to implement a scorched earth policy in North China by Imperial General Headquarters. According to historian Mitsuyoshi Himeta, "more than 2.7 million" civilians were killed in this operation that began in May 1942.[52]
Parit Sulong massacre, Malaysia, 1942 War crimes (Murder of POWs) Lieutenant General Takuma Nishimura, was convicted for this crime by an Australian Military Court and hanged on June 11, 1951.[53] Recently captured Australian and Indian POWs, who had been too badly wounded to escape through the jungle, were murdered by Japanese soldiers. Accounts differ on how they were killed. Two wounded Australians managed to escape the massacre and provide eyewitness accounts of the Japanese treatment of wounded prisoners of war, as did locals who witnessed the massacre. Official records indicate that 150 wounded men were killed.
Laha massacre, 1942 War crimes (Murder of POWs) In 1946, the Laha massacre and other incidents which followed the fall of Ambon became the subject of the largest ever war crimes trial, when 93 Japanese personnel were tried by an Australian tribunal, at Ambon. Among other convictions, four men were executed as a result. Commander Kunito Hatakeyama, who was in direct command of the four massacres, was hanged; Rear Admiral Koichiro Hatakeyama, who was found to have ordered the killings, died before he could be tried.[54] After the battle Battle of Ambon, more than 300 Australian and Dutch prisoners of war were chosen at random and summarily executed, at or near Laha airfield in four separate massacres. "The Laha massacre was the largest of the atrocities committed against captured Allied troops in 1942.".[55]
Palawan Massacre, 1944 War crimes (Murder of POWs) In 1948, in Lt. Gen. Seiichi Terada was accused of failing to take command of the soldiers in the Puerto Princesa camp. Master Sgt. Toru Ogawa and Superior Private Tomisaburo Sawa were the only few soldiers who were charged for the actual involvement since most of the soldiers garrisoned in the camp had either died or went missing in the days following the victory of the Philippines campaign. In 1958, all charges were dropped and sentences were reduced. Following the US invasion of Luzon in 1944, the Japanese high command ordered that all POWs remaining in the island are to be exterminated at all cost. As a result, on December 14, 1944, units from the Japanese Fourteenth Area Army stationed in the Puerto Princesa POW camp in Palawan rounded up 150 remaining POWs still garrisoned in the camp, herded them into air raid shelters, before dousing the shelters with gasoline and setting it on fire. Of the handful of POWs that were able to escape the flames were hunted before being gunned down, bayonetted, or burned alive. Only 11 POWs survived the ordeal and were able to escape to allied lines to report the incident.[56]
Alexandra Hospital massacre, Battle of Singapore, 1942 Crimes against humanity (Murder of civilians) no prosecutions At about 1pm on February 14, Japanese soldiers approached Alexandra Barracks Hospital. Although no resistance was offered, some of them shot or bayoneted staff members and patients. The remaining staff and patients were murdered over the next two days, 200 in all.[57]
Sook Ching Massacre, 1942 Crimes against humanity (Murder of civilians) In 1947, the British Colonial authorities in Singapore held a war crimes trial to bring the perpetrators to justice. Seven officers, were charged with carrying out the massacre. While Lieutenant General Saburo Kawamura, Lieutenant Colonel Masayuki Oishi received the death penalty, the other five received life sentences The massacre (estimated at 25,000-50,000)[58] was a systematic extermination of perceived hostile elements among the Chinese in Singapore by the Japanese military administration during the Japanese Occupation of Singapore, after the British colony surrendered in the Battle of Singapore on 15 February 1942.
Changjiao massacre, China, 1943 Crimes against humanity, War crimes (Mass murder of civilian population & POWs, rape, looting) General Shunroku Hata, commander, China Expeditionary Army, Imperial Japanese Army. War crimes were committed including mass rape, looting, arson, the killing of civilians and prisoners of war.[59][60][61]
Manila Massacre Crimes against humanity (Murder of civilians) Tomoyuki Yamashita commander, Akira Mutō chief of staff As commander of the 14th Area Army of Japan in the Philippines, Gen. Yamashita failed to stop his troops from killing over 100,000 Filipino citizens of Manila[62] while fighting with both native resistance forces and elements of the Sixth U.S. Army during the capture of the city in February 1945. Yamashita pleaded inability to act and lack of knowledge of the massacre, due to his commanding other operations int the area. The defense failed, establishing the Yamashita Standard, which holds that a commander who makes no meaningful effort to uncover and stop atrocities is as culpable as if he had ordered them. His chief of staff Akira Mutō was condemned by the Tokyo tribunal.
Wake Island Massacre Crimes against humanity (Murder of civilians) 98 US Civilians killed on Wake Island October 7, 1943 by order of Rear Admiral Shigematsu Sakaibara Shigematsu Sakaibara executed June 18, 1947; subordinate, Lieutenant-Commander Tachibana sentenced to death-later commuted to Life
Unit 100[citation needed] Crimes against humanity; Use of poisons as weapons (biological warfare experiments on humans) no prosecutions
Unit 731 Crimes against humanity; War crimes; Crime of torture; Use of poisons as weapons (biological warfare testing, manufacturing, and use) 12 members of the Kantogun were found guilty for the manufacture and use of biological weapons. Including: General Yamada Otsuzo, former Commander-in-Chief of the Kwantung Army and Major General Kawashima Kiyoshi, former Chief of Unit 731. During this biological and chemical weapons' program over 10,000 were experimented on without anesthetic and as many as 200,000 died throughout China. The Soviet Union tried some members of Unit 731 at the Khabarovsk War Crime Trials. However, those who surrendered to the Americans were never brought to trial as General Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers, secretly granted immunity to the physicians of Unit 731 in exchange for providing the United States with their research on biological weapons.[63]
Unit 8604[citation needed] Crimes against humanity; Use of poisons as weapons (biological warfare experiments on humans) no prosecutions
Unit 9420[citation needed] Crimes against humanity; Use of poisons as weapons (biological warfare experiments on humans) no prosecutions
Unit Ei 1644[citation needed] War crimes, Crimes against humanity; Use of poisons as weapons; Crime of torture (Human vivisection & chemical and biological weapon testing on humans) no prosecutions Unit 1644 conducted tests to determine human susceptibility to a variety of harmful stimuli ranging from infectious diseases to poison gas. It was the largest germ experimentation center in China. Unit 1644 regularly carried out human vivisections as well as infecting humans with cholera, typhus, and bubonic plague.
Construction of Burma-Thai Railway, the "Death Railway"[citation needed] War crimes; Crimes against humanity (POWs and civilian labourers forced to support war effort; massive death toll.) no prosecutions The estimated total number of civilian labourers and POWs who died during construction is about 160,000.
Comfort Women Crimes against humanity (Sexual enslavement of captured Allied women; mass rape.) no prosecutions Up to around 200,000 women were forced to work in Japanese military brothels.[64]
Sandakan Death Marches Crimes against humanity, War crimes (Murder of civilian slave laborers and POWs) Three Allied POWs survived to give evidence at war crimes trials in Tokyo and Rabaul. Hokijima was found guilty and hanged on April 6, 1946 Over 6,000 Indonesian civilian slave laborers and POWs died.
War Crimes in Manchukuo Crimes against humanity; Crime of slaving (Slave labor) Kōa-in According to historian Zhifen Ju, more than 10 million Chinese civilians were mobilized by the Imperial Japanese Army for slave labor in Manchukuo under the supervision of the Kōa-in.[65]
Kaimingye germ weapon attack[citation needed] Crimes against humanity; War crimes, Use of poisons as weapons (Use of biological weapons) no prosecutions These bubonic plague attacks killing hundreds were a joint Unit 731 and Unit Ei 1644 endeavor.
Alleged Changde Bacteriological Weapon Attack April and May, 1943 Crimes against humanity; War crimes; Use of poisons as weapons (Use of chemical and biological weapons in massacre of civilians) Prosecutions at the Khabarovsk War Crimes Trials Chemical weapons supplied by Unit 516. Bubonic plague and poison gas were used against civilians in Chengde, followed by further massacres and burning of the city.[66] Witold Urbanowicz, a Polish pilot fighting in China, estimated that nearly 300,000 civilians alone died in the battle.

Crimes perpetrated by Romania[edit]

Incident type of crime Persons responsible Notes
Iași pogrom[67] Crimes against humanity; Crime of genocide (murder of civilians, ethnic cleansing) 57 people were tried and sentenced in the People's Tribunals Iaşi trial [68] including General Emanoil Leoveanu, General Gheorghe Barozzi, General Stamatiu, former Iași Prefect Colonel Coculescu, former Iași Mayor Colonel Captaru, and Gavrilovici Constantin (former driver at the Iași bus depot). note
Odessa massacre[69] Crimes against humanity; Crime of genocide (murder of civilians, ethnic cleansing) 28 people were tried and sentenced in the People's Tribunals Odessa trial [68] including General Nicolae Macici
Aita Seaca massacre[70] Crimes against humanity Gavril Olteanu Retaliation by Romanian paramilitaries for the locals killing of 20 Romanian soldiers on September 4, 1944. Eleven ethnic Hungarian civilians executed on September 26, 1944.

Crimes perpetrated by the Chetniks[edit]

Chetnik ideology revolved around the notion of a Greater Serbia within the borders of Yugoslavia, to be created out of all territories in which Serbs were found, even if the numbers were small. A directive dated 20 December 1941, addressed to newly appointed commanders in Montenegro, Major Đorđije Lašić and Captain Pavle Đurišić, outlined, among other things, the cleansing of all non-Serb elements in order to create a Greater Serbia:[71]

#The struggle for the liberty of our whole nation under the scepter of His Majesty King Peter II;

  1. the creation of a Great Yugoslavia and within it of a Great Serbia which is to be ethnically pure and is to include Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Srijem, the Banat, and Bačka;
  2. the struggle for the inclusion into Yugoslavia of all still unliberated Slovene territories under the Italians and Germans (Trieste, Gorizia, Istria, and Carinthia) as well as Bulgaria, and northern Albania with Skadar;
  3. the cleansing of the state territory of all national minorities and a-national elements;
  4. the creation of contiguous frontiers between Serbia and Montenegro, as well as between Serbia and Slovenia by cleansing the Muslim population from Sandžak and the Muslim and Croat populations from Bosnia and Herzegovina.
    —Directive of 20 December 1941[71]
Chetniks in Šumadija kill a Partisan through heart extraction

The Chetniks systemically massacred Muslims in villages that they captured.[72] In late autumn of 1941 the Italians handed over the towns of Višegrad, Goražde, Foča and the surrounding areas, in south-east Bosnia to the Chetniks to run as a puppet administration and NDH forces were compelled by the Italians to withdraw from there.[73] After the Chetniks gained control of Goražde on 29 November 1941, they began a massacre of Home Guard prisoners and NDH officials that became a systematic massacre of the local Muslim civilian population.[73] Several hundred Muslims were murdered and their bodies were left hanging in the town or thrown into the Drina river.[73] On 5 December 1941, the Chetniks received the town of Foča from the Italians and proceeded to massacre around five hundred Muslims.[73] Additional massacres against the Muslims in the area of Foča took place in August 1942.[74] In total, over two thousand people were killed in Foča.[74] In early January, the Chetniks entered Srebrenica and killed around a thousand Muslim civilians in the town and in nearby villages.[75] Around the same time the Chetniks made their way to Višegrad where deaths were reportedly in the thousands.[76] Massacres continued in the following months in the region.[76] In the village of Žepa alone about three hundred were killed in late 1941.[76] In early January, Chetniks massacred fifty-four Muslims in Čelebić and burned down the village.[76] On 3 March, the Chetniks burned forty-two Muslim villagers to death in Drakan.[75]

In early January 1943 and again in early February, Montenegrin Chetnik units were ordered to carry out "cleansing actions" against Muslims, first in the Bijelo Polje county in Sandžak and then in February in the Čajniče county and part of Foča county in southeastern Bosnia, and in part of the Pljevlja county in Sandžak.[77] Pavle Đurišić, the officer in charge of these operations, reported to Mihailović, Chief of Staff of the Supreme Command, that on 10 January 1943: "thirty-three Muslim villages had been burned down, and 400 Muslim fighters (members of the Muslim self-protection militia supported by the Italians) and about 1,000 women and children had been killed, as against 14 Chetnik dead and 26 wounded".[77] In another report sent by Đurišić dated 13 February 1943, he reported that: "Chetniks killed about 1,200 Muslim fighters and about 8,000 old people, women, and children; Chetnik losses in the action were 22 killed and 32 wounded".[77] He added that "during the operation the total destruction of the Muslim inhabitants was carried out regardless of sex and age".[78] The total number of deaths caused by the anti-Muslim operations between January and February 1943 is estimated at 10,000.[77] The casualty rate would have been higher had a great number of Muslims not already fled the area, most to Sarajevo, when the February action began.[77] According to a statement from the Chetnik Supreme Command from February 24, 1943, these were countermeasures taken against Muslim aggressive activities; however, all circumstances show that these massacres were committed in accordance with implementing the directive of December 20, 1941.[74]

Actions against the Croats were of a smaller scale but similar in action.[79] One of the worst Chetnik outbursts against the Croat population of Dalmatia took place in early October 1942 in the village of Gata near Split, in which an estimated one hundred people were killed and many homes were burnt in a reprisal taken against the people of Gata and nearby villages for the destruction of some roads in the area and carried out on the Italians account.[74] In that same October, formations under the command of Petar Baćović and Dobroslav Jevđević, who were participating in the Italian Operation Alfa in the area of Prozor, massacred over five hundred Croats and Muslims and burnt numerous villages.[74] Baćović noted that "Our Chetniks killed all men 15 years of age or older. ... Seventeen villages were burned to the ground."[80] Mario Roatta, commander of the Italian Second Army, objected to these "massive slaughters" of noncombatant civilians and threatened to halt Italian aid to the Chetniks if they did not end.[80]

Crimes perpetrated by the Ustashas[edit]

Numerous concentration camps were built in Independent State of Croatia, most notably Jasenovac (in Croatian: Logor Jasenovac in Serbian: Логор Јасеновац / Logor Jasenovac), the largest, where hundreds of thousands of Serbs, Gypsies (Roma), Jews and Croatian dissidents died. It was established by the Ustaša regime of the Independent State of Croatia in August 1941 and not dismantled until April 1945, shortly before the end of the war. Other concentration camps were in Gospić, Pag, Đakovo, Jastrebarsko and Lepoglava.

According to the Simon Wiesenthal Center (citing the Encyclopedia of the Holocaust), "Ustasa terrorists killed 500,000 Serbs, expelled 250,000 and forced 250,000 to convert to Roman Catholicism. They murdered thousands of Jews and Gypsies."[81]

Jasenovac was a complex of five subcamps and three smaller camps spread out over 240 square kilometers (93 sq mi), in relatively close proximity to each other, on the bank of the Sava river. Most of the camp was at Jasenovac, about 100 km (62 mi) southeast of Zagreb. The complex also included large grounds at Donja Gradina directly across the Sava River, a camp for children in Sisak to the northwest, and a women's camp in Stara Gradiška to the southeast.

Ante Pavelić, leader of the Ustasha, fled to Argentina and Spain which gave him protection, and was never extradited to stand trial for his war crimes.

Allied powers[edit]

Crimes perpetrated by the Soviet Union[edit]

Main article: Soviet war crimes
Concurrent with World War II
Incident type of crime Persons responsible Notes
Katyń massacre War crimes (Murder of Polish POWs) Lavrenty Beria, Joseph Stalin[82][83][84] An NKVD-committed massacre of tens of thousands of Polish officers and intelligentsia throughout the spring of 1940. Originally believed to have been committed by the Nazis in 1941 (after the invasion of eastern Poland and the USSR), it was finally admitted by Mikhail Gorbachev in 1990 that it had been a Soviet operation.
Invasion of Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia Crimes against humanity (Deportation and murder of civilian population) Vladimir Dekanozov, Andrey Vyshinsky, Andrei Zhdanov, Ivan Serov, Joseph Stalin An NKVD-committed deportation of hundreds of thousands of Baltic intelligentsia, land holders and their families in June 1941 and again in January 1949.
Nemmersdorf massacre, East Prussia War crimes, Crimes against humanity (Pillaging, and rape and murder of civilians, in contravention of Hague Conventions of 1907 "IV - The Laws and Customs of War on Land"[85] Articles: 28,43,46,47,50) No prosecutions Nemmersdorf (today Mayakovskoye in Kaliningrad) was one of the first German settlements to fall to the advancing Red Army on October 22, 1944. It was recaptured by the Germans soon afterwards and the German authorities reported that the Red Army killed civilians there. Nazi propaganda widely disseminated the description of the event with horrible details, supposedly to boost the determination of German soldiers to resist the general Soviet advance. Because the incident was investigated by the Nazis and reports were disseminated as Nazi propaganda, discerning the facts from the fiction of the incident is difficult.
Invasion of East Prussia War crimes, Crimes against humanity, Crime of genocide — spec. ethnic cleansing; in contravention of Hague Conventions of 1907 "IV - The Laws and Customs of War on Land"[85] War crimes committed by Soviet troops in the areas of Germany occupied by the Red Army. Estimated number of civilian victims in the years 1944-46: at least 300,000 (but not all of them victims of war crimes, many died through starvation, the cold climate and diseases)[86][87][88]
Treuenbrietzen Crimes against humanity (Murder of German civilians) Following the capture of the German city of Treuenbrietzen after fierce fighting. Over a period of several days at the end of April and beginning of May roughly 1000 inhabitants of the city, most of them men, were executed by Soviet troops.[89]
Battle of Berlin Crimes against humanity (Mass rape)[90]
Flight and expulsion of Germans from Poland during and after World War II,

Expulsion of Germans after World War II

War crimes, Crimes against humanity, Crime of genocide (ethnic cleansing/forced deportation of Germans from their homes in Prussia, Pomerania, Silesia; means used include mass murder, rape, other human rights violations) [citation needed] War crimes committed by Soviet troops in the areas of Germany occupied by the Red Army (Eastern and Central Germany), in addition to ethnic-German populations of German controlled, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary. Estimated number of civilian victims in the years 1944-46: at least 300,000 (but not all of them victims of war crimes, many died through starvation, the cold climate and diseases[86][87][88]

Crimes perpetrated by the United Kingdom[edit]

Incident Type of crime Persons responsible Notes
Unrestricted submarine warfare against merchant shipping Breach of London Naval Treaty (1930) no prosecutions; Allied representatives admitted responsibility at Nuremberg Trials; questionable whether war crime or a breach of a treaty. It was the conclusion of the Nuremberg Trials of Karl Dönitz that Britain had been in breach of the Treaty "in particular of an order of the British Admiralty announced on 8 May 1940, according to which all vessels should be sunk at sight in the Skagerrak."[91]
HMS Torbay incident War crimes (Murder of shipwreck survivors) no prosecutions In July 1941, the submarine HMS Torbay (under the command of Anthony Miers) was based in the Mediterranean where it sank several German ships. On two occasions, once off the coast of Alexandria, Egypt, and the other off the coast of Crete, the crew attacked and killed dozens of shipwrecked German sailors and troops. None of the shipwrecked survivors posed a major threat to Torbay's crew. Miers made no attempt to hide his actions, and reported them in his official logs. He received a strongly worded reprimand from his superiors following the first incident. Meir's actions violated the Hague Convention of 1907, which banned the killing of shipwreck survivors under any circumstances.[92][93]

Crimes perpetrated by the United States[edit]

Incident Type of crime Persons responsible Notes
Unrestricted submarine warfare against merchant shipping Breach of London Naval Treaty (1930) no prosecutions; Chester Nimitz admitted responsibility at Nuremberg Trials; questionable whether war crime or a breach of a treaty. During the post war Nuremberg Trials, in evidence presented at the trial of Karl Dönitz on his orders to the U-boat fleet to breach the London Rules, Admiral Chester Nimitz stated that unrestricted submarine warfare was carried on in the Pacific Ocean by the United States from the first day that nation entered the war.[91]
Canicattì massacre[citation needed] War crimes (Murder of civilians) no prosecutions During the Allied invasion of Sicily, eight civilians were killed, though the exact number of casualties is uncertain.[94] The incident was covered up fearing that it would lead to reprisals from the civilian population.[citation needed]
Biscari massacre[citation needed] War crimes (Murder of POWs) Sergeant Horace T. West: court-martialed and was found guilty, stripped of rank and sentenced to life in prison, though he was later released as a private. Captain John T. Compton was court-martialed for killing 40 POWs in his charge. He claimed to be following orders. The investigating officer and the Judge Advocate declared that Compton's actions were unlawful, but he was acquitted. Following the capture of Biscari Airfield in Sicily on July 14, 1943, seventy-six German and Italian POWs were shot by American troops of the 180th Regimental Combat Team, 45th Division during the Allied invasion of Sicily. These killings occurred in two separate incidents between July and August 1943.
Dachau massacre[citation needed] War crimes (Murder of POWs) Investigated by U.S. forces, found lack of evidence to charge any individual, and a lack of evidence of any practice or policy; however, did find that SS guards were separated from Wehrmacht (regular German Army) prisoners before their deaths. Some Death's Head SS guards of the Dachau concentration camp allegedly attempted to escape, and were shot.
Salina, Utah POW massacre[citation needed] War crimes (Murder of POWs) Private Clarence V. Bertucci determined to be insane and confined to a mental institution Private Clarence V. Bertucci fired a machine gun from one of the guard towers into the tents that were being used to accommodate the German prisoners of war. Nine were killed and 20 were injured.
Rheinwiesenlager[95] War crimes (Deaths of POWs from starvation and exposure) no prosecutions The Rheinwiesenlager (Rhine meadow camps) were transit camps for millions of German POWs after World War II; there were at least thousands and potentially tens of thousands of deaths from starvation and exposure. Estimates range from just over 3,000 to as many as 71,000.
American mutilation of Japanese war dead[96][97][98] War crimes (Abuse of Remains) Though there are no known prosecutions, the occasional mutilation of Japanese remains were recognized to have been conducted by U.S. forces, declared to be atrocities, and explicitly forbidden by order of the U.S. Judge Advocate General in 1943–1944. Many dead Japanese were desecrated and/or mutilated, for example by taking body parts (such as skulls) as souvenirs or trophies. This is in violation of the law and custom of war, as well as the 1929 Geneva Convention on the Sick and Wounded which was paraphrased as saying "After every engagement, the belligerent who remains in possession of the field shall take measures to search for wounded and the dead and to protect them from robbery and ill-treatment." in a 1944 memorandum for the U.S. Assistant Chief of the Staff.[99][100]


Crimes perpetrated by the Yugoslav Partisans[edit]

Armed conflict Perpetrator
World War II in Yugoslavia Yugoslavian partisans
Incident Type of crime Persons responsible Notes
Bleiburg tragedy War crimes, crimes against humanity (murder of prisoners of war and civilians). No prosecutions. The victims were Yugoslav collaborationist troops (ethnic Croats, Serbs, and Slovenes), executed without trial as an act of vengeance for the genocide committed by the pro-Axis collaborationist regimes (in particular the Ustaše) installed by the Nazis during the World War II occupation of Yugoslavia. Estimates vary significantly, questioned by a number of historians.
Foibe killings War crimes, crimes against humanity (murder of prisoners of war and civilians). No prosecutions. Following Italy's 1943 armistice with the Allied powers up to 1945, Yugoslav resistance forces allegedly executed an unknown number of ethnic Italians accused of collaboration.[101]
1944–1945 killings in Bačka War crimes, crimes against humanity (murder of prisoners of war and civilians). No prosecutions. 1944–1945 killings of ethnic Hungarians in Bačka.

1948 Arab–Israeli War[edit]

Several massacres were committed during this war. Nearly 15,000 people, mostly combatants and militants, were killed during the war, including 6,000 Jews and about 9,000 Arabs.

1945–1949: Indonesian War of Independence[edit]

  • South Sulawesi Campaign, about 4.500 civilians killed by Pro-Indonesian and Indonesian forces and Pro -Dutch and Dutch Colonial forces (KNIL)
  • Rawagede massacre, about 431 civilians killed by Dutch forces
  • Bersiap massacre, about 25.000 Indo-European civilians and Dutch and loyalists killed by Indonesian nationalist forces
  • Indonesian National Revolution About 100-150.000 Chinese, Communists, Europeans (French, German, British, Americans), pro Dutch etc. By Indonesian nationalist forces and Indonesian youth.

1948-1960: Malayan Emergency[edit]

  • War crimes and crimes against humanity: Batang Kali massacre, about 24 unarmed villagers were slaughtered by British troops. The British government claimed that these villagers were insurgents attempting to escape but this was later known to be entirely false as they were actually unarmed, nor actually supporting the insurgents nor attempting to escape after being detained by British troops. No British soldier was prosecuted for the murder at Batang Kali.[102][103][104][105]
  • War crimes and crimes against humanity: War crimes and crimes humanity includes systematic beating, torturing, and killing by British troops and communist insurgents on non-combatants.[106]
  • War crimes: As part of the Briggs' Plan devised by British General Sir Harold Briggs, 500,000 people (roughly ten percent of Malaya's population) were eventually removed from the land, had tens of thousands of their homes destroyed, and interned in guarded camps called "New Villages". The intent of this measure was to inflict collective punishments on villages where people were deemed to be aiding the insurgents and to isolate villagers from contact with insurgents. While considered necessary, some of the cases involving the widespread destruction went beyond justification of military necessity. This practice was prohibited by the Geneva Conventions and customary international law which stated that the destruction of property must not happen unless rendered absolutely necessary by military operations.[106][107][108]

1950–1953: Korean War[edit]

United States perpetrated crimes[edit]

Armed conflict Perpetrator
Korean War United States
Incident Type of crime Persons responsible Notes
No Gun Ri massacre War crimes, Crimes against humanity (Murder of civilians) United States In July 1950, during the early weeks of the Korean War, an undetermined number of South Korean refugees were killed by the 2nd Battalion, 7th U.S. Cavalry Regiment, and a U.S. air attack at a railroad bridge near the village of No Gun Ri, 100 miles (160 km) southeast of Seoul, South Korea. Commanders feared enemy infiltrators among such refugee columns. Estimates of the dead have ranged from dozens to 500. In 2005, a South Korean government committee certified the names of 163 dead or missing and 55 wounded and added that many other victims' names were not reported; the U.S. Army cites the number of casualties as "unknown".[109]

North Korean and Chinese perpetrated crimes[edit]

Armed conflict Perpetrator
Korean War North Korea and China
Incident Type of crime Persons responsible Notes
Seoul National University Hospital Massacre War crimes, Crimes against humanity (Murder of civilians and wounded military personnel) North Korea The Seoul National University Hospital Massacre (Korean: 서울대학교 부속병원 학살 사건 Hanja: 서울國立大學校附属病院虐殺事件) was a massacre committed by the North Korean Army on June 18, 1950, of 700 to 900 doctors, nurses, inpatient civilians and wounded soldiers at the Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul district of South Korea.[110][111][112] During the First Battle of Seoul, the North Korean Army wiped out one platoon which guarded Seoul National University Hospital on June 28, 1950.[110][111] They massacred medical personnel, inpatients and wounded soldiers.[110][111] The North Korean Army shot or buried the people alive.[110][111] The victims amounted to 900.[110][111] According to South Korean Ministry of National Defense, the victims included 100 South Korean wounded soldiers.[111]
Chaplain–Medic massacre War crimes (Murder of wounded military personnel and a chaplain) North Korea On July 16, 1950, 30 unarmed, critically wounded U.S. Army soldiers and an unarmed chaplain were killed by members of the North Korean People's Army during the Battle of Taejon.
Bloody Gulch massacre War crimes (Murder of prisoners of war) North Korea On August 12, 1950, 75 captured U.S. Army prisoners of war were executed by members of the North Korean People's Army on a mountain above the village of Tunam, South Korea, during one of the smaller engagements of the Battle of Pusan Perimeter.
Hill 303 massacre War crimes (Murder of prisoners of war) North Korea On August 17, 1950, following a UN airstrike on Hill 131 which was already occupied by the North Korean Army from the Americans, a North Korean officer said that the American soldiers were closing in on them and they could not continue to hold the captured American prisoners. The officer ordered the men shot, and the North Koreans then fired into the kneeling Americans as they rested in the gully, killing 41.
  • R. J. Rummel estimated that the North Korean Army executed at least 500,000 civilians during the Korean War with many dying in North Korea's drive to conscript South Koreans to their war effort. Throughout the conflict, North Korean and Chinese forces routinely mistreated U.S. and UN prisoners of war. Mass starvation and diseases swept through the Chinese-run POW camps during the winter of 1950–51. About 43 percent of all U.S. POWs died during this period. In violation of the Geneva Conventions which explicitly stated that captor states must repatriate prisoners of war to their homeland as quickly as possible, North Korea detained South Korean POWs for decades after the ceasefire. Over 88,000 South Korean soldiers were missing and the Communists' themselves had claimed they had captured 70,000 South Koreans.[113][114]:141

South Korean perpetrated crimes[edit]

Armed conflict Perpetrator
Korean War South Korea
Incident Type of crime Persons responsible Notes
Bodo League massacre War crimes, Crimes against humanity (Murder of civilians) South Korea The Bodo League massacre (Hangul: 보도연맹 사건; hanja: 保導聯盟事件) was a massacre and war crime against communists and suspected sympathizers that occurred in the summer of 1950 during the Korean War. Estimates of the death toll vary. According to Prof. Kim Dong-Choon, Commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, at least 100,000 people were executed on suspicion of supporting communism;[115] others estimate 200,000 deaths.[116] The massacre was wrongly blamed on the communists for decades.[117]
Goyang Geumjeong Cave Massacre War crimes, Crimes against humanity (Murder of civilians) South Korea The Goyang Geumjeong Cave Massacre (Korean: 고양 금정굴 민간인 학살[118][119] Hanja: 高陽衿井窟民間人虐殺[118][119] Goyang Geunjeong Cave civilian massacre[118][119]) was a massacre conducted by the police officers of Goyang Police Station of the South Korean Police under the commanding of head of Goyang police station between 9 October 1950 and 31 October 1950 of 150 or over 153 unarmed citizens in Goyang, Gyeonggi-do district of South Korea.[118][119][120] After the victory of the Second Battle of Seoul, South Korean police arrested and killed people and their families who they suspected had been sympathizers during North Korean rule.[119] During the massacre, South Korean Police conducted Namyangju Massacre in Namyangju near Goyang.[121]
Sancheong-Hamyang massacre War Crimes, Crimes against humanity (Murder of civilians) South Korea Hanja: 山清・咸陽良民虐殺事件) was a massacre conducted by a unit of the South Korean Army 11th Division during the Korean War. On February 7, 1951, 705 unarmed citizens in Sancheong and Hamyang, South Gyeongsang district of South Korea were killed. The victims were civilians and 85% of them were women, children, and elderly people.
Ganghwa massacre War crimes, Crimes against humanity (Murder of civilians) South Korea The Ganghwa massacre Hanja: 居昌良民虐殺事件) was a massacre conducted by the third battalion of the 9th regiment of the 11th Division of the South Korean Army between February 9, 1951, and February 11, 1951, of 719 unarmed citizens in Geochang, South Gyeongsang district of South Korea. The victims included 385 children.

1952–1960: Mau Mau uprising[edit]

  • In attempt to suppress the insurgency in Kenya, British colonial authorities suspended civil liberties within the country. In response to the rebellion, many Kikuyu were relocated. Between 320,000-450,000 of them were moved into concentration camps. Most of the remainder - more than a million - were held in "enclosed villages". Although some were Mau Mau guerillas, many were victims of collective punishment that colonial authorities imposed on large areas of the country. Thousands suffered beatings and sexual assaults during "screenings" intended to extract information about the Mau Mau threat. Later, prisoners suffered even worse mistreatment in an attempt to force them to renounce their allegiance to the insurgency and to obey commands. Significant numbers were murdered; official accounts describe some prisoners being roasted alive. Prisoners were questioned with the help of "slicing off ears, boring holes in eardrums, flogging until death, pouring paraffin over suspects who were then set alight, and burning eardrums with lit cigarettes". British soldiers used a "metal castrating instrument" to cut off testicles and fingers. "By the time I cut his balls off," one settler boasted, "he had no ears, and his eyeball, the right one, I think, was hanging out of its socket. Too bad, he died before we got much out of him." According to David Anderson, the British hanged over 1,090 suspected rebels: far more than the French executed in Algeria during the Algerian War. It was found out that over half of them executed were not rebels at all. Thousands more were killed by British soldiers, who claimed they had "failed to halt" when challenged.[122][123][124]
  • The Chuka Massacre, which happened in Chuka, Kenya, was perpetrated by members of the King's African Rifles B Company in June 1953 with 20 unarmed people killed during the Mau Mau uprising. Members of the 5th KAR B Company entered the Chuka area on June 13, 1953, to flush out rebels suspected of hiding in the nearby forests. Over the next few days, the regiment had captured and executed 20 people suspected of being Mau Mau fighters for unknown reasons. It is found out that most of the people executed were actually belonged to the Kikuyu Home Guard - a loyalist militia recruited by the British to fight an increasingly powerful and audacious guerrilla enemy. In an atmosphere of atrocity and reprisal, the matter was swept under the carpet and nobody ever stood trial for the massacre.
  • The Hola massacre was an incident during the conflict in Kenya against British colonial rule at a colonial detention camp in Hola, Kenya. By January 1959 the camp had a population of 506 detainees of whom 127 were held in a secluded “closed camp”. This more remote camp near Garissa, eastern Kenya, was reserved for the most uncooperative of the detainees. They often refused, even when threats of force were made, to join in the colonial "rehabilitation process" or perform manual labour or obey colonial orders. The camp commandant outlined a plan that would force 88 of the detainees to bend to work. On 3 March 1959, the camp commandant put this plan into action – as a result, 11 detainees were clubbed to death by guards.[125] 77 surviving detainees sustained serious permanent injuries.[126] The British government accepts that the colonial administration tortured detainees, but denies liability.[127]
  • The Lari massacre in the settlement of Lari occurred on the night of 25–26 March 1953, in which Mau Mau militants herded Kikuyu men, women and children into huts and set fire to them killing anyone who attempted escape. Official estimates place the death toll from the Lari massacre at 74 dead.[128]
  • Mau Mau militants also tortured, mutilated and murdered Kikuyu on many occasions.[129] Mau Mau racked up 1,819 murders of their fellow Africans, though again this number excludes the many additional hundreds who 'disappeared', whose bodies were never found.[130]

1954–1962: Algerian War[edit]

  • Crimes against humanity: French sources estimated that 70,000 Muslim civilians were killed or abducted and presumed killed, by the FLN during the Algerian War. Citizens of European ethnicity (known as Pieds-Noirs) and Algerian Jews[131] were also subjected to ethnic cleansing, resulting in a mass exodus.[132] The number of Pied-Noirs who fled Algeria totaled more than one million between 1962 and 1964. Famous examples of FLN massacres include the Oran massacre of 1962 and the Philippeville massacre.
  • Crimes against humanity: Pro-French Muslims allegedly killed in Algeria by FLN in post-war reprisals: 30-150,000 [133]
  • Crimes against humanity: Killed in France by FLN related terrorism: 4,300[133]

1954–1975: Vietnam War[edit]

United States perpetrated crimes[edit]

Armed conflict Perpetrator
Vietnam War United States
Incident Type of crime Persons responsible Notes
My Lai Massacre War crimes, Crimes against humanity (Murder of civilians) Lt. William Calley convicted in 1971 of premeditated murder of 22 civilians for his role in the massacre and sentenced to life in prison. He served 3½ years under house arrest. Others were indicted but not convicted. In March, 1968, a US army platoon led by Lt. William Calley killed (and in some cases beat, raped, tortured, or maimed) 347 to 504 unarmed civilians – primarily women, children, and old men – in the hamlets of My Lai and My Khe of Sơn Mỹ. The My Lai Massacre was allegedly an operation of the Phoenix Program. 26 US soldiers, including 14 officers, were charged with crimes related to the My Lai massacre and its coverup. Most of the charges were eventually dropped, and only Lt. Calley was convicted.
  • "Vietnam War Crimes Working Group"[134] - Briefly declassified (1994) and subsequently reclassified (2002?) documentary evidence compiled by a Pentagon task force detailing endemic war crimes. Substantiating 320 incidents by Army investigators, including seven massacres from 1967 through 1971 in which at least 137 civilians died (not including My Lai). Seventy-eight other attacks on noncombatants in which at least 57 were killed, 56 wounded and 15 sexually assaulted. One hundred forty-one instances in which U.S. soldiers tortured civilian detainees or prisoners of war.

South Korean perpetrated crimes[edit]

Armed conflict Perpetrator
Vietnam War South Korea
Incident Type of crime Persons responsible Notes
Tây Vinh Massacre Crimes against humanity (1,200 civilians killed) South Korea This was a series of massacres conducted by the ROK Capital Division of the South Korean Army between February 12, 1966 and March 17, 1966 of 1,200 unarmed citizens in Bình An village, today Tây Vinh village, Tây Sơn District of Bình Định Province in South Vietnam.[135][136]
Gò Dài massacre Crimes against humanity (380 civilians killed) South Korea This was a massacre conducted by the ROK Capital Division of the South Korean Army on 26 February 1966 of civilians in Gò Dài hamlet, in Bình An commune, Tây Sơn District (today Tây Vinh District) of Bình Định Province in South Vietnam.[137][138]
Diên Niên - Phước Bình massacre Crimes against humanity (280 civilians killed) South Korea This was a massacre conducted by South Korean forces on October 9 and October 10, 1966, of 280 civilians in Tịnh Sơn village, Sơn Tịnh District, Quảng Ngãi Province in South Vietnam.[139][140]
Diên Niên - Phước Bình massacre Crimes against humanity (423 to 430 civilians killed) South Korea This was a massacre conducted by the South Korean forces between December 3 and December 6, 1966, of 430 unarmed citizens in Binh Hoa village, Quảng Ngãi Province in South Vietnam.[141][142]
Hà My massacre Crimes against humanity (135 civilians killed) South Korea This was a massacre conducted by the South Korean Marines on 25 February 1968 of civilians in Hà My village, Quảng Nam Province in South Vietnam.[143]

North Vietnamese and Vietcong perpetrated crimes[edit]

Armed conflict Perpetrator
Vietnam War North Vietnam and Vietcong
Incident Type of crime Persons responsible Notes
Massacre at Huế Crimes against humanity (2,800 to 6,000 civilians and prisoners of war killed) North Vietnam and Viet Cong During the months and years that followed the Battle of Huế, which began on January 31, 1968, and lasted a total of 28 days, dozens of mass graves were discovered in and around Huế. North Vietnamese troops executed between 2,800 to 6,000 civilians and prisoners of war.[144] Victims were found bound, tortured, and sometimes apparently buried alive.[145][146][147]
Đắk Sơn massacre Crimes against humanity (252 civilians killed) Viet Cong On December 5, 1967, two battalions of Viet Cong systematically killed 252 civilians in a "vengeance" attack on the hamlet of Đắk Sơn, home to over 2,000 Montagnards, known for their fierce opposition to the Viet Cong. The Vietcong believed that the hamlet had at one point given aid to refugees fleeing Viet Cong forces.[148]
  • VC terror squads, in the years 1967 to 1972, assassinated at least 36,000 people and abducted almost 58,000 people.[149] Statistics for 1968-72 suggest that "about 80 percent of the terrorist victims were ordinary civilians and only about 20 percent were government officials, policemen, members of the self-defence forces or pacification cadres."[150] NVA/VC forces murdered between 106,000 and 227,000 civilians between 1954 and 1975 in South Vietnam.[151] Up to 155,000 refugees fleeing the final North Vietnamese Spring Offensive were killed or abducted on the road to Tuy Hòa in 1975.[152] See: VC/NVA use of terror

Late 1960s-1998: The Troubles[edit]

  • War crimes: Various unarmed male civilians (some of whom were named during a 2013 television programme) were shot, two of them (Patrick McVeigh, Daniel Rooney) fatally, in 1972, allegedly by the Military Reaction Force (MRF), an undercover military unit tasked with targeting Irish Republican Army paramilitaries during the last installment of the Troubles. Two brothers, whose names and casualty status were not mentioned in an article regarding the same matter in The Irish Times, ran a fruit stall in west Belfast, and were shot after being mistaken for IRA paramilitaries.[153]
  • War crimes: The British Army had employed widespread torture and waterboarding on prisoners in Northern Ireland during interrogations in the 1970s. Liam Holden was wrongfully arrested by British forces for the murder of a British soldier and became the last person in the United Kingdom to be sentenced to hang after being convicted in 1973, largely on the basis of an unsigned confession produced by torture.[154] His death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment and he spent 17 years behind bars. On 21 June 2012, in the light of CCRC investigations which confirmed that the methods used to extract confessions were unlawful,[155] Holden had his conviction quashed by the Court of Appeal in Belfast, at the age of 58.[156][157] Former Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) interrogators during the Troubles admitted that beatings, the sleep deprivation, waterboarding, and the other tortures were systematic, and were, at times, sanctioned at a very high level within the force.[158]
  • War crimes: The British Army and the RUC also operated under a shoot-to-kill policy in Northern Ireland, under which suspects were alleged to have been deliberately killed without any attempt to arrest them. In four separate cases considered by the European court of human rights - involving the deaths of ten IRA men, a Sinn Féin member and a civilian - seven judges ruled unanimously that Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights guaranteeing a right to life had been violated by Britain.[159]

1971 Bangladesh Liberation War[edit]

Armed conflict Perpetrator
1971 Bangladesh War Pakistan
Incident Type of crime Persons responsible Notes
1971 Bangladesh atrocities War crimes, Crimes against humanity, Crime of genocide (murder of civilians; genocide) Allegedly the Pakistan Government, and the Pakistan Army and its local collaborators. A case was filed in the Federal Court of Australia on September 20, 2006 for crimes of Genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.[160] During the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971, widespread atrocities were committed against the Bengali population of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). With 1-3 million people killed in nine months, ‘genocide’ is the term that is used to describe the event in almost every major publication and newspaper.[161][162] Although the word ‘genocide’ was and is still used frequently amongst observers and scholars of the events that transpired during the 1971 war, the allegations that a genocide took place during the Bangladesh War of 1971 were never investigated by an international tribunal set up under the auspices of the United Nations, due to complications arising from the Cold War. A process is underway in 2009–2010 to begin trials of some local war collaborators.
Civilian Casualties Crimes against humanity (murder of civilians) no prosecutions The number of civilians that died in the liberation war of Bangladesh is not known in any reliable accuracy. There has been a great disparity in the casualty figures put forth by Pakistan on one hand (26,000, as reported in the now discredited Hamoodur Rahman Commission[163]) and India and Bangladesh on the other hand (From 1972 to 1975 the first post-war prime minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, estimated that 3 million died[164]). This is the figure officially maintained by the Government of Bangladesh. Most scholarship on the topic estimate the number killed to be between 1 and 3 million.[165] A further eight to ten million people fled the country to seek safety in India.[166]
Atrocities on women and minorities Crimes against humanity; Crime of genocide; Crime of torture (torture, rape and murder of civilians) no prosecutions The minorities of Bangladesh, especially the Hindus, were specific targets of the Pakistan army.[167] Numerous East Pakistani women were tortured, raped and killed during the war. The exact numbers are not known and are a subject of debate. Bangladeshi sources cite a figure of 200,000 women raped, giving birth to thousands of war-babies. Some other sources, for example Susan Brownmiller, refer to an even higher number of over 400,000. Pakistani sources claim the number is much lower, though having not completely denied rape incidents.[168][169][170]
Killing of intellectuals Crimes against humanity (murder of civilians) no prosecutions During the war, the Pakistan Army and its local supporters carried out a systematic execution of the leading Bengali intellectuals. A number of university professors from Dhaka University were killed during the first few days of the war.[171][172] However, the most extreme cases of targeted killing of intellectuals took place during the last few days of the war. On December 14, 1971, only two days before surrendering to the Indian military and the Mukhti Bahini forces, the Pakistani army – with the assistance of the Al Badr and Al Shams – systematically executed well over 200 of East Pakistan's intellectuals and scholars.[173][174]

1970–1975: Cambodian civil war[edit]

The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia for the Prosecution of Crimes Committed During the Period of Democratic Kampuchea, commonly known as the Cambodia Tribunal, is a joint court established by the Royal Government of Cambodia and the United Nations to try senior members of the Khmer Rouge for crimes against humanity committed during the Cambodian Civil War. The Khmer Rouge killed many people due to their political affiliation, education, class origin, occupation, or ethnicity.[175][176]

1975–1990: Lebanese Civil War[edit]

Armed conflict Perpetrator
Lebanese Civil War Various
Incident Type of crime Persons responsible Notes
Black Saturday Crimes against humanity (200 to 600 killed) Kataeb Party On December 6, 1975, Black Saturday was a series of massacres and armed clashes in Beirut, that occurred in the first stages of the Lebanese Civil War.
Karantina massacre Crimes against humanity (Estimated 1,000 to 1,500 killed) Kataeb Party, Guardians of the Cedars, Tigers Militia Took place early in the Lebanese Civil War on January 18, 1976. Karantina was overrun by the Lebanese Christian militias, resulting in the deaths of approximately 1,000-1,500 people.
Tel al-Zaatar massacre Crimes against humanity (Estimated 1,000 to 3,000 killed) Lebanese Front, Tigers Militia, Syrian Army, Lebanese Armed Forces The Tel al-Zaatar Battle took place during the Lebanese Civil War from June 22 - August 12, 1976. Tel al-Zaatar was a UNRWA administered Palestinian Refugee camp housing approximately 50,000-60,000 refugees in northeast Beirut. Tel al-Zaatar massacre refers to crimes committed around this battle.
Damour massacre Crimes against humanity (Estimated 684 civilians killed) PLO, Lebanese National Movement Took place on January 20, 1976. Damour, a Christian town on the main highway south of Beirut. It was attacked by the Palestine Liberation Organisation units. Part of its population died in battle or in the massacre that followed, and the remainder were forced to flee.
Sabra and Shatila massacre Crimes against humanity (762 to 3,500 (number disputed)) Kataeb Party Took place in Sabra and the Shatila refugee camp Palestinian refugee camps in Beirut, Lebanon between September 16 and September 18, 1982. Palestinian and Lebanese civilians were massacred in the camps by Christian Lebanese Phalangists while the camp was surrounded by the Israel Defense Forces. Israeli forces controlled the entrances to the refugee camps of Palestinians and controlled the entrance to the city. The massacre was immediately preceded by the assassination of Bachir Gemayel, the leader of the Lebanese Kataeb Party. Following the assassination, an armed group entered the camp and murdered inhabitants during the night. It is now generally agreed that the killers were "the Young Men", a gang recruited by Elie Hobeika.[177]
October 13 massacre Crimes against humanity (500-700 killed during the fighting. Additionally at least 240 unarmed prisoners executed, including civilians) Syrian Army, Hafez al-Assad Took place on October 13, 1990, during the final moments of the Lebanese Civil War, when hundreds of Lebanese soldiers were executed after they surrendered to Syrian forces.[178]

1978–present: Civil war in Afghanistan[edit]

This war has ravaged the country for over 30 years now, with several foreign actors playing important roles during different periods. Since 2001 US and NATO troops have been fighting in Afghanistan in the "War on Terrorism" that is also treated in the corresponding section below.

Armed conflict Perpetrator
Civil war in Afghanistan Taliban
Incident Type of crime Persons responsible Notes
Executions and torture after fall of Mazar-i-Sharif on August 8, 1998 War crimes (Murder, cruel or degrading treatment and torture; Summary execution) Taliban Mass killing of the locals; 4,000 to 5,000 civilians were executed, and many more reported tortured.
Assassination of Iranian diplomats Crimes against humanity (murder of civilians), offenses against the customary law of nations (outrages upon diplomatic plenipotentiaries and agents) Taliban 8 Iranian diplomats were assassinated and an Iranian press correspondent was murdered by the Taliban.
Murder of Ahmed Shah Massoud, on September 9, 2001 War crimes (Perfidious use of suicide bombers disguised as journalists (who are protected persons) in murder.) Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, Al Qaeda Perfidiously used suicide bombers disguised as television journalists to murder Ahmed Shah Massoud, leader of the Northern Alliance, the leader of the only remaining military opponent of the Taliban, two days before the September 11th Attacks, constituting a failure to bear arms openly, and misuse of the status of protected persons, to wit, journalists in war zones.
Civil war in Afghanistan Northern Alliance
Incident Type of crime Persons responsible Notes
Atrocities against Taliban prisoners of war War crimes (Maltreatment leading to death of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan POWs (Taliban)) Northern Alliance partisans Allegedly did place captured Taliban POWs in cargo containers, and did seal them, leading to deaths of those within due to suffocation and excessive heat, thereby constituting war crimes.

1980–1988: Iran – Iraq War[edit]

Armed conflict Perpetrator
Iran–Iraq War Iraq
Incident Type of crime Persons responsible Notes
Iran – Iraq War[citation needed] Crimes against peace (Waging a war of aggression) no prosecutions In 1980, Iraq invaded neighboring Iran, allegedly to capture Iraqi territory held by Iran.
Use of chemical weapons War crimes, Use of poisons as weapons (Violation of the 1925 Geneva Protocol[179]) No prosecutions Iraq made extensive use of chemical weapons, including mustard gas and nerve agents such as tabun. Iraqi chemical weapons were responsible for over 100,000 Iranian casualties (including 20,000 deaths).[180]
Attacks on neutral shipping[citation needed] War crimes, crimes against peace (Attacks against parties not involved in a war) No prosecutions Iraq attacked oil tankers from neutral nations in an attempt to disrupt enemy trade
Halabja poison gas attack Dutch court has ruled that the incident involved War Crimes and Genocide; also may involve the Use of poisons as weapons and Crimes against humanity. Ali Hassan Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti, officially titled Secretary General of the Northern Bureau of the Ba'ath Party from March 1987 to April 1989, and advisor to Saddam Hussein, was convicted in June 2007 of war crimes and was sentenced to death by an Iraqi court, along with accomplices Sultan Hashem Ahmed and Hussein Rashid Mohammed.
Frans van Anraat war crime.
Iraq also used chemical weapons against their own Kurdish population causing casualties estimated between several hundred up to 5,000 deaths.[181] On December 23, 2005 a Dutch court ruled in a case brought against Frans van Anraat for supplying chemicals to Iraq, that "[it] thinks and considers legally and convincingly proven that the Kurdish population meets the requirement under the genocide conventions as an ethnic group. The court has no other conclusion that these attacks were committed with the intent to destroy the Kurdish population of Iraq." and because he supplied the chemicals before 16 March 1988, the date of the Halabja attack, he is guilty of a war crime but not guilty of complicity in genocide.[182][183]
Armed conflict Perpetrator
Iran – Iraq War Iran
Incident Type of crime Persons responsible Notes
Attacks on neutral shipping[citation needed] War crimes, crimes against peace (Attacks against parties not involved in the war) no prosecutions Iran attacked oil tankers from neutral nations in an attempt to disrupt enemy trade.
Using child soldiers in suicide missions[citation needed] War crimes (Using child soldiers) no prosecutions Iran allegedly used volunteers (among them children) in high risk operations for example in clearing mine fields within hours to allow the advancement of regular troops.
Laid mines in international waters[citation needed] no prosecutions Mines damaged the US frigate USS Samuel B. Roberts

1985–present: Uganda[edit]

The Times reports (November 26, 2005 p. 27):
Almost 20 years of fighting... has killed half a million people. Many of the dead are children... The LRA [a cannibalism cult][184] kidnaps children and forces them to join its ranks. And so, incredibly, children are not only the main victims of this war, but also its unwilling perpetrators... The girls told me they had been given to rebel commanders as "wives" and forced to bear them children. The boys said they had been forced to walk for days knowing they would be killed if they showed any weakness, and in some cases forced even to murder their family members... every night up to 10,000 children walk into the centre of Kitgum... because they are not safe in their own beds... more than 25,000 children have been kidnapped ...this year an average of 20 children have been abducted every week.

1991–1999: Yugoslav wars[edit]

1991–1995: Croatian War of Independence[edit]

Also see List of ICTY indictees for a variety of war criminals and crimes during this era.

Armed conflict Perpetrator
Croatian War of Independence Yugoslav People's Army, Army of Serbian Krajina and paramilitary units.
Incident Type of crime Persons responsible Notes
Borovo Selo killings[185] Crimes against humanity (Murder of 12 and wounding of 20 policemen) Serb paramilitary units commanded by Vojislav Šešelj. Šešelj is on trial at ICTY. 2 May 1991
Battle of Vukovar Crimes against humanity, War crimes (indiscriminate shelling of city for 87 days until it was leveled to the ground. At least 1.798 killed, civilians and soldiers)[186] JNA, Serb Volunteer Guard. Mile Mrkšić and Veselin Šljivančanin sentenced by the ICTY. August 25-November 18, 1991
Ovčara massacre[187] Crimes against humanity, War crimes (Over 264 civilians and wounded POWs executed after Battle of Vukovar) Serb Territorial Defense and paramilitary units. Mile Mrkšić sentenced to 20 years, Veselin Šljivančanin sentenced to 5 years. Miroslav Radić acquitted. 18–21 November 1991; bodies buried in a mass grave
Stajićevo camp, Morinj camp, Sremska Mitrovica camp, Velepromet camp, Knin camp Torture of POWs and illegal detention of civilians Milosevic indicted by the ICTY. November 1991-March 1992
Dalj killings[188] War crimes (Execution of 11 detainees) Territorial Defense of SAO SBWS under Željko Ražnatović. Dalj was also one of the charges on the Slobodan Milošević ICTY indictment. 21 September 1991; bodies buried in a mass grave in the village of Celija
Dalj massacre[188] War crimes (Massacre of 28 detainees) Territorial Defense of SAO SBWS under Željko Ražnatović. Dalj was also one of the charges on the Slobodan Milošević ICTY indictment. 4 October 1991
Lovas massacre[189] War crimes; Crimes against humanity (massacre of 70-75 detainees, most of whom were civilians) Yugoslav People's Army, Territorial Defense of SAO SBWS and Dušan Silni paramilitary unit. Ljuban Devetak and 17 individuals are being tried by Croatian courts. Lovas was also one of the charges on the Slobodan Milošević ICTY indictment. 10 October 1991
Široka Kula massacre[190] Crimes against humanity (massacre of 40 civilians) JNA and Krajina Serb Territorial Defense. Široka Kula near Gospić. On October 13, 1991.
Baćin massacre[190] Crimes against humanity (massacre of approximately 110 civilians) Serb Territorial Defense forces and SAO Krajina militia. Milan Babić and Milan Martić convicted by ICTY. Baćin was also one of the charges on the Slobodan Milošević ICTY indictment. On 21 October 1991.
Saborsko massacre[190] Crimes against humanity (massacre of 7, 10 and 29 civilians) Serb-led JNA (special JNA unit from Niš), TO forces, rebel Serbs militia. Milan Babić and Milan Martić convicted. On October 28, November 7, and November 12, 1991.
Erdut massacre War crimes (killing of 37 civilians)[191] Željko Ražnatović, Slobodan Milošević, Goran Hadžić, Jovica Stanišić and Franko Simatović indicted by the ICTY. November 1991-February 1992
Škabrnja massacre[192] Crimes against humanity, War crimes (Massacre of 86 civilians and POWs.) Serb forces. Milan Babić and Milan Martić convicted. On November 18, 1991.
Siege of Dubrovnik[193] Crimes against humanity (Shelling of civilian targets that killed almost 90 civilians) JNA and Montenegrin territorial forces. Several JNA commanders sentenced. Shelling of UNESCO protected World Heritage site. October 1991.
Voćin massacre[194] Crimes against humanity (Massacre of 32 civilians.) White Eagles paramilitary group under Vojislav Šešelj, indicted by ICTY. Voćin was also one of the charges on the Slobodan Milošević ICTY indictment. 13 December 1991.
Bruška massacre[195] Crimes against humanity (Massacre of civilians.) Serb forces. Milan Babić and Milan Martić convicted. On December 21, 1991.
Zagreb rocket attack[196] Crimes against humanity (Shelling of civilian targets in 1995 that killed 7 and wounded at least 175.) RSK Serb forces. Leader Milan Martić bragged on Television about ordering the assault, the videotape being used against him at ICTY, convicted. Rocket attack was started as revenge for Serb military defeat in Operation Flash.
Ethnic cleansing in Serb Krajina[190] Crimes against humanity (Serb forces forcibly removed virtually all non-Serbs living there-nearly a quarter of a million people (mostly Croats))[197] JNA and Serb paramilitaries. Many people, including leaders Milan Babić and Milan Martić, convicted at ICTY and Croatian courts. June–December 1991
Armed conflict Perpetrator
Croatian War of Independence Croatian Army and paramilitary units
Incident Type of crime Persons responsible Notes
Lora prison camp Crime of torture, War crimes (Torture of POWs) Croatian army. Several people convicted by Croatian courts.[citation needed] Croatian internment camp for Serb soldiers and civilians between 1992 and 1997
Borovo Selo killings[198] Crimes against humanity (Murder of 20 civilians) Croatian police forces. No prosecutions 2 May 1991; started the ethnic conflict in Baranya, Eastern Slavonia and Western Syrmia
Gospić massacre Crimes against humanity (Massacre of 50-100 civilians) Croatian army. Commander Mirko Norac and others convicted by Croatian courts. 16–18 October 1991
Operation Otkos 10[198] Crimes against humanity (Killings of numerous individuals and expulsion of thousands of civilians from over 20 villages) Croatian army. No prosecutions 31 October - 4 November 1991
Miljevci plateau incident War crimes (Killings of 40 militiamen) Croatian army. No prosecutions 21 June 1992; invasion and permanent occupation of territory under international protection; bodies buried in mass graves nearby
Battle for Maslenica Bridge Crimes against humanity, War crimes (Killings of 490 or 491 individuals, including civilians) Croatian army. No prosecutions 22 January - 1 February 1993; invasion of territory under international protection
Mirlovic Polje incident[199] Crimes against humanity (Murder of 7 elderly civilians) Croatian paramilitaries. No prosecutions 6 September 1993; 5 men and 2 women, four were executed and three burned alive at the stake
Operation Medak Pocket Crimes against humanity, War crimes, Crime against peace (Killings of 29 civilians and 71 soldiers;[200] wounding 4 UN peacekeepers) Croatian army. Commanders Janko Bobetko, Rahim Ademi and Mirko Norac. Ademi acquitted, Bobetko died in the meantime, Norac sentenced to 7 years. 9–17 September 1993; invasion of territory under international protection and assault on UN peacekeeping forces
Operation Flash Crimes against humanity, (Killings of at least 83 civilians and causing an exodus of 30,000) Croatian army. No prosecutions 1–3 May 1995; invasion and permanent occupation of territory under international protection; Western Slavonia fully taken from RSK; 53 were killed in their own homes, while 30 during the Croatian raids of the refugee colons.
Operation Storm Crimes against humanity, (Killings of at least 677 civilians, 150-200,000 Serbian refugees [201]) Croatian army. Generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markač ultimately acquitted by the ICTY.[202][203] 4–8 August 1995; invasion and permanent occupation of territory under international protection; Individual war crimes committed during the operation.

1992–1995: Bosnian War[edit]

Armed conflict Perpetrator
Bosnian War Serb forces, Army of Republika Srpska, Paramilitary units from Serbia, local Serb police and civilians.
Incident Type of crime Persons responsible Notes
Srebrenica Massacre[204] Crime of genocide, Crimes against humanity (Murder of over 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys) Army of Republika Srpska. President Radovan Karadžić and General Ratko Mladić charged. Following the fall of the eastern Bosnian enclave of Srebrenica the men were separated from the women and executed over a period of several days in July 1995.
Prijedor massacre[205] Crime of genocide, Crimes against humanity (5,200 killed and missing) Army of Republika Srpska. Milomir Stakić convicted. Numerous war crimes committed during the Bosnian war by the Serb political and military leadership mostly on Bosniak civilians in the Prijedor region of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Višegrad massacre[206] Crime of genocide, Crimes against humanity (Murder of over 3,000 civilians) Serbian police and military forces. Seven officers convicted. Acts of ethnic cleansing and mass murder of Bosniak civilians that occurred in the town of Višegrad in eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina, committed by Serb police and military forces at the start of the Bosnian War during the spring of 1992.
Foča massacres[207] Crime of genocide, Crimes against humanity (Murder of over 2,704 civilians) Army of Republika Srpska. Eight officers and soldiers convicted. A series of killings committed by Serb military, police and paramilitary forces on Bosniak civilians in the Foča region of Bosnia-Herzegovina (including the towns of Gacko and Kalinovik) from April 7, 1992 to January, 1994. In numerous verdicts, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia ruled that these killings constituted crimes against humanity and acts of genocide.
Markale massacre[208] Crimes against humanity (Murder of 105 civilians and wounding 234) Army of Republika Srpska. Stanislav Galić convicted The victims were civilians who were shopping in an open air market in Sarajevo when Serb forces shelled the market. Two separate incidents. February 1994; 68 killed and 144 wounded and August 1995; 37 killed and 90 wounded.
Siege of Sarajevo[209] Crimes against humanity, (10,000 civilians killed) Army of Republika Srpska. Stanislav Galić and Dragomir Milošević, were sentenced to life imprisonment and to 33 years imprisonment, respectively. The longest siege of a capital city in the history of modern warfare. Republika Srpska and the Yugoslav People's Army besieged Sarajevo, the capital city of Bosnia and Herzegovina, from April 5, 1992 to February 29, 1996.
Siege of Bihać Crimes against humanity Army of Republika Srpska. From April 1992 to August 1995.
Tuzla massacre[210] Crimes against humanity (Murder of 72 and wounding of more than 200 individuals) Army of Republika Srpska. ARS Officer Novak Đukić on trial. On May 25, 1995 the Serb army shelled the city of Tuzla and killed 72 people with a single shell.
Korićani Cliffs massacre[211][212] Crimes against humanity, War crimes (Murder of over 200 men) Serbian reserve police. Darko Mrđa was convicted. Mass murder of more than 200 Bosniak men on 21 August 1992 at the Korićani Cliffs (Korićanske Stijene) location on Mount Vlašić, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Ahatovići massacre[213] Crimes against humanity, Crime of torture (64 men and boys tortured, 56 killed) Army of the Republika Srpska. No prosecutions. Rounded up in an attack on a village, they were tortured. Claiming they were going to be exchanged, Serb forces put them on a bus, which they attacked with machine guns and grenades on June 14, 1992. 8 survived by hiding under bodies of the dead.
Paklenik Massacre[214] Crimes against humanity (Murder of around 50 men) Army of the Republika Srpska. Four indicted. the massacre of at least 50 Bosniaks by Bosnian Serb Army in the Rogatica Municipality on 15 June 1992.
Bosanska Jagodina massacre[215] Crimes against humanity (Murder of over 17) Army of the Republika Srpska. No prosecutions. The execution of 17 Bosniak civilians from Višegrad on 26 May 1992, all of which were men.
Armed conflict Perpetrator
Bosnian War Croat forces, HVO.
Incident Type of crime Persons responsible -
Ahmići massacre[216] Crimes against humanity according to ICTY, (Murder of 116 civilians) Croatian Defence Council, Tihomir Blaškić convicted. On April 16, 1993, the Croatian Defence Council attacked the village of Ahmići and killed 116 Bosniaks.
Stupni Do massacre[217] Crimes against humanity according to ICTY; (Murder of 37 civilians) Croatian Defence Council, Ivica Rajić convicted. On October 23, 1993, the Croatian Defence Council attacked the village of Stupni do and killed 37 Bosniaks
Lašva Valley ethnic cleansing[218] Crimes against humanity according to ICTY. (2,000 civilians killed and missing) Croatian Defence Council. Nine politicians and officers convicted, among them Dario Kordić. Numerous war crimes committed by the Croatian Community of Herzeg-Bosnia's political and military leadership on Bosnian Muslim (Bosniak) civilians in the Lašva Valley region of Bosnia-Herzegovina, from April, 1993 to February, 1994.
Armed conflict perpetrator
Bosnian War Bosniak forces, Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Incident type of crime Persons responsible -
Massacre in Grabovica[219] War crimes (13 civilians murdered) Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Nihad Vlahovljak, Sead Karagićm and Haris Rajkić convicted. 13 Croatian inhabitants of Grabovica village by members of the 9th Brigade and unidentified members of the Bosnian Army on the 8th or 9 September 1993.

1998–1999: Kosovo War[edit]

Armed conflict Perpetrator
Kosovo War Yugoslav army, Serbian police and paramilitary forces
Incident type of crime Persons responsible Notes
Račak massacre[220] War crimes; Crimes against humanity; (killing of 45 Kosovo Albanians) Serbian police, no prosecutions 45 Kosovo Albanians were killed in the village of Račak in central Kosovo. The government of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia asserted that the casualties were all members of the Kosovo Liberation Army who had been killed in a clash with state security forces.
Izbica massacre[221] Crimes against humanity; (murder of 120 Albanian civilians) Serbian police and paramilitaries, no prosecutions. 120 Albanian civilians killed by Serbian forces in the village of Izbica, in the Drenica region of central Kosovo on 28 March 1999.
Suva Reka massacre Crimes against humanity; (murder of 48 Albanian civilians) Serbian police. Four former-policemen were convicted and received prison sentences ranging from 13 to 20 years. The massacre took place in Suva Reka, in central Kosovo on 26 March 1999. The victims were locked inside a pizzeria into which two hand grenades were thrown. Before taking the bodies out of the pizzeria, the police allegedly shot anyone still showing signs of life.
Ćuška massacre Crimes against humanity; (murder of 41 Albanian civilians) Yugoslav Army, Serbian police, paramilitary and Bosnian Serb volunteers, no prosecutions. Serbian forces summarily executed 41 Albanians in Ćuška on 14 May 1999, taking three groups of men into three different houses, where they were shot with automatic weapons and set on fire.
Massacre at Velika Kruša[222] Crimes against humanity; (murder of 26 Albanian civilians) Serbian special forces, no prosecutions. Massacre at Velika Kruša near Orahovac, Kosovo, took place during the Kosovo War on the afternoon of 25 March 1999 the day after the NATO air campaign began.
Podujevo massacre Crimes against humanity; (murder of 19 Albanian civilians) Serbian paramilitaries. Four convicted and sentenced to lengthy prison sentences. 19 Kosovo Albanian civilians, all women and children, were executed by Serbian paramilitary forces in March, 1999 in Podujevo, in eastern Kosovo.
Kosovo War Kosovo Liberation Army
Incident type of crime Persons responsible Notes
Lapušnik prison camp[223] War crime; Crime Against Humanity (23 Serbian prisoners killed) Kosovo Liberation Army; Haradin Bala sentenced to 13 years. Detention camp (also referred to as a prison and concentration camp) near the city of Glogovac in central Kosovo during the Kosovo War, in 1998. The camp was used by Kosovo Albanian insurgents to collect and confine hundreds of male prisoners of Serb and non-Albanian ethnicity.
Klečka killings War crime; (murder of 22 Serbian civilians) Kosovo Liberation Army, no prosecutions 22 Kosovo Serb civilians were killed by Albanian insurgents in the village of Klečka, and their remains were cremated in a lime kiln.[224]
Lake Radonjić massacre[225][226] War crime; (murder of 34 civilians) Albanian extremists, no prosecutions 34 Serbs, non-Albanians and moderate Kosovo Albanians were killed by members of the Kosovo Liberation Army near Lake Radonjić[227]
Staro Gračko massacre[228] War crime; (murder of 14 Serb civilians) Kosovo Liberation Army, no prosecutions 14 Kosovo Serb farmers were executed by Kosovo Liberation Army gunmen, who then disfigured their corpses with blunt instruments.

1990–2000: Liberia / Sierra Leone[edit]

From The Times March 28, 2006 p. 43:

"Charles Taylor, the former Liberian President who is one of Africas most wanted men, has gone into hiding in Nigeria to avoid extradition to a UN war crimes tribunal... The UN war crimes tribunal in Sierra Leone holds Mr Taylor responsible for about 250,000 deaths. Throughout the 1990s, his armies and supporters, made up of child soldiers orphaned by the conflict wreaked havoc through a swath of West Africa. In Sierra Leone he supported the Revolutionary United Front (R.U.F) whose rebel fighters were notorious for hacking off the limbs of civilians.
  • Current action - Indicted on 17 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity by the UN, which has issued an international warrant for his arrest. As of April 2006 located, extradited, and facing trial in Sierra Leone but then transferred to the Netherlands as requested by the Liberian government. As of the status of the main state actor on the genocide in Liberia, Sierra Leone and the on-going war crimes tribunal in the Hague for violating the UN sanctions on supplying the Serbian genocide participants, Libya's Muamar Gaddafi was elected to the post of President of the African Union. As of late January, 2011, Exxon/Mobile has resumed explorationary drilling in Libya after the exchange of the Lockerbie bombing terrorist(genocide charge pending in new prosecution)was returned to Libya and Libya was taken off terrorist list by the Bush administration with the legal stipulation that Libya could never be prosecuted for past war crimes(regardless of guilt)in the future.

1990: Invasion of Kuwait[edit]

Armed conflict Perpetrator
1990:Invasion of Kuwait Iraq
Incident Type of crime Persons responsible Notes
Invasion of Kuwait[citation needed] Crimes against peace (waging a war of aggression for territorial aggrandizement; "breach of international peace and security" (UN Security Council Resolution 660)) no prosecutions Did conspire to levy and did levy a war of aggression against Kuwait, a sovereign state, took it by force of arms, did occupy it, and did annex it, by right of conquest, a right utterly alien, hostile, and repugnant to all extant international law, being a grave breach of the Charter of the United Nations, and the customary international law, adhered to by all civilized nations and armed groups, thus constituting Crimes against peace.
Invasion of Kuwait[citation needed] War crimes, Crimes against humanity, Crime of torture, Criminal environmental modification (Destruction of resources; murder, persecution, and torture of civilians and soldiers; willful environmental devastation and modification) no prosecutions Country devastated, resources intentionally and wantonly destroyed for no militarily necessitous purpose, murder of civilians, torture of residents and citizens of Kuwait, attempted criminal environmental modification on a global scale through intentional oil spills and soot from intentional oil well fires.

1991-2000/2002: Algerian Civil War[edit]

During the Algerian Civil War of the 1990s, a variety of massacres occurred through the country, many being identified as war crimes. The Armed Islamic Group (GIA) has avowed its responsibility for many of them, while for others no group has claimed responsibility. In addition to generating a widespread sense of fear, these massacres and the ensuing flight of population have resulted in serious depopulation of the worst-affected areas. The massacres peaked in 1997 (with a smaller peak in 1994), and were particularly concentrated in the areas between Algiers and Oran, with very few occurring in the east or in the Sahara.

1998–2006: Second Congo War[edit]

  • Civil war 1998–2002, est. 5 million deaths; war "sucked in" Rwanda, Uganda, Angola, Zimbabwe and Namibia, as well as 17,000 United Nations peacekeepers, its "largest and most costly" peace mission and "the bloodiest conflict since the end of the Second World War."
  • Fighting involves Mai-Mai militia and Congolese government soldiers. The Government originally armed the Mai-Mai as civil defence against external invaders, who then turned to banditry.
  • 100,000 refugees living in remote disease ridden areas to avoid both sides
  • Estimated 1000 deaths a day according to Oxfam:
"The army attacks the local population as it passes through, often raping and pillaging like the militias. Those who resist are branded Mai-mai supporters and face detention or death. The Mai-mai accuse the villagers of collaborating with the army, they return to the villages at night and extract revenge. Sometimes they march the villagers into the bush to work as human mules."[229]
  • In 2003, Sinafasi Makelo, a representative of Mbuti Pygmies, told the UN's Indigenous People's Forum that during the Congo Civil War, his people were hunted down and eaten as though they were game animals. Both sides of the war regarded them as "subhuman". Makelo asked the UN Security Council to recognise cannibalism as a crime against humanity and an act of genocide.[230][231]

2003–2011: Iraq War[edit]

During the Iraq War

2006 Lebanon War[edit]

Allegations of war crimes in the 2006 Lebanon War refer to claims of various groups and individuals, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and United Nations officials, who accused both Hezbollah and Israel of violating international humanitarian law during the 2006 Lebanon War, and warned of possible war crimes.[241] These allegations included intentional attacks on civilian populations or infrastructure, disproportionate or indiscriminate attacks in densely populated residential districts.

According to various media reports, between 1,000 and 1,200 Lebanese citizens were reported dead; there were between 1,500 and 2,500 people wounded and over 1,000,000 were temporarily displaced. Over 150 Israelis were killed; thousands wounded; and 300,000–500,000 were displaced.[242][243][244]

2003–2009/2010: Darfur conflict; 2005–2010: Civil war in Chad[edit]

During the Darfur conflict, Civil war in Chad (2005–2010)

  • The entire conflict is allegedly a genocide perpetrated by the involved combatants in Darfur.

Sudanese authorities claim a death toll of roughly 19,500 civilians [245] while many non-governmental organizations, such as the Coalition for International Justice, claim over 400,000 people have been killed.[246]

In September 2004, the World Health Organization estimated there had been 50,000 deaths in Darfur since the beginning of the conflict, an 18-month period, mostly due to starvation. An updated estimate the following month put the number of deaths for the 6-month period from March to October 2004 due to starvation and disease at 70,000; These figures were criticized, because they only considered short periods and did not include deaths from violence.[247] A more recent British Parliamentary Report has estimated that over 300,000 people have died,[248] and others have estimated even more.

2008-2009 Gaza War[edit]

An Israeli white phosphorous round explodes over a Gaza residential area. 11 January 2009

In its early statements the Israeli military repeatedly denied using white phosphorus, saying "We categorically deny the use of white phosphorus", and "The IDF acts only in accordance with what is permitted by international law and does not use white phosphorus." It eventually admitted its use and stopped using the shells, however, saying that a "media buzz" led to its decision to do so.[249]

Numerous reports from human right groups during the war indicated that white phosphorus shells were being used by Israel in populated areas.[250][251][252]

Al Jazeera video. Burning Israeli white phosphorus clusters in the streets of Gaza. 11 January 2009
Videos by Al Jazeera of the 2008-2009 Gaza War

Human Rights Watch said shells exploded over populated civilian areas, including a crowded Palestinian refugee camp[253] and a United Nations school where civilians were seeking refuge.[254] Additionally, Human Rights Watch said that white phosphorus injuries were suspected in the cases of ten burn victims.[255] The International Red Cross stated that phosphorus weapons had been used in the conflict but would not comment publicly on the legality of Israel’s use of the weapon, pending further investigation, contrary to what had been attributed to the ICRC in a number of media reports.[255][256][257]

Human Rights Watch said its experts in the region had witnessed the use of white phosphorus. Kenneth Roth, the organisation's executive director, added: "This is a chemical compound that burns structures and burns people. It should not be used in populated areas."[258]

Amnesty International said a fact-finding team found "indisputable evidence of the widespread use of white phosphorus" in crowded civilian residential areas of Gaza City and elsewhere in the territory.[259] Donatella Rovera, the head of an Amnesty fact-finding mission to southern Israel and Gaza, said: "Israeli forces used white phosphorus and other weapons supplied by the USA to carry out serious violations of international humanitarian law, including war crimes."[260]

On 5 January the Times reported that telltale smoke associated with white phosphorus had been seen in areas of a shelling. On 12 January it was reported that more than 50 phosphorus burns victims were in Nasser Hospital. On 16 January the UNRWA headquarters was hit with phosphorus munitions.[261] As a result of the hit, the compound was set ablaze.[262]

Many other observers, including Human Rights Watch military experts, reported seeing white phosphorus air bursts over Gaza City and the Jabalya refugee camp.[263] The BBC published a photograph of two shells exploding over a densely populated area on 11 January.[264]

Since Protocol III, of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons regulates Incendiary Weapons, and shells containing White Phosphorus,may be legal even in populated areas, more information is required to determine the legality of any shell landing in populated areas.[265]

The IDF stated on 13 January that it "wishes to reiterate that it uses weapons in compliance with international law, while strictly observing that they be used in accordance with the type of combat and its characteristics."[266]

On 14 January, Israeli news sources Haaretz and Ynetnews reported that a mortar shell containing white phosphorus was fired from Gaza and exploded without damage or injury in an open space in the Eshkol area.[253][267] The official foreign press spokesman for the Israeli Police, Micky Rosenfeld, stated that the shell had landed in a field near Sderot.[268][269] A day after the attack, a researcher for Human Rights Watch travelled to Sderot to investigate the claim. One resident said he had heard about a mortar shell, possibly with white phosphorus, landing in a field outside of town but could not specify where. When pressed for information, Rosenfeld could give no further insight, telling Human Rights Watch that "all I have is what's in the press release." Local authorities in Sderot also told the researcher that they were unaware of the attack.[269]

On 15 January, the United Nations compound, housing numerous refugees in Gaza City, was struck by Israeli white phosphorus artillery shells, setting fire to pallets of relief materials and igniting several large fuel storage tanks. A UN spokesperson indicated that there were difficulties in attempting to extinguish the fires because of the white phosphorus and stated "You can’t put it [white phosphorus] out with traditional methods such as fire extinguishers. You need sand but we do not have any sand in the compound."[270][271] Senior Israeli defense officials maintain that the shelling using white phosphorus munitions was in response to Israeli military personnel being fired upon by Hamas fighters who were in proximity to the UN headquarters, and was used for smoke.[272] The Israeli army investigated improper use of WP in the conflict, particularly in one incident in which 20 WP shells were fired in a built-up area of Beit Lahiya.[273]

On 17 January, Peter Herby, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross Arms Unit , confirmed the use of white phosphorus weapons by Israel in Gaza, outlined the rules applicable to phosphorus weapons and explained the ICRC's approach to the issue.[274]

On 20 January, Paul Wood of the BBC reports from Gaza on white phosphorus use in civilian areas. Amnesty team weapon expert Christopher Cobb-Smith, who witnessed the shelling by the IDF during the conflict, reported "we saw streets and alleyways littered with evidence of the use of white phosphorus, including still-burning wedges and the remnants of the shells and canisters fired by the Israeli army."[275]

On 26 January, after weeks of fighting in which Israel either strenuously denied it was using white phosphorus weaponry, or insisted any use was "in line with international law", the nation's Ministry of Defence admitted using white phosphorus in densely populated Gaza.[276][277][278]

On 25 March 2009, USA Based Human Rights Organization Human Rights Watch published a 71-page report titled Rain of Fire, Israel’s Unlawful Use of White Phosphorus in Gaza and said that Israel's usage of the weapon was illegal.[279]

White phosphorus munitions did not kill the most civilians in Gaza – many more died from missiles, bombs, heavy artillery, tank shells, and small arms fire – but their use in densely populated neighborhoods, including downtown Gaza City, violated international humanitarian law (the laws of war), which requires taking all feasible precautions to avoid civilian harm and prohibits indiscriminate attacks. [279]

The Israeli government released a report in July 2009 that confirmed that the IDF used white phosphorus in both exploding munitions and smoke projectiles. The report acknowledged the use of exploding munitions by Israeli ground and naval forces. The report argues that the use of these munitions was limited to unpopulated areas for marking and signaling and not as an anti-personnel weapon.[280] The Israeli government report further stated that smoke screening projectiles were the majority of the munitions containing white phosphorus employed by the IDF and that these were very effective in that role. The report states that at no time did IDF forces have the objective of inflicting any harm on the civilian population.[280]

Head of the UN Fact Finding Mission Justice Richard Goldstone presented the report of the Mission to the Human Rights Council in Geneva on 29 September 2009, urging the Council and the international community as a whole to put an end to impunity for violations of international law in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory.[281] The Goldstone report accepted that white phosphorus is not illegal under international law but did find that the Israelis were "systematically reckless in determining its use in build-up areas". It also called for serious consideration to be given to the banning of its use as an obscurant.[282]

Human Rights Watch claimed in its report that instead of white phosphorus, the Israeli military had a non-lethal alternative at its disposal- smoke shells produced by Israel Military Industries.

In 2010, Anchel Pfeffer of Haaretz claimed that the Israeli report to the UN included a section discussing two senior Israeli officers who were responsible for firing white phosphorus artillery shells on a United Nations compound and were reprimanded earlier that year.[283] This was later disproved. The officers were reprimanded for permitting artillery shot in that same combat, and Israel continued to claim that its use of phosphorus in that combat was only for smoke.[284]

2009 Sri Lankan Civil War[edit]

There are allegations that war crimes were committed by the Sri Lankan military and the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam during the Sri Lankan Civil War, particularly during the final months of the conflict in 2009. The alleged war crimes include attacks on civilians and civilian buildings by both sides; executions of combatants and prisoners by the government of Sri Lanka; enforced disappearances by the Sri Lankan military and paramilitary groups backed by them; acute shortages of food, medicine, and clean water for civilians trapped in the war zone; and child recruitment by the Tamil Tigers.[285][286] It is widely accused that the Secretary of Defense Gotabaya Rajapakse (brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksa) order his troops under his command to "Kill them All" when the troops on the grounds asked him for direction for handling the surrendering Tamil combatants.

A panel of experts appointed by UN Secretary-General (UNSG) Ban Ki-moon to advise him on the issue of accountability with regard to any alleged violations of international human rights and humanitarian law during the final stages of the civil war found "credible allegations" which, if proven, indicated that war crimes and crimes against humanity were committed by the Sri Lankan military and the Tamil Tigers.[287][288][289] The panel has called on the UNSG to conduct an independent international inquiry into the alleged violations of international law.[290][291] The Sri Lankan government has denied that its forces committed any war crimes and has strongly opposed any international investigation. It has condemned the UN report as "fundamentally flawed in many respects" and "based on patently biased material which is presented without any verification".[292]

2014 Gaza War[edit]

Crimes are alleged of a 50-day operation by the Israeli Defence Forces and Palestinian Hamas militants that ended in a ceasefire on Aug. 26.

Civilian deaths[edit]

An investigation by Human Rights Watch concluded that Israel had probably committed war crimes on three specific incidents involving strikes on UNWRA schools.[293] Amnesty International stated that: "Israeli forces have carried out attacks that have killed hundreds of civilians, including through the use of precision weaponry such as drone-fired missiles, and attacks using munitions such as artillery, which cannot be precisely targeted, on very densely populated residential areas, such as Shuja'iyya. They have also directly attacked civilian objects."[294] B'tselem has compiled an infogram listing families killed at home in 72 incidents of bombing or shelling, comprising 547 people killed, of whom 125 were women under 60, 250 were minors, and 29 were over 60.[295] On 24 August, Palestinian health officials said that 89 families had been killed.[296][297]

Warnings prior to attacks[edit]

Human rights organizations including Amnesty International,[298][299] confirmed that in many cases, Palestinians received warnings prior to evacuation, including flyers, phone calls and roof knocking. However, the IDF was criticized for not giving civilians enough time to evacuate.[300] In one case, the warning came less than one minute before the bombing.[301] Israel condemned Hamas's encouragement of Palestinians to remain in their homes despite warnings in advance of airstrikes.[302] Hamas stated that the warnings were a form of psychological warfare and that people would be equally or more unsafe in the rest of Gaza.[302][303] Amnesty International said that "although the Israeli authorities claim to be warning civilians in Gaza, a consistent pattern has emerged that their actions do not constitute an "effective warning" under international humanitarian law."[294] Human Rights Watch concurred.[304] Many Gazans, when asked, told journalists that they remained in their houses simply because they had nowhere else to go.[303] OCHA's spokesman has said "there is literally no safe place for civilians" in Gaza.[305]

Destruction of homes[edit]

People in Beit Hanoun in Gaza using the 72-hour ceasefire to return to their homes and to retrieve the dead.

Israel has targeted many homes in this conflict. This has led to many members of the same family being killed. B'Tselem documented 59 incidents of bombing and shelling, in which 458 people were killed.[295] In some cases, Israel has stated that these homes were of suspected militants and were used for military purposes. The New York Times noted that the damage in this operation was higher than in the previous two wars and stated that 60,000 people had been left homeless as a result.[306] The destruction of homes has been condemned by B'Tselem,[307] Human Rights Watch[308][309] and Amnesty International[298] as unlawful, amounting to collective punishment and war crimes.

Shelling of UNRWA schools[edit]

UNRWA school being used as shelter, July 2014

A UNRWA school in Beit Hanoun, sheltering 800 people,[310] was struck on 24 July resulting in 11 being killed, including 7 children and two women,[311] and UN staff member.[312] Additionally, 110 were wounded, including 55 children and 31 women.[313] A senior Israel military officer initially stated that the school shelling could have been caused by Israeli forces.[314] Several other Gaza rockets have landed in Beit Hanoun and the IDF had not ruled out one of these rockets landing on the school.[315] According to the Human Rights Watch investigation, the school was hit four times in short succession, and that the Israeli account was "implausible". It concluded that Israeli shells hit the schools. Regarding an Israeli statement that it asked ICRC to help evacuate the facility, but "Hamas prevented civilians from evacuating the area during the window that the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] gave them", Human Rights Watch stated that it found no evidence that Hamas had prevented anyone from leaving. The ICRC stated that it received no request from Israel to evacuate.[316]

At 4:40 on the morning of 29 July, the UNRWA Elementary Girls School in Jabalia was shelled[317][318][319] resulting in the deaths of 21 people and more than 100 people being wounded.[320] IDF officials acknowledged that five tank shells hit the school when soldiers responded to Mortar fire from the vicinity of the school.[321] According to the Human Rights Watch Investigation, "at least one shell apparently hit the roof of a classroom on the second floor where women and children were sleeping. Another shell hit the courtyard." It stated that Israel provided no evidence or information to suggest militants were operating in the area and that it "has not explained why, even if it were responding to militants’ mortar fire, it used a weapon as indiscriminate as a high-explosive heavy-artillery shell so near to a UN school housing displaced people."[316]

At 10:50 in the morning of 3 August, a UNRWA school in Rafah sheltering around 3000 displaced Palestinian civilians was hit by an Israeli shell, killing at least 10 people.[322] The Palestine Red Crescent Society announced that the attack occurred while people were in line to get food from aid workers.[323] According to Human Rights Watch, "The Israeli military said it had targeted three members of the Islamic Jihad armed group who were on a motorcycle 'near' the school but did not provide information showing the basis for this claim. It gave no explanation why it did not attack these three individuals before they drove by the school-shelter or after they had moved away."[316]

Attacks on journalists[edit]

The International Federation of Journalists has condemned the attacks as "appalling murders and attacks".[324] Journalists are considered civilians and should not be targeted under international humanitarian law.[325] The Israeli army said it does not target journalists, and that it contacts news media "in order to advise them which areas to avoid during the conflict".[326] Israel has made foreign journalists sign a waiver stating that it is not responsible for their safety in Gaza, which Reporters Without Borders calls contrary to international law.[327][328][329] Israel has bombed Hamas's Al-Aqsa radio and TV stations because of their "propaganda dissemination capabilities used to broadcast the messages of (Hamas's) military wing."[330] Reporters Without Borders and Al-Haq condemned the attacks, saying "an expert committee formed by the International Criminal Court's prosecutor for the former Yugoslavia, to assess the NATO bombing campaign of 1999, specified that a journalist or media organization is not a legitimate target merely because it broadcasts or disseminates propaganda."[325][331]

Human shields[edit]

Defense for Children International-Palestine reported that 17 year-old Ahmad Abu Raida was kidnapped by Israeli soldiers who, after beating him up, used him as a human shield for five days, forcing him to walk in front of them with police dogs at gunpoint, search houses and dig in places soldiers suspected there might be tunnels.[332][333]

Infrastructure[edit]

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that "almost every piece of critical infrastructure, from electricity to water to sewage, has been seriously compromised by either direct hits from Israeli air strikes and shelling or collateral damage."[334] Between five and eight of the 10 power lines that bring electricity from Israel were disabled, some by Hamas rocket fire. On 29 July, Israel bombed Gaza's only power plant, which is estimated to take a year to repair. Amnesty International said the crippling of the power station amounted to "collective punishment of Palestinians".[335][336] Human Rights Watch has stated that "[d]amaging or destroying a power plant, even if it also served a military purpose, would be an unlawful disproportionate attack under the laws of war".[337]

(2011–present): Syrian civil war[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ This list is a work in progress and is not complete
  2. ^ Comment by The Times, November 21, 2006 p.17, in relation to Jean-Pierre Bemba of the Congo: "There was nothing funny about his soldiers' actions in Eastern Congo... Among the crimes alleged are mass murder, rape and acts of cannibalism. Yet one senior UN diplomat has indicated privately that for the sake of peace, the investigation [by the International Criminal Court] into Bemba's responsibility may be sidelined. It isn't just in Congo that trade-offs are being made. [...] Skeptics point out that those who have stood trial so far have either been defeated in war or are retired and irrelevant. They insist there would be no chance of hauling powerful political figures in Washington and London before a court to answer for their actions..."
  3. ^ Spencer C. Tucker, Priscilla Mary Roberts (October 25, 2005). World War I: A Student Encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO. p. 1074. ISBN 1-8510-9879-8. 
  4. ^ Robinson, James J., (September 1960). "Surprise Attack: Crime at Pearl Harbor and Now" ABA Journal 46(9), p. 978.
  5. ^ Telford Taylor (November 1, 1993). The Anatomy of the Nuremberg Trials: A Personal Memoir. Little, Brown and Company. ISBN 0-3168-3400-9. Retrieved 20 June 2013. 
  6. ^ Thomas Graham, Damien J. Lavera (May 2003). Cornerstones of Security: Arms Control Treaties in the Nuclear Era. University of Washington Press. pp. 7–9. ISBN 0-2959-8296-9. Retrieved 5 July 2013. 
  7. ^ Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly Resolution, April 24, 1998
  8. ^ Ferguson, Niall. The War of the World: Twentieth-Century Conflict and the Descent of the West. New York: Penguin Press, 2006 p. 177 ISBN 1-59420-100-5
  9. ^ A Letter from The International Association of Genocide Scholars
  10. ^ Kamiya, Gary.Genocide: An inconvenient truth salon.com. October 16, 2007.
  11. ^ Jaschik, Scott.Genocide Deniers.History News Network. October 10, 2007.
  12. ^ Kifner, John.Armenian Genocide of 1915: An Overview. The New York Times.
  13. ^ BBC News Europe (2006-10-12). "Q&A: Armenian 'genocide'". BBC News. Archived from the original on 2007-03-01. Retrieved 2009-03-05. 
  14. ^ Halpern, Paul G. (1994). A Naval History of World War I. Routledge, p. 301. ISBN 1857284984
  15. ^ Hadley, Michael L. (1995). Count Not the Dead: The Popular Image of the German Submarine. McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP, p. 36. ISBN 0773512829.
  16. ^ An account of this attrocity, known in Ethiopia as "Yekatit 12", is contained in chapter 14 of Anthony Mockler's Haile Selassie's War (New York: Olive Branch, 2003).
  17. ^ "Spanish Civil War". Concise.britannica.com. Retrieved 2009-06-24. 
  18. ^ Published: 12:01AM BST 11 Jun 2006 (2006-06-11). "A revelatory account of the Spanish civil war". London: Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2009-06-24. 
  19. ^ "Men of La Mancha". Rev. of Antony Beevor, The Battle for Spain. The Economist (22 June 2006).
  20. ^ Julius Ruiz, "Defending the Republic: The García Atadell Brigade in Madrid, 1936". Journal of Contemporary History 42.1 (2007):97.
  21. ^ César Vidal, Checas de Madrid: Las cárceles republicanas al descubierto. ISBN 978-84-9793-168-7
  22. ^ "Spanish judge opens case into Franco's atrocities". New York Times. 16 October 2008. Retrieved 2009-07-28. 
  23. ^ Decision of Juzgado Central de Instruccion No. 005, Audiencia Nacional, Madrid (16 October 2008)
  24. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t Staff, Tokyo War Crimes Trial, China News Digest International section "III. The verdict"
  25. ^ Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Oct 1988. SAGE Publications. October 1988. p. 16. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  26. ^ Laws of War: Declaration on the Use of Projectiles the Object of Which is the Diffusion of Asphyxiating or Deleterious Gases; July 29, 1899
  27. ^ "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. Retrieved July 7, 2013. 
  28. ^ Declaration concerning the prohibition of the use of projectiles with the sole object to spread asphyxiating poisonous gases; July 29, 1899
  29. ^ "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. Retrieved July 7, 2013. 
  30. ^ Hyper: International Military Tribunal For The far east Chapter 8
  31. ^ Archived July 19, 2006 at the Wayback Machine[dead link]
  32. ^ Nuremberg and the Crime of Abortion, Jeffrey C. Toumala, Liberty University, 1-1-2011, 42 University of Toledo Law Review, Rev. 283
  33. ^ http://digitalcommons.liberty.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1047&context=lusol_fac_pubs
  34. ^ Christian Streit: Keine Kameraden: Die Wehrmacht und die Sowjetischen Kriegsgefangenen, 1941–1945, Bonn: Dietz (3. Aufl., 1. Aufl. 1978), ISBN 3-8012-5016-4 - "Between 22 June 1941 and the end of the war, roughly 5.7 million members of the Red Army fell into German hands. In January 1945, 930,000 were still in German camps. A million at most had been released, most of whom were so-called "volunteers" (Hilfswillige) for (often compulsory) auxiliary service in the Wehrmacht. Another 500,000, as estimated by the Army High Command, had either fled or been liberated. The remaining 3,300,000 (57.5 percent of the total) had perished."
  35. ^ "Nuremberg: Tyranny on Trial", The History Channel, 40:30, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SJCPkmrYZw
  36. ^ Yahil, Leni (1990). The Holocaust. Oxford Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-504522-X. , p.503
  37. ^ NY Times, October 1, 2006 "Hungarian Is Faced With Evidence of Role in ’42 Atrocity" [1]
  38. ^ United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Holocaust Encyclopedia - "Kamenets-Podolsk" [2]
  39. ^ "The Marmaros Book: In Memory of 160 Jewish Communities (Maramureş Region)"; English Translation of "Sefer Marmarosh; mea ve-shishim kehilot kedoshot be- yishuvan u-ve-hurbanan", Ed. S.Y. Gross and Y. Yosef Cohen, pp. 93 (Tel Aviv, 1996) [3]
  40. ^ Nicholas M. Nagy-Talavera "The Anatomy of a Massacre: Sarmas 1944", Online Museum of Tolerance [4]
  41. ^ Matatias Carp, "Sarmas: One of the Most Horrible of Fascist Crimes" (Bucharest, 1945), pp. 11, 39 [in Romanian]
  42. ^ a b David M. Kennedy, Margaret E. Wagner, Linda Barrett Osborne, Susan Reyburn, and Staff of the Library of Congress, "The Library of Congress World War II Companion", pp. 646, (Simon & Schuster, 2007) ISBN 978-0-7432-5219-5
  43. ^ Jeno Levai, "Black book on the martyrdom of Hungarian Jewry", pp. 272, (Zurich, 1948)
  44. ^ Per Anger, "With Raoul Wallenberg in Budapest", pp. 187 (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 1981), ISBN 978-0-89604-047-2
  45. ^ Jose Doria, Hans-Peter Gasser, M. Cherif Bassiouni, ed. (15 May 2008). The Legal Regime of the International Criminal Court: Essays in Honour of Professor Igor Blishchenko (International Humanitarian Law Series). Brill Publishers. p. 33. ISBN 9-0041-6308-5. 
  46. ^ Antony Best (August 1, 1995). Britain, Japan and Pearl Harbour: Avoiding War in East Asia, 1936-1941. Routledge. p. 1. ISBN 0-4151-1171-4. 
  47. ^ Study "Riposte".: Analytical papers. 
  48. ^ Estimate from Snow 2003 via "The history of Hong Kong". Economist.com. June 5, 2003. 
  49. ^ Banka Island Massacre (1942)
  50. ^ http://www.philippine-scouts.org/Articles/TheCausesoftheBataanDeathMarchRevisited.doc
  51. ^ http://www.users.bigpond.com/battleforaustralia/JapWarCrimes/TenWarCrimes/Bataan_Death_March.html
  52. ^ Himeta, Mitsuyoshi (姫田光義) Concerning the Three Alls Strategy/Three Alls Policy By the Japanese Forces (日本軍による『三光政策・三光作戦をめぐって』), Iwanami Bukkuretto, 1996, Herbert Bix, Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan, HarperCollins, 2001. ISBN 0-06-019314-X, p. 365, citing an order drafted by Ryūkichi Tanaka
  53. ^ ThisIsFolkestone.co.uk
  54. ^ Fall of Ambon Massacred at Laha
  55. ^ Dr Peter Stanley The defence of the 'Malay barrier': Rabaul and Ambon, January 1942 principal historian to Australian War Memorial
  56. ^ American Prisoners of War: Massacre at Palawan':
  57. ^ "Alexandra Massacre". Archived from the original on 2005-10-18. Retrieved 2005-12-07. 
  58. ^ Blackburn, Kevin. "The Collective Memory of the Sook Ching Massacre and the Creation of the Civilian War Memorial of Singapore". Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society 73, 2 (December 2000), 71-90; Kang, Jew Koon. "Chinese in Singapore during the Japanese occupation, 1942–1945." Academic exercise - Dept. of History, National University of Singapore, 1981.
  59. ^ Kangzhan.org article on the Rape of Nanking
  60. ^ Xinhuanet.com article on Changjiao Massacre (in Simplified Chinese) 厂窖惨案一天屠杀一万人
  61. ^ People.com article (in Simplied Chinese) 骇人听闻的厂窖惨案
  62. ^ White, Matthew. "Death Tolls for the Man-made Megadeaths of the 20th century". Retrieved 2007-08-01. 
  63. ^ Hal Gold, Unit 731 Testimony, 2003, p.97
  64. ^ The Asian Women's Fund. "Who were the Comfort Women?-The Establishment of Comfort Stations". Digital Museum The Comfort Women Issue and the Asian Women's Fund. The Asian Women's Fund. Archived from the original on August 7, 2014. Retrieved August 8, 2014. 
  65. ^ Zhifen Ju, Japan's atrocities of conscripting and abusing north China draftees after the outbreak of the Pacific war, 2002.
  66. ^ Daniel Barenblatt, A plague upon Humanity, HarperCollns, 2004, pp.220-222.
  67. ^ Radu Ioanid, "The Holocaust in Romania: The Iasi Pogrom of June 1941", Contemporary European History, Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 119-148 (Cambridge University Press, 1993) [5]
  68. ^ a b Chapter 12 - Trials of War Criminals, Wiesel Commission - "Final Report of the International Commission on the Holocaust in Romania" (in English at Yad Vashem) [6]
  69. ^ United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Holocaust Encyclopedia - "Odessa massacre" [7]
  70. ^ (in Romanian) Northern Transilvania from release from Horthy regime to Soviet occupation (September 1944 – March 1945) [8]
  71. ^ a b Tomasevich 1975, p. 170.
  72. ^ Hoare 2006, p. 143.
  73. ^ a b c d Hoare 2006, p. 145.
  74. ^ a b c d e Tomasevich 1975, pp. 256–261.
  75. ^ a b Hoare 2006, p. 147.
  76. ^ a b c d Hoare 2006, p. 146.
  77. ^ a b c d e Tomasevich 1975, pp. 258–259.
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