Table of Contents

War Crimes and the Conduct of Hostilities

War Crimes and the Conduct of Hostilities

Challenges to Adjudication and Investigation

Edited by Fausto Pocar, Marco Pedrazzi and Micaela Frulli

Most charges for war crimes are brought for violations of the rules on the treatment of protected persons in armed conflict situations. However in certain cases, they are brought for serious breach of international humanitarian law rules governing the conduct of hostilities. This book seeks to address this somewhat neglected area of international criminal law.

Chapter 1: The criminalization of the violations of international humanitarian law from Nuremberg to the Rome Statute

Fausto Pocar

Subjects: law - academic, human rights, public international law, terrorism and security law


Following the post-World War II trials of Nazi leaders at Nuremberg and of Japanese leaders at the International Tribunal of the Far East criminal prosecution has become critically significant as a means of repressing and preventing violations of the rules of international humanitarian law (IHL). Since then the international community has paid increased attention to such violations. Efforts have been made to define the behaviors requiring criminal prosecution for ‘war crimes’ under international law and to ensure that perpetrators are brought before competent international and domestic jurisdictions for trial and appropriately sentenced if found guilty. Admittedly not just any violation of international rules governing the conduct of hostilities may be regarded as constituting an international war crime. Rather only serious violations of IHL qualify as crimes entailing individual criminal responsibility under international law.