Challenges to Adjudication and Investigation
Edited by Fausto Pocar, Marco Pedrazzi and Micaela Frulli
Chapter 1: The criminalization of the violations of international humanitarian law from Nuremberg to the Rome Statute
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.