Should there be such a thing as a war crime?

At the heart of the concept of war crimes is the idea that individuals can be held criminally responsible for the actions of a country or its soldiers. War crimes and crimes against humanity are among the gravest crimes in international law.

The existing concept of a war crime can be arguably very beneficial and important to those in a society that are mourning a loved one who has died in war or has been ill-treated, as a way to receive some sort of recognition from the government. It can help to create community solidarity in communities bringing people together, fighting against this recognised ‘war crime’ from occurring again, and can allow members of society to feel less angry at the military when awful things do happen because there is a level of recognition given to the act.

But why should such a concept exist at all. Perhaps recognition is given, but in most situation, it is very difficult to hold any single person accountable due to the delegation of responsibility in politics and so in most situations, it is very difficult to punish anybody for these war crimes and get the retribution which people want. It is just not a concept that many can act on. For example, the Iraq war enquiry has argued the Iraq invasion was a war crime yet the leaders of this decision have not yet been prosecuted. It is just a way of putting the public under a state of false class consciousness, by giving the impression that the state has acknowledged the ‘war crime’ by calling the act such, but not acting upon the war crime to ensure punishment, compensation and future avoidance, it is simply a way of silencing the public.

Additionally, one could doxycycline generic argue the concept suggests that there is in fact an honourable way to carry out war. Yet, many would argue that there is no aspect of the war that is any way honourable, and such heinous and awful acts are bound to happen as it is in the very nature of war, for acts such as torture. However, it can be argued that if the concept of a war crime was not to exist, there would be no boundaries in war whatsoever, even in this extreme situation of war, does there need to be boundaries and laws that offer some level of protection to soldiers. There are some acts that are committed during wars that are too dire and inhumane, and this needs to be acknowledged. In the context of war, laws by their very nature must not simply by abandoned – every human being is entitled to universal rights and these should be seen to even in the context of war, and when these rights are not met, this should be seen to be a war crime and some sort of compensation should be given, therefore the concept of a war crime is very important.

To conclude, there is more evidence to suggest there the concept of a war crime is necessary in society as fundamentally, this allows boundaries to be given in war and to act as a form of protection to those who have been mistreated in war. Although war crimes are very difficult to be acted upon, it is necessary that they are as it is still possible for an action to be taken – and if the concept was to cease to exist then nothing could be done at all.


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Hannah Tayab 3 Articles
I am 19 years old and an aspiring lawyer. I love writing, especially about current affairs.

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