War Crimes

July 7, 1995 • Volume 5, Issue 25
Should an international court prosecute atrocities?
By Kenneth Jost


The wars in Bosnia and Rwanda have been waged with brutal, wide- scale attacks against civilians. Serbs have carried out their policy of “ethnic cleansing” in the former Yugoslavia by detaining thousands of Croats and Muslims in camps where murder, torture and rape have been common. In Rwanda, the majority Hutus killed hundreds of thousands of ethnic Tutsis in the now-ended civil war. Under pressure from international human rights groups and an outraged world community, the United Nations has convened the first international war crimes tribunal since the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials after World War II. Supporters hope that punishing individuals responsible for wartime atrocities will deter future abuses. But critics say the prosecutions are unworkable and may hamper peacemaking and reconciliation.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Ethics in War
Sep. 16, 2022  The War in Ukraine
Jul. 13, 2012  Privatizing the Military
Aug. 06, 2010  Drone Warfare Updated
May 2010  Confronting Rape as a War Crime
Jan. 2010  Truth Commissions
Feb. 27, 2009  Closing Guantánamo Updated
Jul. 2008  Child Soldiers
Sep. 2007  Torture Debate
Aug. 25, 2006  Treatment of Detainees
Apr. 18, 2003  Torture
Dec. 13, 2002  Ethics of War
Sep. 13, 2002  New Defense Priorities
Jul. 07, 1995  War Crimes
Apr. 26, 1972  Status of War Prisoners
Oct. 07, 1970  Military Justice
Jul. 12, 1967  Treatment of War Prisoners
Dec. 03, 1952  War Prisoner Repatriation
Sep. 07, 1948  War Trials and Future Peace
Jul. 07, 1945  Enemy Property
Nov. 20, 1943  Courts-Martial and Military Law
Mar. 15, 1943  War Guilt Trials
Mar. 30, 1942  War Atrocities
Feb. 02, 1942  Prisoners of War
Aug. 11, 1938  Aerial Bombardment of Civilian Populations
Civil Wars
Global Issues
Humanitarian Assistance
War and Conflict
World War II