Learn with Lena: War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity

I would like to present some books and websites to learn more about war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The invasion of Ukraine has directed international attention towards war crimes. This, after hoping that the brutality of genocide and war crimes in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia would not be seen again.

What is considered a war crime or a crime against humanity? Are there internationally agreed-upon definitions?

Where to start if one wants to learn and understand what war crimes and crimes against humanity are?
Here! The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court gives us the definition!

Only some characteristics are listed here:

  • Genocide Art. 6
    Killing members of a group;
    Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of a group
  • Crimes against humanity Art. 7:
    Murder; Torture; Rape, sexual slavery, Enforced disappearance of persons;
  • War crimes, Art. 8
    Willful killing;
    Torture or inhuman treatment, including biological experiments;
    Willfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health

The Raoul Wallenberg Library is well-equipped with books on International Criminal Law, including on the topics of genocide and crimes against humanity.

Books I would like to recommend. All available at the Raoul Wallenberg Library

Genocide in international law: the crime of crimes / William A. Schabas.

Genocide, crimes against humanity, war crime: nullum crimen sine lege and the subject matter jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court / Machteld Boot

The criminal law of genocide: international, comparative, and contextual aspects / edited by Ralph Henham and Paul Behrens.

From the ToC:

  • Historical Perspectives: The Armenian Genocide: a contextual view of the crime and politics of denial, Armenian genocide claims: a contextual version of the 1915 events.
  • Case Studies: Has genocide been committed in Darfur? Sudan, the United States and the International Criminal Court: a tense triumvirate in transitional justice for Darfur, The major powers and the genocide in Rwanda, Roméo Dallaire and Kishan Manocha.
  • Aspects of the Crime: Telling stories and hearing truths: providing an effective remedy to genocidal sexual violence against women.

Supranational criminal prosecution of sexual violence: the ICC and the practice of the ICTY and the ICTR / Brouwer de Anne-Marie L.M.

Human rights module: on crimes against humanity, genocide, other crimes against human rights, and war crimes / Jordan J. Paust, M. Cherif Bassiouni et al

The book provides an up-to-date exploration of the “core” international crimes most often associated with human rights. The Module is unique because it is relatively compact and contains vital documents. “Core” crimes include crimes against humanity, genocide, other crimes against human rights – such as torture, criminalized race discrimination, apartheid, hostage-taking, and disappearances – and war crimes.

Courts and Tribunals
  • International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
    The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) was a United Nations court of law that dealt with war crimes that took place during the conflicts in the Balkans in the 1990s.
  • United Nations International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals.
    Legacy website of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.
  • International Criminal Court
    ‘The International Criminal Court (ICC) investigates and, where warranted, tries individuals charged with the gravest crimes of concern to the international community: genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crime of aggression.’ The judgments and decisions by the court are all published on the website. There is also a Questions and Answers option for each case that summarises the case.
Related content: AI-generated results on genocide and international criminal law


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