When you’re in a warzone, you have to make decisions in a split second. Many are based on limited or inaccurate information. Often, lives are on the life — including your own.
Naturally, this is a high-stress situation. It’s difficult to make the right decision 100% of the time. Those who will judge your decisions later can take all of the time they want, with no stress, to decide what you should have done. You did not have that luxury at the time. Is that really fair to you when you’re trying to defend your actions? Would anyone have made better choices if they had been there instead of you?
These are important questions to ask, but the end result could be that you find yourself accused of war crimes. This can have a drastic impact on your entire future, and you must know where you stand.
Examples of war crimes
Of course, each case is unique. It can help to look at some examples of war crimes, though, to see why these allegations are being made and if they actually hold up at all. A few common examples include:
- The illegal use of torture or inhumane treatment of the enemy
- Attempting not just to defeat the enemy, but to intentionally cause suffering
- Not offering fair trials to those who deserve them
- Using banned weapons, such as chemical weapons
- Destroying property that has no military value
Some of these seem very clear, but even they may not be. For instance, you know that you aren’t supposed to extensively destroy civilian property. But what if you were told it was a military target? What if it was just collateral damage for a military operation? Who decides if the damage was excessive or not? What if you weren’t even there, but you were mistaken for someone else?
The point is that things are not always nearly as black and white as people often assume. If you’re facing these types of allegations, you need to know what legal rights you have and how you can work to defend them during the case.