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Military Legal Resources (U.S. Army JAG School)

Developed in conjunction with the William Winthrop Memorial Library of the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's School, this collection contains publications produced by the JAG on military justice, war crimes, and international law.

Geneva Convention and War Crimes

Geneva Convention and War Crimes

One of the most solemn duties the JAG Corps is responsible for is ensuring U.S. Army compliance with international law, the laws of war, and prosecuting war crimes. Perhaps the most famous example is the prosecution of war crimes in World War II. 

The Geneva Conventions are four treaties that form the core of international humanitarian law. They define rights and protections for non-combatants in war. They were codified and updated between 1864 and 1949. Together, the four conventions deal with:

  • the protection of sick and wounded soldiers on the battlefield
  • the protection of sick and wounded shipwrecked service members
  • the treatment of prisoners of war
  • the protection of civilians during war

War crimes are violations of international humanitarian law that take place during an armed conflict. War crimes are defined by the International Criminal Court, formed in 2002, which is responsible for prosecuting war crimes committed after 2002. Examples of war crimes include:

  • torture or inhumane treatment
  • direct attacks on civilians
  • taking hostages
  • crimes against those providing humanitarian assistance
  • prohibited methods or means of warfare (e.g., chemical warfare)
  • intentionally attacking hospitals, places of worship, or historical monuments

Within the database, users will find titles written by, for, and about the Geneva Conventions within the Geneva Conventions subcollection. Titles dealing with investigations into and prosecutions of real war crimes can be found in the War Crimes subcollection

Some Geneva Convention titles of note:

Some War Crimes titles of note: