Difference Between War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity
War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity are both crimes human species. These are made against people in unreceptive conditions. The conditions and casualties in Iraq, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Sudan and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict cannot be wiped away so easily. Except the crimes and violence, there are cases of abuse which sometimes, are left unnoticed knowingly or unknowingly. This could transgress into large scale mass murders or genocide but whatever the form may be, these certainly are crime against humanity.
The grave violations of the customary and treaty law as described in international humanitarian law are considered as war crimes. It is a duty of every individual to preserve one’s right and not to commit such criminal offenses. War crimes can also be termed as the breach in agreement related to established protocols of battles and non adherence or mistreatment of POWs and right of civilians.
The first statements related to war crimes were released during Geneva and Hague conventions but the international tribunal involving war crimes was first established in1474. It was further strengthened in the end of Second World War by the London Charter of the International Military Tribunal during the Nuremberg Trials. It also redefined the meaning of crimes against humanity occurred during war. Before the Nuremberg trials there was no set accountability or definitions for war crimes.
Crimes against humanity are attack on human dignity either in form of severe humiliation or degradation of human beings. Surprisingly, it is a part of government policy and usually, the occurrence of these horrible acts is condoned or ignored. It can be based on race, religion, culture or political beliefs. The isolated inhuman offenses can be also considered the violations of human rights but depending on the situation.
Thus, it is clear that ‘war crimes’ has much larger perspective. Crimes against humanity are the gory acts against the human dignity due to race, religion or political orientation. These target a specific set of people. For instance, government in Afghanistan and Sri Lanka condones or promotes the action of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and the regimes in Sudan, Congo and Sri Lanka whereas war crimes are the violation of war treaties and cannot be allowed under any circumstances. The shooting massacre of surrendering army or shooting at civilians classify as war crimes.