Turkish officials killing Armenians during the war, Germans committing atrocities on Jews, Polish people and others, cases that came up during Nuremburg trials, Russian treatment of German prisoners all came under war crimes. Crimes against humanity include genocide, mass murder, en mass slavery, mass executions, enslavement, deportation, extermination etc. This means any atrocious act committed on a large group could be termed as crimes against humanity. Sometimes these two overlap one another. Paul Touvier, Klaus Barbie, and Maurice Papon in France, and Imre Finta in Canada are a few examples.
The origins of the war crimes must have started as soon as the war started and that was immediately after the Stone Age when people began grouping together and individuality ended. The groups fought against one another and heaped atrocities on the vanquished men and women. In recent centuries, after the advent of social Darwinism, people have understood the sufferings and harshness that the wars have imposed on Mankind. In Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism, there are dictums against war and war crimes, especially so, in Buddhism and there are historical stories that inform us about the emperors who gave up the war path to avoid atrocities on ordinary soldiers and civilians. But in recent centuries once again, wars have been glorified and war crimes have taken place in many regions of all the continents. In first and second world wars, Japan, Russia, Germany, Italy like countries practiced war crimes. In later years, former Yugoslavia became another example of crimes against humanity. It is the duty of International law not only to punish war criminals, but also to prevent such happenings. "Essentially, international humanitarian law has a two-fold purpose. It is intended to protect non-combatants, or those who are not now or never were, taking part in the fighting. It also limits the methods and means by which the fighting is carried out," Chuter (2003, p.59).
War crimes could be of many kinds. It should involve 'cataclysmic, direct acts of violence', there should be 'logical connection between these events and the discipline of criminology' Yacoubian (2006, p.5). War crimes and crimes against humanity are not limited to only governments and armies. "The framework is not restricted to crimes committed by governments. Criminal acts committed by individual members of society, or corporations therein, are also eligible for inclusion" (Ibid).
Genocide, ill-treatment of prisoners of war, ill treating women including sexual assault, mass murder, torture all come under this category of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The main purpose of International Criminal Court is to try war crimes and crimes against humanity and punish the deserving war criminals. Violations of Geneva convention like wilful killing, inflicting serious injury, inhuman torture, or starvation, confinement, wanton destruction of property, forcing a prisoner of war to serve the opposite side, torturing him or denying him a proper trial come under war crimes. In addition, taking hostages and using them for ransom, direct and purposeful attacks on civilians, attacking, injuring or killing peace workers, NGOs, charity organisations and humanitarian organisations like Amnesty international or Red Cross, killing doctors who are on duty as doctors also