The Oxford handbook of international law in armed conflict
Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2014
Under the orthodox approach, war crimes were considered crimes under international law only as a means to enforce international rules of warfare at the national level. This basic principle of international law was challenged and eventually discarded following the trials of war criminals before the Nuremberg Tribunal and the Tokyo Tribunal. However, the revolutionary precedent established by the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials did not develop into a fully-fledged body of international criminal rules, known as ‘international criminal law’, until the end of the Cold War, when the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda were set up by the United Nations Security Council. This chapter focuses on the criminalization of war crimes under international law and compares it with the parallel criminalization of crimes against humanity and genocide.