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War crimes are unwarranted acts of violence committed against unarmed civilians or captured enemy soldiers. Due to the nature of state sovereignty and the lack of genuinely effective supranational authorities, they are almost always prosecuted by the victors against the defeated, while war crimes committed by winners usually go unpunished. For example, the aerial bombardments of civilian populations during the Second World War, the Korean War and the War in Indochina were never prosecuted.
War crimes are outlined in the International humanitarian law (IHL) which comprises the Geneva and Hague conventions, as well as a collection of unattributed laws and personal liberties.
The Nuremberg Trials and the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (Tokyo War Crimes Trials) represent the most prominent examples of comprehensive trials against state leaders responsible for war crimes. The Nuremberg Trials are better known in Europe and America while the Tokyo War Crimes Trials are better known in Asia.
There have been several attempts to establish concrete norms of conduct for belligerents (the so-called jus in bello). Currently, these rules of warfare are codified in the Geneva Conventions, which have been ratified (but not always respected) by almost all member states of the UN.  These norms have evolved over time and nowadays form an extensive catalog of binding rules regarding issues like the protection of noncombatants, care for the wounded and the treatment of POWs. The International Criminal Court in Den Hague serves as a supranational organ for the prosecution of war crimes, but it does not have worldwide jurisdiction, since not all states have ratified the respective treaty.
 Recent war crime violations
- 2009 Sri Lanka - individual crimes by both the SL Military and the rebels.
- 2003-2010 Conflict in Darfur - due to the nature of the conflict, and the view that it is military against civilians at large, the entire conflict has been charged as both a war crime and as an attempted genocide.
- 2003-2007 Conflict in Chad - 300,000 civilians have died in and around Chad, likely as direct targets.
- 2003 to December 15, 2011 Iraq War
- Rape and murder of 14 year old girl and her family by US Troops.
- Blackwater Baghdad Shootings
- Abu Ghriab prison incidents, specific cases as well as general conditions.