Explainer: What is a war crime?

Worldwide, civilians are being attacked and killed in armed conflict. When do such attacks amount to war crimes?

Parents weep over their dead child, killed in a suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria in 2013 [File: Nurphoto via Getty Images]

By  - AJ - 

Whether in conflicts in Syria, Yemen or Iraq, civilians bear the brunt of war. The protection of civilians, as well as those who are no longer taking part in hostilities, lies at the foundation of international humanitarian law (IHL), the law that regulates the conduct of war. 

Over recent weeks news reports have covered war crimes in different parts of the world that are beset by conflict. War crimes are considered to be among the most serious international crimes. But what is a war crime? 

According to the United Nations, a war crime is a serious breach of international law committed against civilians or "enemy combatants" during an international or domestic armed conflict.

‘A 1950s show trial’: John Pilger describes ‘disgraceful’ courtroom treatment of Julian Assange by UK judge

Julian Assange at the British cangaroo court.  Artist: Julia Quenzler / photo: © Reuters /

By RT - 23. October 2019

Veteran British journalist John Pilger has blasted the “atrocious” and “appalling” treatment of Julian Assange by a judge who decided this week to reject the whistleblower’s request to delay his upcoming US extradition hearing.

“To say it is surreal is not enough, it is simply appalling,” Pilger, who was present in the courtroom on Monday, told RT’s Going Underground. Pilger accused District Judge Vanessa Baraitser of using “disgraceful” and “dictatorial gestures” toward Assange and said she was clearly biased in favor of the attorney acting on behalf of the US government.

“Her bias was incandescent,” Pilger said, adding: “I’ve never seen anything like this. It belonged in a show trial in the 1950s… Moscow, Prague, you name it.”

The honey-months of the fake peace and it's (Nobel)prize-winner are over.

UPDATE 28. October 2019: Death toll over 78 killed in clashes. Oromiya is recognized as nation within the Federal Republic of Ethiopia by the county's constitution, but has little or no freedom to govern itself.

Analysis: Protests, security standoff across Oromia, and even in Finfinne (Addis Abeba) - What happened:

Hundreds of Jawar Mohammed’s supporters gathered at his residence this morning

By Ephream Sileshi & Mahlet Fasil - 23. October 2019

Addis Abeba, October 23/2019 – Protests erupted in several cities and towns across Oromia regional state and various spots surrounding Addis Abeba after Jawar Mohammed, executive director Oromo Media Network (OMN) and prominent activist posted information in his Facebook page that his security detail were told “to pack their stuff and leave the compound quietly without alerting me.”

Jawar has been posting several messages throughout the night including an audio/video purportedly carrying a conversation between his security detail and a third person who Jawar said was a security official. In it, Jawar’s security can be heard saying they will not leave their post in the middle of the night without replacements.

Whitewashing Neoliberal Repression in Chile and Ecuador

Neo-fascist Lenin Moreno deployed mounted Riot-Police aginst protesters in Ecuador only to spark now a wider uprising. Picture: CNN

By  - 23. October 2019

Throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, people are rising up against right-wing, US-backed governments and their neoliberal austerity policies.

Currently in Chile, the government of billionaire Sebastian Piñera has deployed the army to crush nationwide demonstrations against inequality sparked by a subway fare hike.

In Ecuador, indigenous peoples, workers and students recently brought the country to a standstill during 11 days of protests against the gutting of fuel subsidies by President Lenín Moreno as part of an IMF austerity package.

Coca-Cola, Nestlé and PepsiCo Are the World’s Top Plastic Polluters - actually CocaCola is the worst.

Plastic waste. Photo by Brian Yurasits on Unsplash

A new report says these companies pollute most places with the most plastics.

By Lia Savillo - 23. October 2019

Despite the many impressive environmental initiatives cropping up all over the world, plastic pollution is still a massive problem. And it turns out that many of your favourite everyday products may be to blame. A new report from the organisation Break Free From Plastic released today found that Coca-Cola, Nestlé, and PepsiCo pollute the most places with the most plastics.

Brazil deploys 5,000 troops as fury mounts at inaction over worst oil spill in country's history

It is the worst oil spill Brazil has ever encountered Credit: LEO MALAFAIA/ AFP

By Rozina Sabur -  - 23. 

Brazil has deployed 5,000 troops to its beaches amid mounting fury at the government's inaction over the worst oil spill in the country's history.

The environmental catastrophe began in early September when large quantities of oil inexplicably washed ashore.

The mysterious spill has continued and has now touched more than 1,000 miles of Brazil's coast, polluting some of the country's most picturesque beaches and destroying local marine life.

Now public anger is rising over the Brazilian government's failure to stem the flow - or indeed establish the oil's source. In response, local officials have resorted to urging volunteers to aid the cleanup mission.

The High Court of Zambia gives green light to Kangaluwi copper mining in the Lower Zambezi National Park

The Unspoilt Lower Zambezi National Park- however new mine coming soon, if not stopped.

The High Court of Zambia has ruled that the controversial Kangaluwi open-cast copper mine project will go ahead in the heart of the Lower Zambezi National park.

This was after the court dismissed the appeal against the mine on a legal technicality because the initial legal team that fought the case five years ago failed to file a record of appeal.

The site of the mine is between two seasonal rivers which flow directly into the Zambezi River.

CITES – a flawed convention that does wildlife conservation no favours

Elephants on the Busanga Plains in Kafue, Zambia, which is part of the Kaza migration area. (Photo: Tony Weaver)

By Rowan Martin• 23 October 2019

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, (CITES) needs to be radically revised if it is to meet the ever-changing needs of African wildlife conservation.

In the closing plenary session of the most recent meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (CoP18, Geneva, 26 August 2019), a declaration was made by nine members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) – namely Botswana, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eswatini, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania (spokesperson for the group), Zambia and Zimbabwe. The declaration expressed grave concerns with the implementation of the convention and over the anti-sustainable use and anti-trade ideology that came to light during the polarised discussions on African charismatic large mammals.

Spanish Undercover Agents Provocateurs Abduct Catalan Girl During Protest

Laura Solé has now become a symbol for the resistance in Catalunya against the Spanish oppression.

By VF/ET - 23. October 2019

Catalan Laura Solê, 25, identified during a street protest on 17. October 2019 in Tarragon one undercover police agent as infiltrator in their group and together with others she tried to expose and corner him, not knowing that there were around ten others from the same outfit nearby, who then attacked and secured the escape of the one detected.

In retaliation, the secret police gang then pounched with extrem brutallity on Laura Solê, manhandled her by first shoving and pressing her against a brick wall and then a glass window while touching her breasts, while other cops who had carried hidden expandable steel batons, then used them to keep potential rescuers of Ms. Laura at bay.

Once more and more video-streamers arrived, the hooded undercover agents dragged the lady with violent force over almost 100m along the road - first towards an unmarked van - and when they let her fall on the ground they dragged her on by her long hair.

Uganda’s eco-feminists are taking on mining and plantation industries

The Bukigindi Tree Planting Women’s Group has replanted 18 hectares (45 acres) of degraded land near Bugoma with indigenous species.
Photo: Thomas Lewton for Mongabay

“How come these people are coming to Bugoma to destroy our nature? Nature is protecting us,” says Beatrice Rukanyanga as she strides along the forest boundary. 

By mongabay - 23. October 2019

KAMPALA, Uganda – “How come these people are coming to Bugoma to destroy our nature? Nature is protecting us,” says Beatrice Rukanyanga as she strides along the forest boundary. Twisting hardwood trees protrude from a tangle of foliage on one side, neat rows of pine and eucalyptus stand on the other.

Rukanyanga cuts into the forest and adeptly maneuvers through the thick undergrowth, selecting leaves from different plants as she goes. “I’m picking medicine for stomach upsets. We’ve also got plants that treat malaria and skin problems,” she explains. For women who live close to the forest, it has always been an important source of food, medicine, and firewood — resources that are dwindling along with the forest.

The Pathocracy of the Deep State: Tyranny at the Hands of a Psychopathic Government

“We the People” Have Become “We the Police State”

6 % of the World's population are born genetic psychopaths.

By John W. Whitehead (*) - 22. October 2019

Politicians are more likely than people in the general population to be sociopaths. I think you would find no expert in the field of sociopathy/psychopathy/antisocial personality disorder who would dispute this... That a small minority of human beings literally have no conscience was and is a bitter pill for our society to swallow — but it does explain a great many things, shamelessly deceitful political behavior being one.”—Dr. Martha Stout, clinical psychologist and former instructor at Harvard Medical School

The New World is Emerging Before Us

King Salman receives President Vladimir Putin, the Peacekeeper.

By Thierry Meyssan (*) -  

Thierry Meyssan underlines the extreme gravity, not of the US withdrawal from Syria, but of the collapse of the world’s current landmarks. According to him, we are entering a short transition period, during which the current masters of the game, the "financial capitalists" - and those he refers to here have nothing to do with either original capitalism or the original bank - will be rejected in favour of the rules of law laid down by Russia in 1899.

It’s a time that only happens once or twice a century. A new world order is emerging. All previous references disappear. Those who were doomed to grieve triumph, while those who ruled are thrown into hell. The official statements and interpretations made by journalists clearly no longer correspond to the events that follow one another. Commentators must change their discourse as quickly as possible, overturn it in its entirety or be caught up in the whirlwind of history.

UNITE FOR RIGHTS: Unite for the Global Bill of Rights

Professor Kirk Boyd (first from left) hosted a side event at the 42nd session of the Human Rights Council on 18 September 2019 on behalf of the NGO. Prof. Alfred Maurice de Zayas is holding the “Global Bill of Rights” UNITE FOR RIGHTS www.uniteforrights.org

By A. de Zayas - 22. September 2019 - update 22.10.2019


Greetings! Please make a GENERAL COMMENT here about a Global Bill of Rights, and you can also read comments made by others. Look below to make a comment about a specific Article. All comments receive a response, and our Drafting Committee votes on whether to change the wording of this draft document based upon your suggestion. Unite appreciates your time, and if your comment results in a change in wording you will be sent, in your own currency, the equivalent of between $10 – $100 Euros.  Thank you!


          We the people of our international community, our human family, declare that there are certain fundamental rights that are inherent in every human being, that they are unalienable for all people in all countries, and they are enforceable in the courts of all countries:


Easter Islands - Rapa Nui

By Brock Boven - 21.October 2019

Many of us in the Americas have been raised in a society that praises new world conquest and demoralizes the existence and achievements of indigenous populations around the world. We’ve been wired to seek capitalist dreams and turn our backs to the core foundations of our very existence. We live in an era where colonialism has destroyed what truly sustains humanity, and where capitalism erases all memory, all understanding of such sustainability.

Facts cannot be disputed. Facts will always reveal what is destructive, what is sustainable and what is our only hope. Pre-Columbus, over 500 years ago, the current Americas were full of indigenous people. As many as 100 million populated North, Central and South America. By 1650, 80 to 90% of those people were wiped out due to brutal killing, disease and slavery. Today, indigenous people account for only 5% of the world's population, but protect and live on lands that hold 80% of all biodiversity.

How Many Journalists Have Been Attacked by Police in Catalonia this Week?

Five dozen journalists attacked by neo-fascist Spanish government forces in just one week - many injured.

- and the European Union is mum !!!

“These days there has been an unprecedented attack on the right to information,” says the group of Journalists Ramon Barnils.

This statement gives an account of the repressive actions of the National Police and the Mossos dʼEsquadra in Catalonia that since Monday October 14 have attacked 58 journalists.

Australian newspapers black out front pages to fight back against secrecy laws

The front pages of Australian daily newspapers on Monday replicated a heavily redacted government document as part of a united campaign to challenge laws that effectively criminalise journalism and whistleblowing. Photograph: David Crosling/AAP
The Australian Government as well as the media still also have a stain on their vests for not caring about the plight of Australian journalist Julian Assange, unjustly incarcerated in Britain.

United campaign by media companies highlights government moves to penalise whistleblowing and criminalise journalism

By  - @callapilla

The front page of every newspaper in Australia was blacked out on Monday as part of a campaign against moves by successive federal governments to penalise whistleblowing and, in some cases, criminalise journalism.

The campaign, by the Australia’s Right to Know Coalition, follows raids on the ABC’s Sydney headquarters and the home of a News Corp journalist in June, the legality of which is being challenged in the high court.

MEAA (@withMEAA)

The front page of every daily newspaper has been redacted in a united campaign for the #RightToKnow. Find out more: https://t.co/tv5cIcedle #pressfreedom pic.twitter.com/bIxzlP6Pq5

October 20, 2019