War crimes are considered to be any number of heinous acts that violate the predefined laws of war. In modern war, war crimes include intentionally killing civilians or prisoners, taking hostages, raping or otherwise violating the principles of distinction, proportionality, and military necessity.
Even though war has been around for thousands of years, the concept of war crimes is a twentieth-century notion. Today, the body of customary international law oversees warfare between sovereign states and incorporates countless international codes that set the framework for war.
However, some war crimes seem questionable at best. WatchMojo compiled a list of some of the strangest international war crimes currently written. The video also includes certain historical events in which instances of war crimes seemed to be ignored altogether.
Check out the video below:
One of the most questionable war crimes featured in the video is the use of pepper spray in combat. The same pepper spray used by police to disperse crowds and purchased by individuals for personal safety cannot be used in battle.
The reason why pepper spray use falls under the umbrella of war crimes has to do with how it is classified. Pepper spray is considered a chemical weapon, and therefore can only be used in situations that do not involve combat. For example, using it to control a crowd of civilians during a war is allowed, but using it directly on the enemy is not.
War crimes also seem to be enforced on a case-by-case basis as well. The United States brought in some 1,500 German scientists following the end of WWII for work on rockets and other projects. Many of these scientists were former SS members or Nazi sympathizers.
While the scientists proved invaluable in developing the Saturn rockets and ultimately achieving the moon landings, they likely should have been tried as war criminals. However, their usefulness in furthering America’s own interests seemed to outweigh any previous incidents on their records.
Today, a number of international courts oversee war crimes cases. Due to the ever-changing landscape of warfare, new guidelines that better define the scope of war crimes have also come into effect. In addition to sovereign state conflicts, war crimes now apply to civil wars and any other in-nation conflicts between various terrorist organizations as well.