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Berga: Soldiers of Another War
Stories of Berga What Would You Do? Timeline & Maps Berga and Beyond War Crimes
Intro POWs and the Laws of War WWII and Its Legacy
WWII and Its Legacy
Intro Customary Laws Military Tribunals Recent Developments

WWII Atrocities Background text: Prosecution
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Witness at trial

A witness at a war-crimes trial after World War II.
Genocide Convention

Another important development in the law of war was the ratification, in 1948, of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. A direct result of the Holocaust, the Genocide Convention is unique in two aspects. First, the Genocide Convention requires contracting nations to proactively prevent genocide -- not only to prosecute those responsible.

In addition to prohibiting genocide, the Genocide Convention requires nations to prevent it.

Man with headphones

A former Nazi official listens to testimony at his trial.

This "prevention requirement" was an important argument for intervention in recent conflicts including Bosnia, when intervention came only after the massacre at Srebrenica in 1995, and in Rwanda in 1994, where the international community failed to intervene until the genocide was well underway, and later for early NATO intervention in Kosovo to prevent the genocide of the Kosovar Albanians. Second, the Genocide Convention does not allow a nation to violate its terms -- meaning that genocide is never justifiable.

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