What to Know if You’ve Been Charged with a War Crime

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oldier in military uniform stands on the ruins

When we think of war we often think of death and destruction. Once war is declared, it may seem as though it is a free-for-all where anything goes and there are no real rules. However, while it can be difficult to discern what an okay act would be versus what a crime would look like, there are in fact different categories of war crimes that can land you in very serious trouble. 

What Constitutes a War Crime?

The interesting thing about war crimes is that there is no official list of actions that constitute these crimes. Rather, the UN notions to the Geneva Convention and the Hague Convention for determining what a war crime looks like. The documentation in question names actions against non-military targets and civilians as war crimes, but also to other violations. Such violations include:

  • Willful killing;
  • Torture or inhuman treatment;
  • Willfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health;
  • Extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly;
  • Compelling a prisoner of war or other protected person to serve in the forces of a hostile Power;
  • Willfully depriving a prisoner of war or other protected person of the rights of fair and regular trial;
  • Unlawful deportation or transfer or unlawful confinement; and
  • Taking of hostages

It’s important to note that these actions are considered war crimes dependent upon a few different factors. The actions must have taken place during an armed conflict and they must have been intentionally and freely carried out. If you did not intentionally or freely commit any of the above acts, you may have an adequate defense.

Penalties for War Crimes Can Be Deadly

War crimes should be taken very seriously. If you have been accused of a war crime you should be sure to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced military attorney as soon as possible. This may even be a matter of life and death. A conviction for a war crime may result in life imprisonment or even death. That’s why it’s so important to fight these charges against you. 

The Court-Martial Law Division of Aviso Law LLC Helps Military Members in Colorado Who Have Been Charged with a Crime

The U.S. Government has an interest in obtaining a conviction as soon as possible, as it does not wish to gain negative publicity about one of its service members. That is why it is so important to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced military attorney as soon as possible. If you are a military service member and have been charged with a crime under the UCMJ, the Court-Martial Law Division of Aviso Law LLC can help. We proudly serve our military members, who sacrifice so much for our country. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!

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