A simple look at the timeline of human evolution will make you realize that history is full of wars and people fighting against each other for one reason or another. In most cases, organized wars are usually launched by governments and their leaders, not by the common people, and they are often the result of greedy people’s desire for control of certain lands and the resources found there. Even though war is the ultimate and absolutely worst solution to resolve differences between two or more groups, the atrocities that take place during it are even worse than the war itself. This is how the concept of war crimes emerged at the end of the nineteenth century, when the body of customary international law applicable to warfare between sovereign states was codified.
There have been many war crimes since the term first began to be officially used, and it’s truly terrifying to think how many more there would be if the concept existed from the start of military history. Some of the deadliest war crimes include the violent colonization of the Americas, the Holocaust, and the Holodomor, but we are afraid these are only some of the most well-known and not just solitary incidents. These are 25 Lesser-Known But Horrific War Crimes That Might Shock You.
Nisour Square Massacre
On September 16, 2007, Blackwater military contractors (a private military corporation) shot and killed seventeen Iraqi civilians in Nisour Square in Baghdad. The fatalities occurred while a Blackwater Personal Security Detail (PSD) was escorting a convoy of US State Department vehicles to a meeting in western Baghdad with officials from the US Agency for International Development. The shooting led to the unraveling of the North Carolina–based company, which since has replaced its management and changed its name to Xe Services.
The Klečka killings involved the mass murder of twenty-two Kosovo Serb civilians, including children, by members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). After the killings, members of the KLA attempted to dispose of the bodies by incinerating them in a lime kiln. The Yugoslav Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the killings as a “Nazi-style crime.”
The Srebrenica massacre (1995) was the murder of more than eight thousand Muslim Bosniaks, mainly men and boys, in and around the town of Srebrenica during the Bosnian War. The killings were perpetrated by units of the Bosnian Serb Army of Republika Srpska (VRS) under the command of General Ratko Mladić.
The al-Anfal Campaign, also known as the Kurdish Genocide, was a violent campaign against the Kurdish people in northern Iraq, led by Ali Hassan al-Majid in the final stages of the Iran–Iraq War. The campaign also targeted other minority communities including Assyrians, Shabaks, Iraqi Turkmens, Yazidis, Mandeans. Many villages belonging to these ethnic groups were also destroyed.
Black Saturday (December 6, 1975) was a series of massacres and armed clashes in Beirut, Lebanon, that occurred in the first stages of the Lebanese Civil War. In an orgy of bloodletting, hundreds of people were murdered in a few hours, most of them civilians. Estimates of the total number range from two hundred to six hundred.