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War crimes are typically discussed in sensational terms or in the dry language of international law. In contrast, David Chuter brings clarity to this complex subject, exploring why atrocities occur and what can be done to identify perpetrators and bring them to justice.
Chuter confronts the real horror of the murder, rape and torture that are subsumed under the dispassionate phrase ""serious violations of international humanitarian law"". But his discerning analysis also situates war crimes in their historical and cultural context - acknowledging the social and cultural mind-sets that allow them to happen - and discusses the political and policy issues surrounding them.
Offering a nuanced typology of war crimes and a thoughtful discussion of the laws relating to them, the book also grapples with such troubling questions as whether the outcomes of tribunals can come close to ""the truth"" - and whether they can help to prevent atrocities in the future.