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There have always been attempts by politicians, war historians, and lawyers to define war crime. During war, certain things are considered best avoided. Many religious scriptures also essay this doctrine. Of being fair in war and not committing crimes. To do what is required to protect something or someone. And being humane even in morbid conditions.
The Hague Conventions saw laws being developed for war situations. Quite amusing it can be said. When war itself is lawless, how could there be a law? But yes. War should have laws. A war becomes a necessity when the security of a nation is at stake. Although war itself is a crime, but when done in protection of self-interest, has a lesser criminal stature.
During war soldiers are commanded to certain things. When the situation gets more and more gory, laws are not adhered to. During a situation of life and death, rules are forgotten. Forget about laws. For no one knows if they will live to see another day.
A war crime can be different manifestations. So many cases of rape of woman have been reported. When soldiers attack another region, people in that region become refugees and helpless. Nobody knows if they are alive or not, and nobody cares. In such situations, soldiers can become hostile to them, and engage in criminal behavior.
Some of the criminal behaviors are theft, unlawful confinement and torture, rape, willful deprivation of prisoners with basic needs, unlawful conduct towards prisoners or suspects, and so on. Soldiers are not supposed to invade homes on suspicion, unless such orders are passed by the higher authorities and sanctioned by the concerned people.