Unveiling Shadows of Power: Examining International Crime Accountability in the Wake of Conflict – A Study of US War Crimes Post-1991

Unveiling Shadows of Power: Examining International Crime Accountability in the Wake of Conflict – A Study of US War Crimes Post-1991

Dr. Zaid Mustafa Alvi[1] and Dr. Sana Haider[2]

[1] Department of Political Science, Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), Aligarh, UP- India.

[2] Department of Linguistics Aligarh, Muslim University (AMU), Aligarh, UP- India.


The end of the Cold War brought with it the hope that new, more peaceful, and prosperous times were ahead. Instead, we now witness a resurgence in geopolitical tensions and increase fears of nuclear war. These fears have been fueled by an increasingly volatile global environment and multiple international flashpoints. As the world continues to reel from an era of political and social tumult, there is another unnerving reality: We are also living in one of the most dangerous periods in modern history. Whereas previous generations lived with the specter of nuclear annihilation, our generation has seen nearly unparalleled crimes against humanity committed on a global scale. But what has caused this strange dichotomy of peace and violence? This article explores some of the calamitous consequences arising from the U.S.’s post-Cold War foreign policy – a period marked by economic collapse, social upheaval, and blatant imperialism. This article will highlight the war crimes committed by one of the superpowers, i.e., the United States.


United States, Drones, War on Terror, 9/11, War Crimes, Crimes against Humanity


Whether a war in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Ukraine, Yemen, etc., civilians carry the burden of the conflict. Civilian protection, along with those who are not anymore involved in warfare, constitutes the core of International Humanitarian Law (IHL), the law governing the conduct of war.

During the past years, mass media has reported war crimes around the globe which are being tormented and “molested” by wars. War crimes are classified as the most heinous international offenses. However, what is a war crime?

According to the ICRC, substantial abuses of the rules and norms applicable in non- international armed conflicts within the context of international law constitute war crimes. These are any acts mentioned in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

A war crime is a demonstration that includes a severe violation of the laws of war, resulting in individual criminal responsibility. Examples of criminal activities include the intentional killing of detainees or ordinary people, demolishing civilian properties, torture, seizure of hostages, rapes, etc.,

However, the theory of war crime has archaic roots; laws on war crimes began to originate under the 1907 Convention IV (Regulation concerning the Laws and Customs of War on Land). According to Convention IV, the attack or bombardment, by whatever means, of towns, villages, dwellings, or buildings which are undefended is prohibited. The Convention also banned the commission of other atrocities during times of war. These enforce some obligations on the conflicting parties regarding the “seizure of, and destruction, or intentional damage done to such institutions, to historical monuments, works of art or science, is prohibited, and should be made the subject of proceedings.” The 1907 “Convention integrated natural law and customary law into conventional international law, and it was a step towards the creation of international humanitarian law.” Hereafter, the international conventions played a part in directly acknowledging the presence of judicial authority for safeguarding the world civilization at the outset of the twentieth century.

In this article, we have tried to cover all the things and incidents the world should know regarding America’s War crimes in the aftermath of the cold war, as well as the details on which the other nations have been impacted by the attacks of the United States, the kinds of offenses committed by armed forces internationally; how many people have been murdered since then and much more.

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