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Obligatory War Crime Scene

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And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

"The real war will never get in the books."

A form of Kick the Dog in war movies, where the heroes (or more often, someone else on the same side as the heroes) or villains commit a war crime of some sort, most often mistreatment of enemy prisoners of war or civilians. Done to illustrate that most wars aren't instances of Black-and-White Morality, as well as the mix of good and bad in most armies and how wartime can change a person's personality. Sometimes, these crimes will be reprisals for earlier ones against the heroes' side. May sometimes overlap with Token Evil Teammate if the one performing the crime is on the "heroic side" or Token Good Teammate if it's someone on the opposing side refusing to perform such a deed. In a heroic portrayal, these crimes are justified for the principles of Pay Evil unto Evil or a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.


In a villainous portrayal, it's often shown to establish just how vile the antagonist faction is. Usually, these are done as reprisals against attacks by La Résistance, or civilians found to have been sympathizing with such groups. Sometimes, mooks witnessing but not partaking in these war crimes will speak out against such actions, and for good reasons. Often, this can result in higher-ranking soldiers or officers forcing their subordinates to commit questionable acts themselves, lest they be made an example of.

A fairly young trope that emerged from the previously-hidden Truth in Television of The Vietnam War. Often used to show that War Is Hell and/or to avert Do Not Do This Cool Thing. Compare Shoot the Medic First, Sink the Lifeboats, Leave No Survivors. Contrast The Women Are Safe with Us, Would Not Shoot a Civilian.


It is important to note that this scene, whether in real life or in a work, does not mean the entire army Rapes, Pillages, and Burns. Unless the work in question is an Author Tract about how Armies Are Evil, in which case it might be included for this purpose.

See also The Laws and Customs of War.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Area 88:
    • In the manga and OVA, Nguyen kills an enemy pilot who has ejected from his jet.
    • In the manga, Rocky witnesses anti-government forces slaughter an entire Bedouin camp. When Shin and Mickey fly over the desert carnage afterwards, they're both horrified.
  • Attack on Titan:
    • In her introduction during the battle of Fort Slava, Gabi feigns to be a civilian surrendering to the Mid-East Alliance forces holding the fort, only to use it as an opportunity to blow the armored train that was protecting it. It's shown that she volunteered for this despite the objections of Magath, their captain, and if she hadn't managed to pull it Magath would've sent hundreds of Eldian troops to grind the defenses of the fort, resulting in massive casualties.
    • Eren does this when he goes on a rampage on the Liberio's Internment Zone, his main targets were Willy Tybur and the Marleyan military top brass, but in the process, he kills possibly hundreds of civilians as collateral damage.
    • Floche in the ensuing battle of Liberio is seen deliberately bombing buildings that could be housing civilians, as revenge for the initial attack that breached Wall Maria and caused thousands of deaths. From there, he pretty much just jumps from one war crime to another for the rest of his time in the series, with a preference for torture and protracted public executions.
  • Code Geass:
    • The flashback to Lelouch, Suzaku, and the blind Nunnally fleeing through Japan's countryside as pre-teenagers involves them stumbling onto the scene of genocide in a village. This event scars Lelouch and Suzaku, leading the former to hate Britannia with a vengeance and the latter to be horrified at what had happened, compounded with killing his father, leading him to blame himself for it all. Ironically, Lelouch and Suzaku would both precipitate a repeat of this, with Suzaku joining the Knights Of Round and conquering countries, and Lelouch accidentally causing a country-wide riot, and eventually leading his own massacre, AND ruling the world with a bloody iron fist. (The latter is part of a Thanatos Gambit.)
    • There's also Tamaki, who's usually just the Plucky Comic Relief of the Black Knights, ordering some of the Ashford Academy students executed after he finds them sneaking around, trying to save Suzaku, who is trapped in the disabled Lancelot. No one actually gets a chance to carry out those orders, though, and the event's never mentioned again. Worse yet, those civilians were Lelouch's friends... Lelouch, who was Tamaki's superior. Though this is a very unusual situation, as Tamaki has no idea.
    • The first episode has Clovis' purge of the Shinjuku ghetto. Cornelia replicates this in Saitama, far more effectively, in order to lure out Zero.
  • The entire Fullmetal Alchemist flashback to the Ishval Genocide Campaign is basically one long hideous war crime. Especially poignant was the death of Winry's parents, who had gone to the battlefields of Ishval for Red Cross-type volunteer duties, and were killed while at it. In both the manga and the Brotherhood series, this was done by Scar during a Freak Out — and had he not done it they would've been killed by Kimbley who then would've made it look like an accident on orders of their superiors, so the military wouldn't spend time and money protecting them; in the 2003-anime where they were killed by a very reluctant Roy Mustang on orders from his superiors because they healed Ishvalian civilians. (And Roy is almost Driven to Suicide out of guilt.) It's worth noting that Armstrong outright refuses to kill civilians. Kimblee kills them instead but keeps Armstrong from getting in trouble, respecting the strength of his convictions.
  • The Emperor Rescue Mission Arc in The Five Star Stories features a scene with the AKD forces (more or less the good guys here) lining up and shooting captured enemy troops as the Morale Officer (actually a member of the Headdliner corps in disguise) begs their commanding officer to call it off.
  • Gundam:
    • This has been a part of the franchise starting with the original anime, and Operation British, the Trope Namer for Colony Drop, which consisted of Zeon forces nerve gassing a space station and deorbiting it in the hopes it would land on Federation HQ, instead landing on Australia and killing 50% of the human race through the resultant ecological upheavals.
    • In an early scene in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny, the guerrilla fighters in Gibraltar whom Minerva assisted previously are shown executing the Earth Alliance officers they've taken prisoner. This can be interpreted as an early indication that the protagonist may not be fighting on the righteous side, after all...
    • Mobile Suit Gundam SEED:
      • A similar scene occurs in the Battle of Panama. After taking Panama base and destroying its mass driver, several ZAFT mobile suit pilots start shooting the surrendering Federation troopers. This was said to have been in response to the Battle of JOSH-A, where the Atlantic Federation brass activated a microwave device hidden underneath the base, wiping out most of the ZAFT forces as they broke through, as well as the remaining Federation defenders (Who were mostly from the Eurasian Federation, solidifying the Atlantic Federation's dominance of the Earth Alliance). It was a sign that the war was turning personal (or worse) for soldiers on both sides.
      • A much earlier example is arguably Yzak's destruction of a shuttle full of civilians during a battle with Kira. Even if Yzak's assumption that the shuttle contained fleeing soldiers was correct, shooting an unarmed shuttle is still a pretty heinous act. Yzak gets to see this from the other side later in the series. He was at the Battle of Panama mentioned above. It's also worth mentioning that Yzak was horrified when he found out. He was actually disappointed when the ZAFT government refused to put him on trial for war crimes.
    • Mikazuki Augus from Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans has a habit of executing enemy prisoners of war. Justified in that he's a Private Military Contractor rather than a soldier, and most of the people he killed are either Asshole Victims or those he has a grudge against.
  • The Qin State in Kingdom may be "the good guys", but it doesn't stop some of their generals to go into extremes with captured cities, with varying degree of justification and methods of purging the civilians. The worst part is that it sometimes helps to win. Shin's Chronic Hero Syndrome nearly costed him his entire career and life by the hands of his own commanders, though it didn't stop his dream of becoming "the greatest general that won't use unnecessary violence". Other states are also not above demonstrating acts of genocide though.
  • My Wife Is a Demon Queen has the very early chapters showing Humans Are Bastards by having "The Red Dragon" clan, under the human's Regent, attack Isabella Osa, the titular Demon Queen, at a truce signing ceremony, then hunt her down, with his troops raping and killing her royal guard (just off-panel), and even threatening to take the heads of two "human slaves" that they chanced upon, hoping to get paid 20 gold coins a piece for their heads, and lastly, "the human slaves" who happen to be the MC and the titular Demon Queen, having taken a human form after losing all her magic power, are Forced to Watch the Regent's armies bringing the heads of all Isabella's soldiers hanging on lances in a grim parade (as shown via their shadows), with Isabella shaking in rage and terror.
  • She Retaliated Because Her Entire Family Was Wrongfully Executed has this as a central premise. The story is just one war-crime after another, both by the Sabluveir enemies through flashbacks and exposition, and the now undead Sabluveir's retaliation as they put their enemies through the exact experience they endured.

    Comic Books 
  • Appears several times in Nth Man: The Ultimate Ninja , often pushing the boundaries of The Comics Code. These include the aftermath of a mass execution of civilians, children hacking to death a wounded soldier in reprisal for said execution, and a bombing run on a field hospital.
  • Transformers:
    • The Transformers (IDW): Many scenes featuring Decepticons have them blasting humans left and right with glee.
    • The Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye: Whirl proves that he's a Heroic Comedic Sociopath and a Sociopathic Hero, when he fights Nautilator, and pins him down, Nautilator surrenders and begs for his life, but Whirl is more interested in the fact that the con's voice sounds like Megatron. Whirl tries to make his voice sound like Optimus Prime's to make the confrontation more epic, but gives up, and just executes him.
    • The Transformers: Last Stand of the Wreckers reveals why Impactor is now the former leader of the Wreckers. After defeating and capturing Squadron X, the Decepticon counterparts to the Wreckers, he was told that the world they fought on was in fact neutral territory and that the Wreckers had to release the Squadron or the Autobots would face diplomatic problems. Impactor's solution was to execute all of the restrained prisoners on the spot and convince most of the Wreckers to lie and cover for him, claiming the Squadron had attempted to escape. Only Springer had the conviction to testify against Impactor and reveal the unpleasant truth.
    • The Transformers IDW run also features issue #8, "Scrapper," where the eponymous Decepticon engineer is pinned in a building by iron beams, including one that goes through his abdomen. Crippled and vulnerable, he offers to surrender to the humans—Spike Witwicky in particular—but in lieu of accepting the surrender of a disabled fighter unable to offer resistance, Spike executes Scrapper by using his own gun to blow his face off. The Decepticons recovered his body and were able to view his final moments, and Megatron is able to use this information to gain the upper moral hand against Optimus for once, showing it as proof that humans could not be trusted to accept the honors of war, not even Optimus' closest human friends. This revelation disturbs Optimus so much he has to dispatch Prowl to investigate if this is a ploy on Megatron's part—naturally, it's not, as Prowl finds out firsthand when the Decepticons make him into the rebuilt Devastator's head later.
  • 300 tries to play this as entirely justified and even admirable, which its iconic scene of the heroic and manly king of Sparta kicking an unarmed messenger down the well from Army of Darkness.
  • Marvel Universe:
    • One happens off-panel in the Nicaragua arc of Fury: My War Gone By, led by The Punisher MAX villain Barracuda during his military days. Fury is investigating Barracuda's activities, and finds the remains of a village destroyed by his Contra forces, with horribly mangled bodies everywhere, including a corpse of a pregnant woman who had her stomach cut open and her baby stomped on.
    Fury: Jesus fucking Christ almighty.
    • The Punisher: Born mini-series reveals that this happened all the time during Frank Castle's third and final tour in Vietnam. From Marines executing incapacitated enemy combatants, using overtly cruel attack methods, to one of the Marines actually having a bag full of human scalps that he keeps as "souvenirs". And that's not even getting into the part where they tried to gang-rape a female enemy (though Frank stops this before it can really get ugly and later kills the guy who came up with the idea).
    • All of the above examples pale in comparison to what General Zakharov got up to in Afghanistan. In the Man of Stone arc, a British journalist calmly describes to Frank the sort of "tactics" that Zakharov would routinely employ against the Afghan fighters. The most infamous of these was the way he decided to goad the local Afghan rebels out of hiding. He did this by gathering up the entire population of a local Afghan village and had them forcibly thrown off a cliff one by one, much to the horror of the Afghan fighters. But the crowning moment would have to be when an Afghan woman begs Zakharov that he spare her infant son. How does Zakharov respond to this woman's plea? By taking the infant into his hands, and chucking the baby off a cliff. The scariest part is that we later learn that he did this to another six villages.
  • Über opens with the Battle of Berlin in World War II underway and doesn't shy away from depicting Allies committing brutalities like some Soviet soldiers raping German civilians.
  • Sturmtruppen didn't have much, as the enemy (the Allies) was never seen, but compensated with showing plenty of the crimes the Germans did on their own soldiers. It also had an SS Execution Squad trying (incompetently) to "exterminate" a Jewish prisoner, various strips featuring partisan corpses hanged to trees and lampposts, and a gas attack from the Allies.
  • DC Comics Bombshells: In Greece, Wonder Woman has to stop Allied soldiers from executing captured German prisoners. They make the point that Germans have done worse, and Wonder Woman makes the point that that is the reason they need to be better than the Nazis.
  • Strange Adventures (2020): Throughout the series, it's hinted that Adam Strange did some brutal things to the Pykkts during their invasion of Rann, the planet he swore to protect. Partway through the series, we see one of them: sneaking into a Pykkt military base at night and detonating a chemical weapon (a war crime), and then setting a trap to kill any Pykkts who tried to flee the base (no quarter; also a war crime). The icing on the cake is that Adam jokes about letting some of them go, before returning to the task at hand. Whether what he did to the Pykkts was justified is the driving question of the series.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • In Waltz with Bashir, the entire plot revolves around the protagonist's attempt to unlock his own memories of the Sabra and Shatila massacres, and he succeeds at the very end of the film in which we are shown real footage from the event. Furthermore, most of the movie's war scenes are this, with Israeli soldiers repeatedly shown opening fire indiscriminately on everything that moves (at one point panicking and killing an entire family in a car), the Lebanese Phalangists mutilating enemy corpses at their "slaughterhouse", and quite a few other more minor violations of international laws.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Japanese Army and Kempeitai in The Great Raid are shown committing numerous war crimes on both Filipino civilians and American POWs alike, ranging from torture to mass executions. The worst of these, however, is the Japanese high command issuing an order to liquidate POW camps of their prisoners in the event that the camp risks falling back into American hands.
  • Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima both showed the protagonists of both films (American in the former, Japanese in the latter) killing enemy soldiers trying to surrender by stabbing them with bayonets (and setting them on fire in one case). Known to have actually happened quite a bit in the Pacific Theater on both sides, as it was common for a surrender to be a ruse instead.
  • Several instances of this happen in Saving Private Ryan:
    • The shooting of surrendering Czech conscripts by American troops during D-Day.
      Soldier #1: What'd he say!?
      Soldier #2: [raises hands in imitation of the surrendering troops] "Look! I washed for supper!" Hehehehaha!
    • The mental torture of the German soldier after the assault on the machinegun nest, with Reiben threatening to desert The Squad if they don't execute the German and Horvath threatening to shoot Reiben if he doesn't obey orders and get back in line. When Upham kills the same German trooper that was captured but set free earlier, while he's surrendering, but only after Upham saw him deliberately shoot Captain Miller, the man who let him live.
    • During D-Day, Miller instructs one of his men to deploy a flamethrower into a German bunker. Soldiers come pouring out of the bunker on fire. Another American soldier instructs his men not to shoot at them and instead to let them burn, thus guaranteeing them a slower, more painful death.
  • In Stalingrad, many of these scenes are depicted:
    • A German soldier is seen abusing captured Russian prisoners of war.
    • A temporary cease-fire to gather the wounded from the battlefield is broken by a suspicious German soldier.
    • The unsympathetic German officer orders the soldiers to shoot some Russian civilians who have been taken prisoner, saying they were found trying to commit sabotage. The protagonists state to themselves that the sabotage allegation is nothing more than a pretense to shoot the prisoners because they're running out of food to feed them, and one of them is a child who they themselves took prisoner and befriended. They hesitate before finally being intimidated into doing it.
    • After discovering a German officer's stronghold, the German soldiers find Russian sniper Irina who has been tied to a bed and raped. The protagonists even suggest taking turns to "use" her before Lieutenant Von Witzland puts a stop to it.
  • In The Longest Day, there is one brief scene with an American shooting a German soldier who is unarmed and trying to surrender, saying, "Bitte, bitte!" The American soldier says, "I wonder what 'bitter bitter' means." It was later found that, historically, the medic that shot the Germans spoke German, but had a "take no prisoners" policy.
  • Apocalypse Now: Willard shoots the badly wounded only survivor of the accidental attack on the sampan, to avoid having to take her for medical attention and to make an example of the crew.
  • The extended version of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers movie shows Faramir's troops brutalizing Gollum in hope of getting him to talk. This scene was cut for the theatrical version.
  • An actual montage of this trope occurs early in the 2008 film Defiance. The Bielski brothers raid trucks and people's homes for supplies as well as for vengeance. They shoot the women with the Germans as well as any townspeople who might get in their way. And later, the entire camp of refugees beat to death a captured German soldier. There has been some controversy on the film's portrayal of the Bielski partisans, particularly in regard to their links to Soviet partisans.
  • In The Hurt Locker, an American Army officer opts to withhold medical treatment from a wounded insurgent who would otherwise survive. It's implied the insurgent is shot shortly thereafter to hasten the process. The Colonel announced "he didn't survive" right in front of the prisoner. A soldier responds "yes sir" and we hear two gunshots.
  • Sergeant Meserve and his men in Casualties of War kidnap, gang rape, and murder an innocent Vietnamese woman, aside from one soldier who reports them to command, which is the main plot of the entire story.
  • The Hunger Games: Mockingjay part 2 has two of these. The first is the annihilation of a huge underground fortress of the evil empire by the rebels, resulting in indiscriminate mass casualties among soldiers and civilians. The second one is even more heinous: the bombing of civilians including many children, and making it look like the evil empire did it.
  • To Hell and Back (1955) has the scene where Audie Murphy shoots several German soldiers as they try to surrender. The film was an autobiography. Also potentially the Trope Maker.
  • The Foreigner is not quite about a full-blown war, but unflinchingly portrays morality ranging from grey to black on all three sides: the protagonist, and the two sides he is caught in the middle of. The trope example comes in when government forces torture a terrorist off-screen, and then—after getting the information they need—summarily execute that terrorist on screen. She is a woman, too.
  • Full Metal Jacket makes no attempt to assign moral roles to each side of the conflict and consequently includes two scenes:
    • An American door gunner is randomly shooting civilians as they fly over rice paddies.
      Gunner: Anyone who runs is a VC. Anyone who stands still is a well-disciplined VC! You guys oughta do a story about me sometime!
      Joker: Why should we do a story about you?
      Gunner: 'Cuz I'm so fuckin' good! I done got me 157 dead gooks killed. Plus 50 water buffalo, too! Them's all confirmed!
      Joker: Any women or children?
      Gunner: Sometimes!
      Joker: How can you shoot women or children?
      Gunner: Easy! Ya just don't lead 'em so much! [laughs] Ain't war hell?
    • Joker covers the story of a mass grave where 20 civilians executed by the North Vietnamese Army lie. Some of the victims were buried alive.
    • Joker later finishes off a severely wounded Vietcong sniper that his partner just shot up. Even if she wasn't going to survive, putting someone out of their misery (even at their request) is still a crime.
  • Inglourious Basterds: Pretty much every act committed by the Basterds is a war crime, from donning enemy uniforms to torturing their own spy to beating prisoners to death with a baseball bat.
  • In the Russian war movie Zvezda, a Soviet scout team captures a German soldier, interrogates him (with help of their innocent, nerdy interpreter who earlier demonstrated his knowledge of German by quoting a poem) and then shoot him while he's crying, "I'm not a Nazi! I'm a proletarian!" Then it gets a bit more brutal.
  • Pretty much everything Bunny does in Platoon, including beating a crippled Vietnamese civilian and his elderly mother to death just for the hell of it and nearly raping a young girl.
  • You have to really look for it, but in Pan's Labyrinth, after the rebels win their battle against the government troops, they proceed to shoot their captives to death, thus mirroring an earlier moment of Vidal's soldiers doing exactly the same thing to surrendering partisans.
  • Battle: Los Angeles has a particularly disturbing scene where the Marines have grabbed one of the wounded alien invaders. The Marines had previously emptied entire magazines into individual invaders to little effect, so Staff Sergeant Nantz has his men hold the alien down while he and a local veterinarian rip, cut, and stab at the still-living alien's body in search of a vital point. Once they find a point to aim for, the Marines become a lot more effective at bringing down the invaders. Unusually, the movie doesn't present the scene in either a negative or positive light; the viewer is left to determine whether or not the act is justified or heinous. The aliens themselves have a take-no-prisoners policy, and dead civilians can be seen throughout, as it's stated the aliens shoot up everything living in sight.
  • The Dirty Dozen has been criticized for depicting war crimes: in one scene, Lee Marvin's character orders that a group of surrendered German soldiers be summarily executed. A later scene in which a group of German officers and their wives/mistresses are killed in a basement has also been cited as an example, though in the context of the mission the killing of the women would more likely be classified as collateral damage.
  • The whole point of The Whistleblower. The UN peacekeepers stationed in 1990s Bosnia are importing girls to be their sex slaves. Based on a true story.
  • Play Dirty ends with the only two survivors of the squad (with the possible exception of a man left behind with a mortal gut wound who potentially hadn't died yet) being gunned down by a British soldier who saw their white flag (they were disguised as German soldiers) and shot them anyway. The killer's CO simply said "Don't do it again".
    • The film absolutely delights in demolishing the old-movie notions concerning the ‘rules’ of warfare. Almost any interaction between opposing groups results in this.
  • Red Dawn is almost nothing but war crimes on both sides. The Communists start executing unarmed civilians left and right the moment they parachute in, and their response to any Wolverine attack is to round up a group of random townspeople and execute them in public as a "message". A fairly large portion of the town is held in a gulag converted from a drive-in movie theater. The Wolverines are more than happy to bomb civilian buildings and torture, then execute, captured Russian soldiers "Because we live here". In the final act of the film, the leader of the Spetznas unit brought in to hunt down the Wolverines admonishes the local commanding officers to stop summarily executing civilians because it shows that they, the Soviets, are desperate and don't know how to control the situation, and further sows support for the Wolverines.
  • The Steel Helmet by Samuel Fuller featured this trope in The '50s. Near the end Zack shoots "red" the communist. This scene was so controversial that Fuller was invited to the Pentagon to explain himself. Fuller insisted that this scene was meant to be a realistic depiction of what soldiers do in wartime and that Zack was hardly an inspiring soldier, and that it was by no means an endorsement. Fuller, a former US Infantryman, also pointed out that this happened all the time during World War II and his own commanding officer testified in his defense. The Pentagon was not amused but they let it slide.
  • In Blood Diamond, the RUF terrorists shoot anyone who's not on their side, and their leader hacks a man's hand off with a machete. Much of this actually happened in the Sierra Leone Civil War.
  • Several cases in Fury, committed by the main characters.
    • Committed by Wardaddy in an attempt to cure Norman of his fear of killing. He holds Norman's hand to a gun to force him to shoot a German prisoner who's pleading for his life and even shows them pictures of his family.
    • A little later Wardaddy orders the summary execution of a captured SS officer. The officer had been hanging civilians for not joining the army at gunpoint, so it might have been legal - if there had been a modicum of due process attached.
    • Wardaddy treats German women as spoils of war and lets his men have their ways with them (not an Eastern Front mass rape situation, but still). He even tells Norman to have sex with Emma or else he will.
  • In Yamato, American planes are shown strafing Japanese civilians. One such attack claims the life of Kamio's mother.
  • Vietnam War documentary Hearts and Minds is chock full o'war crimes, all perpetrated by the Americans of course. Children poisoned by napalm, a man screaming hysterically because his little children were killed by an American bomb, American soldiers torching a village—in other words, not a good 4th of July film.
  • Overlord: Rensin is shot dead by German soldiers despite being unarmed (therefore, under the Geneva Convention, a POW). This may well have been because he was black. Later, one of the captured Germans is used by the Americans in an unwilling suicide attack on his own side.
  • 6 Underground: Rochav has his air force gas the refugees and aid workers who were helping them at a makeshift hospital. This convinces One to bring him down, as he witnesses the massacre when he'd been there bringing them money.
  • Enemy at the Gates, the Germans capture a Russian soldier and force him to wear a German uniform and run telephone wire right in front of where they know a Russian sniper is taking people out.
  • The Luftwaffe is introduced in Dunkirk deliberately sinking clearly marked hospital ships.
  • In Mohawk, Calvin sets fire to an American camp, killing 22 sleeping soldiers, as retaliation for American attacks against the Mohawk, despite the Mohawk being nominally neutral in the war. The Americans under Colonel Holt's command are worse: committing torture; murder of civilians, including priests; and killing a restrained prisoner of war.
  • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, set in The American Civil War, has a Union officer subjecting Confederate POWs to brutal beatings, while others are forced to stand outside singing to cover up the noises. While it fits the film's War Is Hell theme, the camp commandant doesn't approve, or accept the notion that it's justified by Confederate cruelty to Union prisoners—too bad he himself is dying. Also, the officer responsible happens to be the main antagonist, who's irredeemably evil even for a cast of not-very-nice people.
  • In A Reason to Live, a Reason to Die!, Sgt. Brent uses a Gatling gun to mow down Confederate soldiers who are attempting to surrender while laughing insanely.

  • Animorphs:
    • In "The Hork-Bajir Chronicles", we discover that the (up until now apparently innocent) Andalite host of the leader of the Earth invasion killed thousands, if not millions, of Hork-Bajir in an effort to keep that planet from falling into enemy hands. By creating and releasing a virus that will break down the DNA proteins unique to the Hork-Bajir, meaning a peaceful race whose resistance movement has been of tremendous help has over half their population die by having their bodies disintegrate slowly and painfully.
    • A recurring theme is to what degree the Animorphs' actions are war crimes, especially since the Puppeteer Parasites they fight a.) are helpless in their natural form and b.) cannot be harmed without hurting their host if they are given a fighting chance.
    • Probably the best example of this trope is the second to last book, where Jake has a pool of 17,000 Yeerks dumped into space. The next book plays it off as a morally-gray diversion tactic, but this is a Retcon; at the time, the only excuse was Animorphs' fury at the Auxiliaries getting slaughtered.
  • The Reynard Cycle: Tybalt's men rape and torture prisoners of war in the second chapter of Defender of the Crown, leading to a confrontation between Tybalt and Isengrim. Reynard cites War Is Hell in order to get Isengrim to stand down.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire has all five sides in the war committing terrible war crimes. The worst were committed by Tywin Lannister's outrider troops, although Robb Stark's army were incredibly brutal to the peasants in the allied Riverlands (though to be fair, the commander of this army was Roose Bolton, who neither asked nor cared for Robb's approval, and simply did it. Plus he later sold Robb out to the Lannisters). Tavern wenches who slept with Lannister soldiers were likewise executed and hanged from trees, their bodies left to the crows. However, Stannis Baratheon does have a habit of punishing his men for this, such as castrating those who raped Wildling women even though Stannis was fighting the Wildlings.
  • The Sword of Truth series has shades of this, where there are several drastic and questionable actions the hero takes (having a prisoner tortured, mowing down peace protesters, imposing total war). Sometimes averted, where it's treated as if the hero doing this is ''completely right and just'' (the peace protesters), while in other places it's justified as the only option he has left (the total war).
  • It comes up in Discworld novels from time to time.
    • Fred Colon mentions beating prisoners of war mostly because you just saw an arrow go through your friend's face and you're looking for the first son of a bitch in the wrong uniform to make an example of.
    • In Monstrous Regiment, Sergeant Jackrum intentionally arranges things so that he can murder a POW (by having the shakiest and least-useful fighters guard the prisoner to give him the hope of making a break for it), although in this case, it's because he knows they don't have the luxury of keeping him as a prisoner in spite of the commanding officer's orders to do so.
  • No Hammer's Slammers novel would be complete without at least one graphic description of what happens to civilians who get caught in the crossfire. In one story their employer chews out Colonel Hammer for nerve-gassing a village that was harboring insurgents-the Colonel responds that a nuke would have been noticed by the press.
  • In the climax of Run Silent Run Deep, the hero has his submarine Sink the Lifeboats to make sure a particularly effective Japanese destroyer captain will never sink another American sub. His crew obey orders, but they're shocked. In the sequel Dust on the Sea, it is made obvious that the American captain's own mileage varied.
  • As part of his Genre Deconstruction of the Chivalric Romance, Cervantes has Don Quixote travel to Barcelona, a province of the Spanish Empire that is facing a Civil War. Sancho, being the Butt-Monkey, gets lost at night in a forest whose trees are filled with feet wearing shoes and stocking. Don Quixote calmly explains that the authorities hang outlaws by twenties and thirties when they catch them.
  • Harry Potter:
    • In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry himself uses the Unforgivable torture-inflicting Cruciatus Curse to ambush a Death Eater — and reminds us that for the curse to work, you have to genuinely want the target to suffer.
    • Also he uses Imperio, another Unforgivable Curse, like a Jedi Mind Trick in book seven.
  • A Harvest of War:
    • The queen test-fires her lover's gift — an arquebus — on an initially live prisoner.
    • The woman flogged to death with her whole back a giant open wound.
  • In The Five People You Meet in Heaven, a war crime is the main impetus for the plot. The protagonist is Eddie, a World War II veteran who fought in the Pacific. He ends up being held as a prisoner of war, but he and the others manage to escape. After escaping, they burn the camp down. Eddie ends up thinking that there is a little girl inside one of the huts near the camp and tries to run back into the hut, but is shot in the leg. After he dies (years later at the age of 83) and goes to heaven, he meets, among others, the little girl that was in the hut.
  • In the final book of the Timeline-191 series, Sociopathic Soldier Boris Lavochkin orders several massacres of civilians, including the murder of an entire village. So as well as an expy of Nazi Germany in form of the CSA, Turtledove also provides an expy of war crimes committed by the Red Army.
  • A Venezuelan sniper in Countdown: M Day assassinates Seamus O'Reiley after the rest of her unit had formally surrendered. In a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, M Day soldiers start killing Venezuelan POWs, until his wife stops the unit... eventually. If not for thinking about what he would have done in a similar situation, she would have taken even longer to order his unit to stop the POW killing.
  • In Shards of Honor, Cordelia and Aral Vorkosigan's first meeting is laced with these. An unexpected meeting between his squad and her survey team turned into a firefight, which would be bad enough on its own (the Betans were unarmed non-combatants), but by the time they catch up with the Barrayaran forces a few days later, they are in the process of torturing a mute, brain-damaged Betan prisoner to death.
  • The Hunger Games:
    • The Capitol air force blowing up the hospital in Eight. It turns into a strategic blunder, however, since not only does the Capitol lose several precious bombers in the process, but the attack is televised and subsequently milked for all its worth, PR-wise, by District 13 media.
    • Then used plenty on the rebel side in the Final Battle for the Capitol, starting when Katniss kills a random civilian woman who stumbles on her squad as they infiltrate the Capitol-held territory then Turned Up to Eleven in the final sequence with the rebels (including Gale and Katniss) firing indiscriminately into crowds of civilians, Gale murdering a wounded peacekeeper to take his rifle and finally District 13 aircraft firebombing a courtyard packed with children, using bombs with delayed fuses to eliminate the rescue personnel.
  • In Caliphate, American troops put down an Islamist rebellion in the Philippines by gathering DNA from terrorists and targeting anyone who might share it.
  • Gilded Serpent: Lord Killian is horrified when he finds out that during a border conflict, a group of soldiers from his army has been attacking innocent villagers and murdering children.
  • In Vertical Run, the event which drove Dave to quit the army when he was in Vietnam: one of his fellow soldiers, along with other members of his unit, decapitated a group of women in a Vietnamese village and placed their heads on pikes, justifying their actions by calling them Vietcong collaborators, despite there being no evidence of this. It leads Dave's commanding officer, after discovering the grisly scene, to immediately execute the lot of them.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Band of Brothers:
    • Ronald Speirs' execution of German POWs. Historically, Speirs had a reputation for killing German POWs, but it was never confirmed if he indeed had. Stories were passed through the company and battalion, but rumors were, according to the soldiers' interviews, probably embellished, and Speirs was known to believe that having his own troops fear him wasn't necessarily a bad thing. The truth of what he did or did not do died with him.

      He is shown to politely offer the Germans smokes and then the camera moves to another soldier who watches in horror as bursts from an SMG are heard. Speirs later gets amusement out of it by offering some GIs a cigarette in another episode, just before he's given command of E Company. Speirs' deadpan expression while the scared-shitless men take the offered cigarettes is a funny moment.

      The "did he or didn't he" aspect of Speirs' reputation was explicitly pointed out during a conversation with Lipton.
      Speirs: You want to ask me, don't you?
      Lipton: Ask you what, sir?
      Speirs: You want to know if they're true or not... the stories about me. Did you ever notice with stories like that, everyone says they heard it from someone who was there. But then when you ask that person, they say they heard it from someone who was there. It's nothing new, really. I bet if you went back two thousand years, you'd hear a couple of centurions standing around, yakking about how Tertius lopped off the heads of some Carthaginian prisoners.
      Lipton: Well, maybe they kept talking about it because they never heard Tertius deny it.
      Speirs: Well, maybe that's because Tertius knew there was some value to the men thinking he was the meanest, toughest son of a bitch in the whole Roman Legion.
    • In the 9th episode, E Company passes by while some French soldiers execute German soldiers they found hiding with little more than a shrug. This serves as a quick introduction to War Is Hell for an eager New Meat named O'Keefe.
    • Half of Easy Company break the rules of war at some point. All the loot they carry around is actually war crime material.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Arya's scenes in Harrenhal before Tywin arrives.
    • The hanged women Jaime and Brienne find in "Valar Morghulis."
    • Locke's torture and abuse of Jaime and Brienne.
    • The murders of Willem and Martyn Lannister in "Kissed By Fire."
    • King Maegor Targaryen burning down the Sept of Remembrance with people still inside.
    • The second half of the penultimate episode The Bells can be named "Obligatory War Crime Scene: The Episode" due to the number of such scenes, including indiscriminately burning civilians, raping civilians, attempting to rape civilians, and so on.
  • The Pacific:
    • There's one poignant scene where US Marines are torturing a Japanese survivor of a banzai attack by shooting him in the arms and legs. The last Japanese soldier they tried to take prisoner blew himself up along with a couple of Marines, so they are not taking prisoners.
    • In another scene, a Marine is cutting the teeth out of a live Japanese soldier's head while the soldier screams in pain. Snafu shoots the guy in the head, putting him out of his misery while saying that it "makes it easier". Although it was legal to take war trophies, taking the personal effects of dead soldiers was not allowed. This included the mutilation of bodies and the removal of their gold teeth.
    • In another scene, after a last-ditch suicide charge by the Japanese, Sledge shoots a soldier who was unarmed and wounded. Later in the same episode, he decides not to shoot another unarmed Japanese soldier — but then a few rookie Marines gun him down instead and blow off Sledge when he disapproves.
      Marine: We're here ta' kill Japs ain't we?!
    • In one scene, a wounded soldier who is no longer a threat is seen being choked to death.
  • Falling Skies:
    • When the aliens order a mech to mow down a group of kids, as an example of what happens when the humans attempt to free one.
    • Also done by the humans, when the doctor is about to try and vivisect a prisoner, but is stopped.
  • On Alphas an attempt by government agents to arrest the leaders of Red Flag (an Alpha terrorist organization) gathered for a meeting quickly descends into chaos as some of the Alphas resist and the government agents open fire. They kill everyone they see, even those trying to surrender or hide. They shoot Bill (in his vest), failing to distinguish him from their targets after a demonstration of Super Strength. One agent nearly kills Gary when he has a tantrum over finding Anna's body — given that he weighs ninety pounds soaking wet and can barely lift the baton he was whaling on the agent with, it comes off very much like a Nazi about to stomp on a yapping chihuahua. The scene demonstrated how unprepared and heavy-handed the government is when dealing with Alphas and that the situation has reached the level of a war.
  • Two such instances in the 1997 miniseries The Rough Riders. One involves a Spanish soldier who tries to surrender, but after he's already killed one of the Rough Riders. He's promptly shot. The other is the rather casual bayoneting of a German military adviser. The German's death is fictional, as no such incident is known to have occurred and indeed the presence of German military at the battle is disputed by historians. Why director John Milius would invent a fictional war crime unnecessary to the plot is not known, however he refers to the Germans bizarrely and inaccurately as Nazis on the DVD's audio commentary, suggesting a mild ax to grind even against pre-World War II Germans.
  • JAG: The promotion of Rear Admiral Thomas Boone to Vice Admiral is called off in "A Separate Peace" because of credible sources claiming he took part in war crimes during The Vietnam War when working closely with CIA officers.
  • In True Blood, Terry Belflaur and all the other Marines are war criminals, committing some seemingly harmless acts, such as holing up in a mosque, but also more harmful crimes such as killing unarmed, wounded civilians.
  • In German war drama Unsere Mütter, unsere Väter, the Winter brothers' unit is seen shooting Russian POWs, pushing civilians at gunpoint onto a mined area to clear their path, and carrying out reprisal killings against innocent farmers for the actions of partisans (not that the Russians are much better, during the little we see of them). And the crimes Friedhelm commits at the behest of SS-Sturmbahnführer Hiemer are even worse.
  • The 100 sees our heroes torturing a captive prisoner for information, firing on the enemy during a peace conference, and, on one occasion, just snapping from the stress and gunning down a bunch of innocent villagers. Most of them are Child Soldiers with no formal training, thrust into a war and a world they don't understand, so they don't always handle things as well as they should. Meanwhile, their enemies are even worse in most cases.
  • Done every so often in M*A*S*H, most notably in one episode where Col. Flagg interrogates a North Korean POW in Post-op by throttling the tube to a critical IV the man is hooked up to. This earns him a What the Hell, Hero? (for very loose values of "hero") from Hawkeye.
  • The Last Ship does this every now and then:
    • In the second season, Dr. Rachel Scott murders Dr. Niels Sorenson by stripping him of the thing that makes him immune to the Red Flu.
    • In the third-season finale, Chandler murders Allison Shaw in cold blood.
  • The Witcher (2019): Nilfgaard makes no distinction between civilians and soldiers, shown in the first episode where they sack Cintra and kill anyone whom they come across, and in the second episode where they raid a refugee camp, killing not just the soldiers in it but many of the civilians too.
  • Space: Above and Beyond, Colonel McQueen orders Lieutenant Wang to leave the interrogation room and proceeds to electrocute and starts ripping out components from a cyborg prisoner in order to force information from him. The same model of cyborg tortured Lieutenant Wang by electrocution in a previous episode.
  • A French Village:
    • Multiple times German troops and Milice are shown killing civilians in retaliation for Resistance attacks (or in one case, a resistance fighter along with his entire family).
    • The French Resistance later also hang and shoot captured Germans or Milice without trial.
  • Downplayed in the first series of Horatio Hornblower. British midshipman Hornblower, who has successfully captured a French frigate, sails into an ongoing battle between the French and Royal Navies. He flies the French flag to make it past the enemy vessels, then blasts them with a surprise broadside... without having reeled in the French flag and flown the British flag prior. The Laws and Customs of War, then as now, permit the deceptive use of an enemy flag on one's own vessel, but require said vessel to (literally) show its true colours prior to entering combat.
  • In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "For the Uniform", former Commander Eddington uses a biogenic weapon against a Cardassian colony that renders it uninhabitable to them (but still safe for humans and other races). Captain Sisko, in realizing that Eddington sees himself as the Jean Valjean to Sisko's Inspector Javert, decides to lean into the villain role and does the same to a Maquis colony, rendering it uninhabitable to humans for fifty years (but safe for Cardassians) and threatening to do it again and again to wipe out the Maquis' populations centers unless Eddington surrenders. As a result, the two civilian populations are able to essentially swap planets, and Sisko narrowly avoids some serious consequences from his superiors only because his (totally unauthorized and illegal) plan worked.
    • The episode "In the Pale Moonlight" is framed by Sisko recording his log of how he tricked the Romulans into joining the war on their side, through an escalating list of unethical and illegal acts ultimately including the false-flag assassination of a Romulan dignitary to frame the Dominion as aggressors.

  • Sabaton's "Ett slag färgat rött" (released in English as "Killing Ground" though the Swedish version's lyrics are far more condemnatory) is sharply critical of the Swedish Army for its mass murder of Russian POWs after the Battle of Fraustadt. This song is track 8 of Carolus Rex, a Concept Album about the rise and fall of Sweden's 17th-century empire.

  • Mike Duncan does not particularly revel in telling the grim details in his The History of Rome Podcast nor in his Revolutions Podcast, but he does recount most of them and certainly all of the ones he considers relevant. One of the reasons why he was stumped when asked about a good book about the History of Rome for kids, because — in his words — there is really no way to make "And then Augustus rounded up all his political opponents and had them beheaded" child-friendly.

    Tabletop Games 
  • BattleTech: The Establishing Character Moment for Clan Smoke Jaguar was during their invasion of the Draconis Combine when they captured Hohiro Kurita on the planet of Turtle Bay, as he was son of the Combine's head of the military, Theodore Kurita, and grandson of the Combine's leader, Takashi Kurita. Local members of the yakuza smuggled him out of the prison he was kept him and got him off world. In retaliation, the Smoke Jaguars used their warship to destroy the city of Edo from orbit. From that point on, "massacre civilians" became their default answer to any sort of irritation. And it convinced the Inner Sphere to band together and destroy the entire clan several years later.

    Video Games 
  • In Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War, as you fight against Belka, your forces engage in a bombing run of the city of Hoffnung, which ends up hitting civilian areas (analogous to the bombing of Dresden, Germany in WWII). In general, you play as a mercenary pilot, and every mission has certain yellow targets representing civilian or defenseless military targets that you can kill or destroy for extra money. This also affects a Karma Meter which can make certain boss fights harder.
  • In Sniper Elite V2, several Red Army soldiers are shown remorselessly executing wounded German soldiers following the capture of an intact V2 rocket launch facility.
    • In Sniper Elite 4, the German forces under General Heinz Bohm's command are shown committing numerous massacres on entire town populations as well as ordering the execution of partisans and their sympathizers. Those who aren't executed immediately are captured and Made a Slave, specifically to help assemble the Ms 300 "Razor" missiles developed by Dr. Andreas Kessler.
  • Happens several times in the Call of Duty game series.
    • The execution of German POWs by Soviet soldiers in the first game.
    • Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare shows how neither side is saintly, and both the U.S. Marine Corps and the SAS will use brutal techniques to find out what is going on.
    • Call of Duty: World at War goes even further. The Pacific campaign starts with your character being tortured by his Japanese captors, and features ambushes from units playing dead, booby traps, and kamikaze attacks. In response, the Americans employ flamethrowers to great effect. The Eastern front has the repeated execution of wounded soldiers, the razing of crops and homes, and the massacre of surrendering soldiers... and that's as the Russians.
    • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 ups the ante even further with the infamous 'No Russian' level, where the player, as a deep-cover CIA operative tasked with getting in the good graces of the villain of the game, participates in a terrorist attack on a Moscow airport, complete with the gunning down of unarmed civilians. In retribution for that mission, the Russians invade Washington, D.C. with the sole intent of killing as many Americans as possible. The player gets a front-row view of Russian tanks and helicopters firing on CASEVAC choppers (i.e., civilian evacuation helicopters). In the rules of war, that's what we call a definite no-no. Soap also commits some Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique during the game.
    • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3: The Ultranationalist forces have laid waste to New York City, including having killed hundreds, if not thousands, of civilians. More were also killed in the opening gas attack across numerous European cities, which are being blasted into rubble by the Ultranationalist war machine, and in the Prague level, a number of people, resistance members or otherwise, are seen hung from makeshift gallows.
    • Call of Duty: Black Ops
      • In the middle of the "Project Nova" level, Kravchenko is seen executing surviving German prisoners with his pistol as they beg for mercy. As he reaches the last one, he runs out of ammo and uses his knife to kill him. Later that mission, Kravchenko and Dragovich betray half of the Soviet squad by gassing them to death in order to test out Nova Six.
      • In the beginning of "Payback", Bowman has his skull crushed by a pipe wielded by the Russian interrogator. Woods and Mason then are forced to play Russian Roulette with each other.
      • In the mission "The Defector" the entire civilian staff of the MACV compound is executed by the NVA for collaborating with American forces. Supplemental intel found in the level indicates that off-screen, hundreds of other civilians are similarly massacred for alleged "collaboration" after the NVA capture the city.
  • Fallout:
    • In the opening of Fallout, an old T.V. shows a newsreel of America's annexation of Canada, with footage of an American soldier executing Canadian prisoners of war, then waving at the camera. The caption reads "Our dedicated boys keep the peace in newly annexed Canada."
    • The Fallout Bible and in-game files and documents reveal that this happened nearly constantly in the lead-up to the Great War. After the annexation of Canada, Canadian citizens suspected of being freedom fighters were executed on sight, U.S military personnel that tried to desert as a response to the increasingly brutal government were used as test subjects by military scientists alongside Chinese-American civilians, and while very little information on the Chinese side of the war has been revealed, what does exist doesn't look much different.
    • Fictitious depiction of war, but Fallout 3's Operation Anchorage features an American soldier executing 4 Chinese prisoners. Killing the American before the shooting causes your allies to turn against you, and try to kill you and the prisoners. Turns into Refuge in Audacity when injured American soldiers come out of the hospital, in underwear, in an Alaskan winter, and attack you with grenades. However, to balance things out, when you storm General Jingwei's camp, you see him executing American prisoners with his lightning sword.
  • Potentially present in Sabres of Infinity at the Antari Camp, where the player may massacre the civilians fleeing from the camp, trap them inside before burning it to the ground, or execute all the captured Antari after intimidating them into surrendering, much to the disgust of their superiors.
  • StarCraft:
    • In one Terran mission of Starcraft: Brood War, a civilian technician runs into a squad of UED marines who kill one of his colleagues to convince him to cooperate. When he does, they thank him... then shoot him anyway. One of them even quips "Err... oops. Heh heh heh..."
    • In the first mission StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, the Terran Dominion are rounding up civilians for labor in a mining site, one of them tries to run, and a marine shoots him.
  • In Mass Effect, if you pick the "Ruthless" reputation, you sent many of your men to certain death in order to defeat a criminal batarian base — and then massacred the surrendering batarians. Said batarians were inferred to be slavers and pirates though.
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim:
    • Ulfric Stormcloak (or the Dovahkiin, on his order) executing General Tullius after he surrenders, or vice versa, though there's Deliberate Values Dissonance in play: this was somewhat less objectionable in medieval times.
    • Sadly, almost every 'surrendering' enemy will quickly regenerate health and get back to fighting you, so you have to choose between committing the war crime of killing a beaten opponent or just letting them get back up so that you can deal an uncontrollable deathblow. The exceptions are duelists, who start the fight by insulting you, and special NPCs. You also have to deal with the fact that your body absorbs the souls of dragons, permanently killing them, and dealing with keeping/discarding black soul gems, which should practically be considered more of a war crime than zombifying your enemies.
    • In Ulfric Stormcloak's backstory, he inflicted the entire city of Markarth with this: any Forsworn sympathisers, including women and children, were put to sword once he'd taken the city.
  • Happens from time to time in World of Warcraft, such as early on in the Jade Forest, when Admiral Rogers orders her troops to open fire on Horde soldiers swimming away from their sinking ships and trying to surrender. On the other hand, some of the atrocities that the Forsaken and Garrosh commit are viewed with disgust by much of the rest of the Horde (in the former case, even Garrosh).
    • In Cataclysm the Alliance navy fires upon a Bilgewater goblin (slave)ship which is unaligned with anyone as they are ordered to fire on any ship that passes through. This forces the goblins to land on Kalimdor and ally themselves with the Horde for survival.
    • Several events were added to the game to drive home the fact that Garrosh has gone beyond the pale. During the Darkspear Rebellion, the player sees trolls being caged, executed, and burned in piles while orcs laugh. Early in the Siege of Orgrimmar a cinematic shows the destruction of the Vale of Eternal Blossoms, a holy place to the Pandaren, due to Garrosh's actions.
  • Literally the very first discussion you hear on the Soviet side in Command & Conquer: Red Alert is about the testing of nerve gas — on both adults and children. This is followed by your actual mission: "Go at once to Torun, destroy everything and everyone. No prisoners, no survivors."
    • In Red Alert 2 the Soviets gun down civilians with no afterthought. In Yuri's Revenge, Yuri's army rounds up mind-controlled civilians and sends them to grinder buildings to be recycled as resources.
    • In Command & Conquer: Generals, the second GLA mission has them gunning down civilians to steal their U.N. relief goods, the final level has them launching bioweapons into populated cities.
  • Spec Ops: The Line, being the War Is Hell Simulator that it is, takes you from one WCS to another like a nightmarish rollercoaster ride. Let's see: we've got mass execution sites, soldiers hung from lampposts, ravens picking at mutilated corpses, a foul-smelling pit filled with a few hundred bodies, and gratuitous White Phosphorus attacks. And that's all before Walker and his team start adding to the list themselves.
  • Not a war game but counts just the same: Ryder White of Dead Island does actually blow up a bridge and commit other acts for the military in a bid to stop the spread of the infection; despite dooming the survivors, and the BIDF and prison guards had apparently snapped and will shoot anyone on sight. The Australian military reacts to the incident by air bombing villages and Kill 'Em All, leading to John Morgan defying orders.
  • In Tactics Ogre, one mission has you make a choice whether to assist in slaughtering an allied town in order to gain sympathy for your side's cause in war. Interestingly, choosing not to obey the orders results in a "chaotic" aligned character, with your friend doing a Face–Heel Turn on you. But if you obey the orders and take part in the slaughter, he does a Heel–Face Turn and vows to fight against you for doing such an obvious evil act, despite it being considered a "Lawful" route. And no matter which route you take, the massacre still takes place.
  • Star Trek Online: The Klingon Defense Force is full of this.
    • The Klingon Empire provoked the Federation-Klingon War in the backstory when it tried to forcibly deport civilian populations from multiple planets, which is considered a crime against humanity in Real Life. Starfleet was quickly deployed to block them.
    • The Federation player character's captain is taken prisoner and then murdered by a Klingon in the tutorial.
    • The KDF player character tortures a Starfleet captain to death, then blows up his already-disabled ship with his surviving crew still aboard. Not to mention all the things they get to do to POWs in duty officer assignments as Video Game Cruelty Potential, like torture, experimenting with assassination techniques, and selling them into slavery. All of which is either glossed over or Played for Laughs as Black Comedy.
  • In Company of Heroes 2, the Soviet campaign plays out like a demented who's-who list of your standard war crimes. Shooting surrendering German soldiers is one thing that's commonly done, but this game goes the extra mile by having Soviet soldiers burning women and children to death in their farmhouses. What's funnier, the German campaign takes no such liberties to depict German soldiers executing Russian civilians (which is something they did very, very often), or indeed committing anything remotely resembling a war crime. Needless to say, the reception to the game among Russian gamers was a tad negative. The game's Russian publisher ceased distributing it, and then there's this video.
  • Halo: Reach features a few, most notably during the Exodus mission, wherein Noble 6 tours a city under Covenant assault. A courtyard filled with dead civilians is the first thing he passes; later he finds Brutes manhandling other civilians and possibly mauling them (if the player isn't quick enough with their gun); and finally watching ships full of evacuees mercilessly shot down by patrolling Corvettes overhead.
    • It's noted that Brutes are generally deployed specifically to create such a scene: their barbaric savagery and I'm a Humanitarian tendencies are particularly effective in terrifying and terrorizing the enemy.
    • The Covenant’s war against humanity is explicitly genocidal, so the Expanded Universe features numerous further examples. Master Chief at one point recalls a battle in which Jackals and Grunts herded populations of human civilians together for the sake of killing and eating them. Certain instances of human soldiers venting their response to such senseless cruelty have occurred as well.
  • In Sudeki, renegade Aklorian soldiers were seen killing Haskilian civilians during their first appearance.
  • In The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV, the Curse of the Great Twilight drives people to be Stupid Evil, which can cause this. One notable example was a group of soldiers forcing down an airship so they could identify key members of the government opposition party so that they could be summarily executed for disagreeing with the Chancellor's plans for a war of conquest of a neighboring country over a crime they didn't commit.
  • The entire opening of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is one of these, featuring a faction of enemy soldiers invading a hospital and ruthlessly gunning down everyone — civilians, patients, doctors, it doesn't matter to them — all to get to and kill Snake. Unlike previous enemy soldiers in the series who often end up being goofy, or silly, or funny, or Punch-Clock Villains, these guys are not there to screw around: it's played out more like a Survival Horror game than the stealth genre the series is known for.
  • One might not expect a 16-bit-era game to have one of these, but Final Fantasy VI has a rather famous one. During the Siege of Doma, Kefka pours a bottle of poison into the river that serves as Doma's main water supply, resulting in the deaths of everyone inside Doma Castle - men, women, children, and Imperial prisoners of war alike.

    Web Videos 
  • World War II: The war crimes of the Axis and their Allied counterparts are touched on in the weekly episodes as they occur and given special attention and condemnation in the "War Against Humanity" series.

    Western Animation 


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