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Nobel Prizes aren't without controversy, and I was wondering if a Nobel Peace laureate has ever been accused of war crimes.

For the purpose of this question, I will accept accusations of war crimes by countries or other international bodies including accusations dating before the peace prize was awarded.

When writing an answer, please mention at least the following points:

  • Who made the accusation? Note that the question is limited to countries or other international bodies. To get an idea of what constitutes an international body (or organisation), please consider the Wikipedia page on international organisations.

  • What is the accusation, which war crimes are alleged? Since there seems to be some confusion as to what war crimes are, please see this accessible article the BBC wrote on war crimes.

  • Who is being accused? Note that the question is limited to Nobel Peace laureates (all of whom are listed here). Should the accusation be against an organisation that won a Nobel Peace price, that will also be in scope, even though the term laureate is normally meant to refer to people only.

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    What about asymmetrical conflicts, do you count them among wars? If so, Yassir Arafat (terrorism) and Barack Obama (drone strikes) come to mind. – chirlu Apr 22 at 20:10
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    @JJJ Then what's an international body? How are you distinguishing EU from ISIL from World Wildlife Fund from France? The problem is any "country or other international body" is ridiculously broad. – user71659 Apr 23 at 21:20
  • @user71659 International bodies are recognised by members of the international community. If you have a different question on what it means to be an international body, please ask it as such. – JJJ Apr 23 at 21:30
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    @JJJ Again, it depends on who is doing the recognizing. There is no absolute in international relations. Many countries don't recognize Israel. Many do. Taiwan. ISIL. That's why it's way too broad. – user71659 Apr 23 at 21:31
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    I don't have time to research all of the exact accusations against them and write up an answer, but some candidates that seem likely to have had such accusations by some country (without regard to the merit of the claims): Yasser Arafat, Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Elihu Root, Austen Chamberlain, Cordell Hull, George C. Marshall, Kissinger, Le Duc Tho, Anwar al-Sadat, Menachem Begin, Mikhail Gorbachev, Yasser Arafat, Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres, Jimmy Carter, Mohammed El Baradei, and Barack Obama. I'm sure there are more, though. – reirab Apr 25 at 15:32
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The State Counsellor of Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi, has a Nobel peace prize and there are calls for some of her military leaders to be prosecuted for war crimes. She herself might also be complicit. According to Channel 4 reporting (Channel 4's interview with Professor Yanghee Lee, who is the UN Special Envoy, is available via that link):

The United Nations Special Envoy on Human Rights in Myanmar, also known as Burma, has claimed that Aung San Suu Kyi could be complicit in the systematic persecution of the Rohingya people, in what bears all the hallmarks of genocide.


Also: Henry Kissinger isn't an angel as already pointed out in a separate answer.

(Aside: Nobel himself was considered a merchant of death, according to his pre-released obituary, when journalists mistook his brother's death for his own. This incidentally led him to create the Nobel Prize.)

  • @JJJ: Insofar as I'm aware investigations are still ongoing. I'll be happy to update the answer in a few years if you ping me when they're done. But she strikes me as the most likely candidate. – Denis de Bernardy Apr 22 at 20:37
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    Is Aung San Suu Kyi the president of Myanmar? – Grzegorz Oledzki Apr 23 at 9:57
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I'm sure there's more, but here are the ones that I can remember:

Henry Kissinger

He served as the U.S. Secretary of State during both the Nixon and Ford administrations and received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973. He has been accused of committing the following war crime: Source

  • Violating Art. 25 of Hague IV for his role in the secret American bombings in Cambodia.

    The attack or bombardment, by whatever means, of towns, villages, dwellings, or buildings which are undefended is prohibited.

Barack Obama

He was the 44th President of the United States and received the Nobel Peace Prize just 12 days after taking office. He is accused of committing the following war crimes: Source

  • Violating Art. 23 of Hague IV by killing Abdulrahman al-Awlaki and Mamana Bibi without providing evidence of either militancy or criminality and without any form of due process.

    "[...] it is especially forbidden [...] To declare abolished, suspended, or inadmissible in a court of law the rights and actions of the nationals of the hostile party.

  • Violating Art. 25 of Hague IV by bombing Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, Giovanni Lo Porto, and Warren Weinstein, all of whom were in undefended buildings.

    The attack or bombardment, by whatever means, of towns, villages, dwellings, or buildings which are undefended is prohibited.

  • Violating common Art. 3 of the Geneva Conventions as defined by U.S. Code § 2441 (d)(1)(b) by keeping people, especially people in northern Pakistan, in perpetual fear of death leading to severe mental suffering through the constant presence of drones and the threat of drone strikes.

    Cruel or Inhuman Treatment - The act of a person who commits, or conspires or attempts to commit, an act intended to inflict severe or serious [...] mental pain or suffering [...] upon another within his custody or control.

  • Violating common Art. 3 of the Geneva Conventions as defined by 18 U.S. Code § 2441 (d)(1)(d) by intentionally killing Abdulrahman al-Awlaki and Mamana Bibi, by inadvertently killing Giovanni Lo Porto and Warren Weinstein during an attack on an undefended building, and by inadvertently killing eight bystanders during the drone strike on Abdulrahman al-Awlaki.

    Murder - The act of a person who intentionally kills [...] or kills whether intentionally or unintentionally in the course of committing any other offense under this subsection, one or more persons taking no active part in the hostilities.

  • Violating common Art. 3 of the Geneva Conventions as defined by 18 U.S. Code § 2441 (d)(1)(e) by inadvertently injuring the grandchildren of Mamana Bibi who were near the drone strike.

    Mutilation or Maiming - The act of a person who [...] injures whether intentionally or unintentionally in the course of committing any other offense under this subsection, one or more persons taking no active part in the hostilities.

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    Can you elaborate on who made the accusations? I also found that source on Obama but I'm not sure to what extent the accusation is made by a country or international body / organisation. Please try to expand on that. – JJJ Apr 23 at 4:01
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    "Kissinger is so afraid of being arrested for war crimes that he does not travel outside of the United States." Any sources to back up this claim? He attended a football game of his old hometown Fürth in June 2012, and gave a speech at Helmut Schmidt's funeral in Hamburg on November 23, 2015. (In one of the first sentences of which he mentions that even in their later years, Schmidt and he often met "all around the world"). – Torsten Schoeneberg Apr 23 at 4:31
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    The War Crimes Project source that you linked to doesn't seem to be very high profile at all, but since the question was vague about what counted as an international organization, I think it still counts. However, that site also accuses Bill Clinton and George Bush of war crimes. If we take that source to be noteworthy, why didn't you mention them? – Obie 2.0 Apr 23 at 16:51
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    It's also strange that the site doesn't mention Trump, so far as I can tell, even though it mentions the previous three living US presidents. By the criteria seemingly used by the website, I'd think some actions under his administration would qualify. I can find plenty of other sites with a larger presence accusing him of war crimes, in any case. – Obie 2.0 Apr 23 at 17:27
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    @Obie2.0: Because the question is about nobel peace laureates, which neither Bush or Trump are – Selkie Apr 23 at 21:59
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The closest I can think of is Henry Kissinger. He has accused by many of war crimes, with a judge in Argentina considering him a 'defendant or suspect'.

protected by JJJ Apr 25 at 11:16

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