Laws To Prosecute Crimes Against Humanity

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What is Perfidy?

Perfidy is a kind of deception wherein someone promises to do the right thing, but has every intention of breaking that promise later on. An example of perfidy, most commonly thought of in terms of war, is an enemy raising a flag as a symbol of truce, only to attack the opposing side as they come forward to meet. Perfidy is prosecuted as a war crime because it takes advantage of the protections that are in place to benefit every American citizen. To explore this concept, consider the following perfidy definition.

Definition of Perfidy


1. An act of treachery or faithlessness.

2. A deliberate breach of someone’s trust.


1585-1595       Latin   perfidia    (beyond the limits of faith)

What is Perfidy

Perfidy is a form of trickery wherein one party makes a promise in good faith, while fully intending to break that promise later on. Perfidy is often seen in wartime, as one side lures the other into a false sense of security, only to break that trust later on when attempting to gain a tactical advantage. An example of perfidy occurred during World War II, when Japanese soldiers booby-trapped their dead or wounded, or fake a surrender or injury, in order to lure Allied soldiers in for an attack.

Perfidy is different from treachery in that, while perfidy is based on encouraging someone to believe a lie, treachery involves an act of deliberately and directly trying to hurt someone. In international law, however, the two terms are used interchangeably. Other examples of perfidy include:

– Pretending to offer a negotiation under a flag of truce or surrender

– Pretending to be incapacitated due to an illness or injury

– Pretending to be a civilian when one is, in fact, a soldier for the opposition

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