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  • 1. Brandy PorterfieldLester10th Honors lit/comp25 October 20111) My multi-genre research paper topicMy topic for the multi-genre research paper is war crimes. I want to explore why war crimesoccur throughout various parts of the world, and what the leading factors for these crimes are.2) What I already knowI know that war crimes are crimes committed during war which violate the laws and customs ofwar. I personally relate war crimes to genocides and mass murders such as the Jews of theHolocaust during World War II, and the Rwandan genocide in East Africa. These two eventsserve as a perfect example of war crimes because they consisted of the murders of hundreds ofthousands of innocent people during a time of war.Besides what I know from common knowledge, I have gained better knowledge of war crimesthroughout our various fishbowl discussions. Many of the books within my fishbowl group dealtwith the brutal reality of war crimes such as African tribes being rampaged, and the violentmurder of families by bandits/rebels or Guerilla soldiers. These discussions allowed me to obtaina better idea of what I’d already known about war crimes because they gave me a betterunderstanding through literary examples.3) What I want To LearnThere are several key factors dealing with war crimes that I would like to learn more about. First,I would like to learn what is considered a war crime because I personally feel that war itself is a
  • 2. crime due to the numerous murders which occur during war. Then, I would like to get a betterunderstanding of what is the leading cause for war crimes, and what motivates people to carrythem out. Lastly, I am interested in learning about the punishments and consequences that followafter one commits a war crime.4) The origins of my researchThe fishbowl discussions sparked my interest on the topic of war crimes. These discussionssparked my interest because I was personally touched by the stories and events that were sharedthrough our common books. My novel, Secrets in the Fire, shared the true story of two sisterswhose family and home had been ripped apart by the cruel rage of rebels. Everyone they’dknown, and all that they were apart of had been taken from them in a state of horror. This storytouched me and forced me to put myself within the situation allowing me to realize the harshreality of war crimes, such as those that occurred in my novel. Once I’d made a connection to theidea and stories of war crimes, I knew that this was the topic I wanted to research.5) Some questions I have about war crimes1) What are the specific laws and customs of war?2) Where does the motivation for these crimes originate?3) How do war crimes affect the society around them?4) What can we do to stop these crimes from occurring?5) What is the punishment for committing a war crime.6) How often do these crimes occur?7) What are some specific examples of war crimes?8) Why are the winners of a war rarely accused of war crimes?9) What are war crimes tribunals?
  • 3. 10) Do these tribunals actually work?12) How can societies put an end to war crimes?6) My research planMy plan for collecting information about my topic is first by researching war crimes throughoutonline databases such as Gale. These databases will allow me to obtain reliable information onmy topic, which I can then branch out further into my research. Once I’ve gathered all that I canthrough the online databases, I will keep my research organized on pre-search graphic organizersand Google docs. I also plan to use scoop it to keep up with all of my sources in an organizedmanner.7) Preliminary bibliographyKafala, Tarik. “What is a war crime?” BBC News. BBC, 21 Oct. 2009. Web. 1 Dec. 2011. <>.Machel, Graca. “Impact of Armed Conflict on Children.” Unicef. United Nations, n.d. Web. 11 Nov. 2011. <>.Mamillian Social Science Library. “War Crimes.” Gale Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Gale, 2010. Web. 2 Nov. 2011. < ReferenceDetailsWindow?displayGroupName=Reference&disableHighlighting=true&action=e& windowstate=normal&catId=GALE%7C00000000LVZK&documentId=GALE%7CPC3021900178& mode=view&userGroupName=cant48040&jsid=8b090b085d8d859e0143e27bf69e175f>.Peace Pledge Union. “Geneva Convention.” Peace Pledge Union. 1 Peace Passage, n.d. Web. 27 Nov. 2011. <>.
  • 4. Proquest Staff. “At Issue: War Crimes/ War Criminals.” SIRS Issues Researcher. N.p., 2011. Web. 1 Nov. 2011. < 4086&artno=0000307271&type=ART#citation>.Tirman, John. “’Kill team’ trial: Are atrocities inevitable in war?” BBC News. BBC, 1 Nov. 2011. Web. 1 Dec. 2011. <>.