Yemen mosque bombing
A Houthi militant stands inside the al-Balili mosque after two bombings hit the mosque in Yemen's capital Sanaa September 24, 2015.Reuters

There was news last week that advisors to UK's Foreign Secretary had warned that the country could be held responsible for war crimes committed in Yemen.

The legal experts said UK's sale of specialist missiles to Saudi Arabia, which that country extensively used in its bombing raids in Yemen, could potentially incriminate London.

Merely two months ago there were reports that Russia could face war crimes for the thousands of barrel bombs which Syria's Assad regime dropped on the rebels.

On the same lines the United States stood accused of abetting war crimes in Syria after Washington intensified aid for Kurdish YPG in northern Syria which the Amnesty international said was committing war crimes against large non-Kurdish populations.

If UK, the US and Russia were to be held accountable for war crimes for the weapons they sold to Syria and Saudi Arabia, certainly leaders of the countries that used these weapons were also guilty of war crimes.

These things sound interesting. The prospect of a whole lot of weapons producers and end users who end up killing civilians standing in the dock for war crimes. What a wistful thinking!

Even the experts say if ever proceedings start against any of these leaders it would take decades for any charge to materialize and then it would be next to impossible to prove anything.

Liberian president Charles Taylor was sentenced to 50 years in prison for war crimes in Sierra Leone and Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic died in prison before a lengthy trial for war crimes against Bosnian Muslims could be concluded.

What else can you find in the post-World War II history? (The spate of hangings of Jamaath leaders in Bangladesh in recent times can be pointed out but the taint of quick fire political vendetta has stuck to these trials nonetheless)

Is war crimes prosecution a fully evolved instrument of international law or just polemic? At least are world leaders serious about making it a mature tool of law that could curb pointless bloodshed?

Alongside this chatter on war crimes there was some other bit of information that drew attention in recent days.

Foreign military sales of US weapons manufacturers rose to a record high of $46.6 billion in 2015, according to a Pentagon agency. Last year, a French defence ministry report said the country's export of weapons rose 18 percent to hit a 15-year high. Israeli defence ministry said in May this year weapons sale to African countries rose 40 percent year on year in 2014.

So all that merely means more wars are being fought, ever more massive weapons sales are happening and unbelievably high number of innocent people are slaughtered. Or in other words, more war crimes are being committed.

Yet it's not easy to convincingly criticise the rising arms sales and the rising clout of weapons makers. Any criticism of the growing clout of what is called the 'military industrial complex' is soon dismissed in the mainstream as just some contrarian rant. Probably not many perhaps remember that even Dwight Eisenhower, in 1961, had warned against it.

In this context, any mention of a war crimes trial sounds so out of sync with reality. Merely the sound of a peacenik angel flapping wings ineffectually...

Or let's look at some recent history.

Chemical weapons used by Saddam Hussein in Iran-Iraq war had their origins mainly in Germany. According to a Guardian report in 2013, British, French, Indian, US and Egyptian companies were involved in selling chemical weapons materials to Saddam.

All major arms producers -- the US, UK, France, and even South and North Koreas -- participated in the very public arms exhibitions in Baghdad during the Iran-Iraq war. Not just the usual suspects, even Israel, which later became the arch foe of Iran, had supplied abundant arms to Tehran during the 'Imposed War'. (And did any war crimes happen in that war? The crimes against civilians on both sides were more mind-numbing than the Isis atrocities these days.)

Weapons used by Sudan and the Janjaweed militia against South Sudan bore markings that established China was the supplier.

When US backed out of giving military supplies to Sri Lanka even as the island country's fight against the LTTE became too brutal, China generously gave it sophisticate weapons and deep chests of money. But for China's advanced weapons, including F-7 fighters, JY-11 3D air surveillance and abundant supplies of anti aircraft guns an ammunition Colombo would never have been unable to liquidate LTTE. The outfit certainly was an abomination but what about the massive human rights violations involved?

The list will go on if you look at the innumerable proxy wars across continents, ethnic and tribal conflicts in Africa and the sectarian conflicts in the Middle East. With all these wars raging, obviously more weapons are being sold. Isn't it good to vent some frustration by talking about some war crimes trial?