History of International Law

[Tania Atilano holds a Juris Doctor from the Humboldt University of Berlin. She is conducting research on the laws of war in nineteenth-century Mexico and on counter-guerrilla warfare in the state of Guerrero (Mexico) during the '70s.] Since I published the article about the criminalization of the Laws of War in the 1871 Mexican Criminal Code (MCC), I have received various...

1- White Supremacy and the International Legal Order Writing in 1997, Charles Mills threw a grenade into political theory. With a touch of hyperbole, we might even say he collapsed the contours of the social sciences. Standard undergraduate philosophy courses, he tells us, cover two thousand years of political thought. Mainstream philosophers introduce students to liberalism and libertarianism, capitalism and communitarianism, socialism...

Researching legal history can frequently lead to the reframing of old debates, the discovery of new ways of reading a past text, and even the foregrounding of erased or invisibilised histories. It is a very rewarding kind of research. Other times, however, it simply leads to curious stories. These stories are probably not well-suited for a journal article, but –...

[Ayan Garg is a student of law at the National Law University, Delhi. He is interested in international law generally, human rights law, and refugee law.] “It is incumbent upon all of us, the still living, to resist and combat oblivion, so commonplace in our post-modern, ephemeral times… Remembrance is a manifestation of gratitude, and gratitude is perhaps the noblest manifestation of rendering...

[Lily Zanjani is an Advanced LL.M Student of Public international Law at Leiden University. She is currently a legal intern at International Criminal Court and International Centre for Counterterrorism.] This article will scrutinize the United Kingdom’s legal justifications concerning the use of force in Iraq in accordance with its interpretation of United Nations’ (UN) Resolution 1441. This resolution revolves around Iraq’s non-compliance with...

[Dr Plesch is Professor of Diplomacy and Strategy at SOAS University of London and a member (door tenant) of the chambers of Stephen Kay QC at 9 Bedford Row. He is the author of Human Rights After Hitler.] The Russian aggression against Ukraine has created fresh interest in international criminal justice. Vital support for this next phase in the application and development of international criminal law is...

[Dr Amina Adanan is an Assistant Professor in Law at Maynooth University, National University of Ireland.] The UNWCC is the name of the formal multilateral organisation that facilitated a network of tribunals in which war criminals were tried for international crimes committed during WWII. It was a UN agency that operated from 1943-48 to support localised prosecutions of international crimes by the war Victors and...

[Michael Fleming is a Professor at the Polish University Abroad, London.] During the Second World War, the Polish Government in Exile, based in London from the summer of 1940, pursued a twin-track policy to ensure German crimes taking place in occupied Poland were brought to the attention of the international community and that those responsible would face justice. In the first instance, the Polish Government highlighted German...

[Megan Donaldson is a Lecturer in Public International Law at University College London.] [This post draws on a draft entry for the Max Planck Encyclopedia of International Procedural Law (Donaldson 2022), available on request.] Although Ethiopia had been deliberately excluded from membership of the UN War Crimes Commission (UNWCC), Ethiopia sought to submit cases against figures responsible for atrocities during the Italian invasion and occupation (1935–41). The...

[Dr Dawn Sedman is a Senior Lecturer at Nottingham Law School, Nottingham Trent University.] How widely were defences deployed at the UN War Crimes Commission (UNWCC)? Using the 15-volume Official Reports as a preliminary indicator, around one quarter of the cases reported had defences raised and discussed. Only one of these defences was successful: the case of Weiss & Mundo [vol 13], who were accused of the...

Dr Amina Adanan initiated a conference on the 1943-1948 United Nations War Crimes Commission (UNWCC)  involving both her own, Maynooth University School of Law and Criminology, and the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy in SOAS. The online conference included presentations from scholars in a range of disciplines, including law, history, international relations and political science and was organised by Dr Adanan and SOAS’s Prof. Dan Plesch,...