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SOAS scholar helps to open Nazi-era war crimes cases archive

7 August 2013

Thousands of Nazi-era war crimes cases are now available online as a result of a campaign led by Dr Dan Plesch, chair of the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy (CISD).

More than 2,200 documents from an archive housed at the United Nations can now be accessed following an agreement between the International Criminal Court and the UN.

CISD at SOAS, University of London will be hosting ‘Reinforcing International Human Rights Standards: Lessons from the United Nations War Crimes Commission’ on 10 and 11 September 2013.

The newly accessible archive will be referred to at the conference to help examine human rights and war crimes. This will also be the first-ever conference on the United Nations War Crimes Commission of 1943 – 1948.

The conference will mark the 70th anniversary of a forgotten initiative in operation from 1943 to 1948 and evaluate the potential contribution of the Commission’s work to contemporary efforts for international criminal justice and human rights advocacy.

With a focus on the key issues discussed by the Commission and addressed by member nations through their national trials, the conference will examine themes including the prosecution of sexual violence, torture, crimes against humanity and collective responsibility.

Chair of the event Justice Richard Goldstone will open the conference with a keynote address.
The confirmed speakers include internationally-respected human rights law expert Professor William Schabas and Dr Mark Ellis, Director of the International Bar Association.

Dr Dan Plesch, Chair of CISD, said: "The international community needs to consider the Second World War practice of prosecuting the foot soldiers of atrocity not just the leaders."

The conference is hosted by SOAS and the International Bar Association, with the generous support of the Oak Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York, and in cooperation with the Wiener Library, American University War Crimes Research Office, and the American Bar Association Center for Human Rights.

Visit www.unwcc.org for more information, including a conference programme and how to register for the conference (open to all, fees applicable).