Georgia Law Professor Amann post proposes considering new war crimes commission to investigate in Ukraine

Referring to Russia’s invasion last month of Ukraine, as well as the brutal attacks that followed, Georgia Law Professor Diane Marie Amann published “Time for a New War Crimes Commission?” Friday at Articles of War, the blog of the Lieber Institute for Law & Warfare, U.S. Military Academy West Point.

Amann, who is Regents’ Professor of International Law, Emily & Ernest Woodruff Chair in International Law, and Faculty Co-Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center here at the University of Georgia School of Law, began by outlining the limitation that international law rules place on existing tribunals, such as the International Criminal Court, International Court of Justice, and European Court of Human Rights, as well as a proposed special tribunal on the crime of aggression. Having thus identified gaps in accountability, she wrote:

“Now and going forward, accountability could be enhanced by setting up a clearinghouse for gathering, cataloging, and preserving evidence, with an aim to eventual prosecutions in multiple national, regional, and international systems. The idea is not new; indeed, a useful model may be found in a Second World War-era institution known as the United Nations War Crimes Commission (UNWCC).”

Her post proceeded to sketch the history of this 1943-1948 commission, as well as its strengths and weaknesses. She concluded by calling for a body that would be empowered to carry out the UNWCC’s “core function”:

“specifically, the conduct of investigations aimed at preserving evidence and facilitating criminal prosecutions of suspects at all levels, for all potential offenses, and before any number of national, regional, and international systems willing and able to afford the persons they accuse a full and fair trial.”

The full Articles of War post is here.

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