Before Nuremberg: Early International Criminal Tribunals


Chancellor Day Hall NCDH 202, 3644 rue Peel, Montreal, QC, H3A 1W9, CA

The Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism welcomes Ziv Bohrer, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law, Bar-Ilan University, who is currently conducting research on the centuries-long and forgotten history of international criminal law.


The creation of an international criminal tribunal at Nuremberg after WWII, considered the first of its kind, is widely regarded as the ‘birth’ of International Criminal Law (ICL). Dr. Bohrer will challenge this consensus with examples of similar tribunals in every century since late-medieval times. These tribunals are shown to be doctrinally related (to each other, as well as to contemporary ICL), since war crimes have been regarded as universal wrongs for centuries. He will reveal that ICL is not a post-WWII innovation, but rather has a long past, and discusses the central causes of the pretermission of this history. He will conclude with a consideration of the contemporary significance of ICL’s neglected past.

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