Raoul Wallenberg Talks: What are War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity? A Brief Overview

The June 14 Raoul Wallenberg Talk focused on war crimes and crimes against humanity. It paid particular attention to the war in Ukraine. Mark Klamberg delivered a talk on the history and relevance of international crimes (the term refers to war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide). He was followed by Sally Longworth, who discussed the relationship between the right to freedom of expression and armed conflict.

Mark Klamberg

Mark KlambergProfessor Klamberg’s talk initially looked at the history behind the current understanding of war crimes and crimes against humanity as a concept, as well as attempts to regulate wartime conduct. Some milestones are the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907, the interwar Kellogg-Briand Pact, the Nuremberg Trials, and the Geneva Conventions.

International crimes have recently been subject to international attention. The International Criminal Court was established in 2002. The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia have been active as of the last decade.

After the brief survey of international crimes and pertinent developments, Professor Klamberg moved on to the current war in Ukraine. He examined potential Russian war crimes, paying specific attention to the crime of aggression.

The talk moved onto the evaluation of jurisdictional problems that might arise if one wanted, for example, to investigate Russia. Professor Klamberg identified jurisdictional problems and caveats that might be used to traverse them.

Sally Longworth

Professor Longworth talked about her research focused on the right to freedom of expression during armed conflict. She conveyed concern regarding misinformation and disinformation, stating that the two prevent people from having informed opinions. Furthermore, she noted the dangers misinformation and disinformation pose, given their ability to inflame a population’s attitudes. This then creates a space for further violations of humanitarian law and international human rights law.

Finally, she discussed the impact misinformation and disinformation can have on active investigations on the ground in Ukraine and elsewhere.

You can watch a recording of the talk here, at the Stadshallen website.

Raoul Wallenberg Talks is arranged by the Raoul Wallenberg Institute and Altitude Meetings. It is financed by Sparbankstiftelsen Finn.

When Stadshallen in Lund re-opens (December 2022), the talks will be held in front of a live audience.

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