Learn about the International Criminal Tribunals with iMinds insightful audio knowledge series.The concept of prosecuting war criminals is not unique to the modern world. Individuals who breached the “rules of war” were tried in Ancient Greece, and probably earlier. However, those early prosecutions were carried out by national courts, generally by victors against the vanquished, and so could hardly be described as examples of fair and impartial international justice.
Underpinning the prosecutions was a notion that, even in war, there are certain rules which must be obeyed. The first notable international attempt to codify these “rules of war” was the Geneva Convention of 1864, followed by the Hague conventions in 1899 and 1907. The suggestion was raised then that an international criminal court should be established to enforce the conventions, however the idea was too radical at the time where national boundaries were considered absolute.
At the conclusion of World War I, the Treaty of Versailles contained an agreement that a tribunal would be established to try Kaiser Wilhelm II, the German leader.
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When countries clash, who decides the legal outcome? In olden days, the winner took all. Now, however, international powers have agreed that all is not fair in war, and independent judiciaries should try these unique and thorny cases. These judiciaries are called "International Criminal Tribunals" and they are the subject of this nine-minute audio introduction by iMinds.
Performed by Australian Luca James Lee, this recording is part of iMinds’ series of ultra-short introductions to topics of general cultural importance. Listeners will learn about early attempts to form such tribunals, the apotheosis of the idea with the Nuremberg Trials after World War II, and continuing attempts to implement morally and ethically satisfying law in cases of international conflict.
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