Nuremberg Was Not the First International Criminal Tribunal — by a Long Shot
The post-WWII creation of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg is widely regarded as the ‘birth’ of International Criminal Law, in supposedly being the first international criminal tribunal. My historical research challenges this consensus, revealing the centuries-long, forgotten history of International Criminal Law (the significance of the post-WWII trials notwithstanding). The research uncovers that in every century, since the late Middle-Ages, multi- and supra- partisan criminal tribunals existed. Moreover, it reveals a doctrinal connection between the various tribunals: Piracy is, actually, not the only longstanding international crime; law of war violators (war criminals) have long been considered ‘enemies of mankind’ and surprisingly, until quite recently, felons (murderers, robbers, rapists, etc.) were also regarded as such. In short, my research shows that International Criminal Law is not a post-WWII creation, rather its history spans over centuries.

Dr. Ziv Bohrer is an assistant professor at Bar-Ilan University, Faculty of Law. His main areas of interest are International Criminal Law and International Humanitarian Law. He is, currently, researching the long (forgotten) pre-WWII history of International Criminal Law.
Date: 9 October 2017, 13:00 (Monday, 1st week, Michaelmas 2017)
Venue: St Cross Building, St Cross Road OX1 3UR
Venue Details: Faculty of Law - The Cube
Speakers: Speaker to be announced
Organising department: Centre for Criminology
Organiser: Oxford Transitional Justice Research (University of Oxford)
Organiser contact email address:
Host: Oxford Transitional Justice Research (University of Oxford)
Part of: Oxford Transitional Justice Research (OTJR) Seminar Series
Topics: International criminal courts, International criminal law, Transitional justice, Legal historians
Booking required?: Not required
Audience: Public
Editor: Daniel Franchini