Lecture: "China and India's foundational role in WW2 era war crimes prosecutions in Europe and Asia"


Location: 1130 Eck Hall of Law


Dan Plesch
Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy  SOAS, University of London

Plesch will present his analyses of the work of the 1943-1948 U.N. War Crimes Commission, which indicted 36,000 Axis personnel.  The Chinese and pre-independence Indian governments played a leading role in the UNWCC, joining the Western Allies in endorsing prosecutions of the death camps and of Hitler himself during the war. In Asia they conducted internationally supported prosecutions of Japanese personnel for crimes including rape and prostitution.

This Asian agency in international criminal justice was suppressed along with the Commission itself in the McCarthy period and never rediscovered, despite the hundreds of trials conducted by the U.S. Army for crimes including waterboarding. The records of the Commission overturn the idea that enforcing human rights standards is an exclusively Western prerogative and reveal an interagency battle in the Roosevelt Administration.

Presented by the Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies and The Center for Civil and Human Rights.

Dan Plesch is the author of Human Rights After Hitler: The Lost History of Prosecuting Axis War Crimes. His previous publications include: America, Hitler and the UN, Wartime Origins and the future UN (with Prof.Weiss) and The Beauty Queen’s Guide to World Peace. He directs the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy at SOAS, University of London, a graduate school. Previously he held positions at the Royal United Services Institute and the Universities of Birkbeck London, Keele and Bradford. He has his PhD in Political Science from Keele and BA in History from Nottingham. 

Originally published at humanrights.nd.edu.