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The Long Arm of International Law

Giving Victims of Human Rights Abuses Their Day in Court

Author: Pierre N. Leval
March/April 2013
Foreign Affairs


In late 1945, the Allied victors of World War II established a military tribunal in Nuremberg, Germany, which convicted Nazi leaders for their wartime atrocities. Since then, the world has accepted that the worst human rights abuses -- including genocide, slavery, torture, and war crimes -- are crimes prohibited by international law, even if they are expressly permitted by the laws of the state in which they occur.

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