On Monday 25 September 2017, we will be welcoming Dr Kerstin von Lingen (Heidelberg). Kerstin von Lingen will be giving a paper entitled “Legal Flows: Crimes against Humanity in Transnational Legal Thought, 1899-1945”.
The paper addresses the normative framework of the concept of ‘Crimes against Humanity’ from an intellectual history perspective, by scrutinizing legal debates of marginalized (and exiled) academic-juridical actors within the United Nations War Crimes Commission (UNWCC). Decisive for the successful implementation were two factors: the growing scale of mass violence against civilians during the Second World War, as well as the support by ‘peripheral actors’, jurists forced into exile at London by the war. The latter group united smaller Allied countries from around the world, who used the commission’s work to push for a codification of international law, which finally materialized during the London Conference of August 1945. To study the process of mediation and emergence of legal concepts, I propose to speak of ‘legal flows’, to highlight the different strands and older traditions of humanitarian law involved in coining new law. The global experience of exile thereby has a significant constitutive function.
Dr Kerstin von Lingen is a Research Fellow at the Heidelberg Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context”. She is the Principal Investigator of the Research Group “Transcultural Justice. Legal Flows and the Emergence of International Justice within the East Asian War Crimes Trials, 1946-1954”.
Time & Venue: 5.15pm, Room 1.10 – School of History, St Katharine’s Lodge, St Andrews