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Making War Criminal

NCJ Number
Criminology Volume: 40 Issue: 2 Dated: May 2002 Pages: 231-264
John Hagan; Scott Greer
Robert J. Bursik Jr.
Date Published
May 2002
34 pages
This article discusses the practice and theory that have shaped the tribunal handling of modern war crimes with particular focus on the forces that shaped the Nuremberg Trials and the Hague Tribual for Yugoslavia and Rwanda.
The author presents the work of Sheldon Glueck in the formulation of the procedure of the Nuremberg trials and Austin Turk’s (1982) conflict theory of political criminality as a foundation for the modern approach to war crimes prosecution. The modern approach to war crimes features a transition from sovereign immunity to international intervention in response to crimes against humanity. Turk’s early works on power and conflict are discussed. Features of the conflict theory of political criminality are presented. Specifically, the authors’ review of Turk’s work highlights the idea that increased interpolity contact, especially the mingling of economic interests, military interests, and political interests leads to increased interference in the national affairs of other countries and creates the opportunity for increased multinational political policing. Sheldon Glueck’s academic work establishing the idea of international law enforcement for crimes against humanity is presented. Seven major conceptual contributions from Glueck's early works are discussed. Specifically, Glueck posited that war crimes should be defined broadly, the definition should not include a requirement that these crimes are exclusively performed during a war of aggression but the definition should include the actions of the nation’s business community which contribute to war crimes. The information reviewed further indicates that an International tribunal is the preferred method of multinational law enforcement. Membership in designated criminal organizations should have evidentiary value in determining whether a defendant committed war crimes. Glueck further rejected the use of the national sovereign immunity defense and the "superior orders" defense. The authors conclude with a discussion of current political impediments to multinational enforcement of crimes against humanity. The current debate regarding the establishment of the International Criminal Court and the availability of national privilege is featured. 52 notes, 62 references