Conference commemorating the 80th anniversary of the United Nations War Crimes Commission - Instytut Pileckiego


18.10.2023 (Wed) 15:00

Conference commemorating the 80th anniversary of the United Nations War Crimes Commission


Conference commemorating the 80th anniversary of the United Nations War Crimes Commission

The Hague, 18 October 2023, 15:00 – 20:00 Venue: Leiden University, Campus The Hague

20 October 2023 marks the 80th anniversary of the establishment of the United Nations War Crimes Commission, which was the first international organisation created by the Allied governments to collect and assess evidence of crimes committed during the Second World War, to advise on legal matters related to the prosecution of war criminals and to coordinate the investigative work of the Allied countries. This conference will not only remind the historical role and scope of works of the UNWCC, but also indicate relevance of its discussion in the context of contemporary efforts to provide accountability for international crimes, including crimes in Ukraine. Among conference speakers are distinguished experts in diplomacy and international criminal law, including practitioners (international judges and prosecutors), and representatives of academia.


See workshop of Center for Totalitarian Studies at the Pilecki Institute:
The United Nations War Crimes Commission – history of the institution, archival resources, research potential with prof. Daniel Plesch (SOAS, University of London).

16.00–16.15 Opening

Carsten Stahn (Leiden University)
Her Excellency Margareta Kassangana (Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Poland to the Kingdom of The Netherlands) Krystian Wiciarz (Pilecki Institute, Warsaw)
Dan Plesch (SOAS University of London)

Part I 16:15–17.30 The UNWCC and its (forgotten) institutional legacy. Do we need the UNWCC’s operative model today?

This panel will not only recall basic information regarding the way the UNWCC functioned, but also answer questions as to whether current institutions like the ILC, ICC ASP, ILA have taken over all its functions, and whether there is still a need for coordination of efforts concerning the prosecution of international crimes since the permanent ICC has already been established.

William Schabas (Middlesex University London)
Amina Adanan (Maynooth University)
Dominika Uczkiewicz (Pilecki Institute, Warsaw)

Chaired by: John Cornell (Pilecki Institute, Warsaw)

17.30–17.45 Coffee Break

Part II The UNWCC in a modern context. Contemporary challenges including crimes in Ukraine.

Crimes against the most vulnerable and cultural heritage

This panel will present the work of the UNWCC concerning prosecution of crimes against women, children (including deportation of children), and different minorities (especially Jewish communities), including the UNWCC’s stance on the concept of crimes against humanity, and will compare it with the achievements and challenges of contemporary jurisprudence.

Oksana Senatorova (Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University, Kharkiv)
Wolfgang Form (Free University Berlin)
Joseph Powderly (Leiden University)

Chaired by: Deborah Ruiz Verduzco (Trust Fund for Victims at the ICC)

The rocky road to criminalization and effective prosecution

This panel will present discussions on the criminalization of aggression and related problems with prosecution of the highest representatives of states who have criminal immunity from other states’ jurisdictions, as well as problems with the exercise of national jurisdiction (including universal jurisdiction).

Pierre d’Argent (University of Louvain)
Patrycja Grzebyk (University of Warsaw)
Dan Plesch (SOAS University of London)

Chaired by: Carsten Stahn (Leiden University)

20.15 Receptio

See also