Journal Article

Delegitimizing Aggression

Kirsten Sellars

in Journal of International Criminal Justice

Volume 10, issue 1, pages 7-40
Published in print March 2012 | ISSN: 1478-1387
Published online February 2012 | e-ISSN: 1478-1395 | DOI:
Delegitimizing Aggression

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The interwar years marked the movement in international law towards the prohibition of aggressive war. Yet a notable feature of the 1920s and 1930s, despite suggestions to the contrary at the Nuremberg and Tokyo tribunals, was the absence of legal milestones marking the advance towards the criminalization of aggression. Lloyd George's proposal to arraign the ex-Kaiser for starting the First World War came to nothing. Resolutions mentioning the ‘international crime’ of aggression, such as the draft Treaty for Mutual Assistance and the Geneva Protocol, were never ratified. And the Kellogg–Briand Pact, while renouncing war ‘as an instrument of national policy’, made no mention at all of aggression, much less individual responsibility for it. Not until the closing stages of the Second World War, with defeat of the Axis powers within sight, did politicians and jurists reconsider the problem of how to deal with enemy leaders, and contemplate the role that a charge of aggression might play in this process.

Journal Article.  15854 words. 

Subjects: Criminal Law ; International Law

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