Sine qua non: Canadian criminalization of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide

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Wolejszo, Stefan
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This dissertation provides a socio-historic analysis of the ethos of war crimes criminalization articulated in three general historical eras: the First World War era, the Second World War era, and the contemporary era. Both primary (i.e. archival material, legislative documents, and law) and secondary (i.e. journals articles and books) materials informed this analysis. Although these three eras were not entirely discrete (e.g. criminalization during the Second World War era was influenced by the failure of Leipzig trial that followed the First World War, and policy decisions following the Second World War had a great deal of impact upon the criminalization process in the contemporary era) or unified (varying levels of disagreement occurred amongst important lobby groups and policy makers in each era), important policy shifts occurred in each period as the Canadian government attempted to grapple with the issue of war crimes and war criminals. The Canadian criminalization of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide was marked by six prominent features: (1) the sine qua non of the criminalization process in each era was a distinct conception of the nature of war crimes and/or war criminals; (2) the articulation and application of war crimes policies rarely matched; (3) Canadian identity shaped the criminalization process, and the criminalization process helped to shape Canadian identity; (4) although a distinct conception of war criminals was prominent in each era, remnants of past conceptions of war criminals still influenced the criminalization process; (5) an examination of the criminalization of war crimes within the military justice system is essential in order to understand the criminalization process writ large; (6) it is impossible to fully separate the different justice systems in play during the criminalization process.
Canada, criminology, war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, criminalization