Dr Rachel Killean
(Human Rights, Transitional Justice)
Philippe Sands: East West Street - This book combines family memoir with an exploration of the birth of the concepts of genocide’ and ‘crimes against humanity’. It is as compelling as any really great novel, however, it also manages to convey the horrors of mass atrocity and the importance of human rights and international criminal law. Themes include, genocide, crimes against humanity, justice, human rights, war, family, antisemitism, citizenship, property, international justice.
Law School further recommends
Philippe Sands: Torture Team - Deception, Cruelty and the Compromise of the Law. - Written by the same author as ‘East West Street’ this book demonstrates that the human race has not learned the lessons of the past and still engages in war over peace. Sands unpacks the horrors that occurred at the US detention camp at in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, post the 911 bombings in America. Themes are similar to ‘East West Street’ regarding international law, human rights and war crimes as Sands is legal academic and barrister and writes through the lens of his expertise on international law.
My Lai Tapes (BBC World Service) ‘US soldiers killed 504 innocent Vietnamese villagers at My Lai in Vietnam on March 16th, 1968. Women and children were raped, cattle were slaughtered, houses burned and crops destroyed. It became known as the 'My Lai massacre' and its significance still resonates today. Only one soldier, Lt William Calley, was prosecuted for what happened on that day.’ These tapes are split in two: the first tape discusses the shocking extent of the US military cover-up of the massacre while the second tape unpacks the US military’s investigation of what happened at My Lai. Themes include, military law, justice, rape, war crimes, property.
The Memory of Justice (HBO) - This documentary from 1976 is a must-watch for those interested in the themes recommended by Rachel. Marcel Ophuls, the director of this iconic film simply says of it ‘I think it’s the most personal and sincere work I’ve ever done’. As above, themes include war crimes and associated issues with special focus on the Nuremberg trials and the Vietnam War.