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Top International Lawyer Philippe Sands to Discuss Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity on Feb. 28

The creation of the International Criminal Court in 1998 was a turning point in human rights law. Over the last two decades, the court has made significant progress—despite its many challenges—in putting international justice on the map. It has made great strides in fighting war crimes and crimes against humanity by holding the perpetrators accountable.

Renowned international lawyer Philippe Sands has been dedicated to human rights issues throughout his career and has worked on high-profile human rights cases involving abuse and torture. Now, in his award-winning book East West Street, Sands explores the creation and development of legal concepts that came about as a result of Hitler’s Third Reich which changes our understanding of history and how civilization has tried to cope with mass murder.

Sands, a professor of law and director of the Centre on International Courts and Tribunals at University College London, will be the featured speaker at the Wednesday, February 28 Holocaust Living History Workshop (HLHW), a collaboration between the UC San Diego Library and the UC San Diego Jewish Studies Program. The February 28 lecture—sponsored by Michelle and William Lerach—will take place at 7:00 p.m. in Hojel Auditorium at the Institute of the Americas on the UC San Diego campus. A book signing and dessert reception will follow the talk; copies of the book will be available for purchase at the event from Warwick’s. The event is free and open to the public. However, reservations must be made in advance; to reserve tickets visit, hlhw_sands_eventbrite.com

Sands’ Nazi-era saga East West East Street is akin to a personal detective thriller that uncovers secret pasts, weaving his grandfather’s story with the lives and work of two historically important men: Hersch Lauterpacht and Raphael Lemkin. Sands examines the personal and intellectual evolution of Lauterpacht and Lemkin, who simultaneously originated the ideas of “genocide” and “crimes against humanity.” Lauterpacht and Lemkin, not knowing the other, studied at the same university, in the city of Lviv which was a major cultural center of Europe at the time.

In addition to East West Street, which one reviewer called “one of the most gripping and powerful books ever imaginable,” Sands is the author of 16 books on international law, including Lawless World (2005) and Torture Team (2008) and is a frequent commentator on CNN and the BBC. Sands was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2003 and was prominently featured in My Nazi Legacy, a documentary released in 2015.

Established in 2008, the Holocaust Living History Workshop (HLHW) hosts a series of lectures and other events during the academic year to broaden understanding of the past, foster tolerance, and preserve the memories of victims and survivors of the Holocaust. Many of the events are taped and can be accessed via the Library Channel or the Library’s Digital Collections.

In addition to hosting the HLHW events, the UC San Diego Library is one of only three academic libraries on the West Coast that have access to the USC Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive, which includes 54,000 digital oral testimonies recorded by Holocaust survivors and witnesses. The Archive, founded by filmmaker Steven Spielberg to document the stories of Holocaust survivors for his movie Schindler’s List, is a valuable tool for teaching and research. Members of the campus community and the public can access the testimonies preserved in the Visual History Archive from any computer on the UC San Diego campus.

For more information about UC San Diego’s Holocaust Living History Workshop, visit library.ucsd.edu/hlhw or contact Susanne Hillman at (858) 534-7661. 


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