Criminal Law Forum

, Volume 25, Issue 1–2, pp 191–222 | Cite as

Assessing the Impact of the United Nations War Crimes Commission on the Principle of Complementarity and Fair Trial Standards

  • Mark S. Ellis
Open Access


This article looks at the work of the United Nations War Crimes Commission (UNWCC), and its influence on the development of international criminal law. It examines the role the UNWCC played in prosecuting war criminals, and notes the similarities between the UNWCC’s mission and the current structure and role of the International Criminal Court, particularly its focus on the principle of complementarity. The article reviews fair trial standards at the time of the national trials, and provides that many of them are present in current international human rights instruments. Still, the author submits that many trial records are still inaccessible and, as a result, there is not enough evidence to fully analyze the Commission’s efficiency in providing for a fair and impartial trial.


International Criminal Court International Criminal National Court Rome Statute Fair Trial 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2014

Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and the source are credited.

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.International Bar AssociationLondonUK

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