Cogwheel Archive

Rotary Cogwheel | 02.09.2012

February 9, 2012

Rotary Cogwheel | 2.9.2012

Today: Building Low-Income Housing in Minneapolis with Herb Frey (Gleason)

Birthdays: Ross Thompson (2/7)

Next Week: Mathilde Mortensen from Denmark (Barry Carlson)

Last Week:

Our very own Northfield born and raised John Fossum treated fellow club members to a brief course on the history of international criminal law, a subject he knows well from recent training and personal work experience. John’s legal expertise expanded after his wife Tracy accepted a job in Switzerland in 2006, and they with their daughter, Liv, relocated from Northfield to live there. While in Europe John pursued further training in international criminal law and, ultimately, commuted for a time to and from Afghanistan, where he trained police and criminal prosecutors.

Formal rules as to how to conduct war actually date from the 1400s.  Geneva Conventions (formal treaties and international agreements) began in 1864 and provided the first modern standards of international law for the humanitarian treatment of victims of war. Additional Geneva Conventions were added in 1906, 1929 and 1949. The Conventions deal with the condition of wounded and sick combatants in the field and at sea, the treatment of prisoners of war, and the protection of civilians on time of war. The Geneva Conventions have been ratified by 194 nations.

After World War II the Nuremburg and Tokyo Trials received much publicity and provided some measure of justice for war crimes, but as is so often the case after warfare, the victorious nations effectively controlled the process. The subsequent International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia initiated in 1993 is still underway. Other tribunals have attempted to deal with wartime crimes in Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Cambodia and Lebanon.