Episode 88 – Prosecuting military actions with Carolyn Edgerton

Former prosecutor at the ICTY Carolyn Edgerton (left) chats with Stephanie van den Berg (middle) and Janet Anderson (right).

We’ve seen it in Ukraine and now in Gaza, bombing campaigns and the targeting of civilian infrastructure. Debate continues as to what is a legitimate military target and what constitutes a war crime.

In this week’s episode we discuss how to prove and prosecute alleged war crimes committed during military campaigns and sieges in a court of law.

We sit down with Carolyn Edgerton, a Canadian lawyer with years of experience in international criminal investigations and prosecutions. Carolyn has worked with the United Nations as a Legal Officer and as a Trial Attorney at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

At the ICTY she was a team leader responsible for the investigation and prosecution of former Bosnian Serb president Radovan Karadžić for crimes related to the shelling and sniping of civilians in Sarajevo. She also worked on the other Sarajevo siege cases in the court including of generals Galic, Dragomir Milosevic and Mladic.

We discuss how these previous investigations and prosecutions can inform current wars, such as how to establish jurisprudence and define proportionality. We also touch on what has changed in warfare in the last 30 years.

For recommendations this week Carolyn points to the judgement in the case of Radovan Karadžić. A rather pertinent judgement that Carolyn believes refines and further develops International Humanitarian Law, the law of terror and the laws around attacking civilians. This will be Stef’s bedtime reading for the next few days!

And for more lighter reading material, Carolyn suggests the Ukrainian cookbook author Olia Hercules, and her books Summer Kitchens and Home Foods.