The international criminal court is investigating Russia for crimes against humanity and war crimes. This leading international lawyer says that risks ‘letting the main man off the hook’
“I really want to be in Lviv,” says Phillipe Sands, from his office in London. “It’s my relationship with the people I know who are living there now. But it’s also the place where my grandfather was born. He fled as a 10-year-old. The train station in Lviv is the same train station from which my grandfather fled from the Russians. History just goes round and round.”
A leading international lawyer who has acted as counsel for Solomon Islands, Georgia, and Gambia in the international court of justice, Sands is also a celebrated author. In East West Street he chronicles the invention of two legal concepts – “crimes against humanity” and “genocide” – and their intersection with the life of his grandfather. Sands reveals how two men, Hersch Lauterpacht and Raphael Lemkin, originated the competing concepts while they were law professors in the city that was first Lemberg, then Lwow and is now Lviv. It is a complex legal dispute that changed the course of the Nuremberg trials and the future of international law.