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17:00 to 18:00
End date
01 March 2017
Old Library, All Souls College, Oxford OX1 4AL

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Wednesday, 1 March 2017 - 5:00pm to 6:00pm


East West Street: On the Origins of 'Genocide' and 'Crimes against Humanity'

Book Colloquium


Organized in collaboration with Oxford Transitional Justice Research

***ANNOUNCED 15/11/16: Philippe Sands' East West Street wins Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction***

In this book colloquium, Philippe Sands QC will discuss East West Street, his moving personal memoir that recounts how he unearthed long-buried family secrets whilst researching the fathers of the modern human rights movement in Lviv, home to his maternal grandfather.

In this extraordinary and resonant book, Sands paints a portrait of the two very private men who forged his own field of humanitarian law — Rafael Lemkin and Hersch Lauterpacht — each of whom dedicated their lives to having their legal concepts of “genocide” and “crimes against humanity” form a centerpiece for the prosecution of Nazi war criminals.

In doing so, the author uncovers, clue by clue, the deliberately obscured story of his grandfather’s mysterious life and of his mother’s journey as a child surviving Nazi occupation. It is a book that changes the way we look at the world, at our understanding of history, and how civilization has tried to cope with mass murder. 

Read an extract of East West Street

Philippe Sands is an international lawyer and a professor of law at University College London. He is the author of Lawless World and Torture Team and is a frequent commentator on CNN and the BBC World Service. Philippe Sands lectures around the world and has taught at New York University and been a visiting professor at the University of Toronto, the University of Melbourne, and the Université de Paris I (Sorbonne). In 2003 he was appointed a Queen’s Counsel.

Panel Discussants

Dapo Akande, Professor of Public International Law and Co-Director, Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict (ELAC) & the Oxford Martin Programme on Human Rights for Future Generations.

Stephen Humphreys, Associate Professor of International Law at LSE


Praise for East West Street

A monumental achievement … a profoundly personal account of the origins of crimes against humanity and genocide, told with love, anger and precision.

—John le Carré 

Exceptional … has the intrigue, verve and material density of a first-rate thriller.

—The Guardian