‘Peace Through Justice’ – Online Film Screening and Conversation with Judge Thomas Buergenthal


The International Nuremberg Principles Academy organised an online event featuring the screening of the documentary ‘Peace Through Justice – The Legacy of Thomas Buergenthal’ and a live conversation between Judge Thomas Buergenthal and Deputy Director Dr. Viviane Dittrich, followed by a Q&A session. The event took place via Zoom on 13 April 2021.

As a Holocaust survivor and jurist, Judge Buergenthal has been a tireless champion for the principle that governments and individuals must be held accountable under international law for human rights violations. The film shows the extraordinary life of Judge Buergenthal and his influence on global efforts to educate and empower a new generation of lawyers to seek justice for victims and survivors and accountability for perpetrators.

The documentary by Ilona Kalmbach and Sabine Jainski (competent filmproduktion) presents the life and legacy of Judge Thomas Buergenthal, Honorary President of the Advisory Council of the International Nuremberg Principles Academy and, among others, former Judge at the International Court of Justice and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. In the live conversation following the film screening, Judge Buergenthal provided his reflections on seeking accountability without revenge as well as the current challenges in the field of international justice.

In conversation with Dr. Viviane Dittrich, Judge Buergenthal revisited some significant moments from his life and long-standing career as a judge, insightfully reflecting on, inter alia, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the International Court of Justice and some landmark decisions. He also spoke on human rights and international law more generally and the importance of reconciliation and justice. Moreover, he shared his personal memories of the Nuremberg trials and some other childhood memories, which he movingly portrayed in his bestselling memoir ‘A Lucky Child’. In terms of teaching and writing on human rights, he recalled how he came to co-author the first ground-breaking book ‘The International Protection of Human Rights’ together with Professor Louis Sohn, his professor at Harvard Law School at the time, and pioneer the field known as international human rights law.

While answering questions from the audience, Judge Buergenthal addressed issues such as reparations for victims and the prevention of international crimes and gross human rights violations. Moreover, he spoke about the essential role and future of international judicial institutions,  especially in terms of prosecution and prevention. Judge Buergenthal reiterated time and again his sense of optimism and determination to continue not giving up and making a difference in the world in the field of human rights and international law.
?The documentary has been realised with the kind support of the Zukunftsstiftung der Sparkasse Nürnberg.

Click here to watch the video recording of the event.


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