skip to Main Content
Justice Robert H. Jackson delivering the opening statement at the Nuremberg Trials, November 21, 1945. Photo: Ray D'Addario. Courtesy Nuremberg City Archives (StadtAN A65/ III / RA-204-D).


Daimler Lecture

Aggressive War, Atrocity, and the Verbrecherstaat

In ordering Russia’s attack on Ukraine, did Vladimir Putin commit an international crime? By the lights of the Nuremberg trial, the answer is certainly yes. Nuremberg treated aggressive war as the “supreme international crime.” It constituted the core crime of the Nazi Verbrecherstaat (criminal state), the violation that contained the “accumulated evil” of all the Reich’s atrocities. Seventy-five years after Nuremberg, the answer is less clear. In the decades since Nuremberg, international criminal law has shifted its focus from acts of aggressive war to acts of state-sponsored atrocity. What accounts for this shift and what are its consequences for the effort to deal with state-sponsored crimes? In weighing these questions, Lawrence Douglas explores how the competing understandings of the core crimes of the criminal state have worked to form — and deform — the emerging fabric of international criminal law.

The American Academy uses Zoom for online events. In order to register as an online guest, we kindly ask you to fill out your First Name, Last Name, and Email. Please note that you will leave the AAB website and will be entering this data into the Zoom platform. The Zoom video privacy information can be found at

31 Mar 22
19:30 - 21:00
Online via Zoom (7:30 p.m. CET / 1:30 ET)

This event took place on March 31, 2022.

Back To Top