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War, War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity - Legal Research Strategies and Tips

This guide is prepared for a law seminar class at Washington University School of Law

Your research quest will require looking into a variety of resources

Understanding war crimes through the lens of national courts and international tribunals is crucial, but it's just one piece of the puzzle. As you embark on your research journey, be prepared to shed the comfortable confines of legal libraries. Buckle up for an exploration where government archives whisper secrets, news pages echo with the urgency of conflict, and personal testimonies illuminate the human cost While legal frameworks and scholarly analyses form the backbone of war crimes research, the full story lies scattered across diverse landscapes. Government documents whisper with official records and hidden policies and news reports and human rights reports pulse with the immediacy of events. 

Consider the recent accusations of war crimes in Ukraine. To fully understand them, a researcher must often venture beyond familiar legal resources. In this legal research filed for current event you will often have to engage with human rights reports, investigative journalism, and even firsthand accounts and primary sources. The war in Ukraine broke out recently. Fortunately, the Congressional Research Service is offering a timely and accessible primer on this topic, prepared specifically for Congress and updated in March 2023.

The Role of International Tribunals in the Response to the Invasion of Ukraine (March 22, 2023) and War Crimes: A Primer (March 30, 2023)