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Military Lecture: Complicated Justice – A Canadian Response to War Crimes and War Criminals

September 23, 2021

Using the Canadian trials at the end of the Second World War as evidence, guest lecturer Katelyn Arac discusses the challenging nature of post-war proceedings. Military courts had the potential to unify Canadians in the search for war criminals. Instead, they provided evidence of a divided nation not yet sure how to demobilize after a world war.

For Canada, the issue of how to respond to war criminals – whether that was the post-war military trials conducted based on crimes committed against Canadian servicemen or alleged war criminals that had fled justice to settle in Canada after the war – is a divisive subject. Politically, judicially, and publicly there was contention over what justice looked like. This talk will discuss these contentions and contextualize why this discord exists, as well as ground these issues in the present day.

Did you miss the live event? Watch Military Lecture: Complicated Justice below:

About Katelyn Arac:

Katelyn Arac smiling infant of a body of water. She has short straight brown hair, and is wearing a purple cardigan and black top.

KATELYN ARAC is a PhD candidate at Queen’s University and her research interests include Canadian political, legal, and social history in the 20th century. Supervised by Dr. Barrington Walker, her research focuses on the immigration of war criminals into the country after the Second World War and how reactions to their entry have shaped the national project. The debate incited by the entry of war criminals into the country challenged the notion of Canadian identity and sparked debate between various ethnic communities. Concepts of multiculturalism and national identity were crucial concepts that the Commission of Inquiry on War Criminals was forced to address.

Offered in partnership with the Laurier Centre for Military, Strategic and Disarmament Studies.


September 23, 2021
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