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The death of Dr. Kelly and the origin of war crimes (E256)

The strange death of Dr. David Kelly, the British scientist and Iraq arms inspector, in the summer of 2003 continues to intrigue the British public not least because much of the evidence relating to his death has been locked up in the National Archives for 70 years. ‘The Strange Death of David Kelly’ by the then Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker, later a minister in the coalition government, is the starting point for anyone wishing to understand the swirl of secrecy and intrigue which surrounded Doctor Kelly’s death. Norman Baker, who is a singer and songwriter now, was a successful minister as well as an author. Today he is also a respected political commentator. So, we invited him into the studio to help us unravel the mystery.

The clichés ‘History is written by the victors’ and ‘Treason doth never prosper, for if it prosper, none dare call it treason’ are well-known and probably are clichés because they’re true; war crimes too can be defined by victors and their origins can be traced back to the First World War. In his new book “The Trial of the Kaiser” Professor William A. Schabas explores the roots of international criminal justice and how WWI shaped and defined war crimes. It also sheds light on contemporary developments in international prosecutions, such as the establishment of the International Criminal Court. So, in this centenary year of the end of WWI we invited this distinguished professor of International Law into the Sputnik studio.

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