47 books like Balkan Justice

By Michael P. Scharf,

Here are 47 books that Balkan Justice fans have personally recommended if you like Balkan Justice. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil

Naomi Roht-Arriaza Author Of The Pinochet Effect: Transnational Justice in the Age of Human Rights

From my list on bringing dictators and evil men to justice.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in part in Chile, and when the Pinochet dictatorship started killing and torturing people, I wanted to do something about it. Years later, as a professor of international law, I helped countries figure out what to do after mass atrocities. Seeing how trials in other countries – or in international criminal courts – could break through barriers and make it possible to bring those who killed, tortured, or disappeared thousands of people to justice gave me hope. I wanted to tell the stories of the brave people who overcame the odds to do justice, in a readable and exciting way that also explained the legal and political issues involved. 

Naomi's book list on bringing dictators and evil men to justice

Naomi Roht-Arriaza Why did Naomi love this book?

The grandmama of human rights-related trial accounts, and for good reason. Arendt covered the trial of Nazi official Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem in the 1960s. Eichmann had been living in Argentina, and was kidnapped and taken to Israel, where he was tried and condemned for his role in the Holocaust. Arendt raises profound questions about the value of trials in the face of overwhelming evil, about how trials structure narratives, and about memory. Still issues we grapple with today.

By Hannah Arendt,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Eichmann in Jerusalem as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A profound and documented analysis ... Bound to stir our minds and trouble our consciences' Chicago Tribune

Hannah Arendt's authoritative and stunning report on the trial of German Nazi SS leader Adolf Eichmann first appeared as a series of articles in The New Yorker in 1963. This revised edition includes material that came to light after the trial, as well as Arendt's postscript commenting on the controversy that arose over her book. A major journalistic triumph by an intellectual of singular influence, Eichmann in Jerusalem is as shocking as it is informative - a meticulous and unflinching look at one…


Book cover of To Catch a Dictator: The Pursuit and Trial of Hissène Habré

Naomi Roht-Arriaza Author Of The Pinochet Effect: Transnational Justice in the Age of Human Rights

From my list on bringing dictators and evil men to justice.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in part in Chile, and when the Pinochet dictatorship started killing and torturing people, I wanted to do something about it. Years later, as a professor of international law, I helped countries figure out what to do after mass atrocities. Seeing how trials in other countries – or in international criminal courts – could break through barriers and make it possible to bring those who killed, tortured, or disappeared thousands of people to justice gave me hope. I wanted to tell the stories of the brave people who overcame the odds to do justice, in a readable and exciting way that also explained the legal and political issues involved. 

Naomi's book list on bringing dictators and evil men to justice

Naomi Roht-Arriaza Why did Naomi love this book?

Reed Brody, a lawyer for Human Rights Watch, was one of the key actors in bringing former Chadian dictator Hissene Habré to justice for torture, rape, and mass murder he committed during the 1980s. The book chronicles the twists and turns, over almost two decades, of efforts to bring Habré to trial. That finally happened in 2018, in a specially-created African Union-backed court based in Senegal. The book celebrates the central role of victims in bringing Habré to justice, and tells an engaging and readable story from an insider’s perspective. It shows the creativity of the victims and lawyers in combining different legal forums and political and media pressure, but also the limits, and personal sacrifices, that victory required. 

By Reed Brody,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked To Catch a Dictator as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What does it take to make a dictator answer for his crimes? Hissene Habre, the former despot of Chad, had terrorized, tortured, and killed on a horrific scale over eight bloody years in power-all while enjoying full American and Western support. After Habre's overthrow, his victims and their supporters were determined to see him held responsible for his atrocities. Their quest for justice would be long, tense, and unnerving, but they would not back down.

To Catch a Dictator is a dramatic insider's account of the hunt for Habre and his momentous trial. The human rights lawyer Reed Brody recounts…


Book cover of The Condor Trials: Transnational Repression and Human Rights in South America

Debbie Sharnak Author Of Of Light and Struggle: Social Justice, Human Rights, and Accountability in Uruguay

From my list on human rights in Latin America.

Why am I passionate about this?

I worked at the International Center for Transitional Justice in 2009 when Uruguay held a second referendum to overturn the country’s amnesty law that protected the police and military from prosecution for human rights abuses during the country’s dictatorship. Despite the country’s stable democracy and progressive politics in the 21st century, citizens quite surprisingly rejected the opportunity to overturn the state-sanctioned impunity law. My interest in broader accountability efforts in the world and that seemingly shocking vote in Uruguay drove me to want to study the roots of that failed effort, ultimately compelling a broader investigation into how human rights culture in Uruguay evolved, particularly during and after its period of military rule. 

Debbie's book list on human rights in Latin America

Debbie Sharnak Why did Debbie love this book?

Operation Condor is the coordination that occurred between military governments across borders in South America during the Cold War to repress those suspected of being subversives. Some fled their home countries, only to be apprehended, tortured, and sometimes killed by a neighboring regime.

As difficult as it has been to try those involved in national crimes, it has been even more challenging to do so in these legally complex cases that span numerous jurisdictions. Lessa, however, has been following these accountability efforts for over a decade, and writes a fantastic book about these battles, shedding light on not only the events that occurred but also the struggle to document them and have accountability for victims. 

By Francesca Lessa,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Condor Trials as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Stories of transnational terror and justice illuminate the past and present of South America's struggles for human rights

Through the voices of survivors and witnesses, human rights activists, judicial actors, journalists, and historians, Francesca Lessa unravels the secrets of transnational repression masterminded by South American dictators between 1969 and 1981. Under Operation Condor, their violent and oppressive regimes kidnapped, tortured, and murdered hundreds of exiles, or forcibly returned them to the countries from which they had fled. South America became a zone of terror for those who were targeted, and of impunity for those who perpetuated the violence.

Lessa shows…


Book cover of Extraordinary Justice: Law, Politics, and the Khmer Rouge Tribunals

Naomi Roht-Arriaza Author Of The Pinochet Effect: Transnational Justice in the Age of Human Rights

From my list on bringing dictators and evil men to justice.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in part in Chile, and when the Pinochet dictatorship started killing and torturing people, I wanted to do something about it. Years later, as a professor of international law, I helped countries figure out what to do after mass atrocities. Seeing how trials in other countries – or in international criminal courts – could break through barriers and make it possible to bring those who killed, tortured, or disappeared thousands of people to justice gave me hope. I wanted to tell the stories of the brave people who overcame the odds to do justice, in a readable and exciting way that also explained the legal and political issues involved. 

Naomi's book list on bringing dictators and evil men to justice

Naomi Roht-Arriaza Why did Naomi love this book?

Etcheson has spent decades working for justice for survivors of the Khmer Rouge massacres of the 1970s. He tells the inside story of the diplomatic, legal, political, and social maneuvering behind the negotiation, setup, and operation of the Extraordinary Chambers of the Courts of Cambodia. That court, plagued by political interference, only managed to try three defendants, but its legacy went beyond the actual trials, sometimes in surprising ways. The book is engaging and has fascinating details on behind-the-scenes discussions.  

By Craig Etcheson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Extraordinary Justice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In just a few short years, the Khmer Rouge presided over one of the twentieth century's cruelest reigns of terror. Since its 1979 overthrow, there have been several attempts to hold the perpetrators accountable, from a People's Revolutionary Tribunal shortly afterward through the early 2000s Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, also known as the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. Extraordinary Justice offers a definitive account of the quest for justice in Cambodia that uses this history to develop a theoretical framework for understanding the interaction between law and politics in war crimes tribunals.

Craig Etcheson, one of the world's foremost…


Book cover of The Nuremberg Legacy: How the Nazi War Crimes Trials Changed the Course of History

Judith Armatta Author Of Twilight of Impunity: The War Crimes Trial of Slobodan Milosevic

From my list on war crimes trials and international justice.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a tired activist and recovering attorney. My professional focus on violence and humanity’s response to it began when, as a seven-year-old, the nuns at my Catholic school showed us newsreels of the liberation of Nazi concentration camps. This led me to adopt as my life’s guiding principle Julian Beck’s admonition “to redeem our share of the universal cruelty.” After 20 years in the U.S. Violence Against Women Movement, I absconded to the former Yugoslavia and found myself in the middle of a war during which I ran a war crimes documentation project (memoir in progress). I later reported on the international war crimes trial of Slobodan Milosevic.

Judith's book list on war crimes trials and international justice

Judith Armatta Why did Judith love this book?

I found Ehrenfreund’s book compelling because he applied his legal expertise as a lawyer and judge to what he personally witnessed at the trial. His research included numerous conversations with Germans who lived through the Nazi regime. I also valued his insights as they were informed by his personal journey to learn his grandfather’s fate many years after he disappeared into the Holocaust. While Ehrenfreund reveals how U.S. law heavily influenced the law applied at Nuremberg, I found his analysis of the trial’s subsequent influence on U.S. law revealing. For example, Justice Robert Jackson, chief prosecutor at Nuremberg and U.S. Supreme Court Justice, was impacted by the racial hatred that underlies the crimes of the Holocaust in Brown v. Board of Education, The U.S. Court’s school desegregation decision.

By Norbert Ehrenfreund,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Nuremberg Legacy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Sixty years have passed since the Nuremberg trials of the major Nazi war criminals, but that event still stands as the foundation of international justice. Nuremberg not only ignited a revolution in international law but affected domestic law as well with its simple but profound principle that every individual accused of crime is entitled to a full and fair hearing. This book reveals how the precedents set at Nuremberg have affected human rights, race relations, medical practice, big business and even Germany's post-war development. It also examines the Nuremberg trials' influence on the modern war crimes trials of tyrants like…


Book cover of Soviet Judgment at Nuremberg: A New History of the International Military Tribunal After World War II

Michael S. Bryant Author Of Confronting the "Good Death": Nazi Euthanasia on Trial, 1945-1953

From my list on pondering the worst of the Nazis’ crimes.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve had a life-long interest in genocide dating back to my teenage years, when I read Simon Wiesenthal’s book The Murderers Among Us. Wiesenthal introduced me to the idea that governments sometimes murdered innocent people and could elude justice for their crimes. The question of human evil interacted with my theological interest in the problem of evil generally. Both genocide scholars and theologians were posing similar questions: how could people or God permit the occurrence of wanton evil when it was in their power to avoid it? And what should we do about genocide after it has happened? These questions launched my research into genocide and continue to fuel my study of this topic.

Michael's book list on pondering the worst of the Nazis’ crimes

Michael S. Bryant Why did Michael love this book?

The trials of Nazi war criminals are an important but subsidiary theme in Mary Fulbrook’s book. In Francine Hirsch’s study, the most significant trial of top-ranking German officials takes center stage, the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. Unlike most previous analyses of Nuremberg, which depict the Soviets as minor actors who, if anything, were impediments to the quest for justice, Hirsch insists that Soviet contributions were essential cornerstones of the trial’s success. This may seem an unlikely role for a totalitarian country already responsible for terror famines in Ukraine, the atrocious show trials of the 1930s, and the senseless murder of 20,000 Poles in the Katyn Forest in 1940. Nonetheless, as Hirsch cogently argues, without Soviet participation the trial may never have occurred. The glory of her book is its insistence on the counterintuitive and contradictory nature of reality, in which, against all expectations, an authoritarian regime led by a…

By Francine Hirsch,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Soviet Judgment at Nuremberg as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Organized in the immediate aftermath of World War Two by the victorious Allies, the Nuremberg Trials were intended to hold the Nazis to account for their crimes - and to restore a sense of justice to a world devastated by violence. As Francine Hirsch reveals in this immersive, gripping, and ground-breaking book, a major piece of the Nuremberg story has routinely been omitted from standard accounts: the part the Soviet Union played in making the trials happen in
the first place.

Soviet Judgment at Nuremberg offers the first complete picture of the International Military Tribunal (IMT), including the many ironies…


Book cover of Prelude to Nuremberg: Allied War Crimes Policy and the Question of Punishment

Judith Armatta Author Of Twilight of Impunity: The War Crimes Trial of Slobodan Milosevic

From my list on war crimes trials and international justice.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a tired activist and recovering attorney. My professional focus on violence and humanity’s response to it began when, as a seven-year-old, the nuns at my Catholic school showed us newsreels of the liberation of Nazi concentration camps. This led me to adopt as my life’s guiding principle Julian Beck’s admonition “to redeem our share of the universal cruelty.” After 20 years in the U.S. Violence Against Women Movement, I absconded to the former Yugoslavia and found myself in the middle of a war during which I ran a war crimes documentation project (memoir in progress). I later reported on the international war crimes trial of Slobodan Milosevic.

Judith's book list on war crimes trials and international justice

Judith Armatta Why did Judith love this book?

Kochavi’s book gave me a more complete and nuanced understanding of how the Nuremberg war crimes court came to be, how defendants were selected, and what law to apply. Based on copious research, Kochavi uncovers the inside story of how the Allies ultimately agreed to establish an international court to hold Nazi officials accountable for mass atrocities instead of summarily executing them, which Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin favored. Initial U.S. and British resistance to including crimes against German nationals (extermination of the Jews among them) was overcome by strong public, especially Jewish, opposition.

By Arieh J. Kochavi,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Prelude to Nuremberg as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Between November 1945 and October 1946, the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg tried some of the most notorious political and military figures of Nazi Germany. The issue of punishing war criminals was widely discussed by the leaders of the Allied nations, however, well before the end of the war. As Arieh Kochavi demonstrates, the policies finally adopted, including the institution of the Nuremberg trials, represented the culmination of a complicated process rooted in the domestic and international politics of the war years.Drawing on extensive research, Kochavi painstakingly reconstructs the deliberations that went on in Washington and London at a time…


Book cover of No More War: How the West Violates International Law by Using 'Humanitarian' Intervention to Advance Economic and Strategic Interests

David Swanson Author Of NATO: What You Need To Know

From my list on how to abolish war.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm the author of several books on this topic and work on this topic as executive director of a nonprofit organization. I see war as one of the dumbest things that we could easily stop doing and as one of the most damaging things we do. It's the reason we are at risk of nuclear apocalypse, the leading cause of homelessness, a leading cause of death and injury, the justification for government secrecy, one of the most environmentally destructive activities, the major barrier to global cooperation on non-optional crises, and one of the main pits into which massive resources are diverted that we all desperately need for useful things.

David's book list on how to abolish war

David Swanson Why did David love this book?

This book makes a powerful case that humanitarian war no more exists than philanthropic child abuse or benevolent torture. I’m not sure the actual motivations of wars are limited to economic and strategic interests—which seems to forget the insane, power-mad, and sadistic motivations—but I am sure that no humanitarian war has ever benefitted humanity.

This book makes that very clear. It does not take the approach so widely recommended of watering down the truth so that the reader is only gently nudged in the right direction from where he or she is starting. There’s no getting 90% reassuringly wrong to make the 10% palatable here. This is a book for either people who have some general notion of what war is or people who aren’t traumatized by jumping into an unfamiliar perspective and thinking about it. Refreshing!

By Dan Kovalik,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked No More War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Kovalik helps cut through the Orwellian lies and dissembling which make so-called 'humanitarian' intervention possible." -Oliver Stone

War is the fount of all the worst human rights violations including genocide and not its cure. This undeniable truth, which the framers of the UN Charter understood so well, is lost in today's obsession with the oxymoron known as "humanitarian" intervention.

No More War: How the West Violates International Law by Using 'Humanitarian' Intervention to Advance Economic and Strategic Interests sets out to reclaim the original intent of the Charter founders to end the scourge of war on the heels of the…


Book cover of The Sun Climbs Slow: Justice in the Age of Imperial America

Judith Armatta Author Of Twilight of Impunity: The War Crimes Trial of Slobodan Milosevic

From my list on war crimes trials and international justice.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a tired activist and recovering attorney. My professional focus on violence and humanity’s response to it began when, as a seven-year-old, the nuns at my Catholic school showed us newsreels of the liberation of Nazi concentration camps. This led me to adopt as my life’s guiding principle Julian Beck’s admonition “to redeem our share of the universal cruelty.” After 20 years in the U.S. Violence Against Women Movement, I absconded to the former Yugoslavia and found myself in the middle of a war during which I ran a war crimes documentation project (memoir in progress). I later reported on the international war crimes trial of Slobodan Milosevic.

Judith's book list on war crimes trials and international justice

Judith Armatta Why did Judith love this book?

I’m drawn to inconvenient truths and Canadian Erna Paris reveals them in exceptionally readable prose. Paris discusses why it took more than fifty years to establish a permanent International Criminal Court to try war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. She examines the reasons for U.S. opposition to the permanent International Criminal Court established in 2002, identifies U.S. officials who worked to undermine efforts to develop the ICC, exposes the real reasons they did so, and debunks the official position of protecting US soldiers.

By Erna Paris,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Sun Climbs Slow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A powerful investigation of the story and individuals behind America’s refusal to acknowledge international law and an inquiry into the urgent role of international criminal justice from the award-winning, bestselling author of Long Shadows.

In this groundbreaking investigation, Erna Paris explores the history of global justice, the politics behind America’s opposition to the creation of a permanent international criminal court, and the implications for the world at large.

At the end of the twentieth century, two extraordinary events took place. The first was the end of the Cold War, which left the world with a single empire that dominated global…


Book cover of Justice in the Balkans: Prosecuting War Crimes in the Hague Tribunal

Judith Armatta Author Of Twilight of Impunity: The War Crimes Trial of Slobodan Milosevic

From my list on war crimes trials and international justice.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a tired activist and recovering attorney. My professional focus on violence and humanity’s response to it began when, as a seven-year-old, the nuns at my Catholic school showed us newsreels of the liberation of Nazi concentration camps. This led me to adopt as my life’s guiding principle Julian Beck’s admonition “to redeem our share of the universal cruelty.” After 20 years in the U.S. Violence Against Women Movement, I absconded to the former Yugoslavia and found myself in the middle of a war during which I ran a war crimes documentation project (memoir in progress). I later reported on the international war crimes trial of Slobodan Milosevic.

Judith's book list on war crimes trials and international justice

Judith Armatta Why did Judith love this book?

An easily accessible overview of development and internal workings of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) up to the first stages of the Milosevic trial. Hagan satisfied my interest in what happens behind the scenes: the struggles, losses, and triumphs of creating the first international war crimes court since Nuremberg and Tokyo. I found particularly illuminating his discussion of how an ICTY prosecution team developed the legal theory, supported by substantial evidence, of rape as an intentional strategy to further the goal of ethnic cleansing, for the first time making it a war crime in its own right. His explication of the tension between diplomacy (which often utilizes amnesty in seeking an end to conflict) and accountability (which seeks justice for victims and humanity) was thought-provoking.

By John Hagan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Justice in the Balkans as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Called a fig leaf for inaction by many at its inception, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia has surprised its critics by growing from an unfunded U.N. Security Council resolution to an institution with more than 1,000 employees and a $100 million annual budget. With Slobodan Milosevic now on trial and more than forty fellow indictees currently detained, the success of the Hague tribunal has forced many to reconsider the prospects of international justice. John Hagan's Justice in the Balkans is a powerful firsthand look at the inner workings of the tribunal as it has moved from an…


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