War crimes

Russian cruelty has been laid bare

It was 2 a.m. when Russian gunmen broke in and took away 21-year-old Milana Ozdoyeva. When Sara, her three-year-old daughter, tried to grab her mother’s hand they shoved her aside. Milana’s son, who was 11 months old, just stared uncomprehendingly. ‘They were wearing masks and camouflage,’ Milana’s mother told me. ‘They forced us all to the floor at gunpoint. Milana was too terrified to speak. She just looked at me and mouthed the words “mama”. It was the last time any of us saw her.’ The kidnapping and subsequent killing of Milana took place in Chechnya on 19 January 2004. Her sin was to have been married to a man

How the net finally closed on the Nazi henchman Andrei Sawoniuk

Fedor Zan was 18, working on the river closing sluices, when, on a winter afternoon in 1942, he saw his childhood friend Andrei Sawoniuk standing in a clearing outside Domachevo, their town in Belarus. Sawoniuk had lined up 15 terrified women, all wearing the yellow Jewish star. As Zan watched, hidden behind the pine trees, Sawoniuk ordered the women to strip naked, shot them in the back and kicked their bodies into a newly dug pit. Fifty-seven years later, Zan was one of a dozen witnesses to give evidence against Sawoniuk at the Old Bailey, at the only war crimes trial ever held in Britain. Though the UK lost interest

The ICC is playing politics by targeting Israel

Sovereignty, that old-new friend, is in vogue again thanks to Brexit and the advances made by nationalists across Europe and the United States. Those of us who lament these developments should not regret the reassertion of national sovereignty, for it is intimately linked to democracy and self-determination and provides domestic legitimacy for the kind of liberal, cooperative world order we wish to see. If you want a strong international community, you need to have strong, confident nation-states in which people believes their country can be active in the world without losing its sense of self. Sovereignty is at the heart of the International Criminal Court’s ruling that it enjoys the

The world’s greatest podcast: Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History reviewed

It’s well known that you should never meet your heroes because they will only disappoint you. Less commonly said, but equally true, is that you should never google your favourite podcast hosts, because their face will not match their voice. I have just finished looking at photos of Dan Carlin, the host and sole narrator of Hardcore History — the world’s greatest podcast — and I find myself disappointed. He’s a perfectly nice-looking man: bald, medium build, squarish of face. But he doesn’t look like I want him to. Why do we think we can imagine someone’s face just from the sound of their voice? It’s a mysterious but enduring