Conference Overview

Money is central to armed conflict. The United Nations Secretary-General observed in 2002 that the commercial exploitation of war was having an increasing impact on the protection of civilians. Against the background of a continuing trend, this Symposium explores the criminal accountability of individuals, businesses and governments that finance and profit from armed conflict.  Prosecutions focusing on the financial links with crimes against humanity and war crimes present specific investigative and legal challenges. Evidence of the movement of money is difficult to obtain in the chaos of conflict and there is a high legal standard for connecting economic actors to international crimes through traditional modes of liability like aiding and abetting. The Symposium aims to examine some of these challenges, addressing themes such as the use of slave labour in Europe and Asia during the Second World War; the trade in arms and looted cultural property with particular reference to the current conflicts in Iraq and Syria; natural resource exploitation linked to conflict; the categorisation and development of 'economic war crimes and crimes against humanity' including pillage; legal concepts of complicity and corporate criminal responsibility applied in international and domestic cases; and international and domestic forfeiture and reparations mechanisms to recover looted art and other profits of war.