Kononov v. Latvia : a partisan and a criminal : the European Court of Human Rights takes a controversial stance on war crimes
Mariya S. Volzhskaya
Host item entries:
Tulane journal of international and comparative law, Vol. 19, issue 2, 2011, p. 651-668
The ECHR decision in the noted case is a big step forward in the continuing efforts to incentivize those working to bring war criminals to justice. The ECHR's holding that Latvia's conviction of Kononov was not barred by the statute of limitations is a testament to the powerful principle that war crimes charges are not subject to time limits in international law. The ECHR's affirmation of Latvia's conviction of Kononov, a former Allied soldier, is perhaps also evidence that the ECHR is ready to branch out from the one-sided approach of Nuremberg. It is difficult to predict whether more cases like Kononov's will be brought as an aftermath to the noted case given Russia's heavy involvement and its tendency to put political pressure on its neighbors. However, the ECHR took a strong stance in applying contemporaneous law to the facts without regard to Kononov's status as a former Allied soldier, a stance that serves to depoliticize the not-so-distant past of WWII.