Dr Dan Plesch

background and expertise

Dan Plesch is Professor and Diplomacy and Strategy at SOAS University of London. Professor Plesch’s work over a decade has brought to light and analysed the work of states in the 1943-1948 United Nations War Crimes Commission. This overlooked diplomatic institution gave advisory opinion on international law; recommended constitutions for international military tribunals and an International Criminal Court and made pre-trial judgement as to whether some 36,000 individuals should be listed as accused or suspected war criminals in cases brought to it by its sixteen member states. These activities contain a wealth of state practice and legal precedent providing a far wider paradigm of ICL than is conventionally understood. Dr Plesch’s work continues to develop the integration of the achievements of the UNWCC in the 1940s with contemporary policy and practice.

In parallel, his research has changed understanding of the Allied response to Axis atrocities and to the Holocaust in particular.  For example, intra-war indictments supported by sixteen nations were made in 1944 against numerous Nazis for crimes in the death camp system in Poland a full year before the supposed revelation at their liberation, and the Nazi Head of State, Adolf Hitler was indicted in secret by these same nations in 1944.

These findings have attracted widespread attention including a Netflix documentary on Buchenwald. The research is detailed in his book  Human Rights After Hitler  His previous publications include: America Hitler and the UN, Wartime Origins and the future UN with Thomas G. Weiss, A Case to Answer with Glen Rangwala, and the Beauty Queen's Guide to World Peace.

Prof. Plesch read history at Nottingham University in 1976 and social work and public administration at Bristol University in 1979 and 1980. He was awarded a PhD in Political Science by Keele University in 2006. In 1986 he founded the British American Security Information Council (BASIC) and directed it from Washington DC, being called on to provide expert evidence to the Senate and House of Representatives of the US Congress. In 2001 he became the Senior Research Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies in London. consulting with the BBC and CNN.

Academic posts since 1988 include Honorary Visiting Research Fellow at the Department of Peace Studies at Bradford University, Research Associate at Birkbeck College, University of London and Senior Visiting Research Fellow at Keele University.

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PROFILE: Dr Dan Plesch