War, Peace & Human Rights

Program 17 • 29 mins


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Benjamin Ferencz, who died in April 2023 at age 103, was a deeply dedicated and heartfelt advocate for human rights and global peace. Ferencz devoted decades of his time and energy to the daunting mission of transforming our glorification of war into a reverence for peace. Meet one of the great legal minds as he expounds on his experience of collecting evidence at Nazi concentration camps for his subsequent prosecution of twenty-four war criminals (the photo above was taken of him as a young prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials). He also comments on the nature of human behavior, the education of young Americans, and his tireless pursuit — eventually realized — to establish the UN’s International Criminal Court.

You can also hear our recent two-part documentary, The Rights of Civilians, recounting the history of efforts to enforce human rights law in cases of the gravest crimes, including Russia’s savage war on civilians in Ukraine, that began in February 2022.


  • How do we create a world where war becomes unnecessary?
  • Why are women and children—innocent civilians—oftentimes the casualties of war?
  • Can anybody ever really win a war?
  • Why do we need an international criminal court?
  • How can the world stand by and watch while genocides have occurred?
  • What can we teach our children so they avoid waging war against “the other,” and teach them to value peace?

I served for three years in the United States Army, in every battle from the Battle of the Bulge to the beaches of Normandy, and I tell you there will never be a war without crimes—never—because warfare itself is the biggest crime of all.”

—Benjamin Ferencz, renowned human rights advocate and former prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials


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