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Incitement on Trial: Prosecuting International Speech Crimes

Public Figures Use Hate Speech to Incite Violence. How Do We Prosecute Them for It?


International and national armed conflicts are often preceded by a media campaign in which public figures foment ethnic, national, racial, or religious hatred, inciting listeners to acts of violence. But how can the perpetrators of such hate be held accountable under international law for consequent atrocities? 

Join Richard Ashby Wilson in a discussion of his new book, Incitement on Trial, which evaluates the efforts so far of international criminal tribunals to hold such inciters criminally responsible.

This book identifies “revenge speech” as the type of rhetoric with the greatest effects on empathy and tolerance for violence, but notes that prosecutors have often struggled to demonstrate a causal connection between speech acts and subsequent crimes. 

Drawing on extensive original research, this book proposes an evidence-based risk assessment model for monitoring political speech.

Wilson, a legal scholar who focuses on transitional justice, is joined by international criminal and human rights law expert Marko Milanovic and by Nadine Strossen, a former head of the ACLU, who has taught and advocated extensively on constitutional law and civil liberties. The discussion is moderated by Aryeh Neier, president emeritus of the Open Society Foundations.


  • Aryeh Neier


    Aryeh Neier is president emeritus of the Open Society Foundations.

  • Richard Ashby Wilson


    Richard Ashby Wilson is the Gladstein Distinguished Chair of Human Rights and professor of law and anthropology at UConn School of Law, and founding director of the Human Rights Institute at UConn.

  • Marko Milanovic


    Marko Milanovic is associate professor at the University of Nottingham School of Law.

  • Nadine Strossen


    Nadine Strossen is the John Marshall Harlan II Professor of Law at New York Law School (via video).

  • Linda Lakhdhir


    Linda Lakhdhir is a legal advisor in the Asia Division of Human Rights Watch (via video).

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