In recent years, a number of courts have tried businessmen who supply weapons to notoriously brutal regimes for complicity in the international crimes their clients perpetrated. James Stewart, an Open Society Fellow and former war crimes prosecutor, explores some of the implications of these cases. His work has shown, for example, that prosecuting arms vendors might be an effective means of halting the systematic rape of women in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Pursuing arms vendors for complicity in international crimes will also have serious geopolitical consequences, especially for major weapons producers like China, Russia, and the United States.
Robert Varenik, director of programs for the Open Society Justice Initiative, introduces the event.