Texas Wesleyan Law Review

Document Type



This Article asks several questions that seem particularly relevant in view of the current state of war that our peace-loving society is engaged in today. What is the role of the laws and customs of war if the warriors don't play by the rules? What is the role of art and music during and after the commission of atrocities? Can art prevent further atrocities, assuage victims of catastrophic events, inspire the collective conscience of perpetrators, and protect victims from the reality of pain caused by war and the violations of the international laws of armed combat? Can a book or a film that substantially recreates and authentically memorializes large scale violations of the law act in the interests of justice? Can art provide a form of self-help equitable remedy like a declaratory judgment that offers non-monetary compensation and restorative justice to the victim as well as moral education to society in an aim toward preventing further atrocities? This challenging issue is of critical importance today as the twenty-first century finds itself once again caught up in wars, genocides, and inhumanity. This Article discusses the following four issues: (1) the legitimacy of an interdisciplinary approach to the study of the laws and customs of war; (2) the failure of international humanitarian laws to deter the large scale perpetration of inhumane acts committed during World War II, as represented in the film and book, The Pianist; and (3) the role of retributive justice after World War II and the Nuremberg Trials, as compared to (4) the role of restorative justice that stories told in artistic representations of massive violations of the laws of war can provide. This Article argues that story-telling through art is a form of self-help remedy available to the victims of atrocities. Art that produces a historic and authentic record provides society at large with a form of moral education. Art, then, has the capacity to be a long-term preventive measure against the commission of genocide, war crimes, and human rights violations in the future.



First Page


Last Page