Dalhousie Law Journal


Ukraine, World Congress of Free Ukrainians, Ukrainian Famine, WCFU, international commission of enquiry, international law, genocide


In the 1980s the WCFU (World Congress of Free Ukrainians) undertook many initiatives to "educate" Western public opinion on the Ukrainian Famine of 1932- 33, claiming that the famine was a Soviet act of genocide against the Ukrainian people. The WCFU sponsored an international commission of enquiry, composed of seven eminent international jurists, and appeared before the commission as plaintiff. The Commission dealt with a number of controversial issues in international law, including the question of whether the charge of genocide could predate the 1948 convention. The Commission deliberations are examined in detail, frequently with the use of unpublished sources from the archives of one of the commissioners, John Peters Humphrey. The Final Report (1990) lacked unanimity and created very sharp divisions among the Commission's members.