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Accounts of the rise of atrocity justice often characterize the Cold War decades as a time of "hibernation." I argue that this hibernation narrative, and explanations for the rise of atrocity justice in general, overlook important developments during the Cold War period that later helped facilitate the so-called "justice cascade." Specifically, this period witnessed consequential advancements in the institutionalization, domestication, and professionalization of international criminal law. In contrast to studies that emphasize the roles of civil society activists or policymakers in the rise of atrocity justice, the developments I highlight were often driven by the work of technocratic legal experts.