New Book on the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia

Book ECCCThe Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia  Assessing their Contribution to International Criminal Law

Edited by Simon M. Meisenberg and Ignaz Stegmiller

The ECCC were established in 2006 to bring to trial senior leaders and those most responsible for serious crimes committed under the Khmer Rouge regime. Established by domestic law following an agreement in 2003 between the Kingdom of Cambodia and the UN, the ECCC’s hybrid features provide a unique approach of accountability for mass atrocities.

The book entails an analysis of the work and jurisprudence of the ECCC, providing a detailed assessment of their legacies and contribution to international criminal law. The collection, providing a foreword by ICC Judge Chung and containing twenty chapters from leading scholars and practitioners with inside knowledge of the ECCC, discuss the most pressing topics and its implications for international criminal law. These include the establishment of the ECCC, subject matter crimes, joint criminal enterprise and procedural aspects, including questions regarding the trying of frail accused persons and the admission of torture statements into evidence.

This book is the first comprehensive study on the work and functioning of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC). It highlights that the ECCC has delivered a rich jurisprudence that deserves scrutiny and analysis in order to explore its contribution to international criminal justice. General criticism towards the ECCC and many aspect of international criminal law may be superficial, missing a critical assessment of the law and practice of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. The book therefore attempts to contribute to a better understanding of the challenges encountered not only by the ECCC, but by international criminal justice as a whole.

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Immunity for State Officials and the UN Library

UN Library New York

The Dag Hammarskjöld library in New York

Media reported at the beginning of January 2016 that the most popular book of 2015 at the United Nations’ headquarters library was a book on immunity for heads of state and state officials for serious crimes.

The Dag Hammarskjöld library in New York announced on Twitter that ‘Immunity of Heads of State and State Officials for International Crimes” by Ms Ramona Pedretti was its most-browsed book that year, prompting speculation online about why UN staff and international delegates to the UN were borrowing such a title.

Numerous online articles and reactions on Twitter suggested that the book had been borrowed by UN diplomats so as to know how to avoid prosecution in The Hague for their acts.

Politics and policy website Vox wrote: “The UN is full of delegates representing awful dictatorships, and the 2015 book that it says got checked out the most from the UN library was about … how to be immune from war crimes prosecution. That does not seem like a good thing.”

According to online sources, however, the UN library later clarified that this title was its most popular “new” book, acquired in July 2015. It had only been borrowed twice and checked out for browsing four times.

Moreover, the author of the book, Dr Ramona Pedretti commented that the book is not so much written for heads of state to avoid prosecution. On the contrary, it concludes that former Heads of State and other State officials do not benefit from immunity when charged with international crimes before foreign national courts. And although acting Heads of State cannot be prosecuted in national courts abroad according to customary international law, the book recognises that the situation is different before international criminal tribunals, where immunity for Heads of State does not bar proceedings. Continue reading

Prosecuting Conflict-Related Sexual Violence at the ICTY

Prosecuting Conflict-Related Sexual Violence at the ICTYEdited by Serge Brammertz and Michelle Jarvis

Although sexual violence directed at both females and males is a reality in many on-going conflicts throughout the world today, accountability for the perpetrators of such violence remains the exception rather than the rule. While awareness of the problem is growing, more effective approaches are urgently needed for the investigation and prosecution of conflict-related sexual violence crimes. Upon its establishment in 1993, the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) began the challenging task of prosecuting the perpetrators of conflict-related sexual violence crimes, alongside the many other atrocities committed during the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia.

This book documents the experiences, achievements, challenges, and fundamental insights of the OTP in prosecuting conflict-related sexual violence crimes at the ICTY over the past two decades. It draws on an extensive dossier of OTP documentation, court filings, trial exhibits, testimony, ICTY judgements, and other materials, as well as interviews with current and former OTP staff members. The authors provide a unique analytical perspective on the obstacles faced in prioritizing, investigating, and prosecuting conflict-related sexual violence crimes. While the ICTY has made great strides in developing international criminal law in this area, this volume exposes the pressing need for determined and increasingly sophisticated strategies in order to overcome the ongoing obstacles in prosecuting conflict-related sexual violence crimes. The book presents concrete recommendations to inform future work being done at the national and international levels, including that of the International Criminal Court, international investigation commissions, and countries developing transitional justice processes. It provides an essential resource for investigators and criminal lawyers, human rights fact-finders, policy makers, rule of law experts, and academics.

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Book Launch : Evaluating Transitional Justice – Accountability and Peacebuilding in Post-Conflict Sierra Leone

Evaluating-Transitional-JusticeDemonstrating groundbreaking analysis, this is the first major study to evaluate the transitional justice programme in Sierra Leone. Rather than focusing on a single mechanism, the authors examine how the Special Court, Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), local justice initiatives and reparations programme interacted.

Contributors to the book include the Prosecutor of the Special Court and one of the Commissioners from the TRC, alongside a range of experts on transitional justice, on international law and on Sierra Leone.

The authors consider the political and normative drivers of transitional justice and the lessons that the Sierra Leone programme stands to offer other post-conflict situations.

This edited volume makes a significant contribution to the field by demonstrating how contextual knowledge should be used alongside normative standards when evaluating transitional justice.

iLawyer Wayne Jordash QC wrote the chapter called “Comparing Fairness and Due Process in the RUF and CDF cases: Consequences for the Legacy of the Special Court for Sierra Leone”

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