International Law

Book Review: International Criminal Procedure: Principles and Rules

 Authors: Göran Sluiter (ed.), Håkan Friman (ed.), Suzannah Linton (ed.), Sergey Vasiliev (ed.), Salvatore Zappalà (ed.)

“A monumental study that consolidates and organizes the rules governing the burgeoning field of international criminal procedure”

International Criminal Procedure: Principles and Rules (Oxford University Press, 2013; 1,728 pages, £295.00) is the outcome of the International Expert Framework on International Criminal Procedure, a project that began in 2007 to organize scattered procedural norms applied in recent decades. The International Expert Framework is comprised of a team of over 40 leading practitioners and scholars of international criminal procedure, an area of international law that is emerging as a distinct subject. In this book, the experts discuss the proliferation of international criminal tribunals that have riddled the international legal landscape, with an emphasis on the last twenty years, which saw the burgeoning of international criminal law. The authors present “a systematic examination and critical reflection on the legacy of the tribunals … in order to define the goals and agenda for the forthcoming period” (p. 2).

At 1,681 pages, the book discusses many of the technical aspects of international criminal procedure, comparing the procedural rules governing international criminal courts, beginning with the foundational institutions of international criminal law—the International Military Tribunal (Nuremberg) and the International Military Tribunal for the Far East—and proceeding to the internationalized courts set up since 1993, including:

-          The permanent International Criminal Court;

-          The hybrid institutions—the Special Court for Sierra Leone; the Special Panels for Serious Crimes in Dili District Court (East Timor); and the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia; and

-          The ad hoc Tribunals—the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia; the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda; and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.

The painstaking analysis and extended theoretical treatment of the rules governing international criminal procedure are valuable for the legal practitioner, but may be excessively detailed for students seeking a general introduction. Nevertheless, the first two sections of the volume provide a general introduction that could serve as a standalone resource to students seeking a broad overview. After this general introduction, the book proceeds on a chapter-by-chapter basis to cover all aspects of the international criminal process, including: the initiation of investigation; arrest and surrender; charges and res judicata; trial process; appeals, reviews and reconsideration; evidence law; deliberation, dissent and judgment; defense issues; the participation, protection and reparation of victims; and negotiated justice (i.e., plea bargaining).

With footnotes that often exceed half a page and painstaking analysis of legal decisions and cases, the book is heavily researched as an academic reference. This is not surprising, given the fact that most of the authors live in a dual world of legal practice and teaching, with several authors holding Ph.D.’s in law. The following selection of the editors and contributors demonstrates the diversity of their backgrounds:

-          Hakan Friman (Deputy Director-General at the Swedish Ministry of Justice)

-          Goran Sluiter (Professor, University of Amsterdam; Lawyer at Böhler Advocaten in Amsterdam)

-          Suzannah Linton (Professor, Bangor Law School in the UK)

-          Salvatore Zappala (Professor, University of Catania, Italy)

-          Sergey Vasiliev (Postdoctoral researcher, Free University of Amsterdam)

-          Guido Acquaviva (Chef de Cabinet to the President of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon)

-          Nancy Amoury Combs (Vice Dean and Professor, William and Mary School of Law, former US Supreme Court clerk)

-          Matteo Costi (Office of the Prosecutor, International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia)

-          Mirjan Damaska (Professor Emiritus, Yale Law School)

-          Fergal Gaynor (Legal representative for victims at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia)

-          Fabricio Guariglia (Senior Appeals Counsel, Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court)

-          Stephan Kirsch (Criminal lawyer with Hamm and Partner; his name is on the list of Counsel at the International Criminal Court and Special Tribunal for Lebanon)

-          Daryl Mundis (Chief of Prosecutions at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon)

Containing a remarkably exhaustive study of the issues surrounding this nascent and specialized field of international law, International Criminal Procedure: Principles and Rules is an essential resource for both the scholar and practitioner of international criminal law.

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