Thursday, 4 March 2010

Book Reviews and Academic Freedom

A distinguished academic, Professor Joe Weiler of New York University, is facing criminal prosecution in France on charges of defamation because he published a negative book review. The review was written by another very distinguished scholar, Thomas Weigend. This is a very disturbing development that threatens to chill academic debate. Professor Weiler has written a detailed account of the issues in the recent issue of the European Journal of International Law. In response to his appeal, I have already sent a letter of support, cosigned by my colleagues Prof. Carsten Stahn and Prof. Kai Ambos, in my capacity as editor in chief of the Criminal Law Forum.

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

I am outraged. As a former student of Professor Weiler and an author of academic book reviews, I fully intend to write a letter of support. (I am pleased to see that this kind of response is fully welcomed by him in the piece he wrote about all this in EJIL.)

Thank you very much for bringing this to my attention, Professor!

Indeed, he also raises a very good point about how a private complaint so easily becomes a public prosecution in France. Prior to understanding that, I was certain this action must be a private prosecution because it sounds so frivolous.