Sunday 15 January 2012

David Scheffer : All The Missing Souls

I’ve been meaning to write about David Scheffer’s book All the Missing Souls since it was issued late last year.
Yesterday’s very favourable book review in the Financial Times by Philippe Sands brings it to the attention of readers here in the UK, and internationally, and prompts me to comment after an unusually lengthy winter break this year.
As would be expected, Philippe Sands is critical of the US policy, but he is also full of respect for David Scheffer’s account. As the first Ambassador at large for War Crimes Issues, David Scheffer was literally at the centre of what is the most fertile period in the development of international criminal law since the Nuremberg Trial. For that reason alone, his book demands attention.
It is full of anecdote, of course, but also a tremendous amount of substance. Since leaving the administration, in January 2001, Professor Scheffer has developed an impressive academic profile. He is a prolific writer on criminal justice topics. His insights into the dynamics of the evolving US policy in international criminal justice are invaluable.
Amongst the many textbooks in international criminal law, David Scheffer’s book is refreshingly different. It makes good reading for specialists and for students, yet it is also highly accessible to a broad public. This is a must acquisition for the international criminal law bookshelf.

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