Saturday, 25 February 2012

Unimaginable Atrocities

My latest book, Unimaginable Atrocities: Justice, Politics,and Rights at the War Crimes Tribunals, was published by Oxford University Press a few days ago.
The book consists of eight chapters that address major and controversial issues in the field of international criminal law. Each one represents a different aspect of my own thinking and experience, based upon two decades of studying international criminal tribunals and transitional justice.
This is not a collection of previously published articles. Each chapter is new, drawing upon the latest developments in the field.
Consisting of 240 pages, the book is issued in hardcover and priced at £34.99.
Here is the description of the book taken from the Oxford catalogue:
* Highlights critical debates and controversies facing international criminal courts and tribunals, such as the tensions between peace and justice, and between fair trial rights and the need to secure a conviction
* Presents fresh analysis of these issues from an interdisciplinary perspective and offers innovative solutions
* Written by one of the undisputed authorities on international crimes and war crimes tribunals
* Accessible and clear style makes the book a good read for lawyers and non-specialists alike
As international criminal courts and tribunals have proliferated and international criminal law is increasingly seen as a key tool for bringing the world's worst perpetrators to account, the controversies surrounding the international trials of war criminals have grown. War crimes tribunals have to deal with accusations of victor's justice, bad prosecutorial policy and case management, and of jeopardizing fragile peace in post-conflict situations. In this exceptional book, one of the leading writers in the field of international criminal law explores these controversial issues in a manner that is accessible both to lawyers and to general readers.
The book contains the following chapters:
1: 'Unimaginable Atrocities': Identifying International Crimes
2: Nullum Crimen Sine Lege
3: Victors' Justice? Selecting Targets for Prosecution
4: The Genocide Mystique
5: Mens Rea, Actus Reus, and the Role of the State
6: History, International Justice, and the Right to Truth
7: No Peace Without Justice? The Amnesty Quandary
8: Crimes Against Peace
The title, Unimaginable Atrocities, is taken from the preamble to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.


Genti Zyberi said...

Congratulations Professor Schabas! I'm looking forward to reading the book.

Natia Kalandarishvili-Mueller said...


Anonymous said...

This is another great contribution by a great legal luminary in the world. A quick glance over the introduction tells that indeed, there are politics at international prosecutions -the most glaring one being an issue of immunity not only from prosecution, but also from testifying in international courts with jurisdiction over international crimes. The list of heads of state who have been prosecuted is long: Milosevic, Taylor, Saddam, Karadzic,Gagbo, and many others. The selective syndrome has beset international criminal prosecution -though based on prosecutorial discretion.Yet, when some senior state officials are called to appear in court to testify, their legal counsel often put forward defences of sovereignty, immunity and the lack of forensic and legitimate purpose in summoning such leaders before international courts. Wouldn't senior state officials assist such courts in knowing the truth about atrocities possibly committed by their subordinates under their express or implied commands? Take for example, war crimes and the crime of aggression.

We are yet to witness a senior state official being called for example, in respect of NATO bombings in Kosovo and elsewhere, to testify before the ICTY. Clinton is being sought by counsel/legal adviser to Karadzic to assist the ICTY; the Greek President has been protected by the ICTY from testifying. Kagame survived several subpoena notions at ICTR. Ahmed Tejan Kabbah (then president) could not be summoned to testify in the Special Court because judges were not convinced that it was necessary to summon him -although they later did subpoena him when he was no longer a state president. Saddam's trial could not obviously lead to subpoenas for Blair and Bush due to its nature and politics surrounding the trial (illegality).

Long Live Schabas, Long live International Criminal Justice!