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 victors' 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. Professor William Schabas begins by considering the discipline of international criminal law, outlining the differing approaches to the description of international crimes and examining the frequent claims relating to the retroactive application of these crimes. The book then discusses the relationship between genocide and crimes against humanity, studying the fascination with what Schabas calls the 'genocide mystique'. International criminal tribunals have often been stigmatized as an exercise in victors' justice.
This book traces how this critique developed and the difficulty it poses to the identification of situations for prosecution by the International Criminal Court. The claim that amnesty for international crimes is prohibited by international law is challenged, with a more nuanced approach to the relationship between justice and peace being proposed. Throughout the book there is a strong historical perspective, with constant reference to the early experiments in international justice at Nuremberg and Tokyo. The work also analyses the growing pains of the International Criminal Court as it enters its second decade.
Professor William A. Schabas is professor of international law at Middlesex University in London. He also has appointments at the National University of Ireland Galway, where he is professor of human rights law, at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, in Beijing, as honorary professor, Kellogg College of the University of Oxford, where he is a visiting fellow, and at the Universite du Quebec a Montreal, as professeur associe. Prof. Schabas practices from the chambers of 9 Bedford Row, in London.
Introduction ; 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