- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: Polity; 1 edition (12 December 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0745630235
- ISBN-13: 978-0745630236
- Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 1.5 x 23.1 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 227 g
- Customer Reviews: 3 customer ratings
Law, War and Crime: War Crimes, Trials and the Reinvention of International Law Paperback – 12 December 2007
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"A book that could be produced only by someone fully versed in their field ... from argument structure to style, Law, War and Crime is to be recommended."
Modern Law Review
"A fresh addition to the vast literature on international criminal law precisely because it comprehensively addresses the structural tendencies that characterize international criminal law."
Finnish Yearbook of International Law
"Offers a significant contribution to the globally important subject of international criminal law by exploring the tensions prevalent in international trials ... it is well written and provides unique insight into considerably challenging issues."
Political Studies Review
"Opens one's eyes to the use and abuse of criminal law in the context of international politics and war."
Law Institute Journal
"This is an outstanding book that is a must read for anyone interested in international criminal tribunals. It is sophisticated and erudite in its analysis, beautifully written, concise yet supported with detailed research and well timed."
Alex Bellamy, University of Queensland
"Law, War and Crime is a substantial scholarly achievement, and I hope it will be politically influential, not so much for any specific position the book espouses, but for its sophistication, care and humanity. Gerry Simpson has lawyerly intellectual virtues that are sorely needed by the international community as it begins to institutionalize criminal law. Simpson writes with discipline instead of mere fervor, and skillfully mediates between factual detail and grand theme. Rarest of all, Simpson understands that unresolvable arguments create discursive spaces where politics, including law, can happen. Bravo!"
David A. Westbrook, University at Buffalo Law School
"Masterfully written, and hugely topical ? this is a must read for all those interested in international law, foreign affairs and war."
Ruti Teitel, New York Law School
From the Back Cover
Simpson argues that the field of war crimes is constituted by a number of tensions between, for example, politics and law; local justice and cosmopolitan reckoning; collective guilt and individual responsibility; and between the instinct that war, at worst, is an error, and the conviction that war is a crime.
Written in the wake of an extraordinary period in the life of the law, the book asks a number of critical questions. What does it mean to talk about war in the language of the criminal law? What are the consequences of seeking to criminalise the conduct of one's enemies? How did this relatively new phenomenon of putting on trial perpetrators of mass atrocity and defeated enemies come into existence? This book seeks to answer these important questions whilst shedding new light on the complex relationship between law, war and crime.
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Top international reviews
Mr Simpson is a top academic but here he has just grouped together what probably began as a series of lectures and ends up as a series of essays. Thus , in the best A level traditions, in each chapter you first get a summary of the major points, then the points themselves and then , usually,finally a summary again. Each chapter stands alone and lots of points are made , with exactly the same examples, in two or three of the essays. The chapter order is most peculiar with (the somewhat vital!) origins of international law right near the end. Oddly this section is almost entirely on pirates with hardly a mention of the international treatment of fishermen which may well have been more significant as an ancestor of international law...I suspect that this was just an essay on pirates which went almost unchanged into the book.
On the upside , the book is very readable and has an excllently presented bibliography, so you can read more elsewhere. It also presents a view point opposite to that of Robertson, almost suggesting that the idea of international law is unnatural and just used as a punishment for losing a war.This is interesting and, often historically accurate, but does not discuss how the world would be if international law was abandoned.The books conclusion (Chapter 8; 1 page and a quarter!) takes minimalism to new levels - the impression given is that it was tacked on in a morning.
The Robertson 'Crimes Against Humanity' is a much better read and introduction to the subject in every way. Obviously Robertson is an international war crimes court insider and has a strongly pro-international law view point, but he is totally blunt and factual on the miserable and often shameful history of the UN in human rights . His sections in the updated book on Belgian, Ghanaian and Dutch UN troop involvement in actually facilitating genocide in Ruanda and Bosnia would make anyone weep.