CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Friday, August 21, 2009

Del Ponte , Sudetic & Erlinder on Humanity's Worst Criminals

Carla Del Ponte , Charles Sudetic and Peter Erlinder (William Mitchell College of Law) have posted Book Review - Madame Prosecutor: Confrontations with Humanity’s Worst Criminals, and the Culture of Impunity on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

It is not often that a first-person memoir immediately establishes itself as a foundational source in such esoteric subjects as International Jurisprudence and the theory and practice of International Criminal Law. But, the recently-published English-version memoir of the former Chief Prosecutor for the UN Tribunals for Yugoslavia and Rwanda, Carla Del Ponte, can legitimately lay claim to being to being such a book. The importance of the issues discussed in the Del Ponte book was confirmed by the Security Council's response to its publication in early 2008, and to that of a related book by Florence Hartmann, Ms. Del Ponte's long-time press-aide published in 2007.[1] The Security Council has attempted to suppress publication of the books, and is criminally prosecuting Ms. Hartmann at the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia for contempt of court.[2] Del Ponte's memoir may well be the most important international criminal law book published since the Security Council established the Yugoslavia and Rwanda Tribunal in the early 1990's. And, it is certainly the most important introduction ever written for casual readers, academics and practitioners who wish to understand the realities of the Security Council Tribunals, and the uncomfortable relationship between the Rule of Law and the undeniable effects of international power-politics. The strengths and weaknesses of the Security Council Tribunals described by Ms. Del Ponte, and teased from the previously unknown history of prosecutorial decision-making she reveals, convincingly demonstrates the largely unacknowledged interplay between the interests of powerful nations, and basic legal concepts such as: equality before the law; due process; the presumption of innocence; proof beyond a reasonable when 'law meets power' in the actual functioning of all international tribunals.

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