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Special Issues

New Special Issue

Slavery and the Limits of International Criminal Justice

Volume 14, Issue 2, May 2016

According to a recent estimate of the Global Slavery Index, about 45 million people around the world are thought to be enslaved today. Yet slavery is strictly prohibited by international law. Under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, enslavement is, in some cases, prosecutable as a crime against humanity or, arguably in some narrower cases, a war crime. Why is there such a gap between law and practice? This Special Issue of the Journal of International Criminal Justice addresses this question, and asks what role international criminal justice can play in bridging the gap.

This special issue was guest edited by James Cockayne.

Past Special Issues

The Interaction Between Refugee Law and International Criminal Justice 
Volume 12, Issue 5, December 2014 

Guest Editors: Fannie Lafontaine , Laval University, Joseph Rikhof , Ottawa University, and Laurel Baig , Senior Appeals Counsel in the Office of the Prosecutor, International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

This issue provides an opportunity for scholars and practitioners to explore the evolution of the various intersections between refugee and migration law, on one hand, and international humanitarian and criminal law, on the other. The issue will be free to read online until the end of May 2015. 

Click here to start reading immediately.

Aggression: After Kampala
2012, Volume 10, Issue 1
View the table of contents here 

The 2010 ICC Review Conference in Kampala, Uganda was dominated by the negotiations over the crime of aggression, a process that can be traced back to the 1998 Rome Conference and even to attempts to criminalize aggression after the First World War. In the aftermath of Kampala, the outcome achieved by the Assembly of States Parties has been the subject of press conferences, political speeches, blog discussions, and some early responses in law journals. This Special Issue of the Journal of International Criminal Justice is published just over one year since the Review Conference. While it is too early to reach definitive conclusions on the nature, scope and implications of the crime of aggression, enough time has passed to engage in analysis of an intermediate nature, which goes beyond the immediate reactions to the Kampala compromise.

This Special Issue brings together leading academics, representatives of human rights organizations, historians, and younger scholars working within the field. The opening piece places the attempts to criminalize aggression in historical context, drawing on archival materials from the inter-war period. Some contributions reflect on the broad impact of the Kampala compromise upon the principle of complementarity; judicial independence and equality before the law; the law of treaties; and the development of customary international law, particularly on rules governing the use of force. Other articles explore important issues that were not considered during the Review Conference, such as the ambiguous place of ‘quasi states’, the uncertain status of the understandings, and the possible contours of individual civil responsibility for aggression. The rich variety of perspectives included in this Special Issue seeks to extend and to deepen the discussion of the crime of aggression.

Guest Editors:

Claus Kress is Professor of Criminal Law and International Law, University of Cologne, Germany and Member of the German delegation during the negotiations on the ICC since 1998. He was Sub-coordinator on the negotiations on the individual conduct of the crime of aggression during the ‘Princeton Process’ and Focal Point for informal consultations on some understandings on the crime of aggression at the 2010 ICC Review Conference at Kampala.

Philippa Webb is Visiting Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law, Leiden University and formerly Special Assistant and Legal Officer to President Rosalyn Higgins of the International Court of Justice; Associate Legal Adviser to Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo, International Criminal Court; and judicial assistant to Judge Higgins and Judge (now President) Owada, International Court of Justice. She acted as legal adviser to the Kingdom of Bahrain at the 2010 ICC Review Conference at Kampala. She is a member of the Editorial Committee of the Journal .


Kirsten Sellars, Thomas Weigend, Erin Creegan, Alexander Wills, Leonie Von Braun, Annelen Micus, Beth Van Schaak, Marko Milanovic, Mary Ellen O'Connell, Mirakmal Niyazmatov, Andreas Zimmermann, Kevin Jon Heller, Friedrich Rosenfeld, and Mauro Politi.

Transnational Business and International Criminal Law
July 2010, Volume 8, Issue 3

Transnational corporations are sometimes directly, more often indirectly, involved in massive human rights violations amounting to international crimes. While this is true in times of peace, the animus lucri faciendi, the goal of making a profit, is particularly powerful in times of conflict. War, in general, is money-making business. While efforts to hold military and political leaders accountable for the commission of international crimes have been increasingly successful over the past decades, the prosecution and punishment of their business accomplices remain rare exceptions.

Yet, recently and more than six decades after the famous post-World War II cases examining corporate complicity in Nazi crime — Flick, Krupp, IG Farben, or Zyklon B — business involvement in international crimes is once again attracting the attention of some domestic courts. By dedicating an issue to the topic of ‘Transnational Business and International Criminal Law’ the Journal of International Criminal Justice takes account of this development. This Special Issue brings together leading academics, senior practitioners before international tribunals, and representatives of non-governmental organizations involved in business and human rights cases, and provides a forum for a rich, in-depth discussion. In doing so, it enquires into the capacity of existing international criminal law to address business entanglement in international crimes and contemplates its possible future role.

Browse the table of contents and read article abstracts here .

The Grave Breaches Regime in the Geneva Conventions: A Reassessment Sixty Years On
September 2008, Volume 7, Issue 4
Editor: James G. Stewart , Assistant Professor, University of British Columbia

"Sixty years since the signing of the Geneva Conventions, the grave breaches regime remains a key element within the architecture of modern international criminal law….This special issue of the Journal marks the 60th anniversary of the grave breaches regime by inviting leading academics, practitioners, and legal advisers to address individual components of this once revolutionary criminal regime. The papers are rich and varied [and] our objectives are numerous and ambitious.

In one sense, we hope that this issue will promote a greater understanding of the history of grave breaches and their relationship within other categories of war crimes in contemporary international criminal law. At the same time, this issue will act as a point of reference for practitioners engaged in fulfilling the obligation to prosecute war crimes, thereby furthering the aspirations that originally underpinned the grave breaches regime." - From the Introduction, by James G. Stewart

Click here for full text access to the introduction and here to view a full table of contents and browse article abstracts.

Law as Cruelty: Torture as an International Crime
May 2008, Volume 6, Issue 2
Guest Editors: Jens David Ohlin , Associate-in-Law, Columbia Law School, and George P. Fletcher , Cardozo Professor of Jurisprudence, Columbia Law School

Can torture ever be justified? This is just one of the issues tackled in the recent special issue of the Journal of International Criminal Justice entitled ‘Law as Cruelty: Torture as an International Crime’.

The sequence of articles in the special issue proceeds from the general definition of torture, then to defences for the crime of torture, and finally remedies under US and international law.

'...the Journal recognizes a need for unique approaches, with broad disciplinary foundations, to enrich the current legal analysis...the legal community is badly in need of serious research on the topic that is both international in scope and sophisticated in tenor. It is for this reason that the Journal has dedicated a special issue to the topic, in recognition of both the moral urgency of the topic and its legal complexity.'
From the Introduction, by Jens David Ohlin and George P. Fletcher

Click here for full text access to the introduction and here to view a full table of contents and browse article abstracts.

Criminal Law Responses to Terrorism After September 11
November 2006, Volume 4, Issue 5
Guest Editors: Professor Paola Gaeta , Florence University, Italy, and
Dr Florian Jessberger , Humboldt University Berlin, Germany

Five years after September 11, the special issue takes stock by inquiring into the role prosecution and punishment, both at the international and national level, can and do play in addressing contemporary internationalized terrorism. The collection of essays brings together a range of perspectives on the matter. Most of them are written by leading scholars in international law or criminal law from various countries, some by practitioners, such as the Chief of the Terrorism Prevention Branch in the UN Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention.

Click here to view a full table of contents and browse article abstracts.

The Rwandan Genocide
September 2005, Volume 3, Issue 4
Guest Editor: Professor Paola Gaeta , Florence University, Italy

‘More than 10 years have elapsed since April–May 1994, when the international community failed to prevent or stop one of the gravest tragedies since the Second World War: genocide in Rwanda. This issue of the Journal is entirely devoted to that extremely sad episode of human history.

The authors invited to contribute to this symposium have diverse backgrounds: some are historians, others are lawyers, or journalists, or judges; other contributors are persons who were involved—at some stage and in different capacities—in the Rwandan tragedy. The outcome is a multi-faceted debate that should shed some light on the Rwandan genocide and the complex, contradictory and ultimately disappointing reaction to it at both the national and international levels.’

From the Editorial, by Paola Gaeta

Click here for full text access to the Editorial and here to view a full table of contents and browse article abstracts.

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