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Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
September 2020
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Book description

This is the first in-depth study of the first three ICC trials: an engaging, accessible text meant for specialists and students, for legal advocates and a wide range of professionals concerned with diverse cultures, human rights, and restorative justice. It introduces international justice and courtroom trials in practical terms, offering a balanced view on persistent tensions and controversies. Separate chapters analyze the working realities of central African armed conflicts, finding reasons for their surprising resistance to ICC legal formulas. The book dissects the Court's structural dynamics, which were designed to steer an elusive middle course between high moral ideals and hard political realities. Detailed chapters provide vivid accounts of courtroom encounters with four Congolese suspects. The mixed record of convictions, acquittals, dissents, and appeals, resulting from these trials, provides a map of distinct fault-lines within the ICC legal code, and suggests a rocky path ahead for the Court's next ventures.


‘Richard Gaskins provides a fine introduction to the workings of the International Criminal in this immensely readable account of some of the first prosecutions, presenting the legal dimension but also the drama both inside and outside the courtroom in this remarkable laboratory of international justice.’

William A. Schabas - Professor of international law, Middlesex University London and Professor of international criminal law and human rights, Leiden University

‘When confronted with the workings of any new court, the uninitiated need confident, articulate guides. In Gaskins, readers have one who knows his stuff but also understands, from long experience working with students, exactly where they are likely to struggle. Compassionate yet incisive, he explains where the high-minded idealism of the human rights world grates against the frustrating, banal realities of evidence-collection and the administration of justice in countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo. It's an account drafted by an expert with a big heart, a meticulous grasp of the workings of universal law, and an empathetic understanding of the vagaries of human behaviour.’

Michela Wrong - author of In the Footsteps of Mr Kurtz and It's Our Turn to Eat

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