Academic journal article Texas International Law Journal

Judging War Criminals: The Politics of International Justice

Academic journal article Texas International Law Journal

Judging War Criminals: The Politics of International Justice

Article excerpt

JUDGING WAR CRIMINALS: THE POLITICS OF INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE. By Yves Beigbeder. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1999. 229 pages, $65.00 Hardcover.

Legal Secretary to the French judge at the Nuremberg tribunal, Yves Beigbeder has had a distinguished career at the heart of the development of an international law capable of punishing individuals who violate international norms. This book is a brief, lucid overview of the historical events that have shaped the contemporary establishment of U.N.-backed war crimes tribunals and the expected foundation of an International Criminal Court.

The book traces the history of punishing war criminals through the history of the various war crimes tribunals. From the Nuremberg trials to the tribunals for Yugoslavia and Rwanda, charges of illegitimacy and favoritism have undermined all attempts to punish war criminals. Global public opinion has changed tremendously over the last half-century, forcing the Security Council's hand to establish the more recent tribunals. For Beigbeder, this means that we must make the leap towards creating an international system for punishing war criminals. An effective system of applied justice should be able to supplant the desire for revenge and "lead to pardon and reconciliation. …

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