Book Review: Research Handbook on International Criminal Law

Research Handbook on International Criminal Law, Edited by Bartram S. Brown. Edgar Elgar Publishing, 2011 (544 pages). Hardcover, ISBN 978-1-84720-278-9, $245.00.

Research Handbook on International Criminal Law explores the evolution of International Criminal Law from its foundations in public international law, comparative law, international humanitarian law and international human rights law. The Handbook breaks down each criminal law topic into clear, concise, uncomplicated language that guides the reader through the basics of international criminal law. Each of the 18 chapters of the Handbook is contributed by a scholar or practitioner in the field. If your user needs include international criminal law, you should buy this book.

The Handbook is divided into 6 parts: Part 1 addresses the transition from state responsibility to individual responsibility in international criminal law. Part 2 explores crimes that fall under the umbrella of international law, including those committed against women.  The editors also include a discussion about when the use of force becomes an act of aggression. Part 3 covers International Criminal Courts and Tribunals and includes a chapter on complementarity (the relationship between domestic courts and the ICC in the jurisdiction to prosecute international crimes). Part 4 of the Handbook addresses the Defenses, Fair Trial Rights in Criminal Law, and self-representation before a tribunal as either a right or a privilege. Part 5 outlines issues of prosecutions before a national court.  And part 6 considers future developments in international criminal law.

Research Handbook on International Criminal Law is an important research tool well-worth including in one’s library collection. It is clear and concise, which may appeal to a large and diverse audience. The Handbook introduces topics in international criminal law relevant, but not always obvious, to those less familiar with the subject matter. Each chapter is thoroughly footnoted, and the book contains appendices on the Rome Statute of the ICC and resolution adopted at the 2010 Review Conference of the Rome Conference in Kampala, Uganda. Readers will come away well-informed on different aspects of international criminal law and equipped with a number of resources to drive their research.

Trezlen Drake is the International and Compartative Law Reference Librarian at New York Law School.

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1 Response to “Book Review: Research Handbook on International Criminal Law”


  1. 1 Criminal Lawyer Arizona December 2, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    This is a great article about a great book. The Research Handbook on International Criminal Law is not only great book for lawyers but also for any one else that want to know about criminal law around the world.


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