Friday, May 23, 2008

Pg. 99: Benjamin Schiff’s "Building the International Criminal Court"

The current feature at the Page 99 Test: Benjamin N. Schiff’s Building the International Criminal Court.

About the book, from the publisher:
The ICC is the first and only standing international court capable of prosecuting humanity’s worst crimes: genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. It faces huge obstacles. It has no police force; it pursues investigations in areas of tremendous turmoil, conflict, and death; it is charged both with trying suspects and with aiding their victims; and it seeks to combine divergent legal traditions in an entirely new international legal mechanism.

International law advocates sought to establish a standing international criminal court for more than 150 years. Other, temporary, single-purpose criminal tribunals, truth commissions, and special courts have come and gone, but the ICC is the only permanent inheritor of the Nuremberg legacy.

In Building the International Criminal Court, Oberlin College Professor of Politics Ben Schiff analyzes the ICC, melding historical perspective, international relations theories, and observers’ insights to explain the Court’s origins, creation, innovations, dynamics, and operational challenges.
Among the early acclaim for the book:
“An insightful study of an unprecedented international institution. Ben Schiff, in a clear and flowing analysis, blends history, law and political science into a work of lasting significance.”
--M. Cherif Bassiouni, DePaul University

“Drawing from multiple strands of international relations theory, Benjamin Schiff examines the creation and operation of the International Criminal Court. He takes a hard look at the political past and future of this new international organization. This important book covers extensive ground and is essential reading for a public concerned - as it should be - with the interplay between law, politics, tragedy, and justice. It is only by studying the International Criminal Court that its work can be improved. By illuminating the path forward, Schiff has done us all a tremendous service.”
--Mark A. Drumbl, Washington and Lee University

“A superb systematic examination of the International Criminal Court - the ‘streams’ of ideas and actions that shaped it, the challenges of building a new, functioning organization; the handling of the first four situations referred to it; and the ongoing tensions between peace and justice and political and judicial choices it faces. Given its scope, Benjamin Schiff's book is invaluable for both scholars and practitioners; its clear prose also makes it an excellent choice for graduate and upper-level courses in human rights, international law, and international organization.”
--Margaret P. Karns, University of Dayton

“The tensions in the establishment and operations of the ICC are masterfully examined in this comprehensive work by Schiff. Particularly fascinating is the dilemma between justice and peace in the inaugural four African cases on the docket. Grounded in international relations theories, this book is a ‘must read’ for scholars and students of international law and organization and international human rights.”
--Karen Mingst, University of Kentucky

“A richly detailed, insightful, and engrossing account of the establishment and evolution of one of the world’s most important new institutions, this remarkable book is a historical document of major significance. A must read for scholars of international law and diplomacy, and anyone interested in the world-wide struggle against impunity.”
--Michael P. Scharf, Case Western Reserve University
Read an excerpt from Building the International Criminal Court, and learn more about the book at the Cambridge University Press website.

Benjamin N. Schiff is Professor of Politics, Oberlin College.

The Page 99 Test: Building the International Criminal Court.

--Marshal Zeringue