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The Ethnic Conflict Research Digest

2005, Vol. 5 No. 1 .


Towards an International Criminal Procedure
Christopher Safferling

Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001, 395 pages, Hardback, 73, 0-19-9244350-6.

The book sets out to establish a comparative analysis between the continental criminal procedures to that of the common law criminal procedures with Germany, one of the leading continental legal systems being compared against the UK and US common law legal systems. The comparisons are made to ascertain whether it may be possible to establish a single criminal law procedure made up jointly from both systems to hold perpetrators of serious crimes accountable that will fit satisfactorily within the two different legal systems, thereby creating a way that will allow advocates of human rights to strengthen the system for holding human rights violators accountable.

The book seeks to concentrate on many of the core constituent parts of the criminal trial and by dual analysis compares the differences that emerge between the two systems of law. It seeks to analyse how the two systems of law have developed historically and philosophically with an end focus of their current standing.

The book sets out in chapter one the common need for establishing a respect for the alleged offender, that any potential offender before the International Criminal Court will not be prejudiced before a presentation of the facts of the case. Chapter two seeks to address ways to deal with the ?Pre-Trial Inquiry? and analyses potential methods which could be employed between the discovery of a crime and the final formulation of an indictment. Chapter three seeks investigate the next part in the criminal trial, the confirming of the indictment or charges to be brought against the perpetrator. Chapter four investigates the trial procedures whilst chapter five deals with methods to handle the post conviction stage of the process. The penultimate chapter addresses the post trial stage with and a final chapter on a summary drawing together the previous chapters.

The book represents a coherent comparative analysis which highlights the various ways international human rights law could act as a basis for an international procedure order for criminal law. Throughout the book the relevant human rights documents are extracted from international agreements and bodies such as the European Court of Human Rights or the Human Rights Committee. The book will appeal to those academics, students, practitioners who are either researching or practicing in the field of international criminal procedure.


Noel McGuirk, PhD Candidate, School of Law, UU Magee.



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