Features - International Criminal Law: A Selective Resource Guide

Marylin Johnson Raisch is the Librarian for International and Foreign Law at the Bora Laskin Law Library of the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. She received her J.D. from Tulane University School of Law (1980) with work both in civil and common law courses as well as international law and Roman law. She holds degrees in English literature from Smith College ( B.A. magna cum laude 1973) and St. Hugh's College, Oxford (M.Litt. 1978). She received her M.L.S. degree from Columbia University School of Library Service in 1988 and has worked as a law librarian for fifteen years, the past ten of which were at Columbia University School of Law as International and Foreign Law Librarian. Marylin has served as moderator or panelist in several continuing education programs at the annual meetings of the American Association of Law Libraries on such topics as effective quick reference in international and foreign law, foreign law in English, and Russian law. She has also presented talks on web access to foreign and international materials for the International Association of Law Libraries, has co-directed one of a series of special four-day institutes on "Training the Next Generation" of international and foreign law librarians, and has edited (with Roberta I Shaffer) the resulting volume of proceedings, Transnational Legal Transactions (Oceana, 1995). Marylin is the author of several articles, reviews, and web guides on international and foreign legal research, such as The European Union: A Selective Research Guide, 1 Columbia Journal of European Law 149 (1994/95), and hyperlinked web guides to research in treaties and public international law, European Union law, and human rights law at http://www.law-lib.utoronto.ca/resguide/entry.htm.

Gail A. Partin is currently an Associate Law Librarian in the Sheely-Lee Law Library at the Dickinson School of Law of the Pennsylvania State University http://www.dsl.edu. Her primary responsibility is providing legal research instruction and reference services. As the library's Foreign, Comparative, and International Law Librarian, she is also responsible for the development and maintenance of the library's international law collection. Gail has conducted numerous educational seminars on legal research instruction and Internet legal research. She also maintains the Dickinson Legal Research Resources http://www.dsl.edu/library/research.html web site for her library and publishes the International Criminal Law chapter of the ASIL Guide to Electronic Resources for International Law http://www.asil.org/resource/Home.htm. She is an active member of AALL’s Foreign, Comparative & International Law SIS http://www.lawsch.uga.edu/fcil/fcil.html and the Research Instruction & Patron Services SIS http://www.aallnet.org/sis/ripssis/.


Table of Contents

I. Introduction
A. Brief Statement of History
II. General Background Sources, Research Guides, and Information Networks
A. Web Sites
B. Major Treatises
III. Treaty Resources
IV. International Criminal Court, the Ad Hoc Tribunals, and Other Relevant Judicial Sources
A. International Criminal Court
B. Ad Hoc Tribunals
C. International and Regional Courts
D. National Courts
V. Extradition and Mutual Assistance
A. Major Treaties and Documents
B. Major Treatises
C. N. B. Recent Watershed Cases
VI. Specific Crimes
A. Crimes Against Humanity and Human Rights Issues
B. Organized Crime and Narcotics
C. Terrorism and Piracy
D. "Cyber-crime" and Crimes Against the Environment or Cultural Property
VII. Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice
A. Statistical Sources
B. Information Clearinghouses and Other Related Sources
C. Law Enforcement
VIII. Notes on Secondary Sources

I. Introduction

The purpose of this guide is to provide researchers with a selective quick guide to basic and significant materials, both print and electronic, in the topic area of international criminal law and its processes. As a hyperlinked, contextual guide, it is not intended as a substitute for the compilation of any updated, comprehensive bibliography by using electronic indexes and catalogues and their print equivalents (for older and historic materials).

A. Brief Statement of History

Origins and sources of the international criminal law regime include three out of the four sources of international law in general which are enumerated in Article 38 of the Statute of the International Court of Justice. According to Professor M. Cherif Bassiouni, only the first three of the sources apply to international criminal law since “writings of the most distinguished publicists” (that is, judges or jurists, especially of international courts or tribunals) and even surveys of national criminal laws cannot create supra-national binding laws in the same way that local legislative and adjudicatory bodies might do.1 The thinking here seems to be that even so-called jus cogens crimes, meaning ones well-established in customary law, require application by and through the cooperation of national states, even parties to a treaty. There are issues of notice, specificity, and legality as recognized within individual criminal justice systems at stake, and even the United Nations system is not yet one of “international legislation” except insofar as the treaty-making process might be looked at that way.2 National cooperation is required to make any form of international criminal law effective, and this principle will be recognized by member states under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court as well.3

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II. General Background Sources, Research Guides and Information Networks

A. Web Sites

B. Major Treatises

Major treatises on international criminal law and procedure in general include the following (a short list of major works):

  • Bassiouni, M. Cherif. International criminal law, 2nd ed. Ardsley, N.Y.: Transnational Publishers, 1998.

  • _________________. International criminal law conventions and their penal provisions. Irvington-on-Hudson, N.Y: Transnational Publishers, 1997.

  • Dugard, John and Christine van den Wyngaert, eds. International criminal law and procedure. Aldershot; Brookfield, VT, 1996.

  • Hoogh, André de. Obligations erga omnes and international crimes: a theoretical inquiry into the implementation and enforcement of the international responsibility of states. Hague; Boston: Kluwer International Law; Cambridge, MA:1996.

  • Malekian, Farhad. The monopolization of international criminal law in the United Nations: a jurisprudential approach. Stockholm, Sweden: Almqvist & Wiksell International, 1995.

  • Ragazzi, Mauricio.  The concept of internation obligations erga omnes. New York: Clarendon Press, 1997.

  • Sunga, Lyal S. The emerging system of international criminal law: developments in codification and implementation. The Hague; Boston: Kluwer Law International, 1997.

  • Van den Wyngaert, Christine, ed. International criminal law: a collection of international and European instruments. The Hague; Boston: Kluwer Law International, 1996.

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III. Treaty Resources

There are a wide range of treaties, conventions, and agreements pertaining to international criminal law issues. The Web sites for locating the treaties of several international organizations are listed below.

  • United Nations Treaty Collection is an electronic system for locating the text and status of United Nations treaties. Since the United Nations has been the forerunner in undertaking actions to combat international crime this is an excellent source for treaty information, such as the convention establishing the International Criminal Court. Other relevant UN treaties and conventions include the UN Charter and conventions on apartheid, genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, torture, narcotic drugs, slavery, the taking of hostages, aircraft hijacking, and terrorism. Sample portions of the database are available free, however access to the complete UN treaty database is by subscription only.

  • Council of Europe: European Treaties provides the text of the Statute of the Council of Europe and all other COE treaties, including information on reservations, signatures, and ratifications.

  • European Union Web Site is an umbrella site for all of the Union's institutions and organizations and includes the text of EU founding treaties, policies, and institutional documents.

  • Organization of American States (OAS) Web site contains the text and status of conventions and treaties relating to corruption, human rights, judicial cooperation, terrorism, and weapons in the Inter-American Treaties database.

  • The Multilaterals Project at the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy is an ongoing project to make the full text of international conventions and other instruments available electronically. The selective list of treaties dates back to 1899 and can be searched by subject or chronologically.

  • For a comprehensive guide to treaty research sources and methodology, see the Treaties chapter of the ASIL Guide to Electronic Resources for International Law.

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IV. International Criminal Court, the Ad Hoc Tribunals, and Other Relevant Judicial Sources

A. International Criminal Court

The purpose of this court is stated succinctly at the official United Nations Home Page in its “Overview” section as follows:

An international criminal court has been called the missing link in the international legal system. The International Court of Justice at The Hague handles only cases between States, not individuals. Without an international criminal court for dealing with individual responsibility as an enforcement mechanism, acts of genocide and egregious violations of human rights often go unpunished. In the last 50 years, there have been many instances of crimes against humanity and war crimes for which no individuals have been held accountable. In Cambodia in the1970s, an estimated 2 million people were killed by the Khmer Rouge. In armed conflicts in Mozambique, Liberia, El Salvador and other countries, there has been tremendous loss of civilian life, including horrifying numbers of unarmed women and children.4

Set out briefly below are sources for some of the major documents of the court, including the statute, (a charter-type convention), its preparatory history, and the continuing revisions, discussions, and ratification process.

1. Web Sites - Major Documents

The International Criminal Court’s official Web site contains:

  • the text of the Rome Statute of 17 July 1998 establishing an International Criminal Court , U.N.Doc. A/CONF.183/9 and corrections
  • Documents of the Preparatory Commission (1999-)
  • Documents of the Preparatory Committee for the Rome Conference (1996-1998)
  • Documents of the Ad Hoc Committee for the Establishment of an International Criminal Court (1995)

This list indicates, in reverse chronological order, the United Nations bodies which were set up, in sequence, to address the establishment of the court and the drafting of its statute.

In addition to the official United Nations sites referenced above, the following selected sites provide substantial information on the International Criminal Court:

2. Major Treatises

  • M. Cherif Bassiouni. The statute of the international criminal court: a documentary history. Ardsley, N.Y.: Transnational Publishers, 1998.
  • _________________, general editor Leila Sadat Wexler,special editor Observations on the consolidated ICC text before the final session of the Preparatory Committee. Paris: Association Internationale de Droit Penal, 1998.
  • Ferencz, Benjamin B. An international criminal court, a step toward world peace :a documentary history and analysis. Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.: Oceana Publications, 1980.
  • George Ginsburgs and V.N. Kudriavtsev, eds. The Nuremberg trial and international law. (Law in Eastern Europe. no. 42. Dordrecht; Boston: M. Nijhoff, 1990.
  • Lawyers Committee for Human Rights (U.S.) The International Criminal Court trigger mechanism and the need for an independent prosecutor. New York, N.Y., USA (333 7th Ave., New York 10001): Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, 1997.
  • Lee, Roy, ed. The International Criminal Court: the making of the Rome statute : issues, negotiations, and results.; in cooperation with the Project of International Court and Tribunals. Boston: Kluwer Law International, 1999.

B. Ad Hoc Tribunals

The history of the need for an International Criminal Court and indeed the history of international criminal law in general would be incomplete without reference to the ad hoc tribunals discussed below and also the Nuremberg War Crimes trials.

1. International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY)

International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia contains links to its statute, judgments, rules of procedure, and a Bulletin of all activities at the court.

Additional information relating to the Yugoslavian crisis:

2. International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR)

International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (http://www.ictr.org/ or http://www.un.org/ictr/ (mirror site)) is the official UN Web site for the ICTR and includes the full text of some tribunal judgments, case summaries, the ICTR statute, Security Council resolutions, Rules of Procedure and Evidence, press releases, and listings of indictments and hearing transcripts.

The UN Research Guide: Special Topics: International Law provides quick access to the statute and list of reports on the tribunal. The guide indicates in part: “The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, located in Arusha (United Republic of Tanzania), was established by Security Council resolution 955 (1994) of 8 November 1994; the annexed Statute defines its mandate. Articles 10-12 of the Statute were amended by Security Council resolution 1165 (1998) of 30 April 1998”.

The Organization of African Unity endorsed the formation of the International Panel of Eminent Personalities (IPEP) to investigate the 1994 genocide in Rwanda and the surrounding events. The IPEP Special Report, transmitted to the OAU on 29 May 2000, is available along with information on the panel members, the project background, and documentation from the drafting process.

Additional resources pertaining to the Yugoslavian and Rwandan crises:

  • The University of Minnesota Human Rights Library has an International Criminal Courts section which includes material from the history of the Yugoslav and Rwanda conflicts as well as the court links.
  • War Criminal Watch, designed and maintained by the Coalition for International Justice, is dedicated to information relating to the Yugoslavia and Rwanda Tribunals, including audio and video files on the Tribunal for former Yugoslavia, the status of cases in national courts, implementing legislation, and other legal resources. The ICTY/ICTR pages offer case files, rules of procedure, a manual for practitioners, annual reports, and other related documents.

3. Nuremberg War Crimes Trials

Nuremberg War Crimes Trials materials are available at the web site of the Yale Avalon Project, which includes access to digitized material from Trial of the Major War Criminals Before the International Military Tribunal : Proceedings Volumes 14 November 1945-1 October 1946 (Nuremberg : The Tribunal, 1947-1949 and the Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression (Washington, U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1946) set as well.

C. International and Regional Courts

D. National Courts

Many international criminal law issues fall within the jurisdiction of national courts, so researchers will find relevant information by searching for cases within the individual judicial systems of specific countries. Several Web sites offer thorough coverage of the countries of the world (Note, however, that all countries do not provide electronic access to their judicial documents):

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V. Extradition and Mutual Assistance

A. Major Treaties and Documents

B. Major Treatises

  • Amnesty International.United Kingdom : the Pinochet case : universal jurisdiction and the absence of immunity for crimes against humanity. London : Amnesty International, International Secretariat, 1999.

  • Bassiouni, M. Cherif. International extradition : United States law and and practice. New York : Oceana Publications, 1996.

  • Gilbert, Geoff. Transnational fugitive offenders in international law : extradition and other mechanisms. The Hague ; Boston : M. Nijhoff Publishers ; Cambridge, MA, 1998.

  • Ristau, Bruno A . International judicial assistance. Washington, D.C. : International Law Institute, 1984- (looseleaf updated).

C. N.B. Recent Watershed Cases

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VI. Specific Crimes

A. Crimes Against Humanity and Human Rights Issues

1. Major Treaties and Documents

United Nations

Council of Europe

Organization of American States

Organization of African Unity

2. Court and Monitoring Body Sites

3. Major Treatises

  • Bassiouni, M. Cherif. Crimes against humanity in international criminal law. 2nd rev. ed. Cambridge, MA : Kluwer Law International, 1999.

  • __________________ and Ziyad Motala, eds. The Protection of human rights in African criminal proceedings. Dordrecht; Boston: M. Nijhoff, 1995.

  • __________________, ed. with the collaboration of Alfred de Zayas. The Protection of human rights in the administration of criminal justice: a compendium of United Nations norms and standards. Irvington, NY: Transnational Publishers; Geneva: Centre for Human Rights United Nations; 1994.

  • Matas, David. No more: the battle against human rights violations. Towards the new millennium series; [edited by Dennis Mills].: Toronto: Dundurn Press, 1994.

  • Ratner, Steven R. Accountability for human rights atrocities in international law: beyond the Nuremberg legacy . Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1997.

B. Organized Crime and Narcotics

1. Major Treaties and Documents

2. Research Sites

3. Major Treatises

  • Bassiouni, M. Cherif, and Eduardo Vetere, eds. and compilers, with the cooperation of Dimitri Vlassis. Organized crime: a compilation of U.N. documents 1975-1998. Ardsley, N.Y.: Transnational Publishers, 1998.

  • Punch, Maurice, ed. Coping with corruption in a borderless world : proceedings of the fifth International Anti-Corruption Conference. Deventer; Boston: Kluwer Law and Taxation Publishers; Arnhem: Gouda Quint, 1993.

  • The OECD Convention on Bribery, by Geoffrey R. Watson. March 1998.

C. Terrorism and Piracy

1. Major Treaties and Documents

2. Research Sites

  • Terrorism Research Center
    Terrorism Research Center is "an independent institute dedicated to the research of terrorism, information warfare, and other issues related to low-intensity political violence and gray-area phenomena."

  • Security Resource Net's Counter Terrorism
    The Security Resource Net is the online site for the National Security Institute. The Counter Terrorism page provides links to information on topics such as, Terrorism Legislation and Executive Orders (primarily United States), Terrorism Facts, Commentary, Terrorism Precautions, and other related sources.

3. Major Treatises

  • Chadwick, E. Self-determination, terrorism and the international humanitarian law of armed conflict. The Hague; Boston, Mass.: M. Nijhoff, 1996.

  • Elagab, Omer Y., compiler. International law documents relating to terrorism. 2nd ed. London: Cavendish Pub., 1997.

  • Potomac Institute for Policy Studies. Counter Biological Terrorism Panel. Countering biological terrorism in the U.S. : an understanding of issues and status. Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.: Oceana Publications, 1999.

  • Rubin, Alfred P. The law of piracy. Irvington-on-Hudson, NY: Transnational, 1998.

D. "Cyber-crime" and Crimes Against the Environment or Cultural Property

1. Environment

For a comprehensive guide to environmental conventions, declarations, and online resources in general, see the guide “International Environmental Law” by Anne Burnett at the site for the ASIL Guide to Electronic Resources for International Law . Not all environmental treaties carry provisions which can be deemed strictly penal in nature, although this may be the intended effect.

2. Cultural Property

Two leading web sites for texts and documents relating to the protection of cultural property are the site for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage site; and the International Council on Monuments and Sites.

3. "Cyber-crime"

International law is just beginning to address cyber-“terrorism” and hacker crimes. Most regional provisions to date have dealt with privacy protection and, more recently, consumer protection with regard to data and the internet.

4. Major Treatises on the Newer Crimes Against the Environment and Cultural Property, Cyber-crime

a. Environment

  • Chris Backes & Gerrit Betlem (eds.). Integrated pollution prevention and control: the EC directive from a comparative legal and economic perspective. The Hague; Boston: Kluwer Law International, 1999.

  • Heine, Gunter, and Prabhu, Mohna A., eds. Environmental protection: potentials and limits of criminal justice: evaluation of legal structures. Freiburg im Breisgau: Edition Iuscrim: Rome, Italy: UNICRI, 1997.

  • Kiss, Alexandre Charles. International environmental law. 2nd, ed., Ardsley, NY: Transactional Publishers, 2000.

  • Larsson, Marie-Louise. The law of environmental damage: liability and reparation. The Hague; Boston: Kluwer Law International, 1999.

  • Robb, A.R. Cairo, ed. International environmental law reports , 5 vols. Cambridge, U.K.; New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1999-.

b. Cultural Property

  • Briat, Martine, and Freedberg, Judith A. International art trade and law = Le commerce international de l'art et le droit. Paris; New York: ICC Publishing: Deventer ; Boston: Kluwer Law and Taxation, 1991.

  • Jote, Kifle. International legal protection of cultural heritage. Stockholm: Juristforlaget, 1994.

  • King, Thomas F. Cultural resource laws and practice: an introductory guide . Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press, 1998.

  • Protection pénale du patrimoine archéologique: actes du colloque de Lyon, 6 et 7 décembre 1989. [Lyon]: L'Hermès, 1992

c. Cyber-crime

  • Alexander, Yonah and Swetnam, Michael S. Cyber terrorism and information warfare. Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. : Oceana Publications, 1999.

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VII. Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice

A. Statistical Sources

B. Information Clearinghouses and Other Related Sources

C. Law Enforcement

  • International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL)
    This Web site offers detailed explanations of Interpol’s administrative structure and basic principles. The Interpol Reference Library includes keynote articles, technical papers, and Interpol press releases.

  • INTERPOL United States National Central Bureau (USNCB)
    This site maintains a State Liaison Division which facilitates the exchange of information and requests between foreign and domestic police. It maintains a network roster of liaison coordinators, a list of INTERPOL member countries with U.S. Extradition Treaties, and instructions for filing a Request for International Assistance.

  • Europol (European Police Office)
    In July 1995, the Europol Convention was drawn up and submitted for approval to the member states of the European Union. Europol's mission is "to improve police cooperation between the Member States to combat terrorism, illicit traffic in drugs and other serious forms of international crime."

  • International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)
    Founded in 1893, the IACP provides assistance and direction to police professionals from over 80 nations. Its Private Sector Liaison Committee (PSLC) sponsors publications on topics such as drugs and violence in the workplace, product tampering, and a model substance abuse policy. 

  • Police Officer's Internet Directory
    This "Directory" is a user-friendly list of links of interest to the law enforcement community world wide. It is organized into subjects covering, for example, US and international agencies, police associations, hate groups, law libraries, investigations, listservs, and "most wanted" lists from around the world. 

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VIII. Notes on Secondary Sources

This guide presumes knowledge of, or familiarity with, legal periodical indexes and incorporates references to more specialized indexes in the three guides cited in the first paragraph of this presentation. Lexis, QL, and Westlaw materials are similarly referenced as potential sources using topical and Boolean search approached within those fee-based systems, as appropriate. However, of particular interest for web-based searching may be the following free web sites, particularly for staying abreast of developments in international criminal law:

Footnotes

1M. Cherif Bassiouni, International Criminal Law (2d ed.) (Ardsley, N.Y.: Transnational Publishers, 1998), pp. 4-5.   <back to text>

2 Id. at 4.   <back to text>

3 http://www.un.org/law/icc/statute/romefra.htm , U.N. Doc. A/CONF.183/9, as corrected by the proces-verbaux of 10 November 1998 and 12 July 1999.   <back to text>

4 http://www.un.org/law/icc/general/overview.htm   <back to text>