Trials for International Crimes in Asia

Edited by Kirsten Sellars
Cambridge University Press, 2015
The issue of international crimes is highly topical in Asia, with still- resonant claims against the Japanese for war crimes, and deep schisms resulting from crimes in Bangladesh, Cambodia and East Timor. Over the years, the region has hosted a succession of tribunals, from Manila, Singapore and Tokyo after the Asia-Pacific War to those currently at work in Dhaka and Phnom Penh. This book draws on extensive new research and offers the first comprehensive legal appraisal of the Asian trials. As well as the famous tribunals, it also considers lesser-known examples, such as the Dutch and Soviet trials of the Japanese, the Cambodian trial of the Khmer Rouge, and the Indonesians’ trials of their own military personnel. It focuses on their approach to the elements of international crimes, and contribution to general theories of liability. In the process, the book challenges some of the prevailing orthodoxies about the development of international criminal law.

The contributors are: Rehan Abeyratne, Mark Cammack, Cheah Wui Ling, Simon Chesterman, Robert Cryer, Tara H. Gutman, M. Rafiqul Islam, Neha Jain, Bing Bing Jia, Nina H.B. Jørgensen, Osawa Takeshi, Valentyna Polunina, Abdur Razzaq, Lisette Schouten and Kirsten Sellars.


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‘Crimes against Peace’ and International Law

Cambridge Studies in International and Comparative Law, Cambridge University Press, 2015

Now out in paperback

Kirsten Sellars’ latest book, ‘Crimes against Peace’ and International Law, has just been released in paperback. Published by Cambridge University Press as part of its Cambridge Studies in International and Comparative Law series, it traces the idea of criminalising aggression — encapsulated by the ‘crimes against peace’ charge — from its origins after the First World War, through its high-water mark at the post-war tribunals at Nuremberg and Tokyo, to its abandonment during the Cold War. Today, a similar charge, the ‘crime of aggression’, is being mooted at the International Criminal Court, giving new impetus to old debates about aggression.

Reviews for the hardback

‘[This] book is more than a history of aggression; the product of comprehensive and in-depth archival research from an enviable range of sources, it is also an excellent general history of the development of international criminal law itself. There are many good books on the road to international criminal law, but if you were to read just one, I would recommend this. Its lucid pungent analysis makes it a pleasure to read.’ — Neil Boister, Edinburgh Law Review, January 2014

‘Sellars does an excellent job of highlighting the various controversies and personality clashes that almost scuttled these early, and flawed, experiments in international criminal justice. She succeeds in synthesizing a narrative in the form of a dialectic, in which the pertinent questions of international law that were raised and argued ad nauseam by the prosecution and defence, are placed in the context of great power politics, with the Allies emerging victorious from the Second World War.’ — Victor Kattan, Journal of International Criminal Justice, November 2013

‘Kirsten Sellars concentrates… on the formative period in the development of the idea of ‘crimes against peace’ in the years after the Great War through to the Nuremberg and Tokyo prosecutions that followed the Second World War. And with this focus, Sellars does a masterful job. Drawing heavily on period documents, many of them unpublished at the time, she provides a highly readable account of the fits and starts that accompanied the emergence of the notion that individuals may be prosecuted for a war of aggression.’ — John B. Quigley, International Affairs, September 2013