Pr Kai Ambos



Criminal Law Forum (2006) 17:355–359 © Springer 2006 DOI 10.1007/s10609-006-9023-4

Book Review




Karin N. Calvo-Goller, The Trial Proceedings of the International Criminal Court: ICTY and ICTR Precedents, Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2006, 561 pp.

This book, to the best of the knowledge of this reviewer, is the first Comprehensive publication on the trial proceedings of the International Criminal Court (ICC), the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

In addition to covering the trial procedures stricto sensu, the book also deals with the pre-trial (investigation and prosecution) and post-trial (appeal, review, revision) proceedings, as well as issues of cooperation and enforcement. The first part of the book deals with the precedents of international trials, meaning, in actual fact, the precedents of the ICC……

Then, a thorough and systematic analysis of the proceedings at the ICTY and ICTR follows…

In the next ‘‘intermediary part’’, Calvo-Goller discusses the nature of the adopted system for international criminal trials and comes to the correct conclusion that, at least in normative terms, the unique combination of common and civil law features has resulted in a sui generis procedure.

In part II of her study, Calvo-Goller turns to the ICC’s procedural system itself.

In chapter I of this part she describes and analyses in detail the investigation and prosecution phase. She correctly holds…

At the end of this part the author leaves again the terrain of the procedural system stricto sensu and provides a critical analysis of the enforcement system.

The main contribution of this well written and excellently researched study is its emphasis on the importance of a fair trial for the suspect/accused. Let me highlight this with regard to two areas dealt with excellently in the book. First, the author’s comprehensive and balanced examination of the disclosure rights of the accused and their possible conflict with the need of witness protection deserves special mention…..

As to a possible conflict with witness protection, she correctly holds that in many cases confidentiality, i.e., non-disclosure to the public or the media instead of full non-disclosure, may be sufficient and constitutes a less intrusive form of witness protection with a view to the accused’s defence rights.

The second aspect to be highlighted refers to the delicate status of the suspect during investigation in the system of the Ad Hoc Tribunals… Last, but not least, there exists, as again correctly criticized by Calvo-Goller, no right to compensation for an unlawful detention.

Under the ICC system the situation has been considerably improved. First of all, the ICC Statute provides for a specific norm (Art. 55) enumerating the rights of the suspect during investigation.…

…These are but only two examples where the study takes up aspects of international criminal procedure which are highly relevant for the rights of the accused. This alone makes the book an invaluable tool for defence lawyers, as well as representatives of the victims. In addition, the exhaustive analysis of the case law of the International Criminal Tribunals and the systematic explanation of international criminal procedure converts the study into a leading textbook and research source on international criminal procedure, indispensable for everybody working in this complex field.

In conclusion, this book can be highly recommended: Karin Calvo-Goller wrote a refreshing, unprecedented analysis of the ICC’s procedural system…

Professor of Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Comparative Law and International Criminal Law at the University of Göttingen; head of section “Foreign and International Criminal Law”, Institute for Criminal Law & Criminal Justice; Judge at the State court (Landgericht) Göttingen; Book Review Editor, Criminal Law Forum.