Crimes Against Humanity
By Geoffrey Robertson QC
Review by Abi (Law)
This book is essentially a comprehensive guide to the history of human rights. It provides a critical analysis of human rights law against a background of international relations and global politics. Robertson manages to weave together an argument, presenting his opinion of how successful Western constitutional frameworks have been in the implementation of human rights legislation, making the book both informative and critical.
I came across the book following a recommendation in The Times, but was mainly drawn to the themes discussed by Robertson. The themes may be described as the juicier concepts surrounding legal study, namely, philosophy, international relations, history and military law. The discussion of these topics made the read very enjoyable. Robertson’s writing style is very evocative, which continues to engage the reader, even where there are areas of more complex argumentation.
The fact that Geoffrey Robertson is a barrister means that anyone interested in studying law will get an idea of how to write critically. I would not recommend the book to someone who wants to learn bare facts about human rights law – this is what textbooks are for! However, it is ideal for anyone who is interested close analysis of legal cases – such as the trial of General Pinochet in the 1990s and that of Slobodan Milošević for “crimes against humanity”. Through framing these cases within the political context of developing international law, Robertson has produced a critical and comprehensive guide to human rights, which I would highly recommend.
Crimes Against Humanity by Geoffrey Robertson QC
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