Foreword to the first edition

AuthorWilliam A Schabas
to the First Edition
This book is an innovation as far as Canadian legal practitioners,
scholars, and law students are concerned. Academics from France, for
example, have for many years published lengthy manuals covering the
f‌ield of Droit international pénal, but I cannot think of a country from
the common law tradition with a nything simi lar. The Americans have
their case books, containing lengthy excerpt s from judgments and
hypotheticals for cla ssroom discussion, but nothing along the lines of
a comprehensive monogr aph.
Nothing could seem more appropriate today, given Canada’s pro-
found, and in some ways, pioneering role in the related disciplines that
Robert Currie accurately di stinguishes w ith the labels “inter national
crimina l law” and “transnat ional criminal law.” In recent times, Canad a
has been very much at the forefront, but this wa s not always the case.
Although es sentia lly idiosy ncratic developments concer ning inter-
national criminal prosecution date back to the Middle Ages, t here was
nothing resembling t he f‌ield as it now exists until the Par is Peace Con-
ference of 1919. Ambitious plans to prosecute war crimin als for the
ancestors of what we now call genocide, crimes agai nst humanity, and
aggression were set out in the post-war treatie s, but these plans were
never properly implemented. Nothing signif‌icant is know n about the
Canadian position in this area. Our country was present at Versailles,
but f‌ledgling Canadian d iplomats were still to some extent oper ating in
the shadow of the British Empire. Intern ational criminal law must have
been a remote concern to them.

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