Sam Zucchi

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Book Review


Theoretical developments in the law are interesting things: They exist solely as ideals waiting to be actualized, but because the law is one of those fields where academic discourse regularly has a meaningful impact on courtrooms and legislatures, they are not completely academic in that word’s most pejorative sense. Model legislation, for example, serves as both a theoretical outline of a specific legal doctrine and a possible model for future legislative and jurisprudential developments; it is never merely a hypothetical model since it is always ready to become living law. Theoretical developments in international criminal law operate similarly, though they have something of a keener edge. Yes, they are made concrete in the legislature and the courtroom, but grotesque harm must have been done for the law to enter the courtroom in the first place. And that is the real horror behind legal developments in international criminal law and crimes against humanity: If they are ever brought into actual courtrooms, they are borne on a red wake. It is precisely because that tide keeps rolling in that books like Atrocity Speech Law are useful.

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