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Sun Climbs Slow: The International Criminal Court and the Struggle for Justice Paperback – May 5 2009

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Seven Stories; 1 edition (May 21 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1583228799
  • ISBN-13: 978-1583228791
  • Product Dimensions: 13.4 x 2.8 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,127,183 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


Praise for The Sun Climbs Slow:

"In The Sun Climbs Slow Erna Paris describes, movingly and convincingly, the dawn of a new age of international law. There could be no better guide to the emerging world in which no guilty person, however powerful, can escape responsibility for acts of barbarism. Obligatory reading for the forward looking."
—John Polanyi, Nobel Laureate

"Erna Paris takes us on a compelling journey into the dramatic events behind the creation of the International Criminal Court. The court symbolizes the growing global determination to end impunity for the perpetrators of atrocities. Yet this vision of universal justice has been anathema to those in Washington who disdain any international oversight of their exceptional power. As Paris vividly demonstrates, this contempt also underscores the Bush administration's decision to combat terrorism by flouting the most basic legal constraints."
—Kenneth Roth, Executive Director, Human Rights Watch

"The Sun Climbs Slow is essential reading for anyone interested in the evolution of the International Criminal Court and the future of international criminal justice. Erna Paris’ personal interviews with key figures in this emerging world are fascinating and important."
—Richard Goldstone, former Chief Prosecutor of the UN Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, and retired Justice of the  South Africa Constitutional Court
"Quite simply the best accessible introduction to the big themes in international criminal justice. Erna Paris has combined unique interview material, relevant historical background and fine political analysis to produce a highly readable and informative portrait of our modern-day Nurembergs."
—William A. Schabas, Director, Irish Centre for Human Rights, National University of Ireland, Galway

“[A] beautifully written and utterly compelling book . . . [Paris] relates the story in its full context, taking the reader on a fast-paced tour from ancient Greece to the Nuremburg trials to the end of the Cold War and beyond. Paris’s ability to convey the human dimension of international criminal justice is what makes this book special.” –The Globe and Mail

“Paris writes beautifully . . . This is a book worth reading.” –Winnipeg Free Press

“[Paris] masters an enormous amount of historical detail with intelligent arguments and captivating prose. . . . her new book offers a sound introduction to a complex topic. . . . [A] solid effort. And in her careful delineation of the tortuous path to the inauguration of the ICC, Paris offers an optimistic and timely vision of the court’s potential.” –The Gazette (Montreal)

From the Hardcover edition. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

ERNA PARIS is the winner of ten national and international writing awards, including the Canada-US White Award for journalism, a gold medal from the National Magazine Awards Foundation, and four Media Club of Canada awards for feature writing and radio documentary. She is the author of six acclaimed books of literary nonfiction.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
It's hard to find material about international law and the development of global bodies that isn't dry and technical or too specific. This is a good introduction to the history of international law, as well as current themes and issues, with special emphasis on the Bush government's interference with the creation of the international court. The author also gives many references and a good list of books you can turn to next, for more information on specific topics (e.g., the Balkans, Guantanamo, war crimes in general). This book left me deeply impressed with the need for ongoing action concerning the ancient fight between raw power and the rule of law, and for "ending the impunity of high-placed criminals."
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9edee624) out of 5 stars 4 reviews
HASH(0x9ee1bca8) out of 5 stars Must-read category July 23 2011
By Fiona Lowther - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I can think of no higher praise for "The Sun Climbs Slow" a history of the struggle to establish the International Criminal Court, than to say I wish I had written it. It is timely and informative and, for its subject, surprisingly readable. It is also very moving in spots. Anyone interested in law, history or justice should read this book.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ee2b1ec) out of 5 stars What Americans Used to Know and the Rest of the World Knows April 27 2009
By David C N Swanson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
It's appropriate for this story to come to us from our northern neighbor. This is largely a history of the development of international law, culminating in the surprising success of the creation of an international criminal court (ICC). The ICC now has 108 countries as state parties, and the theoretical power to prosecute war crimes by anyone anywhere on earth. The ICC is currently prosecuting a sitting head of state, the president of Sudan. The ICC's decisions cannot be vetoed by UN Security Council members. It is theoretically independent and loyal only to international law.

The United States played a leading role in decades past in developing international law and moving forward plans for an ICC. But the ICC sprang into being at the very moment that the United States chose to engage in an open war of aggression against Iraq. President Bill Clinton, his representative having failed to derail the formation of the ICC, had signed the treaty establishing the ICC on his way out the door and tacked on George W. Bush's first signing statement for him. Clinton wrote that although he had signed the treaty he recommended against ratifying it. Bush did him one better and unsigned it. Then his UN ambassador John Bolton set out to weaken the ICC in any way possible, if not destroy it outright. The United States bribed and threatened nations to sign agreements never to use the ICC. And we openly violated international law on a massive scale, threatening the credibility of the court from day one. Yet the ICC advanced, and the behavior of the rogue empire only encouraged other nations to support the international rule of law.

The details of the immediate history are stunning, but the historical perspective is more so. Paris describes the failed efforts and baby steps forward over the centuries that led us to this point. This is history we all should know and understand, especially those of us in the nation that constitutes the gravest threat to the future of international law.

I have a few quibbles with Paris' account. One is philosophical. She depicts the idea of international law as descending in a direct line almost unchanged from an idea in ancient Greece of divine law. But, while both may be standards of law separate from and claimed to be superior to ordinary law, divine law was either local custom or improvised rules made up as one went along, and such rules were very different from human rights norms as understood today. One important feature of international law is that it is written down, publicly knowable, and theoretically predictably enforceable. But it is also a creation of long cultural development of ideas about rights and justifications. We did not spend thousands of years putting into a treaty what the ancient Greeks already understood. We spent thousands of years thinking it up as well as agreeing to it. This is important because we should be open to advances in the future that we cannot imagine today.

Another quibble, which can be forgiven a Canadian since almost all Americans do the same thing, is that Paris describes a contest between Senator John McCain and Vice President Dick Cheney over whether to criminalize torture in the United States. In the course of this recounting, Paris mentions that torture is forbidden by international law. But she does not point out that torture is and always was illegal under U.S. law, under both the anti-torture statute and the war crimes statute. In fact, while the Cheney-McCain charade was playing out, Bush administration lawyers were worrying about possible future prosecutions under the existing laws. On a more trivial note, this story, like most versions of it, fails to include McCain's later opposition to "banning" torture.

But this is a terrifically well written and important book that can provide Americans with an understanding of international law and how it relates to domestic law. Gaining that understanding would allow Americans to have happier lives purely as a result of how much laughing they could do in response to the public statements of U.S. officials. For instance, Senator Patrick Leahy has opposed prosecuting torturers or other war criminals because such prosecutions might fail. But nothing could make a foreign or international prosecution more likely to advance and succeed than failed attempts at prosecution here at home.

And nothing is to prevent the ICC from stepping in at any time to prosecute the crimes against humanity that our nation has decided to call policy differences and not crimes at all. Please write to the ICC and ask for indictments of Bush and Cheney. Then buy this book. Then call the president and congress and let them know that you are among the majority of Americans who support international law, and you would like the ICC re-signed and ratified. If they tell you they don't want Americans prosecuted abroad, tell them there's one surefire way to prevent that: prosecute them at home.
HASH(0x9ee2b0b4) out of 5 stars Not the best treatment but worth reading May 21 2012
By N. Perz - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First off, the (potential) reader should be aware that the author is a journalist and not a historian or a legal scholar. This is not, necessarily, a negative, but this fact is reflected by the style of the writing. Unfortunately, the book does not stay on-course with its claimed subject. There are some chapters on the International Criminal Court (which are pretty good) but the majority of the book is a wandering narrative covering many aspects of international humanitarian law and its evolution through history. The whole book feels disjointed and unfocused. The ICC is topic deserving of a book unto itself; TSCS would have been much better if it would have been more focused.

Despite its seemingly haphazard organization, TSCS is worth reading, especially for an American audience (as we have backed out of out commitment to the ICC). The ICC (and International Law in general) is a poorly understood subject. Americans in particular seem possess many uninformed assumptions on these matters based on partisan rhetoric (usually inspired by uninformed or deliberately deceptive populist agendas).

Not great but recommended.
HASH(0x9ee2b1d4) out of 5 stars An intriguing non-fiction read about how justice tries grow past international borders July 11 2009
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
There are laws that have been agreed upon by many nations, yet the United States continues to ignore them. "The Sun Climbs Slow: The International Criminal Court and the Struggle for Justice" is a criticism of America's staunch refusal to join an international criminal court that would oppose tyrants and world leaders for the cruelties they enact on their people. Weighing America's reasons versus America's stubbornness, "The Sun Climbs Slow" is an intriguing non-fiction read about how justice tries grow past international borders.