Einarsen: The Concept of Universal Crimes in International Law, 361 pp., now available.

Einarsen: The Concept of Universal Crimes in International Law
Dear colleague,

Please be informed of the publication of this new monograph:
Terje Einarsen: 
The Concept of Universal Crimes in International Law
Torkel Opsahl Academic EPublisher
Oslo, 2012
ISBN 978-82-93081-33-3
361 pp.

This groundbreaking study seeks to clarify the concept of universal crimes in international law. It provides a new framework for understanding important features of this complex field of law concerned with the most serious crimes. Central issues include the following: What are the relevant crimes that may give rise to direct criminal liability under international law? Are they currently limited to certain core international crimes? Why should certain crimes be included whereas other serious offences should not? Should specific legal bases be considered more compelling than others for selection of crimes? 

The author develops a set of criteria that may be used to define and classify crimes punishable under current international law. On the basis of these criteria, a comprehensive list of 10 crime categories and 150 crime types is compiled. For each crime category, a distinct 'gravity clause' is formulated. Finally, the author proposes a future 'UN Declaration on Universal Crimes'. It is hoped that the publication may contribute to a more coherent and practical understanding of international criminal law.

Terje Einarsen (1960) is a judge at the Gulating High Court for the western parts of Norway, and Head of the Human Rights Committee, Norwegian Judges’ Association. He has served as a permanent member of the Grand Chamber, Immigration Board of Appeals. Before his career as a judge, Einarsen was Associate Professor at the Law Faculty, University of Bergen.

The printed version of the book is available through online distributors such as A free online version can be accessed at
If you wish to contribute with ideas or wish to give feedback to the FICHL, please click 'Ideas and feedback' at
Kind regards,
Alf Butenschøn Skre
TOAEP Senior Executive Editor
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