A remarkable editorial is included in the latest issue of the European Journal of International Law (EJIL), which appears to be available without subscription at this link. (The editorial, that is, not the journal). In the long article (cite as (2009) 20 EJIL 967), editor Prof. Joseph Weiler sets out the background to and the key documents associated with forthcoming criminal libel proceedings in France. (Prof. Weiler is careful to point out, as many readers will know, that the first stages in these proceedings do not “carry the implication that any public authority in France has concluded that there is any substantive merit in the complaint … rather, the referral by the state follows automatically from the Criminal Complaint filed by Dr Calvo-Goller”).

The controversy stems from the publication of this book review (written by Prof. Thomas Weigund) on an associated website (Global Law Books). The author of the book under review, Dr. Karin Calvo-Goller, sets out her arguments in the correspondence reproduced in the editorial. You can learn more about the book (The Trial Proceedings of the International Criminal Court: ICTY and ICTR Precedents) from its publisher here.

One thing that I found particularly striking about the editorial was the request for readers to send examples of other reviews “which are as critical or more so than the book review written by Professor Weigend – so as to illustrate that his review is mainstream and unexceptional”. It is indeed quite a critical review, although perhaps not quite as pointed as the review of Goodfellas in Belfast that caused such fuss in the Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland in Convery v Irish News [2008] NICA 14 or – in the non-litigated but more academic world, Prof. Pierre Legrand‘s dissection of the Oxford Handbook of Comparative Law (2007) 2 JCL 253 (sadly not online, but forwarded by a colleague, and worth reading if you can find it).