‘A Practical Guide to International Crimes in Proceedings Before the Courts of England and Wales’ by Kathryn Howarth


Paperback: 978-1-914608-34-6
Published: February 2023
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‘A Practical Guide to International Crimes in Proceedings Before the Courts of England and Wales’ will examine how international criminal law and international crimes have been, are, and can be litigated in domestic proceedings. It will examine the applicable law and practice in relation to the prosecution of international crimes before the Crown Court in England and Wales and the developing case law in this area from the UK Supreme Court and Court of Appeal.

The book will set out the jurisdiction to try international crimes in our domestic courts, focussing on war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and torture. It will address the substantive law that applies in relation to these crimes, bringing together and summarising the relevant domestic and international legislation, including the International Criminal Court Act 2001, which must be read in conjunction with materials from the International Criminal Court. It will set out the elements of these international crimes, including the contextual elements, i.e. the elements that make murder as a crime against humanity a crime against humanity, rather than an ordinary domestic homicide. The book will refer to domestic and international case law, including the decision of the United Kingdom Supreme Court in relation to the interpretation of torture as an international crime under the United Nations Convention against Torture (R v TRA [2019] UKSC), case law from the Court of Appeal of England and Wales, and cases before the Central Criminal Court under section 134 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 and the War Crimes Act 1991.

The book will provide useful practical guidance for a range of practitioners in private practice, in Government, in United Kingdom and international NGOs, as well as judges and legal advisers in domestic and international courts and mechanisms. The book will be of benefit both to those prosecuting and defending in this evolving area of law. It will address various discrete topics which have resonance pre-trial and during the trial, including how cases can be referred to the relevant UK prosecuting authorities and disclosure. The book will also be of assistance to extradition and immigration practitioners in cases where international crimes arise, such as requests for extradition in relation to international crimes and immigration cases concerning Article 1F(a) of the Refugee Convention.


Kathryn Howarth is a barrister at Temple Garden Chambers. She practices in international law, including international criminal law, public law, including public inquiries and extradition. Over the last two decades her work in the field of international criminal law has taken her to The Hague, as well as countries including Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Her expertise in international criminal law and extradition is consistently recognised in the Legal 500.

Kathryn’s most notable cases include the case against Charles Taylor, the former President of Liberia, in relation to which Kathryn was prosecuting counsel during the trial and appellate proceedings before the Special Court for Sierra Leone, sitting in The Hague. She appeared in cases before the United Kingdom Supreme Court (R v TRA [2019] UKSC) (concerning Agnes Taylor) and Court of Appeal (R v KL [2014] EWCA 1729) (concerning Kumar Lama), examining torture as an international crime. Kathryn also acts in extradition proceedings involving requests in relation to international crimes and advises Government departments and NGOs in relation to potential prosecutions of international crimes in the United Kingdom.


Chapter One – Jurisdiction to Try International Crimes
Chapter Two – Torture
Chapter Three – War Crimes Under the ICCA
Chapter Four – Crimes Against Humanity Under the ICCA
Chapter Five – Genocide Under the ICCA
Chapter Six – Investigation, Referral and Pre-Trial
Chapter Seven – Disclosure
Chapter Eight – The Trial