This second edition of William Schabas’ extraordinarily detailed commentary on the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is published at a time when the ICC (pictured) faces some of its greatest challenges to date.

The African Union had threatened, en masse, to withdraw from the court. However, following the decision of the High Court of South Africa to reject this withdrawal, and with a new president in Gambia, there are signs that opposition to the court in Africa is mellowing.

At the same time, the ICC risks rousing some powerful adversaries in the form of Russia, the US and Israel if the prosecutor decides to proceed with cases concerning Georgia, Ukraine, Afghanistan and Palestine.

William A. Schabas

£225, OUP

It is against this backdrop that Schabas offers expert guidance to those seeking to navigate their way through the daily labyrinth of international case law. Keeping abreast of the fast-developing law and practice of the ICC is a major challenge to anyone appearing before the court. Francis Bacon once said ‘knowledge is power’ – and this book arms those seeking to use the ICC with the ability to back their efforts with jurisprudence and precedent.

The book is set out as an article-by-article review of all 128 articles of the Rome Statute. It therefore covers: the crimes within the jurisdiction of the court; the modes of criminal liability; the admissibility of cases before the court; the conduct of trials, penalties and appeals; and the increasingly important area of international cooperation between states and the court.

What Schabas does so well is explain in a clear, succinct way the key decisions and authorities on every facet of the court’s work. It is apparent that much effort has gone into finding and reviewing all of the court’s decisions.

This book is an invaluable addition for anyone specialising in international criminal law or with an interest in the ongoing work of the ICC.

Steven Powles is head of Doughty Street International (London and The Hague). He specialises in international crime and human rights