Liberia: Dr. Sylvester Sammie Writes Book on Prosecuting Perpetrators of Sexual and Gender-Based Crimes in International Criminal Law

Monrovia – A Liberian, based in the Netherlands, has written a book on International Criminal Law. The book, Linking High-level Accused to Sexual and Gender-Based Crimes in International Criminal Law, is available on Amazon and other major platforms.

Dr. Sylvester Sammie (PhD.) graduated from the University of Groningen’s Graduate School of Law in Groningen, the Netherlands last November 2021 earning a doctorate degree in International Criminal Law.

Sammie said the idea of writing such a book first sprung to his mind when he attended a presentation by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Dr. Denis Mukwege on the sufferings of the victims of sexual and gender-based crimes and the large-scale impunity of the perpetrators, especially top military and civilian officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“I then asked myself how can and should high-level military and civilian officials, who are present or removed from the crime scenes, be investigated and prosecuted for their role in the commission of sexual and gender-based crimes? Finding a solution to this problem was my primary motivation to write this book,” he said in an online interview.

In the preview of the book, the author examines the forms, types, and pieces of evidence used to prove the role of high-level accused in the commission of crimes by rank-and-file soldiers. As the accused are usually not present on the crime scene, the International Criminal Court and the tribunals must rely on individual’s criminal liability theories enshrined in Article 7 of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) statute, Article 6 of The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) statute and Article 25 & 28 of Rome statute to connect them to the atrocities committed on the ground. 100 individual cases from the ICTY, ICTR and ICC are examined and revealed that in most cases there were sufficient pieces of evidence to prove that sexual gender-based crimes were committed. It was, however, much more difficult for the prosecutor to prove the role and responsibility of the high ranked-accused and the modes of liability charged.

On how he thinks his book will help solve sexual gender-based crimes in Liberia, he answered: “NGOs and CSOs may use this book as an advocacy tool for their work in the effort to address sexual gender-based crimes in Liberia. The book proposes a comprehensive legal framework that guides the prosecutors and judges on the types, forms, and the amount of evidence they need to gather to prove the crimes committed and the modes of liability charged, as well as the international standards they must abide by when prosecuting these cases. It also serves as a reference guide for law students who may wish to pursue their career or conduct legal research in international criminal law by providing state-of-the-art information on the theory and practice of the ICTY, ICTR, and ICC.”

Dr. Sammie’s book is now being sold on Amazon and in other major bookstores worldwide for 95 euros or 120 US$ by the Eleven International Publishing Company.

However, there is good news for students at the law school at the University of Liberia. “I have planned to donate a copy of the book to the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law Library and the Ministry of Justice before the end of this year,” said Dr. Sammie

Sylvester Sammie holds a Ph.D. in International Criminal Law (University of Groningen), an LLM in International Criminal Law (University of Turin), and a Master’s Degree in Human Rights Law (Scuola Sant’ Anna/the University of Pisa). He has over 15-years’ experience with the United Nations, ICTR, and ICC where he had investigated and written numerous reports on atrocity crimes.