Jean Paul Pierini "Conflicts of Criminal Laws in the Subject Matter of Competence. The Early Resolutions of the Institut de Droit International". Valore Italiano Editore, 2023.
The exercise by States of criminal jurisdiction for conduct occurring outside their territory and conflicting claims are part of the daily legal landscape. Going through the early attempts by the Institut de Droit International to address conflicts of criminal law in the area of competence, starting from what the author calls the “Belle Époque” of international law, is an experience in and of itself. Conflicts of criminal laws are a somewhat exotic topic, reflecting an approach aimed at addressing the solution of conflicts of laws and preventing their most evident repercussion, jurisdictional conflicts, in the same shape as conflicts of laws under private international law, seeking the closest link existing between a certain situation and legislation and judicature. The approach reflected rather a “cultural attitude” to establish a level of cooperation with other States “below that of public international law”. Indeed, jurisdictional conflicts in criminal matters are impossible to keep at a level not encroaching on the sensibility of States, even if they do not involve the scrutiny of the exercise of public functions. The idealistic attempts to address conflicts of criminal laws are, in any case, inspiring and provide an insight into an age by no way less complex than the contemporary world, in which a small group of talented individuals believed to track the path of the development of international law. The themes addressed by the “men of 1873” and vehemently discussed are frequently still up for discussion. The book delves into the history and working procedures of the Institut, analysing resolutions, proposals, and, more generally, themes raised by its members. In such a fashion, the “Theses” proposed by Swiss professor Charles Brocher built on a broad idea of an “extended territoriality” entailing legal fictions. The later 1883 Munich Resolution provided a challenging construct by Ludwig von Bar and Emilio Brusa, outlining a comprehensive system built on strict territoriality and the physical presence of the author of the offence. The 1889 Montevideo Convention reversed the model and shows the influence of the debate at the Institut while building a system based on the sole effects of the offence. The 1879 Report by Louis Renault on the protection of submarine cables envisaged an advanced mechanism combining shared jurisdiction to enforce the prohibition to break and damage cables with the flag State’s exclusive jurisdiction to adjudicate. The pioneering initiatives of the Institut are motivating reading for those interested in the multifaceted aspects of jurisdictional issues.
Jean Paul Pierini serves as an officer on active duty in the Italian Navy holding the position of deputy head of the Office for Legal Affairs at the General Staff. He writes and co-writes legal monographies and articles, mostly on international criminal law, in his solely private capacity. For his writings, he received the following awards and recognition: the 2023 Special James Brown Scott Prize by the Institut de Droit International; the 2018 Premio Internazionale Giuridico-Scientifico “G. Falcone-P. Borsellino”; the 2016 Richard R. Baxter Military Prize by the Lieber Society on the Law of Armed Conflicts, Interest Group of the American Society of International Law.