It is quite disturbing that of the plethora of books available in the library, the top pick among its users — the UN professional Secretariat staff and member state delegations — is about getting away with war crime prosecution.
Pedretti's publication, based on her doctoral thesis from the University of Lucerne, brings up an issue of state officials avoiding charges in foreign courts. Pedretti names two forms of diplomatic immunity in the international law of which heads of state and other government officials can take advantage of.
"Immunity ratione personae prevents incumbent Heads of State from being subjected to foreign criminal jurisdiction," Pedretti writes. "In contrast, immunity ratione materiae protects official acts, i.e. acts performed in an official capacity on behalf of the State, from scrutiny by foreign courts."
According to Pedretti, immunity ratione personae is absolute which means domestic courts in one country can't indict the leader in power of another nation, so the likes of Robert Mugabe or Bashar Assad currently would not be able to be prosecuted under US jurisdiction. However, once heads of state leave the office, they can be charged overseas.
Personae restrictions are meant to apply to domestic courts in foreign countries, meanwhile international courts are generally exempt from it. Therefore, only the treaty-based permanent International Criminal Court has the power to indict incumbents.
Social media users couldn't believe the news wasn't some kind of a weird joke.
Who still goes to the library? Apparently war criminals. This is the most checked out book at the UN Library. pic.twitter.com/bjVP4xTW2S— Chuck Ludwig (@ChuckLudwig) January 7, 2016
According to reports by Reuters' UN correspondent Michelle Nichols, Pedretti's book is the most popular "new" book in the library, and it wasn't as popular as one would assume.