Law Professors

NYU Law Prof Facing French Criminal Libel Trial Appeals for Help

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A New York University law professor who refused to remove a critical book review from a website is facing accusations of libel in a French criminal court.

Law professor Joseph Weiler says he’s confident he will be acquitted, but he’s appealing for “moral and material assistance” to help fight the case, Times Higher Education reports.

Weiler is editor-in-chief of the European Journal of International Law. The review of the book about the International Criminal Court appeared in 2007 on a website he edits that is associated with EJIL. The review written by the law dean at the University of Cologne complained of “sloppy editing” and an unproductive “exercise in rehashing the existing legal set-up.” Instead, said reviewer Thomas Weigend, he’d like to see “a sophisticated discourse on the strengths and weaknesses of ICC procedure law.”

When the book author complained, Weiler refused to remove the review but offered to publish her response, he wrote in an EJIL editorial (PDF). He also offered to pass the author’s objections along to the reviewer to see if he wanted to change anything.

Weiler warns that if he loses the case, it will “deal a heavy blow to academic freedom.”

Hat tip to the Chronicle of Higher Education.

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