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Every Living Thing

Every Living Thing

Facing Down Terrorists, Warlords, and Thugs in West Africa—A Story of Justice

by David M. Crane

Forthcoming September 2019 paper


Tags: African Law, Human Rights, International Law

From 2001 until 2005, David M. Crane, the first American since Justice Robert Jackson at Nuremberg in 1945 to be named the Chief Prosecutor of an international war crimes tribunal and one of the most recognizable international criminal lawyers in the world, worked with a team of intrepid investigators to bring down the most powerful warlords in West Africa. Against all odds, and at great personal sacrifice—forced to live across the world from loved ones and under constant threat from those who would have happily murdered him for his efforts—Crane worked tirelessly to unravel a complicated international legal puzzle to become the only person in the modern era to take down a sitting head of state for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Set in the steaming jungles of the ravaged West African country Sierra Leone, Every Living Thing: Facing Down Terrorists, Warlords, and Thugs in West Africa—A Story of Justice shows how multiple countries were devastated by an international criminal enterprise led by Presidents Muammar Gadhafi of Libya, Charles Taylor of Liberia, and Blasé Compare of Burkina Faso, with an assist from a vast network of terrorists, including Al Qaeda, vying for the control of diamonds. 

Following the creation of Special Court for Sierra Leone in 2004, a small band of lawyers, investigators, and paralegals changed the face of international criminal law with their innovative plan to effectively and efficiently deliver justice for the tens of thousands of victims, most of them women and children, in the process bringing down warlord-turned-president Charles Taylor of Liberia, the most wanted man in the world.

Drawn from the author’s personal journals, this book is the first ever detailed account written by a chief prosecutor of an international war crimes tribunal. Every Living Thing is the first such work to show how the rule of law is more powerful than the rule of the gun—and provides the playbook for accounting for similar horrors elsewhere. 

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