“As Professor Gregory Gordon systematically demonstrates in this ground-breaking book, the law governing speech and atrocity has become fragmented and ineffective. His brilliant 'Unified Liability Theory' offers an innovative solution for fixing the problems. This book is now the definitive single-volume international criminal law work on hate speech. It provides all the history, context, policy, and legal analysis necessary to understand the phenomenon and reform the doctrine.” — Adama Dieng, former United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide

Atrocity Speech Law - Foundation, Fragmentation, Fruition by Professor Gregory S. Gordon.

In 2017, Professor Gregory Gordon published the book, ‘Atrocity Speech Law - Foundation, Fragmentation, Fruition’  because the law governing the relationship between speech and core international crimes (genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes) – a key component in atrocity prevention – was broken.

Incitement to genocide was not adequately defined. The law on hate speech as persecution was split between courts. Instigation was being confused with incitement and ordering’s scope was too narrow. At the same time, these crimes were not functioning properly in relation to one another, yielding a misshapen body of law riddled with gaps. Experts had suggested discrete fixes to the individual parts, but none had stepped back and considered holistic solutions. The book aimed to do that.

To understand the law’s deficiencies, it showed how it was formulated and then proposed a set of fixes to deal with the individual problems, which culminated in a more comprehensive proposal: a “Unified Liability Theory,” linking each core international crime to:

  1. INCITEMENT speech seeking, but not resulting in, atrocity;
  2. SPEECH ABETTING “egging-on” speech spoken while atrocity occurs but not causing it;
  3. INSTIGATION speech seeking and resulting in atrocity; and;
  4. ORDERING atrocity command in a superior-subordinate relationship.

Apart from this, the body of law lacked a proper name as “Incitement Law” or “International Hate Speech Law” typical labels then being used, failed to capture its breadth or relationship to mass violence. So the book proposed a new and fitting appellation: “atrocity speech law.”