It's Good to Be the King: Prosecuting Heads of State and Former Heads of State under International Law Academic Article uri icon


  • This Article criticizes historical practices regarding the prosecution of sitting and former heads of state. It argues that such persons should stand trial for their alleged crimes. However, as the Article illustrates, state practice and international law as they currently exist offer only limited help toward advancing this goal. Although the Pinochet precedent offers evidence that states may be shifting toward a willingness to prosecute heads of state, Professor Penrose advocates the enactment of prosecutorial rules and regulations and urges countries to take the necessary steps to create an international criminal court so that criminal defendants may be tried in a consistent manner in a judicial forum existing specifically for these purposes.

published proceedings

  • Columbia Journal of Transnational Law

author list (cited authors)

  • Penrose, M. M

complete list of authors

  • Penrose, Mary Margaret

publication date

  • October 2000