Publication Ethics


The Journal of International Criminal Law (JICL) strongly supports the mission of the COPE Code of Conduct and Best Practice Guidelines for Journal Editors; all individuals collaborating with the Journal are strongly encouraged to adhere to this mission.


Open Access

This is an open-access journal which means that all content is freely available without charge to the user or his/her institution. Users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without asking prior permission from the publisher or the author. This is in accordance with the Budapest Open Access Initiative definition of open access.



All research articles published by JICL are subject to rigorous ethical standards. Our journals endorse the Code of Conduct of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), as well as the COPE International Standards for Editors and Authors Guidelines.


Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing

The Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing should apply to all published content, including special issues and conference proceedings. Where practices deviate from the standards outlined, editors must transparently communicate the procedures that the Journal follows.

These principles also acknowledge that publishers and editors are responsible for promoting accessibility, diversity, equity, and inclusivity in all aspects of the publication. Editorial decisions should be based on scholarly merit. They should not be affected by the origins of the manuscript, including the nationality, ethnicity, political beliefs, race, or religion of the authors. The Journal will ensure that no policy creates an exclusionary environment for anyone wanting to engage with it and will regularly assess its policies for inclusivity.



The JICL Editorial Board will immediately screen all articles submitted for publication in that journal. All received submissions are checked for plagiarism by using online available tools. Any suspected misconduct ends up with a quick rejection. The European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities (ALLEA) released a European Code of Conduct on Research Integrity, which is fully supported by the Journal. All authors submitting papers to our journal are required to adopt these policies.


Conflict of Interest

Conflict of interest exists when an author (or the author's institution), reviewer, or editor has financial or personal relationships that inappropriately influence (bias) his or her actions (such relationships are also known as dual commitments, competing interests, or competing loyalties). These relationships vary from negligible to great potential for influencing judgment. Not all relationships represent true conflict of interest. On the other hand, the potential for conflict of interest can exist regardless of whether an individual believes that the relationship affects his or her scientific judgment. Financial relationships (such as employment, consultancies, stock ownership, honoraria, and paid expert testimony) are the most easily identifiable conflicts of interest and the most likely to undermine the credibility of the journal, the authors, and of science itself. However, conflicts can occur for other reasons, such as personal relationships, academic competition, and intellectual passion.

All participants in the peer-review and publication process must disclose all relationships that could be viewed as potential conflicts of interest. Disclosure of such relationships is also important in connection with editorials and review articles, because it can be more difficult to detect bias in these types of publications than in reports of original research. Editors may use information disclosed in conflict-of-interest and financial-interest statements as a basis for editorial decisions.

When authors submit a manuscript, whether an article or a letter, they are responsible for disclosing all financial and personal relationships that might bias their work. To prevent ambiguity, authors must state explicitly whether potential conflicts do or do not exist. Authors should do so in the manuscript on a conflict-of-interest notification page, providing additional detail, if necessary, in a cover letter that accompanies the manuscript. Increasingly, individual studies receive funding from commercial firms, private foundations, and government. The conditions of this funding have the potential to bias and otherwise discredit the research.

Editors may request that authors of a study funded by an agency with a proprietary or financial interest in the outcome sign a statement, such as "I had full access to all of the data in this study and I take complete responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis." Editors should be encouraged to review copies of the protocol and/or contracts associated with project-specific studies before accepting such studies for publication. Editors may choose not to consider an article if a sponsor has asserted control over the authors' right to publish.

Reviewers must disclose to editors any conflicts of interest that could bias their opinions of the manuscript, and they should recuse themselves from reviewing specific manuscripts if the potential for bias exists. As in the case of authors, silence on the part of reviewers concerning potential conflicts may mean either that conflicts exist and the reviewer has failed to disclose them or conflicts do not exist. Reviewers must therefore also be asked to state explicitly whether conflicts do or do not exist. Reviewers must not use knowledge of the work, before its publication, to further their own interests.

Editors who make final decisions about manuscripts must have no personal, professional, or financial involvement in any of the issues they might judge. Other members of the editorial staff, if they participate in editorial decisions, must provide editors with a current description of their financial interests (as they might relate to editorial judgments) and recuse themselves from any decisions in which a conflict of interest exists.



Manuscripts must be reviewed while maintaining the authors' confidentiality. When authors submit manuscripts for review, they are entrusting editors with the results of their scientific and creative work, on which their reputation and career may rely. The disclosure of confidential details during the review of an author's manuscript may violate their rights. Reviewers have the right to confidentiality, which the editor must respect. Confidentiality may have to be violated if dishonesty or fraud is suspected, but it must otherwise be respected. Editors must not reveal information about manuscripts to anyone other than the authors and reviewers (including their receipt, content, status in the reviewing process, reviewer criticism, or ultimate fate). This includes requests for the materials to be used in legal proceedings.


Role of the Funding Source

Authors are requested to identify who provided financial support for the conduct of the research and/or preparation of the article and to briefly describe the role of the sponsor(s), if any, in study design; in the collection, analysis and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report; and in the decision to submit the article for publication. If the funding source(s) had no such involvement, it is recommended to state this.


Appealing editorial decisions

Editors have broad discretion in deciding whether an article is a good fit for their journal. Many manuscripts are rejected with a very general statement of the reason for the rejection. These decisions are not subject to formal appeal unless the author believes the decision to reject the manuscript was based on a mistake in the article's review, in which case the author may appeal the decision by providing the Editor with a detailed written description of the error they believe occurred.

If an author believes that a publication ethics violation influenced the decision on their manuscript, the author may contact the publisher with a detailed written description of their concern and supporting information.

The Editor-in-Chiefs will consider the authors' argument, the reviewer reports, and decides whether:

  • the decision to reject should stand;
  • whether another independent opinion is required;
  • or whether the appeal should be considered.

The decision is communicated to the complainant, along with an explanation if necessary. Appeals decisions are final, and new submissions take precedence over appeals.



Citing and referencing appropriate and relevant literature is a necessary component of scholarly publishing, and it is a shared responsibility among all parties involved (authors, editors, peer reviewers). Authors must avoid excessive and inappropriate self-citation, as well as author group prearrangements to inappropriately cite each other's work, coordinated efforts among several authors to collectively self-cite, and gratuitous and unnecessary citation of articles published in the journal to which the paper has been submitted, as this can be considered citation manipulation, a type of misconduct.

Editors and peer reviewers should not request citations from authors unless there is a compelling scholarly reason to do so.

Citation manipulation will result in the article being rejected, and the authors' institutions may be notified. Similarly, authors should report to the publisher any attempt by peer-reviewers or editors to encourage such practices.

When preparing their manuscript, authors should keep the following guidelines in mind:

  • A citation should be used for any statement in the manuscript that relies on external sources of information (i.e., not the authors' own new ideas, findings, or general knowledge).
  • Derivations of original work should not be cited by authors. For example, rather than citing a review article that cites an original work, they should cite the original work.
  • Authors should make certain that their citations are correct (i.e. they should ensure the citation supports the statement made in their manuscript and should not misrepresent another work by citing it if it does not support the point the authors wish to make).
  • Authors should avoid citing sources they have not read.
  • Authors should not preferentially cite their own or the publications of their friends, peers, or institutions.
  • Authors should avoid citing only work from a single country.
  • Authors should not cite too many sources to support a single point.
  • Wherever possible, authors should cite sources that have been peer reviewed.
  • Advertisements or advertorial material should not be cited by authors.


Reviewer Suggestions / Exclusions

When submitting their manuscripts, authors are encouraged to suggest suitable reviewers and/or request the exclusion of specific individuals. When recommending reviewers, authors should ensure that they are completely independent and have no ties to the work in any way. It is bly advised to suggest a diverse group of reviewers from various countries and institutions.

When suggesting reviewers, the Corresponding Author must include an institutional email address for each suggested reviewer, or, if this is not possible, other means of verifying the identity in the submission letter, such as a link to a personal homepage, a link to the publication record, or a researcher or author ID. Please keep in mind that while the Journal may not use your suggestions, they are greatly appreciated and may help with the peer review process.


Availability of data and materials

The reproducibility of scientific claims is essential for the credibility of published research. The data from which results and conclusions are drawn is at the heart of research claims. Scientific claims can be difficult (if not impossible) to replicate without access to the original data. Mandatory data availability statements compile information on the availability of data associated with the manuscript, such as whether the data is in repositories, available on request, included with supplementary information.


Corrections, Expressions of Concern, and Retractions

Any necessary changes will be accompanied with a post-publication notice that will be permanently linked to the original article, ensuring that readers are fully informed of any required changes. This could be a Correction notice, an Expression of Concern or a Retraction. The goal of this mechanism for making permanent and transparent changes is to protect the scholarly record's integrity.

All corrections, expressions of concern, and retraction notices are made available at the time of publication.
We use these notices to address the following issues, as discussed further below:

  • Errors that affect an article's interpretation or indexing;
  • Concerns about the journal's policies and standards;
  • Concerns about the publication's integrity, dependability, and/or validity.

In responding to concerns about JICL publications, we adhere to our journals' policies, publication criteria, and editorial standards, as well as ICMJE and COPE guidelines where applicable.

JICL collaborates with journal Editors on cases involving serious ethics or integrity concerns after publication, including those warranting an Expression of Concern or Retraction.
If you wish to notify JICL of an error in your publication that may require a correction, please send an email to the journal directly with the relevant details (article citation and DOI, description of the error).



JICL will publish corrections to articles when it is necessary to correct an error or omission that may affect the interpretation of the article, but where the scholarly integrity of the article remains intact (e.g., missing key information on funding or competing interests of the authors). JICL may also issue a correction to address an error in the publication's metadata (for example, a misspelled author's name or errors in the competing interests, funding, or data availability statement).



As discussed in COPE's Retraction Guidelines, Retraction is a mechanism for correcting the literature and informing readers of major concerns about the integrity, validity, or reliability of an article. If the Editors determine that unresolved issues in our discussions with the authors warrant retraction in accordance with COPE guidelines, JICL will retract the article. Authors and institutions may request that their articles be retracted if their reasons meet the retraction criteria.
If a major error (e.g., in the analysis or methods) invalidates the article's conclusions, or if research misconduct or publication misconduct has occurred, a retraction notice will be issued (e.g., research without required ethical approvals, fabricated data, manipulated images, plagiarism, duplicate publication, etc.). When a decision is made to retract an article, JICL will:

  • Add a "retracted" watermark to the published article.
  • Issue a separate retraction statement, titled 'Retraction: "[article title]", with a link to the retracted article.
  • The retraction statement will be paginated and made available in the journal's online issue.


Expressions of Concern

Expressions of Concern are notices published at the discretion of the Editors to alert readers of serious concerns about published work. In most cases, JICL will complete the case's follow-up before publishing a notice; however, in some cases, an Expression of Concern may be published as an interim notice while JICL investigates an issue. If we complete our follow-up process and issues remain unresolved, an Expression of Concern may be used to resolve a post-publication case. Expressions of Concern are written by JICL staff and/or the journal's Editor(s)-in-Chief. When published, an Expression of Concern is posted on the relevant journal's webpage and linked to the article's publication record, similar to a correction. An Expression of Concern has no effect on the linked research article's publication status. Following the publication of an Expression of Concern, the same article or the Expression of Concern itself may be corrected or retracted, depending on the editors' assessment of information, data, and/or materials received in subsequent discussions.

Before publishing an Expression of Concern, JICL attempts to notify the authors of the affected article, but does not require their approval or agreement. The Expression of Concern will be linked back to the published article it relates to.



For more information

Best Practice Guidelines on Publishing Ethics

Code of Conduct for Journal Publishers

Code of Conduct and Best Practice Guidelines for Journal Editors

COPE Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers