Event: Australia, Refugees, and International Criminal Law (February 13)

Event: Australia, Refugees, and International Criminal Law (February 13)

I want to call readers’ attention to what should be — despite my participation — a fantastic event at City Law School the week after next. Here is the info:

City, University of London: The Refugee Crisis and International Criminal Law: Are Australian Agents and Corporate Actors Committing Crimes Against Humanity?

City Law School invites you to a panel discussion of international criminal law aspects of the refugee crisis, with a focus on the Australian detention facilities. The discussion will follow the announcement and launch of a new major initiative by the Stanford International Human Rights Clinic and the Global Legal Action Network (GLAN).

Refugees and asylum seekers are currently under attack in many developed countries, including in European states, the US, and Australia. International criminal law has developed around the need for international institutions to intervene on behalf of the most vulnerable populations, when states are unwilling or unable to do so. Can international criminal prosecution help counter the current encroachment upon refugee rights? Currently, the most flagrant examples of such encroachment are Australian practices, which have also served as a model for migration restrictionists around the world. Our focus will be on the treatment of refugees in Nauru and Manus Island by Australian officials and agents, including corporate actors. At issue, however, are not only legal questions. As important are contemporary political conditions, in which the international criminal court is under sustained critique for a seeming bias against African leaders; and in which Western governments and populist movements are proposing new policies that violate refugee rights. Does the concept of Crimes against Humanity accurately capture the conditions of detention and practices of mass deportations? And, if there are international crimes committed, are these grave enough for the International Criminal Court to investigate? Can and should International Criminal Law shift its focus from instances of spectacular or radical evil to the normalised and ‘banal’ violence waged by Western states as a consequence of the structures of global inequality?

Speakers: Ms Diala Shamas, Supervising Attorney and Lecturer, Stanford Law School International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic; Dr Cathryn Costello, Andrew W. Mellon Associate Professor in International Human Rights and Refugee Law, fellow of St Antony’s College, University of Oxford; Professor Kevin Jon Heller, Professor of Criminal Law, SOAS, University of London; Dr Ioannis KalpouzosLecturer in Law, City Law School, City, University of London; Legal Action Committee, Global Legal Action Network; Dr Itamar Mann, Senior Lecturer in Law, University of Haifa; Legal Action Committee, Global Legal Action Network; Ms Anna Shea, Researcher and Legal Advisor, Refugee and Migrant Rights, Amnesty International.

The event takes place on Monday 13 February 2017 at 18:00 at City, University of London, College Building, St John Street, EC1V 4PB – Room AG21. The event will be followed by a wine reception. Attendance is free. You may sign up here.

Hope to see some OJ readers there!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Asia-Pacific, Events, Foreign Relations Law, International Criminal Law, International Human Rights Law, Law of the Sea
Notify of
Patrick Wall

Any chance of sharing your remarks (and a summary of others’) after the event for those of us who cannot make it?


National security is of utmost importance. The recent terrorist attacks in Europe following the admission of unrestricted number of the so-called refugees from conflict zones have come as a rude awakening. Seminars on human rights may be conducted by so-called human rights lawyers and activists. But do they appreciate the fact that national security and security of the citizens of the host states are of primary importance and that this security of the citizens cannot be sacrificed on the altar of human rights of the so-called refugees. Thanks to myopic policies of some of the European leaders like Ms Merkel, EU is faced with an unprecedented terror threat from radical Islamic groups.

Kevin Jon Heller

“So-called refugees” — you mean like the hundreds of individuals the Australian government has determined do qualify as genuine refugees but are being indefinitely detained anyway?

“National security” — you must be referring to the dozens of terrorist attacks in the US by refugees. Oh, wait, that number is zero.

“Security of the citizens” — which is clearly ensured by indefinitely detaining hundreds of children.

“EU is faced with an unprecedented terror threat” — you must be referring to the terrible Paris attacks. Oh, wait, the attackers were all citizens of EU countries.

“Thanks to myopic policies of the some of the European leaders” — I think there is a typo there. You mean to write, “Thanks to the militaristic policies of the US in the Middle East, bombing Muslim countries with impunity”…

But thanks for giving us the authoritarian view of the refugee crisis.

Jennifer Keene
Jennifer Keene

Seconded to Patrick’s comment — will there be any online rebroadcast or remarks? Would love to see/hear/read — thank you, from Melbourne!

Kevin Jon Heller

Patrick and Jennifer,

I believe arrangements are being made to record the panel. I will post whatever results here!


IF people choose to bury their heads in the sands and live in a state of utopia, God help them. If people are stupid to see only one side of the coin, as the author is suggesting, good luck to him and his ilk. And by the way what the author has written as a counter to my comments is nothing short of nonsense. I was referring to attacks in Germany primarily carried out by asylum seekers. Yes the Paris attackers were citizens of EU countries, but they were ethnically North Africans.

“Thanks to the militaristic policies of the US in the Middle East, bombing Muslim countries with impunity…” An utterly idiotic comment to trace every terror strike in the West to either the Palestinian issue or the West’s Middle Eastern policy.

And by the way my comments are realistic while your views are stupid and utopian.

Kevin Jon Heller

Kumar makes my points far more eloquently than I. Anger, incoherence, misinformation, dismissing inconvenient facts — the perfect incarnation of a right-winger.


Anger- yes, misinformation – No. Distorting facts and misinformation – that is the forte of the leftists like Jon Heller. Blame and slam the US and the West for the ills of the world, Middle East in particular, while enjoying the freedom of expression available in these countries. This ilk is the overground voice of the radical groups that foment trouble all around the globe in the name of persecution.