Author: Alonso Gurmendi

Recently, there’s been many a discussion in the Global North on the semiotics of law. What does it mean to say there was a genocide in Canada or that ICE runs concentration camps. In general, these debates follow a similar pattern: specific groups of people are outraged that scholars and experts would use the correct terminology to describe a policy they support, because it sounds...

You have heard the news and know what might happen. Your President may pardon a war criminal. You, certainly, disapprove. You believe in international justice and you are convinced war criminals need to be punished for their crimes. You want to do something about it, but you have read the blog posts and newspapers. Judging by recent experience, the ICC will likely not help. Yours...

A few days ago, the New York Times broke an explosive story on Colombia. The journal claimed Major General Nicacio Martínez, the head of the Colombian Army, had issued new and worrisome targeting orders for his troops. Soldiers were requested “not to demand perfection” and to “do anything to boost their results”. According to the article, the order asks commanders to “launch operations with 60...

I wanted to draw readers’ attention to an important case decided this Wednesday by Colombia’s Special Jurisdiction for Peace, the tribunal set up to spearhead its transitional justice process. The case involves the extradition request of Seuxis Pauxias Hernández Solarte, better known as “Jesús Santrich”, a demobilized FARC commander accused of narco-trafficking by the US. As a demobilized FARC member, Santrich is covered by the Colombian Peace...

The Amazon is a 7,000,000 km2 ecosystem, containing the world’s largest rainforest, boasting some 390 billion trees, 2.5 million species of insects and over 2,000 species of birds and mammals, spanning the territories of eight states (Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela). It is also the name of a company worth 810 billion dollars. Back in 2012, Amazon – the company – applied to register...

I wanted to call readers attention to a particularly interesting ongoing case regarding recognition of governments in the context of Venezuela. The case (Rusoro Mining Ltd. v. Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela) revolves around damages caused to Rusoro, a Canadian company, by Venezuela’s nationalisation of the gold mining sector. In 2016, an ICSID tribunal ordered Venezuela to pay approximately one billion...

Perhaps it is too early to be talking about a Venezuelan transition, but then again, it is never too early to be prepared. Presuming the Lima Group does avoid American military action in Venezuela and secures a workable plan for elections, how would a post-Maduro transitional justice scheme look like? Accountability seems to be of great importance to the Lima Group....

The last time Venezuela faced the plight of war, almost 120 years ago, German and British gunboats deployed outside its ports, blockading them. After turbulent times, Venezuela had run out of money and was unable to pay its debts. In a classic display of pre-UN-Charter jus ad bellum, both the German Empire and the United Kingdom felt fully within their...

As I noted in a recent post, on January 4th, the Lima Group decided not to recognize “the legitimacy of the new presidential term of Nicolas Maduro” as President of Venezuela. On January 11th, Venezuela’s National Assembly declared itself the “sole Legitimate Power of Venezuela before the International Community” (all unofficial translations my own). Soon after, the Assembly’s Chairman, Juan...

On January 4th, the Lima Group – an informal gathering of 14 states seeking multilateral solutions to the humanitarian, democratic, and economic crisis in Venezuela – issued its latest statement, on the upcoming inauguration of Nicolás Maduro as President of Venezuela (see here for Spanish version). The statement called for the non-recognition of the legitimacy of Maduro’s government and called...