Author: Kevin Jon Heller

On October 22, Jay Sekulow -- best known as one of Trump's lawyers -- filed a request to submit observations concerning the Afghanistan appeal on behalf of the European Centre for Law & Justice (ECLJ), the European branch of the American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ), an ultra-right NGO. The Appeals Chamber granted the request on October 24, despite...

I have seen a number of suggestions recently in the media that Turkey's invasion of Syria could lead to NATO being dragged into the conflict as a result of Art. 5 of the NATO treaty. Art. 5 provides, in relevant part, as follows: The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America...

A couple of weeks ago, a group of Yezidi women kidnapped, enslaved, and raped by the Islamic State (IS) lost what could have been a landmark case at the New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal. The women sought damages from an Australian-born IS fighter, Khaled Sharrouf, under the terms of New South Wales' victim compensation scheme. Sharrouf himself is...

I am quoted in a long article by Ali Younes for Al Jazeera about a new communication to the ICC asking it to investigate the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, which was committed one year ago today. The communication advances two theories for why the Court has or could have jurisdiction over Khashoggi's murder. The article quotes me responding to one:...

Asymmetrical Haircuts is a brilliant new podcast on international criminal justice hosted by journalists Janet Anderson and Stephanie van den Berg. Check out their photos here and you'll see where the podcast gets its name. I had the pleasure last month of being their token male interviewee; here is their description of our conversation: Stephanie has a guilty secret. Or maybe...

As most readers will know by now, Pre-Trial Chamber II has partially granted the OTP's request for leave to appeal the PTC's refusal to authorize the Afghanistan investigation. Eulogies for the investigation are thus premature. A few thoughts on the PTC's decision follow. To begin with, it remains scandalous that it took the PTC this long to certify the appeal. The...

The irreplaceable Carmi Lecker called my attention yesterday to a proposal by Switzerland to deem the intentional starvation of civilians a war crime in non-international armed conflict (NIAC). At present, it is only a war crime in international armed conflict (IAC) -- Art. 8(2)(b)(xxv) of the Rome Statute. Here is the text of the proposal: Add to article 8, paragraph 2...

A few months ago, I was invited by the Polish Ministry of Justice to participate in a one-day conference on the responsibility of lawyers for judicial crimes, part of Poland's Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Stalinism and Nazism. The Ministry asked me to discuss American prosecutions of Nazi lawyers at the Nuremberg Military Tribunals -- something I wrote...

I have uploaded a new article on the crime of aggression to SSRN. Here is the abstract: Immediately after the historic adoption of the aggression amendments on 14 December 2017, a number of participants in the negotiations expressed their belief that activating the crime of aggression would help deter states from engaging in the illegal use of force. Unfortunately, the version...

Last week, I asked my followers on twitter to weigh on whether human-rights NGOs should offer unpaid internships. The poll offered three choices: (1) paid only; (2) unpaid is okay; (3) NGOs should offer a mix of paid and unpaid. I expected position 2 to be unpopular, but I thought position 3 would garner the most votes. I was right about...

As I have discussed before, in March 2018 the Presidency curiously dissolved the Pre-Trial Chamber (PTC III) that had been dealing with the Afghanistan situation for six months and assigned that situation to a new PTC. Judge Mindua remained part of the new PTC (PTC II), while Judges Chung and Pangalangan were replaced by two newly-elected judges, Akane and Aitala....

As expected, the OTP has asked the Pre-Trial Chamber (PTC) to grant leave to appeal its refusal to authorise the Afghanistan investigation. I'm in Kiev and don't have as much time to write as I'd like, so I just want to offer a few quick thoughts on the OTP's motion, which seeks appeal on three interrelated issues. First, I think it's...