Africa

Justice in Conflict has a guest post today from a scholar who has written a book about the Lubanga trial. I think the post makes some excellent points about the problems with the trial. But I have serious reservations -- acknowledging that I have not read the book -- about the author's take on why the trial did not focus...

Spreading the Jam has a guest post today from Santiago Vargas Niño criticising my argument that the OTP was required to notify Burundi as soon as it decided to ask the OTP to authorize the investigation. Here is what he says: Professor Heller cites Article 15(6) to argue that, by receiving information under articles 15(1) and 15(2) of the Statute, the Prosecution has...

At Spreading the Jam, Dov Jacobs defends the Pre-Trial Chamber's conclusion in the Burundi situation that the OTP is not required to notify a state until after the PTC has authorized an investigation. Here are the critical paragraphs from his post: Note the different language used [in Art. 18] depending on whether there is a referral under 13(a) (state referral) or...

Last week I argued that the OTP's failure to ask the Pre-Trial Chamber to authorize an investigation prior to Burundi's withdrawal from the ICC becoming effective -- 28 October 2017 -- meant that the Court no longer had jurisdiction over crimes committed on Burundi's territory prior to that date. I still think my legal analysis is correct, but my factual...

As has been widely reported, Burundi has just become the first state to formally withdraw from the ICC. The OTP has been examining the situation in Burundi since April 2016, but it did not formally ask the Pre-Trial Chamber (PTC) to authorize an investigation prior to Burundi's withdrawal becoming effective. So what does Burundi's withdrawal mean for the OTP's preliminary...

Snapshot of two days in the life of the ICC. On Tuesday, the ICC issued a new arrest warrant in the Libya situation -- for Mahmoud al-Werfalli, a commander in the so-called Libyan National Army (LNA), which defected from the Libyan army during the revolution and is currently vying for power with the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA). The arrest warrant represents...

One of the most basic assumption of ICL is that an act cannot be a war crime unless it violates a rule of international humanitarian law (IHL). Article 6(b) of the London Charter criminalised "War Crimes: namely, violations of the laws or customs of war." Article 3 of the ICTY Statute provides that "[t]he International Tribunal shall have the power to prosecute...

Distracted by #ComeyDay and other international crises, I missed this recent U.S. federal court decision in Sexual Minorities of Uganda v. Lively, dismissing an Alien Tort Statute lawsuit on Kiobel extra-territoriality grounds.  While using unusually critical language to denounce U.S. pastor-defendant Scott Lively's involvement in Uganda's anti-homosexual laws and actions, the U.S. District Court for Massachusetts held: ...

Last month, Just Security published a long and thoughtful post by Rebecca Ingber with the provocative title "International Law is Failing Us in Syria." The international law she is talking about is the jus ad bellum -- the illegality of unilateral humanitarian intervention (UHI) in particular. In her view, the failure of the international community to use force to end the...

Urbanization is our present and it is our future. Between the recently completed UN Habitat III conference in Quito, Ecuador, and Iraqi Special Operations entering Mosul, starting what may be a complex urban battle, we face constant reminders that  much of the world’s population now lives in cities. How we protect rights, foster development, interact with the environment, organize politically,...

States and nations are not the same thing.  A nation is a "people," itself a difficult concept to define under international law. A state is a recognized political entity that meets certain criteria. International lawyers will tell you that the characteristics of statehood include a defined territory, a government, a permanent population, and the ability to enter into foreign relations. State...