International Criminal Law

Although Julian and I continue to disagree about the merits of the arrest warrant against Bashir, we agree on one thing: Obama's response to the expulsion of the humanitarian-aid groups has been appallingly weak.  I'm not surprised -- I never bought into the cult of Obama, particularly its naive belief that his foreign policy and national-security policy would be fundamentally...

In 2003, near the beginning of the Iraq war, I posed the question in the New York Times Magazine – ‘Who owns the rules of war?’  At that time, I suggested, the rules of war, including their formation, restatements, enunciation, interpretation, etc., had been gradually been passing out of the hands of state actors, those which actually engaged in it, and...

Everything you need to know about the majority's dismissive attitude toward the Prosecution's evidence of genocide is contained in this paragraph: 179. In relation to the alleged insufficient resources allocated by the GoS to ensure adequate conditions of life in IDP Camps in Darfur, the Majority considers that the Prosecution's allegation is vague in light of the fact that, in addition...

Having now read the decision on the arrest warrant, I am more convinced than ever that the majority completely misunderstands Article 58's "reasonable grounds" requirement.  The rationale for the majority's argument that there are no reasonable grounds to believe Bashir is responsible for genocide comes in paras. 158 and 159, concerning the Prosecution's proof of the Sudanese government's genocidal intent...

In what proved to be the worst kept secret in the world, the Pre-Trial Chamber (PTC) has decided to issue a warrant for Bashir's arrest on the war crimes and crimes against humanity charges, but not on the genocide charges.  More substantive analysis will have to await an explanation of the PTC's reasoning.  For now, a couple of quick thoughts. To...

A few months ago, I mentioned in the comments to my now-infamous grape soda post that although I have no ethical qualms about advising Dr. Karadzic, I would not have defended Hitler if he had lived to see the inside of an Allied courtroom. That statement led to a number of pointed -- and understandable -- criticisms, such as this...

My apologies for the light posting lately.  Getting settled in Melbourne -- and preparing to teach Australian criminal law -- has been very time consuming.  My new email address is kheller@unimelb.edu.au.  Feel free to write! I'll be back to posting regularly soon.  In case you just can't wait that long -- hi, mom! -- here is a link to an hour-long...

There is an interesting discussion going on at Alex De Waal's blog Making Sense of Darfur about the various theories of liability that might be used to hold Bashir responsible for genocide.  The discussion as a whole is well worth checking out; what I want to discuss here is whether Bashir could be convicted of genocide via JCE III, so-called...

John Louth at OUP has kindly alerted me to the existence of a new blog that will no doubt be of interest to our readers: the International Criminal Law Bureau. Members include well-known practitioners and scholars, including Steven Kay, QC, and Guénaël Mettraux (of whom I'm a big fan). The blog is part of a larger project by the same name. ...

Sometimes reporters and their editors get caught up in a narrative, and forget to check facts.  In the case of Obama and Bush, every Obama pronouncement is presumed to represent a reversal of Bush policy. But this is simply not true (see, e.g., the predictable and apparently uncontroversial Obama retention of Bush policies on  "extraordinary rendition" and airstrikes in Pakistan).   And so it...

Although prospects of a marriage remain somewhat fanciful, if the ASIL Task Force on U.S. Policy Toward the International Criminal Court has its way, the Obama Administration will take steps to engage with the ICC in a much more positive way than the Bush Administration.  The Task Force issued a press release today, proposing several significant shifts in U.S. policy. ...