24 May Hon. Keith Raynor’s Talk at Lincoln’s Inn
I had the pleasure on Wednesday of attending Keith Raynor’s talk “International Criminal Justice: Where Does It Go from Here?” at Lincoln’s Inn in London. I had never been to an Inn of Court before, and it was great fun. I still can’t get over not being allowed to go the bathroom during dinner, and — as someone who enthusiastically supports abolishing the monarchy — I could have done without the toast to the Queen. But the Great Hall is stunning, the vegetarian food was surprisingly good, and they continually ply you with high-quality alcohol.
The highlight, though, was of course Keith’s talk. Keith currently serves as a Circuit Judge in Woolwich Crown Court and as the Vice-President of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers. He was previously a prosecutor at the ECCC and a senior prosecutor with the UK Iraq Historic Allegations Prosecution Team. (His second stint with IHAT, having investigated crimes for a number of years before joining the ECCC.)
With Keith’s kind permission, I am posting a link to a PDF of his talk. It’s well worth a read — the kind of tough but fair criticism of the ICC and the ICJ project generally that we need to hear from more lawyers of Keith’s stature. Here is how the talk opens (and apologies for including his very kind references to me):
Fellow benchers, fellow Judges, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, thank you for attending. Particular thanks to those who have crossed the channel in the week of the EU elections to be here: Professor Kevin Jon Heller (from the University of Amsterdam) and Dr. Viviane Dittrich (The Deputy Director of the International Nuremberg Principles Academy.)
The oldies in the room might remember Haircut One Hundred, who were a British new wave band formed in 1980 in Beckenham by Nick Heyward. In 1982 the band released a single “Love Plus One. It was the band’s biggest hit. It reached No. 3 in the charts and it “went gold” after achieving sales in excess of 400,000 copies. It was a catchy number- in a sort of irritating way. In the song Nick Heyward asks the question “Where does it go from here?” Those of you expecting his reply to be profound and wise will, I am afraid, be disappointed. The answer he gave does not relate to the meaning of life. His answer to “Where does it go from here?” was “Is it down to the lake I fear”, followed by, as I recall: “ay, ay, ay ay ay-ay etc”.
But the question he asks is a good one for those interested in and involved in international criminal justice. Where does it go from here? About 5 weeks ago the PTC at the ICC unanimously denied the Office of the Prosecutor’s (OTP) request to initiate a formal investigation into the activities of Afghan Defence Forces, American Armed Forces, the CIA and the Taliban in the situation in Afghanistan under Article 15 of the Rome Statute. This was after the judges had deliberated for 1.5 years and after a preliminary examination lasting more than one decade involving 794 submissions from 6220 individuals, 1690 families and involving events in 26 locations. The PTC concluded that an investigation would not be in the interests of justice.
At the same time Sudanese President Al-Bashir found himself in a cell in Khartoum and charged in The Sudanese courts with inciting violence, having been ousted from power and with no certain indications as to whether he would be surrendered to the ICC to face trial on charges, including 3 counts of genocide. And then the Appeal Chamber at the ICC decided on the lack of immunity accorded to former President Al-Bashir before any international court.
I could spend the entire talk interrogating the Afghanistan decision – one which commentators have variously called “fundamentally flawed” (Kevin Jon Heller), “this poorly reasoned and badly written decision” (Sergei Vasiliev), one which amounts to judicial suicide (Gueneal Mettraux), and “self-inflicted delegitimization – a decision so structurally flawed, so politically susceptible, so morally malleable that it is only a matter of time before the ICC self-destructs” (Michael Karnavas).
But in this talk I have sufficient time only to deal with two pressing topics in international criminal justice, namely (1) the current political landscape in which ICJ has to operate, and (2) Reform within the ICC .
This might be the first time in history a talk on ICJ opened with a reference to Haircut One Hundred. (I really liked them when I was a kid. So I guess I’m an “oldie.”)
You can download the PDF of the talk here. Please read it!