Author: Priya Pillai

Six United Nations Special Rapporteurs released a statement last week, urging the dropping of charges against an American aid worker for aiding migrants in the Arizona desert. A day later, I read an op-ed on the increased criminalization of humanitarian aid in the European context. While this issue seems to be the subject of increased scrutiny lately, there have been multiple...

Cases from across the globe have epitomised the crime of enforced disappearance, the most high-profile recently being the disappearance and killing of journalist Jamal Kashoggi. The abduction of the head of Interpol in China is another dramatic instance. Recently, families of individuals from Kuwait who were disappeared by the Iraqi army have been in the news, and there have been mass...

There have been few cases emanating from the Middle East at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Referring to the Gulf states (and excluding Iran), the only other contentious case filed at the ICJ has been Qatar v Bahrain in relation to maritime boundaries in 2001. However, the recent case between Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is worth keeping...

Truth commissions have been in the news of late. A truth commission in The Gambia has started its work recently. In Tunisia, the Truth and Dignity Commission has just issued a report, four years after its establishment. In countries such as Nepal and Colombia, truth commissions (or variations thereof) are mired in controversy and have severe challenges. What is clear is that truth...

A few hours ago, in the early hours of 26 February, news started trickling in of an Indian Air Force strike in Pakistani territory. There have been ominous rumblings of some form of retaliation for a suicide attack carried out on 14 February 2019, in which 40 Indian paramilitary soldiers were killed in Kashmir, and for which the Pakistani based terror...

Earlier this month, I attended the opening ceremony of an exhibit on “Women and War” at a museum in the Philippines. A survivor of war time atrocities, Lola Estelita, spoke about her experiences, moving many in the audience to tears. Many other survivors of wartime sexual slavery and atrocities – called the “Lolas” or grandmothers – are now no longer...

This week has seen news of potential use of amnesty laws in three countries – the Central African Republic, Guatemala, and Venezuela. Here, nuances are important to highlight. In CAR, with the peace agreement under wraps initially, early news reports indicated the push for a ‘blanket’ amnesty, i.e. exemption from international crimes, including crimes against humanity and war crimes. Other reports...

Statelessness as a phenomenon has been in the news of late – from the impact of statelessness on the Rohingya, to the potential revocation of nationality of 4 million in India’s Assam state, and the grant of citizenship to some survivors of a dramatic rescue of a Thai football team. It is estimated that there are approximately 10 million individuals...

“Internationalized Armed Conflicts in International Law” by Kubo Mačák presents a detailed and insightful analysis of the tipping point at which non-international armed conflict (NIAC) may be ‘internationalized’ and considered to be an international armed conflict (IAC), with the focus in particular in relation to the status of combatants and the law of occupation. Far from esoteric, the topic is...

The recent nominations for judicial posts at the UN International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) have caused outrage. However, the frustration expressed regarding the lack of adequate representation of women on the international stage is not new. The issue is not just one of gender representation but also crucially of access to justice. This is therefore an opportune time...

Facebook commissioned a human rights impact assessment into its presence in Myanmar by Business for Social Responsibility (BSR), which has recently released its report. While news outlets reported this as a mea culpa by Facebook regarding the use of its platform in contributing to atrocities in Myanmar – perhaps partly due to the product policy manager’s note in disseminating the report...

This post is a continuation of the analysis of proceedings at the Philippine Supreme Court, relating to the withdrawal of the Philippines from the International Criminal Court. C. R.A. 9851: A Double Bind? The sufficiency of the “The Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide and Other Crimes Against Humanity” or R.A. 9851 in addressing mass atrocity crimes was...