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Article

The International Law Commission’s Draft Articles on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against Humanity

Incitement/Conspiracy as Missing Modes of Liability

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 2 2020
Keywords modes of liability, International Law Commission, crimes against humanity, incitement, conspiracy
Authors Joseph Rikhof
AbstractAuthor's information

    The International Law Commission’s Draft Articles on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against Humanity does not include the inchoate crimes of conspiracy or incitement. However, this choice has generated a great deal of academic commentary. This article critically assesses the choice of the drafters to exclude conspiracy and incitement liability, arguing that their decision was flawed. It examines the comments made by academics, as well as participants in the work of the Commission on this draft convention. Additionally, it scrutinizes the methodology employed by the Commission in reaching this conclusion. Finally, it presents a conceptual analysis of the desirability for the inclusion of these two inchoate crimes, arguing that their inclusion would assist in meeting the policy of preventing crimes against humanity.


Joseph Rikhof
Adjunct Professor, University of Ottawa.
Article

The ILC Draft Articles on Crimes Against Humanity

An African Perspective

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 2 2020
Keywords Africa, norm creation, crimes against humanity, colonial crimes, official immunity
Authors Alhagi B.M. Marong
AbstractAuthor's information

    Africa’s contribution towards the development of the International Law Commission (ILC) Draft Articles should not be assessed exclusively on the basis of the limited engagement of African States or individuals in the discursive processes within the ILC, but from a historical perspective. When analysed from that perspective, it becomes clear that Africa has had a long connection to atrocity crimes due to the mass victimization of its civilian populations during the colonial and postcolonial periods and apartheid in South Africa. Following independence in the 1960s, African States played a leading role in the elaboration of legal regimes to deal with international crimes such as apartheid, or in the development of accountability mechanisms to respond to such crimes. Although some of these efforts proved unsuccessful in the end, the normative consensus that was generated went a long way in laying the foundations for the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, which, in turn, influenced the conceptual framework of the ILC Draft Articles. This article proposes that given this historical nexus, the substantive provisions and international cooperation framework provided for in the future crimes against humanity convention, Africa has more reasons to support than to oppose it when negotiations begin at the United Nations General Assembly or an international diplomatic conference.


Alhagi B.M. Marong
Senior Legal Officer, United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).
Article

Defining Crimes Against Humanity

Practicality and Value Balancing

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 2 2020
Keywords crimes against humanity, Rome Statute, Draft Articles, state sovereignty
Authors Margaret M. deGuzman
AbstractAuthor's information

    Since crimes against humanity were first defined in the Charters of the International Military Tribunals at Nuremberg and for the Far East, various international, hybrid and national institutions have adopted definitions that differ in important respects. The International Law Commission’s draft articles are the latest definition, using language that is almost identical to the definition in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. This article explains that decision, as well as the few divergences between the draft articles and the Statute. Defining crimes against humanity involves balancing the value of respecting state sovereignty against that of protecting human rights, and the values of consistency and clarity against those of breadth and flexibility. It argues that in adopting the draft articles, states will affirm the balance among these values that was struck in Rome, but that both definitions contain sufficient flexibility to permit new balances to be found as global values evolve.


Margaret M. deGuzman
Professor Margaret M. deGuzman is James E. Beasley Professor of Law and Co-Director of the Institute for International Law and Public Policy at Temple University’s Beasley School of Law.
Article

Relating to ‘The Other’

The ILC Draft Convention on Crimes Against Humanity and the Mutual Legal Assistance Initiative

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 2 2020
Keywords International Law Commission (ILC), Draft Convention on Crimes Against Humanity, Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) initiative, crimes against humanity, international criminal law
Authors Larissa van den Herik
AbstractAuthor's information

    The International Law Commission (ILC) Draft Convention on Crimes Against Humanity and the Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) Initiative have largely run in tandem throughout their development. Both projects are motivated by similar gap-filling desires and both projects aim to expand the international criminal justice toolkit; however, these similarities have led to questions if both projects are necessary. This article addresses that question, looking at how different actors have answered this question during the respective processes of maturation of both projects and where both projects stand today. It argues that, while there is significant overlap between the projects, both instruments have merits which the other is lacking, and the optimal solution would be to bring both projects to fruition.


Larissa van den Herik
Prof. Dr. L.J. van den Herik is professor of public international law at the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies at Leiden University.
Article

Unlocking the Sixth Committee’s Potential to Act for Crimes Against Humanity as It Did for Genocide

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 2 2020
Keywords crimes against humanity, General Assembly, International Law Commission, Sixth Committee, United Nations
Authors Michael Imran Kanu
AbstractAuthor's information

    The International Law Commission, on completion of its work on the draft articles on prevention and punishment of crimes against humanity, recommended to the General Assembly the elaboration of a convention by the said Assembly or by an international conference of plenipotentiaries based on the said draft articles. The Sixth Committee of the United Nations General Assembly at the first opportunity only took note of the draft articles and postponed consideration of the recommendation to its next session. The resolution of the General Assembly, as recommended by the Sixth Committee, does not readily disclose the full extent of the debate, proposals and concerns expressed in the Sixth Committee that prevented the General Assembly from acting on the Commission’s recommendation. This article, in considering the cornucopia of views expressed by States, outlines a path to unlock the Sixth Committee’s potential to act, by proposing a separation of the organizational and substantive matters and future-proofing the further consideration of elaborating a convention through the adoption of a structured approach.


Michael Imran Kanu
Michael Imran Kanu is a Doctor of Juridical Science (CEU, Budapest and Vienna), and currently Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative for Legal Affairs, Permanent Mission of the Republic of Sierra Leone to the United Nations. michaelimrankanu@gmail.com.
Article

Gender and the ILC’s 2019 Draft Articles on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against Humanity

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 2 2020
Keywords gender, crimes against humanity, international criminal law, Rome Statute
Authors Indira Rosenthal and Valerie Oosterveld
AbstractAuthor's information

    The International Law Commission’s Draft Articles on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against Humanity document is the latest international instrument to address gender-based crimes under international law and the first to do so outside the context of international courts. The elaboration of a treaty on crimes against humanity provides a critical opportunity to affirm that gender-based crimes are among the gravest crimes under international law. This article examines discussions on the meaning of the term ‘gender’ under the ILC’s Draft Articles, with reference to the discussions two decades prior on the definition of ‘gender’ in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, the basis for the Articles’ consideration of sexual and gender-based violence. It then turns to the ILC consultation process, and the 2019 discussion of the ILC’s Draft Articles in the Sixth (Legal) Committee of the United Nations General Assembly on the term ‘gender’. Additionally, it considers a number of concerns raised by States and civil society on the definition of some of the gender-based crimes included in the Draft Articles and concludes by arguing for a comprehensive gender analysis of all of the Draft Articles.


Indira Rosenthal
Indira Rosenthal, Independent Consultant, Gender, Law and Justice; PhD Candidate, Faculty of Law, University of Tasmania (Australia).

Valerie Oosterveld
Valerie Oosterveld, University of Western Ontario Faculty of Law (Canada).
Article

ILC Report on Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against Humanity and Enforced Disappearance

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 2 2020
Keywords enforced disappearance, without prejudice clause, Draft Articles, crimes against humanity, commentaries
Authors Claudio Grossman
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article values as an important milestone the Draft Articles on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against Humanity. They greatly contribute to the development of international law, inter alia, seeking to prevent impunity and to establish the duty to prosecute or extradite those who have allegedly committed crimes against humanity. They are a solid basis for a possible diplomatic conference designed to adopt a convention that will establish binding obligations for all ratifying States. The Draft Articles took as a point of departure the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court to list and define crimes against humanity, and, considering current developments in international law, departed from the Rome Statute so far in two matters: the definition of gender and the treatment of persecution. This article argues why it is essential to follow a similar approach and adopt the definition of enforced disappearance currently used in international conventions that deal with such a horrendous crime. The article also shows why the ‘without prejudice’ clause currently proposed by the Draft Articles is unsatisfactory, depriving States that do not follow the restrictive definition incorporated more than two decades ago in the Rome Statute from the benefits of the proposed convention.


Claudio Grossman
Professor of Law and Dean Emeritus, R. Geraldson Scholar for International and Humanitarian Law, American University Washington College of Law; Member, United Nations International Law Commission; and President, Inter-American Institute of Human Rights.
Article

Access_open Introduction to the Symposium on a Way Forward

Academic and Practitioner Perspectives on the ILC Draft Articles on Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against Humanity as adopted on Second Reading

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 2 2020
Authors Charles C. Jalloh and Leila N. Sadat
Author's information

Charles C. Jalloh
Charles C. Jalloh is Professor of Law, Florida International University and Member and Chair of the Drafting Committee (seventieth session) and Rapporteur (seventy-first session), International Law Commission. Email: jallohc@gmail.com.

Leila N. Sadat
Leila N. Sadat is James Carr Professor of International Criminal Law and Director, Whitney R. Harris World Law Institute, Washington University School of Law.
Article

Access_open African Union and the Politics of Selective Prosecutions at the International Criminal Court

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 1 2020
Keywords African Union (AU), United Nations Security Council (UNSC), International Criminal Court (ICC), immunity, impunity
Authors Fabrice Tambe Endoh
AbstractAuthor's information

    The African Union (AU) claims that the International Criminal Court (ICC) is selective against African leaders. The issue therefore arises concerning the validity of the allegations of selectivity. Partly because of such concerns, African Heads of States adopted the Malabo Protocol during their annual summit held in June 2014. Article 46A bis of the Protocol provides immunity for sitting Heads of States. This provision contradicts Article 27 of the Rome Statute and, consequently, arguably reverses the progress made so far in international criminal law by giving priority to immunity in the face of impunity. This article considers the validity of some of the allegations of selective application of criminal sanctions by the ICC and the likely consequence of the Malabo Protocol for regional and international criminal justice. The article argues that the Malabo Protocol should not be ratified by African states until the shield of immunity granted to sitting Heads of States is lifted to better advance the interests of justice for the victims of international crimes in Africa. In addition, the complementarity clause stated in the Malabo Protocol should have a nexus with the ICC such that the Court would be allowed to prosecute the perpetrators of international crimes in circumstances where the African Court of Justice and Human Rights (ACJHR) prove reluctant to do so.


Fabrice Tambe Endoh
Dr. Fabrice Tambe Endoh holds a PhD in International Criminal Law from the North-West University, South-Africa.
Article

The ICC or the ACC

Defining the Future of the Immunities of African State Officials

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 1 2020
Keywords ICC, ACC, immunities of African state officials, customary international law rules on immunities, Article 46A bis of the 2014 Malabo Protocol
Authors Aghem Hanson Ekori
AbstractAuthor's information

    The International Criminal Court (ICC), whose treaty came into force about 18 years ago, was highly celebrated at the time of its creation in 1998 by many African states, led by the African Union (AU), even though it does not recognize the immunities of state officials before its jurisdiction. Conversely, the African Criminal Court (ACC), which was established in 2014 through a Protocol by the AU, recognizes the personal immunities of serving African state officials before its jurisdiction. Accordingly, this article argues that both Article 46A bis of the Malabo Protocol and Article 27 of the Rome Statute are neither inconsistent nor violative of the customary international law rules on the immunities of state officials. It further suggests that the immunity provision in Article 46A bis may be an affront to justice to the people of Africa as long as the state officials are in office despite its seeming consistency with customary international law rule. Finally, in exploring the future of the immunities of African state officials, the article will examine the possibility of blending the jurisdictions of both the ICC and the ACC through the complementarity principle since both courts are aimed at ending impunity for international crimes.


Aghem Hanson Ekori
Doctoral candidate at UNISA, 2020, LLM, UNISA, LLB, University of Dschang, Cameroon.

    The UN General Assembly established the International Law Commission (“ILC”) in 1947 to assist States with the promotion of 1) the progressive development of international law and 2) its codification. The ILC’s first assignment from the General Assembly was to formulate the Nuremberg Principles, which affirmed the then radical idea that individuals can be held liable for certain international crimes at the international level. Since then, the ILC has played a seminal role in the development of modern international criminal law. In 2017, the ILC adopted on first reading a draft convention aimed at the prevention and punishment of crimes against humanity which it transmitted to States for comments. The draft treaty will help fill the present gap in the law of international crimes since States criminalized genocide in 1948 and war crimes in 1949, but missed the opportunity to do so for crimes against humanity. This Article examines the first reading text using the lens of the ILC’s two-pronged mandate. Part II explains how the ILC can take up new topics and the main reasons why it decided to propose a new crimes against humanity convention. Part III discusses positive features of the draft convention, highlighting key aspects of each of the Draft Articles. Part IV critiques the ILC draft treaty focusing on inconsistencies in the use of the ICC definition of the crime, immunities, amnesties, and the lack of a proposal on a treaty monitoring mechanism. The final part draws tentative conclusions. The author argues that, notwithstanding the formal distinction drawn by the ILC Statute between progressive development, on the one hand, and codification, on the other hand, the ILC’s approach to the crimes against humanity topic follows a well settled methodology of proposing draft treaties that are judged likely to be effective and broadly acceptable to States rather than focusing on which provisions reflect codification and which constitute progressive development of the law. It is submitted that, if the General Assembly takes forward the ILC’s draft text to conclude a new crimes against humanity treaty after the second reading, this will make a significant contribution to the development of modern international criminal law.


Charles C. Jalloh B.A. LL.B Ph.D
Professor of Law, Florida International University and Member, International Law Commission.
Article

A Proposal for the International Law Commission to Study Universal Criminal Jurisdiction

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 1-2 2018
Keywords Universal Criminal Jurisdiction, International Criminal Law
Authors Mr. Charles Chernor Jalloh
AbstractAuthor's information

    The principle of universal jurisdiction is a unique ground of jurisdiction in international law that may permit a State to exercise national jurisdiction over certain crimes in the interest of the international community. This means that a State may exercise jurisdiction regarding a crime committed by a foreign national against another foreign national outside its territory. Such jurisdiction differs markedly from the traditional bases of jurisdiction under international law, which typically require some type of territorial, nationality or other connection between the State exercising the jurisdiction and the conduct at issue. Due to the definitional and other ambiguities surrounding the universality principle, which has in its past application strained and today continues to strain relations among States at the bilateral, regional and international levels, this paper successfully made the case for the inclusion of “Universal Criminal Jurisdiction” as a topic in the long-term programme of work of the International Law Commission during its Seventieth Session (2018). It was submitted that taking up a study of this timely topic, which has been debated by the Sixth Committee of the UN General Assembly since 2010, could enhance clarity for States and thereby contribute to the rule of law in international affairs. It will also serve to continue the ILC’s seminal contributions to the codification and progressive development of international criminal law.


Mr. Charles Chernor Jalloh
Mr. Charles Chernor Jalloh is Professor of Law, Florida International University and Member and Chair of Drafting Committee, 70th Session, International Law Commission.
Article

The Rome Statute Complementarity Principle and the Creation of the African Court of Justice and Human and Peoples’ Rights

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 1-2 2018
Keywords Rome Statute, International Criminal Court, complementarity, African Court of Justice and Human and Peoples’ Rights, unwillingness and inability
Authors Muyiwa Adigun LLB, LLM PhD
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Rome Statute places the responsibility of prosecuting crimes recognized under the Statute on state parties and the International Criminal Court (ICC) and will only intervene when such states are unwilling or unable. This is called the principle of complementarity. Thus, African state parties to the Statute are expected to prosecute crimes recognized under the Statute. However, these African state parties and their counterparts who are not parties have decided to create the African Court of Justice and Human and Peoples’ Rights, which, like the ICC, will prosecute the crimes recognized under the Rome Statute if they are unwilling and unable. This study therefore examines the question of whether the creation of the African Court of Justice and Human and Peoples’ Rights is compatible with the obligation of the African state parties under the Rome Statute to prosecute. The study argues that the creation of the Court can be reconciled with the obligation to prosecute under the Rome Statute if the African Union, of which the Court is its judicial organ, is considered to be the agent of the African state parties, which invariably implies that the African state parties are the ones carrying out the prosecution as principals.


Muyiwa Adigun LLB, LLM PhD
LLB, LLM (Ibadan); PhD (Witwatersrand); Lecturer, Faculty of Law, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria.

    Focus on whether a criminal chamber in a reformed African Court represents progress or retrogression relative to advances made in the Rome Statute shifts attention from the similar foundation of the two courts on an epochal bifurcation between the worst human rights abuses and quotidian wrongs. This bifurcation compromises our understanding of how abuses are related, what we should do about them and how we should go about studying them. It is at the core of aspects of the International Criminal Court (ICC) that have come under severe criticism. It also imperils the criminal chamber of the nascent African Court.


Ato Kwamena Onoma
Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa.
Article

The International Criminal Court and Africa

Contextualizing the Anti-ICC Narrative

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 1-2 2016
Keywords International Criminal Court (ICC), security, African Union (AU), war crimes, international law
Authors Brendon J. Cannon, Dominic R. Pkalya and Bosire Maragia
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article critiques attempts by some in Africa to brand the International Criminal Court (ICC) as a neocolonial institution and stooge of the West. These arguments accuse the ICC of playing a double standard, being overly focused on trying African defendants, and warn that the Court risks exacerbating factionalism and ethnic divisions thereby threatening peace and reconciliation efforts. Although we neither defend nor champion the ICC’s mandate, we deem such criticisms as hyperbole. At best, they attempt to whitewash the instrumental role played by African states in the birth of the Court and ignore the fact that many of the ICC cases were referred there by African governments. Furthermore, the current African narrative understates the ICC’s potential to midwife local judiciaries and contribute positively towards conflict resolution in Africa through the promotion of at least a measure of accountability and offers of justice, thereby taming elite immunity and impunity in states where justice regimes are either weak or non-existent. Until African states strengthen their judiciaries to ensure such references to the ICC are indeed a last resort, the Court will continue to remain the only credible forum for states emerging from conflict and seeking justice and reconciliation.


Brendon J. Cannon
Brendon J. Cannon is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Khalifa University’s Institute of International and Civil Security (IICS) in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Dominic R. Pkalya
Dominic R. Pkalya is a post-graduate student at Kisii University, Faculty of Social Sciences in Nairobi, Kenya.

Bosire Maragia
Bosire Maragia is an Adjunct Lecturer of Political Science (African Politics) at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, USA and works for the United States Federal Government. The views expressed herein are his and do not reflect or constitute official US government policy.
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