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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

Crimes Against Humanity in the “Western European & Other” Group of States

A Continuing Tradition

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 2 2020
Keywords crimes against humanity, Western Europe and Other Group of States, WEOG, Draft Articles on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against Humanity
Authors Beth Van Schaack
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Western Europe and Other Group of states have a long history with crimes against humanity. They were pivotal in the juridical creation of this concept, in launching prosecutions in both international and national courts, and in formulating the modern definition of the crime. However, some members have expressed concerns around the International Law Commissions Draft Articles on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against Humanity. This article provides a summary of the history of crimes against humanity in the Western Europe and Other Group of states, as well as the current status of crimes against humanity in their legal systems. It argues that although these states have successfully incorporated crimes against humanity into their legal frameworks, it would be beneficial for them to embrace the proposed Crimes Against Humanity Convention.


Beth Van Schaack
Leah Kaplan Visiting Professor of Human Rights, Stanford Law School.
Article

Interstate Cooperation and Why a Horizontal Treaty Would Make a Difference for ICC Investigations

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 2 2020
Keywords cooperation framework, Draft Articles, international criminal law, International Criminal Court, interstate cooperation
Authors George William Mugwanya
AbstractAuthor's information

    The International Law Commission’s Draft Articles on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against Humanity contain an obligation to implement an interstate cooperation regime. This article argues that although this regime is ‘horizontal’, it also has the potential to enhance the efficacy of investigations by the International Criminal Court (ICC). It provides a brief overview of the regime as set out in the Draft Articles, and the ICC’s cooperation regime, before exploring how the Draft Articles can fill some gaps in the ICC system. It also makes suggestions to improve the Draft Articles and strengthen the cooperation regime.


George William Mugwanya
Advocate, High Court of Uganda; Prosecution Appeals Counsel, International Criminal Court (ICC). Formerly Senior Appeals Counsel, UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and Senior Lecturer, Makerere University Faculty of Law, he holds a JSD (summa cum laude), (Notre Dame Law School); LLM (Birmingham); LLM (with distinction) (Pretoria); LLB (Hons) (Makerere) and a Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice (Law Development Centre).
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

Access_open Restraint as a Source of Judicial ‘Apoliticality’

A Functional Reconstruction

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2020
Keywords Urgenda, Miller v. Secretary of State, Norm of judicial apoliticality, Ronald Dworkin, Judicial restraint
Authors Maurits Helmich
AbstractAuthor's information

    Few legal theorists today would argue that the domain of law exists in isolation from other normative spheres governing society, notably from the domain of ‘politics’. Nevertheless, the implicit norm that judges should not act ‘politically’ remains influential and widespread in the debates surrounding controversial court cases. This article aims to square these two observations. Taking the Miller v. Secretary of State and Urgenda cases as illustrative case studies, the article demonstrates that what it means for judges to adjudicate cases ‘apolitically’ is itself a matter of controversy. In reflecting on their own constitutional role, courts are forced to take a stance on substantive questions of political philosophy. Nevertheless, that does not mean that the ‘norm of judicial apoliticality’ should therefore be rejected. The norm’s coherence lies in its intersocial function: its role in declaring certain modes of judicial interpretation and intervention legitimate (‘legal’/‘judicial’) or illegitimate (‘political’).


Maurits Helmich
Maurits Helmich is promovendus aan de afdeling Sociologie, Theorie en Methodologie van het Recht aan de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam.
Article

Access_open The Obligation of Judges to Uphold Rules of Positive Law and Possibly Conflicting Ethical Values in Context

The Case of Criminalization of Homelessness in Hungary

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2020
Keywords Judicial independence, Rule of law, Judicial ethics, Hungary, Criminalization of homelessness
Authors Petra Gyöngyi
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article examines the tension between the constitutional obligation of judges to uphold rules of positive law and possibly conflicting standards of conduct arising from professional-ethical values. The theoretical analysis will be illustrated by the case of Hungary, an EU member state experiencing rule of law challenges since 2010 and where the 2018-2019 criminalization of homelessness exemplifies the studied tension. Inspired by the theories of Philip Selznick and Martin Krygier, rule of law will be viewed as a value that requires progressive realization and context-specific implementation. By contextualizing the relevant Hungarian constitutional framework with the content of the judicial code of ethics and judicial practice, it will be shown how the legitimate space for Hungarian judges to distance themselves from legislation possibly in conflict with rule of law values is reduced. Theoretical suggestions for addressing such rule of law regressions will be made.


Petra Gyöngyi
Petra Gyöngyi is postdoctoral fellow aan de University of Oslo.
Article

The ECtHR on Constitutional Complaint as Effective Remedy in the Hungarian Legal Order

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2020
Keywords ECHR, Constitutional Court of Hungary, constitutional complaint, exhaustion of domestic remedies, subsidiarity
Authors Péter Paczolay
AbstractAuthor's information

    Since 2012 a new regulation of the constitutional complaint was introduced to the Hungarian legal system that since then also includes the full constitutional complaint against final court decisions. Besides this new remedy , two other exist: a complaint against a legal provision applied in court proceedings (in force since 1990), and an exceptional form of the complaint against a legal provision, when there are no real and effective remedies available. Before 2012 the ECtHR did not consider the constitutional complaint to be an effective domestic remedy that needs to be exhausted. In two decisions taken in 2018 and 2019 the ECtHR declared that – under the respective conditions and circumstances – all three kinds of constitutional complaints may offer an effective remedy to the applicants at domestic level. The case note presents the two cases summarizing the main arguments of the ECtHR that led to this conclusion.


Péter Paczolay
Péter Paczolay: professor of law, University of Szeged; judge, ECtHR.
Article

The Development of Human Rights Diplomacy Since the Establishment of the UN

More Actors, More Efficiency?

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2020
Keywords human rights, diplomacy, international organizations, NGOs, corporate social responsibility
Authors István Lakatos
AbstractAuthor's information

    This study gives a comprehensive picture of the development of human rights diplomacy since the establishment of the UN, focusing on the dilemmas governments are facing regarding their human-rights-related decisions and demonstrating the changes that occurred during the post-Cold War period, both in respect of the tools and participants in this field. Special attention is given to the role of international organizations, and in particular to the UN in this process, and the new human rights challenges the international community must address in order to maintain the relevance of human rights diplomacy.


István Lakatos
István Lakatos: career diplomat, former human rights ambassador of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary, currently senior adviser of the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights of Montenegro.
Article

The Case Between Urgenda and the State of the Netherlands

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2020
Keywords climate change, public interest litigation, human rights, ECHR, Netherlands
Authors Otto Spijkers
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Supreme Court of the Netherlands held that the Netherlands’ Government must ensure that, by the end of 2020, greenhouse gas emission levels from the Netherlands are at least a quarter below 1990 levels, otherwise the rights to life and wellbeing, as guaranteed under Articles 2 and 8 ECHR respectively, of the people in the Netherlands are breached. In doing so, the Supreme Court affirmed the reasoning and ruling of the Appeals Court, and distanced itself from the reasoning of the District Court, which was primarily based on domestic tort law.


Otto Spijkers
Otto Spijkers: professor of law, China Institute of Boundary and Ocean Studies (CIBOS) of Wuhan University.
Case Notes

The Hungarian Constitutional Court’s Decision on the Protection of Groundwater

Decision No. 13/2018. (IX. 4.) AB of the Constitutional Court of Hungary

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2020
Keywords environmental impact assessment, precautionary principle, non-derogation principle, Constitutional Court of Hungary, groundwater
Authors Gábor Kecskés
AbstractAuthor's information

    On 28 August 2018, the Constitutional Court of Hungary delivered a milestone decision [Decision No. 13/2018. (IX. 4.) AB] in relation to the protection of groundwater with reference to the general protection of the environment as a constitutionally protected value. The President of the Republic pointed out in his petition to the Constitutional Court that two sections of the draft legislation are contrary to the Fundamental Law by violating Articles B(1), P(1) and XXI(1) of the Fundamental Law by permitting water abstraction with much lower standards. Adopted by the majority along with concurring and dissenting opinions, the decision is an important judicial achievement in the general framework of constitutional water and environmental protection. It also confirms the non-derogation principle elaborated by the Constitutional Court. The Constitutional Court had the opportunity and an ‘open mind’ to take into consideration numerous sources of scientific professional evidence on the stock of water and groundwater abstraction. The decision was acclaimed for its environmental orientation, and even more, for developing the 25-year old standards of constitutional review in environmental matters by elaborating on the implicit substance of several articles enshrined in the new Fundamental Law (e.g. Articles P and XXI).


Gábor Kecskés
Gábor Kecské: research fellow, Eötvös Loránd Research Network, Centre for Social Sciences, Institute for Legal Studies, Budapest; associate professor of law, Széchenyi István University, Győr.
Article

National Courts and the Enforcement of EU Law

Hungarian Experiences

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2020
Keywords Constitutional Court of Hungary, supremacy, mutual trust, constitutional identity, preliminary ruling
Authors András Osztovits and András Zs. Varga
AbstractAuthor's information

    The present study was originally meant for the FIDE XXIX Congress, which provided an excellent opportunity to review how the acquis communautaire has been implemented by ordinary courts as well as the Constitutional Court of Hungary since the country’s accession to the EU. As it is widely known, national courts play a key role in enforcing rights and obligations under EU law, so that the application of EU law remains uniform in all the Member States, in compliance with the jurisprudence of the CJEU. On the other hand, national constitutional courts must take a position more frequently and emphatically on issues related to national sovereignty: in defining what comes within the scope of the EU’s legislative competence and what remains under the control of national constitutional and legislative power. The relationship between national ordinary courts, constitutional courts and the CJEU, as well as the national implementation of Luxembourg case-law may be analyzed in a variety of ways and from different perspectives. The main principles governing EU law (such as direct effect, supremacy, mutual trust) have been developed in increasing detail over the years. Since their effect and practical consequences are outstanding, in what follows, we are shall explore these issues first in the light of Hungarian case-law. In the context of the principle of mutual trust, the discussion surrounding the independence of national courts is gaining impetus. Therefore, we will also touch upon this issue in our study. Finally, as far as the issue of effective enforcement of EU law is concerned, we shall present the Hungarian experience related to the preliminary ruling procedure, which is the most important element linking the CJEU and national courts. In this respect, we approach the issue from the domestic angle, focusing primarily on how exceptions to the obligation to submit a request for preliminary ruling have been clarified on the basis of the guidelines of the Curia of Hungary and the Constitutional Court of Hungary.


András Osztovits
András Osztovits: professor of law, Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church, Budapest; judge, Curia of Hungary, Budapest.

András Zs. Varga
András Zs. Varga: professor of law, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest; justice, Constitutional Court of Hungary, Budapest.
Article

The ECtHR’s Grand Chamber Judgment in Ilias and Ahmed Versus Hungary: A Practical and Realistic Approach

Can This Paradigm Shift Lead the Reform of the Common European Asylum System?

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2020
Keywords ECHR, Hungarian transit zone, deprivation of liberty, concept of safe third country, Common European Asylum System
Authors Ágnes Töttős
AbstractAuthor's information

    The judgment of the Grand Chamber of the ECtHR in Ilias and Ahmed v. Hungary reflected a big turn of the ECtHR towards a practical and realistic approach. Although the Grand Chamber found that Hungary by choosing to use inadmissibility grounds and expel the applicants to Serbia failed to carry out a thorough assessment of the Serbian asylum system, including the risk of summary removal, contrary to the Chamber it found that a confinement of 23 days in 2015 did not constitute a de facto deprivation of liberty. This paradigm shift is already visible in further decisions of the Court, and it could even serve as a basis for a new direction when reforming the Common European Asylum System.


Ágnes Töttős
Ágnes Töttős: lecturer, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest; JHA counselor responsible for migration and asylum issues at the Permanent Representation of Hungary to the EU, Brussels.
Article

Increasing Access to Justice through Online Dispute Resolution

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 1 2020
Keywords ODR, fairness, disability, accommodation, accessibility
Authors Wendy Carlson
AbstractAuthor's information

    Online dispute resolution has been posed as a way to further increase access to justice. This article explores the concept of using ODR to increase both ‘access’ and ‘justice’ within the dispute resolution system. The concept of increasing access to the dispute resolution system includes a wide variety of ideas: providing dynamic avenues into the legal process to better serve more people, particularly those with physical disabilities, increasing accessibility to low-income communities and ensuring the platform can be used by non-native English speakers. ODR provides the potential to greatly impact the court system by making the court process more efficient and accurate. While there is great value in integrating ODR into the dispute resolution system, the ODR system itself creates a variety of barriers. In order to effectively increase access to justice through ODR, the ODR system must be developed to maximize ‘accessibility’. The second prong to this discussion explores the concept of ‘justice’ within the context of ODR. Critics of ODR purport that the system values efficiency over justice. This article analyses the legitimacy of ODR as a judicial system through three key factors: representation of individual views, neutrality in decision-making, and trust.


Wendy Carlson
Juris Doctor Candidate, Mitchell Hamline School of Law.
Article

The Online Civil Money Claim

Litigation, ADR and ODR in One Single Dispute Resolution Process

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 1 2020
Keywords ADR, pre-action protocols, civil procedure, online dispute resolution, mediation, civil justice, online civil money claim, online services
Authors Md Mahar Abbasy
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article considers the recent reforms in English Civil Justice System, especially the new Online Civil Money Claim (OCMC). To make the UK courts easily accessible and affordable, Lord Justice Briggs in his Civil Courts Structure Review recommended for the introduction of an Online Solutions Court. This is a revolutionary step because it embeds alternative dispute resolution (ADR), in particular mediation, into the court system. This is very important because mediation emerged as an alternative to courts but has become an integral part of it. This study critically examines how mediation is being embedded into the English Civil Justice System and argues for a balanced relationship between litigation and mediation because they complement each other. This article is divided into four sections (a) Section 2 will discuss how the Online Court will impact the open justice; (b) Section 3 will provide an overview of the three stages of OCMC; (c) Section 4 will carry out a critical analysis of the OCMC; and (d) Section 5 will seek to put forward solutions and recommendations in light of the findings.


Md Mahar Abbasy
PhD Candidate at the University of Leicester.
Article

Artificial Intelligence in the Courtroom

Increasing or Decreasing Access to Justice?

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 1 2020
Keywords artificial intelligence, robojudge, separation of powers, algorithm, due proces
Authors Analisa Morrison
AbstractAuthor's information

    Jurisdictions around the world are experimenting with the use of artificially intelligent systems to help them adjudicate cases. With heavily overloaded dockets and cases that go on for years, many courts in the U.S. are eager to follow suit. However, American authorities should be slow to substitute human judges with automated entities. The uniqueness of the U.S. Constitution has demands that artificially intelligent “judges” may not be able to meet, starting with a machine’s lack of what may be called “true intelligence”. Philosopher John Searle wrote about the distinction between true intelligence and artificial intelligence in his famous “Chinese Room” analogy, which is applicable to the discussion of artificial intelligence in the courtroom. Former Navy Reserves officer, robotics engineer, and current patent lawyer Bob Lambrechts analyzed the idea of robots in court in his article, May It Please the Algorithm. Other scholars have started to explore it, too, but the idea of robots as judges remains a vast legal frontier that ought to be excavated thoroughly before it is inhabited by the American legal system.


Analisa Morrison
Juris Doctor Candidate, 2021, University of the Pacific, McGeorge 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

Law Reform Bills in the Parliament of the United Kingdom

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2020
Keywords law reform, consolidation, statute law, parliament, Law Commission
Authors Andrew Makower and Liam Laurence Smyth
AbstractAuthor's information

    The officials responsible for the procedures for scrutiny of proposed legislation in the UK Parliament and for the accuracy and integrity of legislative text describe how the UK Parliament scrutinizes consolidation and law reform bills and the government’s law reform programme, test the proposition that law reform is impeded by a shortage of parliamentary time, and survey ways in which Parliament could encourage and facilitate such legislation.


Andrew Makower
Andrew Makower, Clerk of Legislation, House of Lords.

Liam Laurence Smyth
Liam Laurence Smyth, Clerk of Legislation, House of Commons.
Article

Reflections on the Rule of Law and Law Reform in the Arab Region

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2020
Keywords rule of law, law reform, colonialism, authoritarianism, international development
Authors Dr Sara Razai
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article offers some preliminary thoughts on the issue of international development actors in the promotion of law in the Arab region. Specifically, it reflects on the rule of law concept as a universalizing notion, touted by international organizations and governments alike as a panacea for social ills. The article discusses the act of intervention and the use and promotion of law to achieve a rule of law order in post-conflict or fragile states. It argues that the use and promotion of law by international development actors (and the donors that fund them) – a proxy for building the rule of law – is by no means new to the region. It has also been the central focus of authoritarian and colonial rulers alike. Although they are by no means similar, the three actors are strikingly similar in that they use and promote law under the aegis of building the rule of law, to the general detriment of the masses


Dr Sara Razai
Sara Razai, UCL Judicial Institute.
Article

Access_open State Obligations to Counter Islamophobia: Comparing Fault Lines in the International Supervisory Practice of the HRC/ICCPR, the ECtHR and the AC/FCNM

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2020
Keywords Human rights, positive state obligations, islamophobia, international supervisory mechanisms
Authors Kristin Henrard
AbstractAuthor's information

    Islamophobia, like xenophobia, points to deep-seated, ingrained discrimination against a particular group, whose effective enjoyment of fundamental rights is impaired. This in turn triggers the human rights obligations of liberal democratic states, more particularly states’ positive obligations (informed by reasonability considerations) to ensure that fundamental rights are effectively enjoyed, and thus also respected in interpersonal relationships. This article identifies and compares the fault lines in the practice of three international human rights supervisory mechanisms in relation to Islamophobia, namely the Human Rights Committee (International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights), the European Court of Human Rights (European Convention on Human Rights) and the Advisory Committee of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. The supervisory practice is analysed in two steps: The analysis of each international supervisory mechanism’s jurisprudence, in itself, is followed by the comparison of the fault lines. The latter comparison is structured around the two main strands of strategies that states could adopt in order to counter intolerance: On the one hand, the active promotion of tolerance, inter alia through education, awareness-raising campaigns and the stimulation of intercultural dialogue; on the other, countering acts informed by intolerance, in terms of the prohibition of discrimination (and/or the effective enjoyment of substantive fundamental rights). Having regard to the respective strengths and weaknesses of the supervisory practice of these three international supervisory mechanisms, the article concludes with some overarching recommendations.


Kristin Henrard
Kristin Henrard is Professor International Human Rights and Minorities, Erasmus School of Law, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
Article

Access_open Age Limits in Youth Justice: A Comparative and Conceptual Analysis

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2020
Keywords youth justice, age limits, minimum age of criminal responsibility, age of criminal majority, legal comparison
Authors Jantien Leenknecht, Johan Put and Katrijn Veeckmans
AbstractAuthor's information

    In each youth justice system, several age limits exist that indicate what type of reaction can and may be connected to the degree of responsibility that a person can already bear. Civil liability, criminal responsibility and criminal majority are examples of concepts on which age limits are based, but whose definition and impact is not always clear. Especially as far as the minimum age of criminal responsibility (MACR) is concerned, confusion exists in legal doctrine. This is apparent from the fact that international comparison tables often show different MACRs for the same country. Moreover, the international literature often seems to define youth justice systems by means of a lower and upper limit, whereas such a dual distinction is too basic to comprehend the complex multilayer nature of the systems. This contribution therefore maps out and conceptually clarifies the different interpretations and consequences of the several age limits that exist within youth justice systems. To that extent, the age limits of six countries are analysed: Argentina, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Northern Ireland. This legal comparison ultimately leads to a proposal to establish a coherent conceptual framework on age limits in youth justice.


Jantien Leenknecht
Jantien Leenknecht is PhD Fellow of the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO) at KU Leuven, Institute of Social Law and Leuven Institute of Criminology.

Johan Put
Johan Put is Full Professor at KU Leuven, Institute of Social Law and Leuven Institute of Criminology.

Katrijn Veeckmans
Katrijn Veeckmans is PhD Fellow at KU Leuven, Institute of Social Law and Leuven Institute of Criminology.
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