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Article

A Civil Society Perspective on the ILC Draft Convention on Crimes Against Humanity

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 2 2020
Keywords crimes against humanity, impunity, aut dedere aut judicare, amnesties, reservations
Authors Hugo Relva
AbstractAuthor's information

    In a relatively short period of time, the International Law Commission has accomplished the impressive task of drafting and adopting the text of the Draft Articles on Prevention and Punishment of Crimes against Humanity. The Draft Articles circulated to states are promising. However, a number of substantive amendments appear to be necessary if the Draft Convention is to become a powerful tool “to put an end to impunity for the perpetrators of these crimes and thus to contribute to the prevention of such crimes”, as stated in the Preamble. Moreover, in order to avoid the rapid ossification of the new potential treaty, it is advisable for the articles to reflect the most significant developments in international law, and also allow for future progressive developments in the law, instead of reflecting a lowest common denominator acceptable to all states. This article suggests some revisions to existing provisions, new provisions which may make the text much stronger and finally identifies some important omissions which should be fixed by states at the time of adopting the Draft Convention.


Hugo Relva
Legal adviser, Amnesty International.
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

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

Why a Crimes Against Humanity Convention from a Perspective of Post-Soviet States?

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 2 2020
Keywords crimes against humanity, criminal law, ICC Statute, implementation, post-Soviet States
Authors Sergey Sayapin
AbstractAuthor's information

    Most post-Soviet States have introduced penal responsibility for crimes against humanity, either explicitly or under alternative headings. As a rule, their respective criminal laws are modelled after relevant provisions of the Draft Code of Crimes against the Peace and Security of Mankind or the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The International Law Commission’s adoption of the Draft Articles on Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against Humanity represents an appropriate occasion for post-Soviet States that have not yet penalized crimes against humanity to bring their criminal laws into fuller conformity with customary international criminal law.


Sergey Sayapin
LLB, LLM, Dr. iur., PhD, Associate Professor of International and Criminal Law and Director of the LLB. in International Law Programme at the School of Law, KIMEP University (Almaty, Kazakhstan).
Article

Asian Perspectives on the International Law Commission’s Work on Crimes Against Humanity

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 2 2020
Keywords Asian States, crimes against humanity, international criminal law, Draft Articles on Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against Humanity
Authors Mari Takeuchi
AbstractAuthor's information

    No Asian States expressed regret over the failure of the Sixth Committee to reach a consensus on the elaboration of a convention on crimes against humanity. This article examines the comments of Asian States during the Sixth Committee debate on the final Draft Articles submitted by the International Law Commission, demonstrating that most States believed further discussions were needed. It situates these comments against the wider Asian approach to international criminal law, and argues that the concerns of the Asian States during the Sixth Committee are part of a broader context. In doing so, it suggests a common ground for future discussion and the progression of a convention.


Mari Takeuchi
Professor of International Law, Kobe University, Graduate School of Law, Japan.
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

An Analysis of State Reactions to the ILC’s Work on Crimes Against Humanity

A Pattern of Growing Support

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 2 2020
Keywords crimes against humanity, Sixth Committee, International Law Commission, Draft Articles, International Criminal Court
Authors Leila N. Sadat and Madaline George
AbstractAuthor's information

    The international community has been engaged with the topic of crimes against humanity since the International Law Commission (ILC) began work on it in 2013, with a view to draft articles for a future convention. Between 2013 and 2019, 86 States as well as several entities and subregional groups made comments on the ILC’s work at the United Nations Sixth Committee or through written comments to the ILC. This article is the culmination of the Whitney R. Harris World Law Institute’s work cataloguing and analysing States’ comments by assigning each statement to one of five categories – strong positive, positive, neutral, negative, and strong negative – examining both specific words and the general tenor of the comments. This article analyses the development of States’ reactions to the ILC’s work over time, as well as specific issues that frequently arose, observing that there is a pattern of growing support from States to use the ILC’s Draft Articles on Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against Humanity as the basis for a new convention.


Leila N. Sadat
Leila Nadya Sadat is the James Carr Professor of International Criminal Law, and Director, Whitney R. Harris World Law Institute, Washington University School of Law. This work could not have been accomplished without the extraordinary efforts of several Harris Institute Fellows, including Fizza Batool, Evelyn Chuang, Tamara Slater, and Kristin Smith and Research Fellows Kate Falconer, Sam Rouse, and Ke (Coco) Xu.

Madaline George
Madaline George, JD, is the Senior Fellow at the Whitney R. Harris World Law Institute at 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

Control in International Law

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 1 2019
Keywords Effective / overall control, international human rights law, international criminal law, responsibility of states, statehood
Authors Joseph Rikhof and Silviana Cocan
AbstractAuthor's information

    The concept of control has permeated various disciplines of public international law, most notable international criminal law, international humanitarian law, international human rights law and the law of statehood as well as the law of responsibility for states and international organizations. Often this notion of control has been used to extend the regular parameters in these disciplines to capture more extraordinary situations and apply the same rules originally developed within areas of law, such as the application of the laws of war to occupation, the rules of human rights treaties to extraterritorial situations or state responsibility to non-state actors. This article will examine this notion of control in all its facets in international law while also addressing some of its controversies and disagreements in the jurisprudence of international institutions, which have utilized this concept. The article will then provide an overview of its uses in international law as well as its overlap from one discipline to another with a view of providing some overarching observations and conclusions.


Joseph Rikhof
Joseph Rikhof is an adjunct professor at the Common Law Faculty of the University of Ottawa.

Silviana Cocan
Silviana Cocan holds a double doctoral degree in international law from the Faculty of Law of Laval University and from the Faculty of Law and Political Science of the University of Bordeaux.
Article

Civil Society Perspectives on the Criminal Chamber of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 1-2 2018
Keywords Malabo Protocol, African Court, Criminal Chamber, International and Transnational Crimes, African Union
Authors Benson Chinedu Olugbuo LLB BL LLM Ph.D.
AbstractAuthor's information

    In June 2014, African Heads of States and Governments adopted the Protocol on the Amendments to the Protocol on the Statute of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea. The Malabo Protocol seeks to expand the jurisdiction of the African Court to international and transnational crimes. This development raises fundamental issues of jurisdiction, capacity, political will and regional complementarity in the fight against impunity in the African continent. The paper interrogates the role of Civil Society Organisations in the adoption and possible operationalisation of the Court in support of the efforts of the African Union to end human rights abuses and commission of international and transnational crimes within the continent.


Benson Chinedu Olugbuo LLB BL LLM Ph.D.
LLB (Nigeria); BL (Abuja); LLM (Pretoria); Ph.D. (Cape Town); Executive Director, CLEEN Foundation, Abuja–Nigeria and Research Associate, Public Law Department, University of Cape Town, South Africa.
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.
Article

The Fight against Corruption in Sierra Leone

Challenges and Opportunities in the Jurisprudence

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 1-2 2016
Keywords Accountability, corruption, judicial approach, jurisprudence, reforms
Authors Michael Imran Kanu
AbstractAuthor's information

    The fight against corruption in Sierra Leone gained momentum, at least in terms of policy direction, following the enactment of the Anti-Corruption Act 2000 and the Amendment Act in 2008. It is considered to be one of the most robust anti-graft laws in the world and its promulgation is in recognition of the international and national resolve to fight the menace, owing to its devastating effects, especially in the Least Developed Countries (LCDs) of the world. The Anti-Corruption Act of 2000, though viewed as a tremendous move towards curtailing corruption, was riddled with shortcomings. Practitioners viewed the Act as limited in the number of proscribed offences created, coupled with the lack of independence signified by the absence of prosecutorial powers. With the enactment of the Amendment Act in 2008, it is crucial to examine the opportunities it has created to eradicate corruption. Critical also to the national and global resolve is the consideration of challenges that may have sprouted. This paper will examine some of the opportunities and challenges in the jurisprudence in the fight against corruption in Sierra Leone, with the aim of providing an avenue for reflection as well as a prompter for legislative reforms or change in judicial approach.


Michael Imran Kanu
Department of Legal Studies, Central European University. Email: Kanu_Michael@phd.ceu.edu.

    To ensure its continued viability, the International Criminal Court must find “practical” ways to appeal to its African (and global) audience, options that do not require substantial additional funding or revisions to the Rome Statute while remaining true to fundamental principles of international justice. Subject to such limitations, this article examines the “end product” of the ICC – the judgments authored by the Trial Chambers to date. Unfortunately, these opinions are simply incomprehensible to any but a few specially trained, highly interested stakeholders. They are extraordinarily complex and lengthy and fail to emphasize or address issues that are clearly important to the audiences in states where atrocities have occurred. The article reviews existing judgments and provides suggestions for future improvements, thereby increasing accessibility to African leadership, civil society organizations, and the public at large. Such efforts will contribute to increased legitimacy and, consequently, the long-term impact and relevancy of the Court.


Matthew C. Kane
Matthew C. Kane is a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Oklahoma College of Law, teaching courses on criminal law, torts, and international and comparative criminal law. He also serves a director and shareholder of Ryan Whaley Coldiron Jantzen Peters & Webber PLLC, concentrating on criminal and complex civil law matters. Special thanks to The Hague University of Applied Sciences, which organized the conference “Africans and Hague Justice,” where this paper was originally presented.
Article

Access_open “Can These Dry Bones Live?”

In Search of a Lasting Therapy for AU and ICC Toxic Relationship

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 0 2014
Keywords Criminal accountability, acta sunt servanda, Conflicts, Arrest warrant, Official immunity
Authors Nsongurua J. Udombana
AbstractAuthor's information

    The competing visions of international criminal justice between the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the African Union (AU) reached a climax with the recent adoption of the AU Protocol enlarging the mandate of the African Court of Justice and Human and Peoples’ Rights to cover criminal jurisdiction. The Protocol, inter alia, grants immunity to state officials for atrocious crimes, which clearly conflicts with the ICC Statute’s normative framework. This dialectic is bound to deepen an already toxic relationship between the two international players. This article calls for practical reasonableness by all stakeholders in order to revive the diminishing effort at advancing international criminal justice in Africa.


Nsongurua J. Udombana
2014: LLM, LLD; of the Nigerian Bar; Professor of International Law, Babcock University, Nigeria; udombana@hotmail.com.
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