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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.

    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

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.
Article

The Role of Non-Governmental Organizations in Advancing International Criminal Justice

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 1 2015
Keywords Non-governmental organizations, NGOs and international criminal justice, civil society and human rights, non-state actors in international law
Authors Charles Chernor Jalloh
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article examines the role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in advancing international criminal justice. I argue that NGOs have had considerable impact by contributing, among other things, to the global struggle against impunity through advocacy for the creation of more robust institutional mechanisms to prosecute those who perpetrate such crimes. This ranges from supporting the processes that led to the creation of several ad hoc international tribunals for Yugoslavia, Rwanda and Sierra Leone, all the way through to their support for the establishment of an independent permanent international penal court based in The Hague. The crux of my claim is that a historically sensitive approach to evaluating the role of NGOs in international governance shows that these entities are not only willing, but also capable of enhancing the protection of human rights and international criminal justice especially but not exclusively in less developed regions of the world.


Charles Chernor Jalloh
Associate Professor, Florida International University, College of Law, Miami, USA. Email: jallohc@gmail.com.
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