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Article

Time to Deliver

Defining a Process Towards the Negotiation of a Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against Humanity

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 2 2020
Keywords Sixth Committee, International Law Commission, intergovernmental negotiations, multilateral treaties, treaty-making process
Authors Pablo Arrocha Olabuenaga
AbstractAuthor's information

    In 2019, the International Law Commission (ILC) adopted its articles on the prevention and punishment of crimes against humanity and referred them to the UN General Assembly with the recommendation of adopting a multilateral treaty based on them. The General Assembly’s Sixth Committee was unable to take a decision on this matter and deferred its consideration to 2020. This article focuses on how, in resuming its discussion, the Sixth Committee will have a unique opportunity to define the process towards intergovernmental negotiations. This will close a gap in international criminal law, while generating a new dynamic in its relationship with the ILC on codification, breaking its current cyclical inertia of inaction.


Pablo Arrocha Olabuenaga
Vice-president of the Seventy-fourth Session of the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly, Legal Adviser of the Permanent Mission of Mexico to the United Nations and personal assistant to the ILC’s Special Rapporteur for the topic ‘provisional application of treaties’, Mr. Juan Manuel Gómez-Robledo.
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

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.

    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.

    The Kenyan Situation pending before the International Criminal Court (ICC) is the first situation in which the prosecutor exercised his power to initiate cases “proprio motu” under Article 15 of the Rome Statute. In the wake of the comments from the former Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Luis Moreno-Ocampo, that there was political interference from foreign diplomats during the investigation stage of the cases, it is prudent to re-examine the standards provided under the Rome Statute regarding prosecutorial discretion and evaluate the prosecutorial power and how the Kenyan cases may shape this discretionary power in order to align it with the Preamble of the Rome Statute. The Preamble affirms that the most serious crimes of concern to the international community must not go unpunished. Further, that their effective prosecution must be ensured for the purposes of ending impunity for the perpetrators of international crimes and thus to contribute to the prevention of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and crimes of aggression.


Simeon P. Sungi
Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at the United States International University in Nairobi, Kenya. He is also an Advocate of the High Court of Tanzania and the High Court of Kenya. Dr. Sungi holds a PhD in Criminal Justice from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana; an MA in Criminology and Criminal Justice from Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Indiana; and an LLM in International Human Rights Law from Indiana University School of Law (now Robert H. McKinney School of Law) in Indianapolis, Indiana, all in the United States of America. He also holds an LL.B. Hons degree from the Open University of Tanzania. He is a former United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda staff member. The views expressed herein are his own; ssungi@alumni.iu.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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