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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

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

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

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

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

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

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.
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

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.
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