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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.
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.

    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.

    Focus on whether a criminal chamber in a reformed African Court represents progress or retrogression relative to advances made in the Rome Statute shifts attention from the similar foundation of the two courts on an epochal bifurcation between the worst human rights abuses and quotidian wrongs. This bifurcation compromises our understanding of how abuses are related, what we should do about them and how we should go about studying them. It is at the core of aspects of the International Criminal Court (ICC) that have come under severe criticism. It also imperils the criminal chamber of the nascent African Court.


Ato Kwamena Onoma
Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa.

    This article explores the politics of international criminal justice and argues that the International Criminal Court is a lieu of staged performance where actors deploy their political narratives. Using the Situation in the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire before the ICC and focusing on the pre-trial phase, I contend that the defendants Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé project a performance and deploy political narratives that are the extension of the politics of the Ivorian crisis, which make the Court the quintessential arena where domestic and international politics cohabit with law and rules of procedure.


Oumar Ba
Oumar Ba is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of Florida.
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