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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

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

Gender and the ILC’s 2019 Draft Articles on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against Humanity

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 2 2020
Keywords gender, crimes against humanity, international criminal law, Rome Statute
Authors Indira Rosenthal and Valerie Oosterveld
AbstractAuthor's information

    The International Law Commission’s Draft Articles on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against Humanity document is the latest international instrument to address gender-based crimes under international law and the first to do so outside the context of international courts. The elaboration of a treaty on crimes against humanity provides a critical opportunity to affirm that gender-based crimes are among the gravest crimes under international law. This article examines discussions on the meaning of the term ‘gender’ under the ILC’s Draft Articles, with reference to the discussions two decades prior on the definition of ‘gender’ in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, the basis for the Articles’ consideration of sexual and gender-based violence. It then turns to the ILC consultation process, and the 2019 discussion of the ILC’s Draft Articles in the Sixth (Legal) Committee of the United Nations General Assembly on the term ‘gender’. Additionally, it considers a number of concerns raised by States and civil society on the definition of some of the gender-based crimes included in the Draft Articles and concludes by arguing for a comprehensive gender analysis of all of the Draft Articles.


Indira Rosenthal
Indira Rosenthal, Independent Consultant, Gender, Law and Justice; PhD Candidate, Faculty of Law, University of Tasmania (Australia).

Valerie Oosterveld
Valerie Oosterveld, University of Western Ontario Faculty of Law (Canada).
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.

    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

Delimiting Deportation, Unlawful Transfer, Forcible Transfer and Forcible Displacement in International Criminal Law

A Jurisprudential History

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 1 2019
Keywords International criminal law, theory of international law, crimes against humanity, deportation, unlawful or forcible transfer
Authors Ken Roberts and James G. Stewart
AbstractAuthor's information

    The forced displacement of civilian populations is an issue of significant global concern and a subject of extensive legal debate. In international criminal law, forced displacement is criminalized by a complex network of distinct but overlapping offences. These include the Crimes Against Humanity of deportation, forcible transfer, persecution and other inhumane acts, and the grave breach of the Geneva Conventions of ‘unlawful deportation or transfer’. International courts and tribunals have been inconsistent in the adoption of these crimes in their statues and in their subsequent interpretation, making it all the more difficult to distinguish between them. The jurisprudential history of these crimes is lengthy and not without controversy, highlighted by inconsistent judicial approaches. In this article, we offer a critical jurisprudential history of these displacement crimes in international criminal law.
    In particular, we focus on the case law emanating from the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, a court that comprehensively addressed crimes associated with ethnic cleansing, a characteristic feature of that conflict, with the result that displacement was a central focus of that court. We set out our jurisprudential history in chronological order, beginning with the earliest inceptions of displacement crimes at the ICTY and then tracing their development toward the establishment of a consensus. Our hope is that the article sheds light on the development of these offences, informs future debate, and acts as a useful template for those seeking to understand how these crimes may have a role to play in future international jurisprudence.


Ken Roberts
Ken Roberts is Senior Legal Officer, International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism (Syria).

James G. Stewart
James G. Stewart is Associate Professor, Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia.
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

Le jugement de Hissène Habré

Une justice réparatrice exemplaire?

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 1-2 2017
Keywords Restorative justice / justice réparatrice, victim / victime, reparation / réparation, Trust Fund for Victims / Fonds au profit des victimes, compensation / indemnisation
Authors Etienne Kentsa
AbstractAuthor's information

    The ruling of the African Extraordinary Chamber of Appeal in the Habré case is a resounding precedent, particularly in the area of reparations for victims of serious violations of international law. This article focuses on the process of identifying victims or beneficiaries of reparations and the reasons that led judges to favor compensation as a form of reparation. Moreover, the modalities for the implementation of reparations awarded are of paramount importance since, in the absence of effective remedies, the interest of the procedure would be considerably diminished. The implementation of reparations will certainly be the ultimate battle of the victims. Funding for the Trust Fund for Victims (FPV) is still expected. The Fund is expected to play a key role in implementing reparations for victims, the final judgment in this case is already an important precedent. Not only does it contribute to the consolidation of some advances in international criminal law in the field of restorative justice, but it also symbolizes Africa’s ability to prosecute and try the most serious international crimes committed in the region.
    L’arrêt rendu par la Chambre africaine extraordinaire d’assises d’appel dans l’affaire Habré est un précédent retentissant notamment dans le domaine des réparations au profit des victimes de violations grave du droit international. En fait, la présente contribution s’attarde sur le processus d’identification des victimes ou bénéficiaires des réparations et les raisons ayant amené les juges à privilégier l’indemnisation comme forme de réparation. Par ailleurs, les modalités de mise en œuvre des réparations ordonnées sont d’une importance capitale dans la mesure où en l’absence d’effectivité des réparations allouées, l’intérêt de la procédure serait considérablement amoindri. La mise en œuvre des réparations constituera certainement l’ultime bataille des victimes. Le financement du Fonds au profit des victimes (FPV) est toujours attendu. Pourtant le Fonds est censé jouer un rôle déterminant dans la mise en œuvre des réparations allouées aux victimes. Au demeurant, l’arrêt définitif dans cette affaire constitue déjà un précédent important. Non seulement, il contribue à l’affermissement de certaines avancées du droit international pénal en matière de justice réparatrice, mais surtout symbolise la capacité de l’Afrique à poursuivre et juger les crimes internationaux les plus graves commis dans la région.


Etienne Kentsa
E. Kentsa est actuellement candidat au Doctorat en droit de l’Université de Douala, Cameroun, et assistant à l’Université de Buéa. Ses domaines de spécialité sont le droit international pénal, le droit international des droits de l’homme, le droit international humanitaire et les finances publiques.
Article

Access_open Joint Criminal Enterprise before the Chambres Africaines Extraordinaires

Hissène Habré’s Direct and Indirect Criminal Liability

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 1-2 2017
Keywords International criminal law, joint criminal enterprise, complicity, Chambres Africaines Extraordinaires / Extraordinary African Chambers, hybrid tribunals
Authors Kerstin Bree Carlson
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Chambres Africaines Extraordinaires (CAE), ad hoc chambers operating under the auspices of the Dakar municipal courts, were constructed to try Hissène Habré. In targeting Habré, the CAE was designed to appease Chadian calls for justice (from Habré’s victims, on one hand, and the Déby regime, on the other), resolve Senegal’s impasse over the legality of Habré’s culpability and allow the African Union to meet its leadership obligations. To this tall order, the CAE was required to exercise legitimate judicial authority in the contested sphere of international criminal law (ICL), where content is pluralist and political.
    This article examines the CAE’s finding of Habré’s culpability for war crimes, crimes against humanity and torture. The article shows that the CAE applied a novel construction of liability under ICL and argues that it did so in order to strengthen its authority and legitimacy. By so doing, the CAE has made a significant addition to the field of ICL. This article explores the CAE’s application of joint criminal enterprise (JCE) to consider how the internationally formulated doctrinal standard is reshaped by CAE practice.


Kerstin Bree Carlson
University of Southern Denmark and The American University of Paris.

    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.
Article

The Prosecution of Corporations before a Hybrid International Criminal Tribunal

The New TV and Akhbar Beirut Contempt Jurisdiction Decisions of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 1-2 2016
Keywords Special Tribunal for Lebanon, international criminal law, personal jurisdiction, corporate criminal liability, interpretation of Rules of Procedure and Evidence
Authors Manuel J. Ventura
AbstractAuthor's information

    This case note considers two decisions from two separate Appeals Panels of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (“STL”) which held that the STL possessed the inherent power, pursuant to its inherent jurisdiction in matters relating to contempt, to exert its ratione personae jurisdiction over legal persons – two Lebanese corporations – accused of contemptuous conduct. These decisions opened the door for the first trials of corporate defendants in the history of international criminal law. The analyses of the Appeals Panels are pertinent to unresolved debates before United States (“US”) courts on whether the US Alien Tort Statute recognizes corporate liability for violations of the law of nations; raise the issue of the proper place of the principle of legality when jurisdictional questions arise as well as the proper interpretation of the STL’s Rules of Procedure and Evidence; and also have implications for other international criminal tribunals with provisions regulating contempt of court that are similarly worded to those in place at the STL.


Manuel J. Ventura
LL.M. (Hons) (Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights). Associate Legal Officer, Chambers, Special Tribunal for Lebanon; Director, The Peace and Justice Initiative <www.peaceandjusticeinitiative.org>; Adjunct Fellow, School of Law, Western Sydney University. Email: manuel.j.ventura@gmail.com.
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