Posts Tagged International Criminal Justice

ICC Prosecutor’s Press Conference on Kenya – Live Webcast

For those who are looking for it, the link to watch the ICC Prosecutor’s Press Conference regarding the investigations and prosecutions in the situation in Kenya is the following:

The ICC website seems to be down at the moment of writing, but hopefully they’ll get it fixed within the 8 next minutes.

UPDATE: The ICC website is still down, but the livestream is alive and kicking.

UPDATE II: At 12.34 CET, the conference is now over.

UPDATE III: For those who missed the Conference but wish to listen to it nonetheless, RNW has made it available at the following address:


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The Bemba Trial: Ersatz Justice?

This is a guest post by my good friend and journalist Mélanie Gouby, who is currently in the Kivus, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Being aware of her views on the Bemba Trial, I asked her if she would be willing to write a guest post for The International Jurist to share them and perhaps begin a discussion on the latest ICC trial. She readily accepted, and made time in what I know to be a very busy schedule to write the post in the briefest delays, for which I am very grateful.

You can read more of Mélanie Gouby’s work on her blog, Going with the Wind (Facebook page here), recently nominated in the Best New Blog category for the 2010 Aid Blog Awards. You can also follow her on Twitter @Melaniegouby.

Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo at the ICC


The scales of the atrocities committed in central Africa over the last two decades is unmatched by any other conflict since World War Two, if only in the number of deaths. The Democratic Republic of Congo in particular has seen millions of people being massacred, raped, maimed, dying of diseases in insalubrious refugees camps and losing everything that made them human beings. Congo is an ongoing genocide. The reasons to the never-ending violence, devastating in a country already striped to the bones, are numerous. From the conveniently illegal mineral trade to the political factions trying to get their share of power, there is not one solution to end it. But there is one demand that unite all Congolese people: Justice. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Economist on International Justice and Where It Stands

The Economist, one of my favorite sources for news and analysis, has a great piece on international justice in this week’s edition, that offers a very much on-the-spot assessment on the status of international criminal justice and the challenges ahead.

Although the article starts by explaining that international criminal justice, whether through the International Criminal Court or through the ad hoc tribunals (ICTY or ICTR), has never been busier than recently, it puts forward several arguments that I think are worth going over.

From The Economist Website

Read the rest of this entry »

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Shedding Light on Tensions Between the African Union and the ICC

The current tensions between the African Union and the International Criminal Court are often the object of international criminal lawyers’ discussions, and are particularly seized upon by skeptics and critics of the Court. For the Court and its supporters however, it has also been the subject of much reflection and concern, and this up to the highest levels (see ICC President Song’s opening remarks at the ICC-NGO biannual meetings a few weeks ago). Tensions and frustrations are flaring, and there seems to be no end to the standoff between the UN Security Council and the ICC on one side, and the African Union and Sudan on the other.

In the midst of these frictions that clearly threaten the ICC’s credibility in Africa, the Institute for Security Studies published last week an excellent Position Paper titled “An African expert study on the African Union concerns about article 16 of the Rome Statute of the ICC”, written by three African international law experts, namely Dapo Akande, Max du Plessis and Charles Chernor Jalloh.

As the title very clearly suggests, the authors give a very detailed analysis of the African Union’s position towards article 16 of the Rome Statute, in particular as it relates to the current tensions arising from the ICC’s involvement in Darfur.

Before giving some of my personal thoughts on the study’s findings, I first have to say that this report is brilliant and enlightening. It takes a very clear and rigorous approach to the raised questions on the role article 16 has to play, and makes the case for the African Union’s position without falling into the usual anti-West postcolonial political rhetoric that I find too often pollutes the debate and makes the real legal case inaudible. Although some would say there’s nothing new in the study for anyone who has followed AU-ICC relations closely, I still find that it puts a fresh perspective and offers a coherent analysis that puts the difference pieces of the puzzle in order.

I would recommend the reading of this report to anyone interested in understanding the state of ICC-AU relations, and more specifically, the legal aspects of the AU’s position towards the ICC.

I won’t summarize and go over the entire report, but briefly mention three main ideas that I think structure the paper and that particularly shed light on the ongoing conflict: Read the rest of this entry »

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The al-Bashir in Kenya Saga Continues

Sudanese President al-Bashir present in Nairobi on August 27, 2010 for the promulgation of Kenya’s new constitution (photo by AFP)

The International Criminal Court, in a press release published today, announced that Pre-Trial Chamber I (PTC I) rendered a decision in which it requested that Kenya informs the Chamber by the 29 October about “any problem which would impede or prevent the arrest of Omar al-Bashir in the event that he visits their country on 30 October 2010.”

There has been rumors of late about a potential visit by the President of Sudan, subject to two different arrest warrants issued by the ICC for having allegedly committed war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Darfur, to Kenya again in order to attend an Inter-governmental Authority for Development (IGAD) summit on Sudan, which is supposed to take place on 30 October.

The Court, which was taken by surprise and humiliated in consequence when Bashir was allowed by the Kenyan authorities to visit the country at the end of August 2010 without being arrested – despite the fact that Kenya is a State Party to the Rome Statute (and a situation country to boot) – appears this time to take all necessary precautions to make sure that the same problem does not happen twice. Read the rest of this entry »

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When International Justice Meets “Foreign” Cultures (Part II) – “Fact-finding Without Facts” by Professor Nancy Combs


The Conference at the T.M. C. Asser Institute, in The Hague

Part II of my posts on the difficulties raised when international justice encounters “foreign” cultures (see Part I here) – or to be more exact, cultures and cultural paradigms it is not familiar with – is due to the fascinating conference I attended this evening at the T.M. C. Asser Institute as part of their Supranational Criminal Law Lectures series, which featured Professor Nancy Combs of William & Mary Law School.

The conference was about Professor Combs’ latest book, titled rather provocatively “Fact-finding Without Facts: The Uncertain Evidentiary Foundations of International Criminal Convictions” (Amazon link here, Professor Combs’ presentation of the book over at the IntlLawGrrls blog here). So it was an exercise in self-promotion, but it was so fascinating, Professor Combs’ work is so original and well thought-out, and she is such a great speaker, that I can only forgive her. Besides, everyone’s got to make a living, even academics. And it’s such a pleasure to finally put a face on the articles I’ve read by Professor Combs during my LLM. So yes, I’m quite under the charm.

This post gathers a recollection of what I heard tonight, with the help of my notes. It’s a mix of what Professor Combs said, more or less paraphrased, and even extrapolated at times as I insert some of my own thoughts. I do not speak for Nancy Combs – and be warned that I might have gotten something wrong, or interpreted her words in a subjective and/or incorrect manner. In any case, do not challenge me on what Professor Combs might have said – and if in doubt, I can only recommend that you check out her book. I certainly will.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Good News in the Lubanga Trial: Appeals Decision to be Delivered Next Week

Good news just arrived from the International Criminal Court a few hours ago: the Appeals Chamber is to render its decision in the Lubanga Case next week, on Friday 8 October.

From the ICC’s website:

The Appeals Chamber will deliver its Judgments in the Lubanga case on Friday, 8 October

On Friday, 8 October, 2010, the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is scheduled to deliver its Judgments on the Prosecutor’s appeals against Trial Chamber I’s decisions to stay proceedings in the case The Prosecutor v. Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, and to release the accused.

The Judgments will be delivered in open court, starting at 2:30 p.m. (The Hague local time). The session will be transmitted with no delay via web streaming on the ICC website:
Courtroom I (English):
Courtroom I (French):
On 8 July, 2010, Trial Chamber I of the ICC ordered to stay the proceedings in the case against Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, considering that the fair trial of the accused is no longer possible due to non-implementation of the Chamber’s orders by the Prosecution. The judges had ordered the Office of the Prosecutor to confidentially disclose to the Defence the names and other necessary identifying information, of intermediary 143. Following the decision to stay the proceedings, Trial Chamber I ordered, on 15 July, the release of the accused. According to the judges, an accused cannot be held in preventative custody on a speculative basis, namely that at some stage in the future, the proceedings may be resurrected. The ICC Prosecutor submitted two appeals against these decisions. On 23 July, the Appeals Chamber gave suspensive effect to the Prosecutor’s appeal against the decision to release the accused.

For those who missed what that decision is all about, check my previous post on the Lubanga trial here. I’m looking forward to what the Appeals Chamber will say on this, and the oh-so-suspenseful question: will they release him? The vast majority of people I’ve talked to doubts it, but we’ll only be sure next week.

For professional reasons (not that I mind – far from it), I’ll be attending the hearing live next Friday. So you’ll be reading more about this then…

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An Intolerable Affront

Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir in Nairobi today, photo by AFP

Cate and I have been monitoring this since the news that Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir would be visiting Kenya today broke yesterday evening (Central European Time), and have been tweeting about it since (follow us @cminall and @xrauscher_, respectively), but I was holding out to see what was going to happen today, and notably what the Court’s reaction would be, before posting. Now that the day is coming to an end, and the Court has reacted, I have no more reasons to wait.

As you may or you may not yet know, Sudanese President Al-Bashir made a surprise visit to Kenya today as Kenya celebrated the signing into law of its new Constitution, and was able to enter and leave the country untouched. Omar Al-Bashir is indicted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity since March 2009, and for genocide – the crime of crimes – since last July.

By inviting him into the country and not arresting him, Kenya failed to meet its international obligations, and this on two different planes:

First of all, the situation in Sudan was referred to the International Criminal Court by the United Nations Security Council. In its Resolution 1593 referring the situation in Sudan to the ICC, the Security Council, at §2,

recognizing that States not party to the Rome Statute have no obligation under the Statute, urges all States and concerned regional and other international organizations to cooperate fully;

It could be very well interpreted that Kenya is in breach with its obligations as a UN member. However, some could argue that the use of the word “urge”, preceded with the “recognizing that States not party to the Rome Statute have no obligation…” (thank you John Bolton for that one), makes it non-binding. Read the rest of this entry »

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The David Bosco v. Julian Ku Debate on the ICC, and I’m disagreeing with both

The International Criminal Court, photo from the Coalition for the ICC's website

Not that I want to do another blog review so soon, but a recent exchange between Opinio Juris‘ Julian Ku and Foreign Policy The Multilateralist‘s David Bosco on the International Criminal Court has caught my attention. It’s an interesting exchange between someone with a very American and conservative view on the ICC (Julian Ku), and another who’s closer to the center and apparently slightly more favorable – or perhaps “less unfavorable” being a more appropriate expression – to the Court (David Bosco).

You would probably think that I’d take Bosco’s side on this debate, and I wish I were, but – at the risk of not making many friends – I’m going to take neither.

My opposition to Julian Ku is clear, and is one I’m comfortable with. From what I’ve been reading, Julian Ku belongs to the American school of thought that considers the ICC to be a threat to American interests, that the adoption by the Assembly of States Parties at Kampala in June of a definition (PDF) for the Crime of Aggression (Article 5(1)(d) of the Rome Statute – PDF) is a failure for US diplomacy, and that US cooperation with the ICC will lead to nowhere. Read the rest of this entry »

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Communiqué: The International Jurist Wishes To Congratulate St Lucia For Ratifying The Rome Statute

Xavier: I’d like to welcome our newest team member, Cate Minall. This is her first post, and hopefully the first of many. Cate, welcome to The International Jurist.

On 18 August 2010, the Eastern Caribbean state of St. Lucia deposited its instrument of ratification of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) at the UN Headquarters, becoming the 113th State Party to the ICC Treaty.

The Court welcomed this decision, calling it “a new sign of the international community’s commitment to put an end to impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes that deeply shock the conscience of humanity.”

According to the Coalition for the International Criminal Court, Caribbean states played a key role in the creation and establishment of the ICC, and Catherine Ashton, the EU’s High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy noted that St. Lucia’s ratification was the third this year. She stated, “A steady increase in the number of ratifications demonstrates that the Court is a reality, which everybody must recognize.”

The International Jurist congratulates St. Lucia for showing true commitment to international justice, and welcomes them to the growing community of states around the world that are working to end impunity.

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