Current Developments

Time for an Islamic legal scholar at the ICC?

On the International Criminal Court’s lack of Islamic law representation

2020 will be a busy year for the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) Assembly of State Parties (ASP) as three elections are coming up in December: The elections of six judges, one prosecutor and six members of the Committee on Budget and Finance. The ASP should take this opportunity to bring an Islamic legal scholar, a Faqih, to the Court. The Court is an international court. It should therefore represent the …

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Current Developments

“Play it once, Sam. For old times’ sake”

Legal fragmentation in the context of the Rohingya proceedings before the ICJ and ICC

The parallelism of different international proceedings examining atrocity crimes committed against the Rohingya in Myanmar has been welcomed by many commentators. Indeed, international law (IL) appears to be showing its strength, pursuing individual as well as state responsibility for the repelling wrongdoings committed against the Muslim group of Rakhine State. Nonetheless, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and the International Criminal Court (ICC) simultaneously dealing with legal questions embedded in …

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Current Developments

A puzzle coming together

The henchmen of Assad’s torture regime on trial in Germany

Today marks a historical event in international criminal justice. Two former members of the Syrian General Intelligence Service will stand trial before the Oberlandesgericht Koblenz (Higher Regional Court). It is the first time that former members of the Assad regime will be held responsible for state-run torture before a criminal court. While the German coverage of the trial is quite extensive (see the excellent editorial in Süddeutsche Zeitung, episode 8 …

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Current Developments

A missed opportunity at the ICC

How (not) to use the VCLT to give meaning to the ‘interests of justice’

On 5th March 2020, the Appeals Chamber (AC) of the International Criminal Court (ICC) unanimously authorized the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) to commence an investigation into the situation in Afghanistan. This decision reversed the controversial Pre-Trial Chamber (PTC) decision which, citing the ‘interests of justice’ (IoJ) clause, had refused to authorize the investigation requested by the OTP. However, the ACs decision failed to shed any light on the problematic reading of the …

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Current Developments

Afghanistan finally open for investigations

ICC Prosecutor succeeds before the Appeals Chamber

About 14 years after the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) started first examinations into the situation of Afghanistan, the ICC Appeals Chamber finally authorized investigations in March 2020. The situation relates to alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Afghanistan by US armed forces, the CIA, Afghan forces and the Taliban since 1 May 2003. With this decision, the Appeals Chamber amended the April 2019 decision …

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Current DevelopmentsResponse

Staat oder kein Staat, das ist hier die (einzige) Frage

Zur Debatte um die Staatlichkeit Palästinas als Voraussetzung der Jurisdiktion des Internationalen Strafgerichtshofs

In dem hier kürzlich erschienenen Blogpost „Deutschland als amicus curiae – Zur Debatte um die Staatlichkeit Palästinas als Voraussetzung der Jurisdiktion des Internationalen Strafgerichtshofs“ kritisiert Özgen Özdemir Deutschlands Rechtsauffassung, wonach mangels Staatlichkeit Palästinas keine Gerichtsbarkeit des IStGH besteht. Die geäußerte Kritik geht allerdings von rechtlich fehlerhaften Annahmen aus, welche im Folgenden aufgezeigt und thematisiert werden sollen. Zutreffend ist, dass die Jurisdiktionsgewalt des IStGH über die „besetzten palästinensischen Gebiete, einschließlich Ostjerusalem“ …

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Current Developments

Justice for the Rohingya: three roads to accountability

The past week (11-15 November 2019) has seen Myanmar facing an arsenal of legal challenges for alleged international crimes before the International Criminal Court (ICC), International Court of Justice (ICJ) and the federal court in Argentina. After decades of documented (gross) human rights violations against the Rohingya, efforts to secure accountability has gained momentum following multiple allegations of crimes against humanity and genocide by various United Nations (UN) investigative efforts, …

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Current Developments

Repatriated to “Prison”

Landgrabbing as a tool of segregation in Myanmar

The Rohingya, a religious and ethnic minority in Myanmar, have been systematically persecuted and discriminated against for decades. The government and the military (“Tatmadaw”) enforced various measures against the Rohingya, such as forced labor, denial of education and basic healthcare, and extreme restriction on traveling, and have made parts of Rakhine State an “open-air prison” for many Rohingya. The Tatmadaw’s repeated rounds of gruesome violence against them significantly exacerbated the …

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Cynical International LawSymposium

Cynicism? Yes, please!

Embracing cynicism at the International Criminal Court

Debates surrounding cynicism in international law have an inherently negative focus. But why not try to take something positive-constructive out of the cynicism an institution is experiencing? Since there are few institutions, which are currently facing more cynical backlash than the International Criminal Court (ICC/Court), this piece will take a look at the reasons and at the question how cynicism manifests itself in the context of the Court and how …

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Current Developments

Strafverfolgung ohne Jurisdiktion?

Das Legitimitätsdilemma des IStGH angesichts der Rohingya-Ermittlungen

Die Chef-Anklägerin des Internationalen Strafgerichtshofs (IStGH) sorgte mit ihrem neusten Antrag vergangene Woche für einigen Wirbel. Am letzten Donnerstag ersuchte Fatou Bensouda die Vorverfahrenskammer um Erlaubnis, mit ihren Ermittlungen um die Geschehnisse in Bangladesch/Myanmar im Jahr 2017 fortfahren zu dürfen. Damit befindet sich der Fall nun in jener Phase, an der die gerichtliche Aufarbeitung der Situation in Afghanistan im April scheiterte, nachdem sich der IStGH in seinem wegweisenden Beschluss gegen die …

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