Artwork entitled “Rwanda Genocide Court Jails Former Ministers / Body Boxes”

La justice pénale internationale : des petits pas géants

Il arrive que nous naviguions dans le monde juridique en tant qu’acteur sans réellement comprendre l’impact que nous pouvons avoir. Il arrive que nous poursuivions des études juridiques, voire une carrière juridique, sans réellement créer de lien entre le domaine légal et notre vécu. Il arrive qu’un domaine du droit nous semble si complet et complexe que nous ne cherchons pas à en explorer l’entièreté. Quelquefois, il en va autrement. Il arrive que nous trouvions un domaine du droit qui donne une signification à tout notre vécu. Il arrive que nous découvrions une sphère du droit dont les facettes, tant positives que négatives, deviennent une réelle inspiration. Il arrive que nous découvrions un monde qui, loin d’être parfait, nous donne envie de contribuer non seulement à sa préservation mais aussi à son développement. Pour moi, le deuxième scénario a commencé dans une expérience de bénévolat.
Road sign to Bisha offices

Case Comment: Forum non Conveniens and Liability for Alleged Human Rights Violations – The Nevsun Resources Ltd. Case

In October 2016, the Supreme Court of British Columbia decided to exercise its jurisdiction to hear claims resulting from alleged human rights violations and civil torts in the case of Araya v. Nevsun Resources Ltd. The Nevsun proceeding had commenced in 2014 on the issue of whether foreign plaintiffs can sue in a Canadian court for violations they allegedly suffered in Eritrea. The case is significant in part because the civil lawsuit is among the first human rights cases in Canada to assert claims based directly on international law prohibitions against forced labour, slavery, torture and crimes against humanity and because of the implications for Canadian companies doing business in developing countries where the rule of law is fragile or nonexistent.
Anti mining sticker in town hall– Guatemala

Case Comment: Transnational Law and Canadian Courts – The Issue of Forum non Conveniens

Canadian extractive corporations do business around the world. Sometimes protest and conflict surround their activities or labour might be procured in less than humane ways and locals become victims. Can relief be sought where the parent corporation resides in Canada for what might amount to breaches of human rights norms?
President Jacob Zuma addresses at Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg

Analysis: South African Executive Cannot Unilaterally Withdraw from the ICC

The High Court of South Africa recently made a declaration that a notice of withdrawal from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court filed by the executive of the South African government without prior Parliamentary approval was unconstitutional and ordered it withdrawn. The central question for the Court was one of domestic separation of powers under the Constitution of South Africa. Did the executive’s power to negotiate and sign treaties under s. 231 of the Constitution impliedly give it the power to unilaterally withdraw after Parliament (the legislative authority under s. 42 of the Constitution) had ratified and implemented the treaty?
Kids' graffiti on the concrete walls of the UNKIK HQ in Pristina

Analysis: Flexibility in Transitional Justice

From the declaration of independence of Kosovo in 2008, Kosovars have treated the “four pillars of transitional justice” – truth, prosecutions/criminal justice, reparations and institutional reforms – as though they were the four simple goals for achieving transitional justice through societal changes and development. However, as so often happens, context requires flexibility. David Tolbert noted the pillars can be applied too formulaically. Consequently, “…in the hands of some the four pillars approach has become a kind of “check the box” approach that is formulaic or ‘paint by numbers’ in nature”, whereas transitional justice is anything but formulaic — it needs to be responsive to the local conditions and situations.” Transitions from war to peace are driven by what Tolbert referred to as ‘active social forces’, which include not only civil society as usually conceived as including victims’ groups and human rights activists, but also unions, religious groups, and other interested social groups.