The International Criminal Court in Hague

ICC Appeals Chamber judgments in the Ntaganda and Gbagbo/Blé Goudé cases

During the last week of March, the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued two judgments, first on March 30 in the Ntaganda case and then a day later in the Gbagbo/Blé Goudé case. In both instances majorities of the Appeals Chamber upheld the judgments of the Trial Chambers (which have been discussed in this Journal and which have already been subject to commentary).
Justice over the coronavirus and human rights

Human Rights Approaches to Covid-19: Opening Remarks to a Canadian Law School Conference

On February 24, 2020 Pearl Eliadis, a Montreal-based human rights lawyer, delivered the opening address to “Human Rights in Pandemic Times: A Canadian Law School Conference.” Ms. Eliadis serves as Full Member of the McGill Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism and as Adjunct Professor at McGill’s Faculty of Law.
AS 90 Self Propelled Howitzer Gun amongst trees whilst on maneuvers

The Crime of Aggression and Pre-Emptory Self-Defence

On July 17, 2018, the Assembly of States Parties to the International Criminal Court activated the International Criminal Court (“ICC”)’s jurisdiction over the crime of aggression. As of January 2021, forty-one states have ratified the amendment to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (“Rome Statute”) giving the ICC jurisdiction over those states for the crime of aggression. Although the ICC has not yet charged anyone with aggression, the ICC will eventually have a case concerning aggression before it.
Two puzzle pieces with the flags of USA and Canada

Canada’s Obsession with Shutting Down the 49th Parallel to Refugees

This month’s Federal Court of Appeal ruling, reversing a July 2020 Federal Court judgement that had found that the Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA) between Canada and the United States violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, is the latest chapter in a determined Canadian government effort going back nearly three decades to shut the Canada/US border down to refugees.
Destroying the Caroline book cover

Book Review: “Destroying the Caroline: The Frontier Raid That Reshaped the Right to War”, by Craig Forcese, May 2018, Irwin Law

In the last 18 months, U.S. rhetoric in justifying different military strikes abroad included “imminent and sinister attacks,” “imminent threat,” “American lives at risk,” and “ongoing threats, “proportionate military response,” and an “act to protect American and Coalition personnel.” Letters to Congress and to the United Nations justifying the strikes included phrases such as “action in response to an escalating series of attacks”; “deter…further attacks”, “to protect and defend our [US] personnel and our [US] partners against these attacks and future such attacks [sic]”; and “necessary and proportionate action.”

UJAR 2021: The impact of coronavirus on universal jurisdiction

The year 2020 will remain in memories, by and large, as a period unlike any other. The covid-19 pandemic has turned around countless lives, and continues to do so as we write these lines. State institutions worldwide, including judicial bodies, have had to drastically change their functioning and priorities. With so many activities coming to a brutal halt, have cases related to universal jurisdiction also stalled? Luckily, far from it.
A rally in front of the Paliament

Call It Like It Is: The Genocide in Xinjiang

This article explores China’s treatment of its Uyghur minority population in Xinjiang. It relies on news reports from recognized news agencies as well as a recent report by the Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy and the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights (Newlines Report), which is based on public and leaked government communications, eyewitness testimony, and open-source research methods. These sources are assumed to be generally accurate in order to explore the international legal implications.
The International Criminal Court entrance sign at the ICC building

Negotiated Justice in the ICC: Following the Al Mahdi case, a Proposal to Enforce the Rights of the Accused

The International Criminal Court (ICC), with the case of Mr Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi (“Al Mahdi case”), faced negotiated justice for the first time in its history. In this article I will be proposing amendments to the Rome Statute (“Statute”), to the Rules of Procedure and Evidence (“Rules”) and to the Regulations of the Court (“Regulations”). This proposal is based on the issues arising out of the Al Mahdi Judgment.
Qatar United Arab Emirates Puzzle

A Narrowed Scope of “National Origin” Discrimination under CERD by the International Court of Justice

On February 4, 2021, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in a rare case on discrimination in international human rights law, decided to narrow the protection provided by the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) by formally characterizing a complex claim of racial discrimination made on the ground of national origin as one based on “current nationality” and not “national origin”.
Thousands of Hong Kongers held vigils

Hong Kong’s Struggle for Liberation and Democracy

“Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of Our Times”. The use of this slogan frequently employed during protests as a call for Hong Kong’s independence is now considered to constitute the criminal offence of “secession” under the National Security Law (NSL). This law came into force by way of executive promulgation in China, essentially by-passing approval through the Hong Kong legislature and escaping public scrutiny.
Book cover Robinson

An Interview with Darryl Robinson on “Justice in Extreme Cases: Criminal Law Theory Meets International Criminal Law”

An Interview with Darryl Robinson on “Justice in Extreme Cases: Criminal Law Theory Meets International Criminal Law” One of our editors, Joseph Rikhof, posed questions to Professor Darryl Robinson of Queen’s University about his new book.
The International Criminal Court in Hague

Dominic Ongwen convicted by the International Criminal Court

On February 4, 2021, the trial chamber issued its judgment in the Dominic Ongwen case, a senior commander in the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) under Joseph Kony. In a very lengthy judgment (1077 pages and 3116 paragraphs), he was convicted of 61 of the original 70 charges related to war crimes and crimes against humanity. (paragraph 3116) The trial chamber also issued an order setting the hearing dates for sentencing for the week of April 12-16, 2021.
Illustration of a conflict concept between Georgia and Russia

Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights In the case of Georgia vs. Russia

On 21 January 2021, the European Court of Human Rights delivered a judgment in the case of Georgia vs. Russia. Georgia had lodged an application in the context of the armed conflict that occurred between Georgia and the Russian Federation in August 2008. It thus took the Court 12 years to come to a judgment – another example of the excessive length of proceedings before the Court.
Silhouettes of refugees people

The “Unknown” Child – Zhao V. The Netherlands Brings to Light Problems with Statelessness Procedures

Denny Zhao v. Netherlands – a December 2020 decision of the UN Human Rights Committee - is being lauded as a significant advance towards ending childhood statelessness. The case reflects the strategic efforts of various advocates following a 2011 UNHCR report which revealed that 83,000 people in the Netherlands were registered as having an ‘unknown nationality’, a designation which left them in an ongoing state of limbo.
Hassan Diab

The Hassan Diab Case: Injustice expands, need for redress and reform deepens

It is the latest outlandish development in a thirteen-year saga of injustice and utter disregard for key human rights norms that has been Kafkaesque at every turn. In a crushing decision that defies fundamental precepts of justice, and in the face of not even a scintilla of credible and reliable evidence, a French appeal court ruled on January 27 that Canadian citizen Hassan Diab should indeed face trial on charges related to a harrowing synagogue bombing in Paris four decades ago. What happens next is not yet clear.
EOD officials are investigating evidence

The “Accountability Turn” in the Global Struggle Against Impunity: What Does this Mean for Canada?

Researchers at University of Oxford are conducting a study to determine whether some form of permanent investigative mechanism should be created to support investigations of international criminal law offenses or “core crimes” (crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide).
International Court of Justice Building in Netherlands

Important développement dans l’affaire dite « des biens mal acquis » : Arrêt de la Cour internationale de Justice dans Guinée équatoriale c. France

Le 11 décembre 2020, la Cour internationale de Justice (ci après « la CIJ » ou « la Cour ») a rendu son arrêt dans l’affaire Immunités et procédures pénales (Guinée équatoriale c. France) introduite le 13 juin 2016.