Collage of pictures

No Investigation in Afghanistan

On April 12, 2019, Pre-Trial Chambers II released its decision denying the request of the Prosecutor for authorization to investigate the situation in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.  The decision of the Chambers is interesting not only because it carefully sets out the criteria for authorization of an investigation, but also provides extensive reasoning for rejecting a request under article 15 of the Rome Statute in the interests of justice.
European Court of human rights


Recently, this journal discussed the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) with respect to the international crime of genocide (Regime Change May Allow Prosecution of a Former Oppressive Regime’s Enforcers for Genocide). This article will discuss seven other decisions, which address various aspects of other international crimes, namely torture, war crimes and crimes against humanity and which have resonated in decisions by the specialized institutions mandated to examine such crimes, such as the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC).
Khieu Samphan on trial

The Legality of the charges against Khmer Rouge leaders

On March 27, 2019 the Trial Chambers of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia released its long-awaited full reasons for the conviction in Trial 002/02 of Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan on November 16, 2018, who were leaders in the Khmer Rouge regime from 1975 to 1979 for crimes against humanity, war crimes, grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions and genocide.
International Criminal Court in The Hague


This article summarizes an April 5, 2019 decision of Pre-Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Prosecutor v. Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi, whereby Gaddafi challenged the admissibility of the case brought against him for crimes against humanity. 
Former KGB building in Vilnius, including names of partisans lost, author, Bernt Rostad, Oslo, no changes made to pictures Creative Commons

Regime Change May Allow Prosecution of a Former Oppressive Regime’s Enforcers for Genocide

In Drelingas v. Lithuania (Drelingas) released March 12, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), held that a former KGB officer could be convicted of genocide where he had been involved in the killing of the leader of the Lithuanian partisan movement and the deportation of the leader’s wife in 1956 when Lithuania was under Soviet rule.
Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland

International Crimes : Spotlight on Switzerland’s war crimes unit

Switzerland’s war crimes unit was set up in 2012, following a change in the law the previous year that transferred responsibility for prosecuting international crimes from military to civil judicial authorities. But seven years on, it has not brought any cases to trial, despite receiving dozens of complaints. Swiss authorities have been criticized for not giving this unit the necessary resources, and for alleged political interference in sensitive cases.
Border locked between Georgia and Russia in the Caucasus

Just Satisfaction for Individuals When States Sue Each Other for Treaty Breaches

In the recent Case of Georgia v. Russia (Georgia, 2019), the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights held that Russia had to pay to Georgia 10 million euros in respect of non-pecuniary damage suffered by a group of at least 1500 Georgians expelled from Russia contrary to the terms of the European Convention on Human Rights and Protocols(Convention), to be distributed to the individual victims, in the context of an inter-State case. In this note, I will look at how a regional international court decided that it could allocate damages for individual victims who suffered the actual fallout in a dispute between sovereign States
Universal Jurisdiction Annual Review 2019

Building on shifting sands: evidentiary challenges in universal jurisdiction cases

Mass crimes, remote locations, protection of victims and witnesses, procedural obstacles, outreach. Those are just some of the challenges inherent to universal jurisdiction cases. From gathering evidence to tracking down suspects, each step of the process is long, complex, often frustrating and sometimes downright dangerous. The legal world’s answer to those challenges? Joining forces.
Gendarme, intervention uniform of a french policman

International crimes: Spotlight on Germany’s war crimes unit

Between 2015 and 2017 Germany’s specialised unit to prosecute international crimes has received more than 4,000 tips of potential war crimes and crimes against humanity. Numerous cases are under investigation. Most of them concern crimes in Syria. In December, however, the Central Unit for the Fight against War Crimes experienced a blow in one of its major cases.
A building

Obligation de coopération et immunités dans l’affaire Al-Bashir : vers une infirmation par la Chambre d’appel ?

Le 29 mars 2018, la Chambre d’appel de la Cour pénale internationale (ci-après CPI ou Cour) a rendu une ordonnance selon la procédure d’amicus curiae prévue à la règle 103 du Règlement de procédure et de preuve pour solliciter des observations d’acteurs externes sur une question qui la préoccupe.
French war crimes unit

International crimes: spotlight on France’s war crimes unit

Universal jurisdiction, which allows a country to prosecute any person for serious crimes committed anywhere in the world, is in the frontline of some prosecution strategies, notably with regard to crimes committed in Syria. In Paris, we visited France’s specialized unit for tracking international crimes, the “Central Office to fight Crimes against Humanity, Genocide and War Crimes”.
Syrrian refugees

The Protection Nexus between Non-Penalisation and National Security Exception under the Refugee Convention

This article examines the nexus between non-penalisation of refugees who arrive at the border without proper documentation or with falsified documentation in order to gain access to asylum procedures and the national security exception. This article argues that the onus placed upon the decision-maker for determining whether a refugee would be deemed a ‘national security risk’ should be heightened so that the human rights of those suspected to be a ‘national security risk’ would not be undermined. Human rights of refugees suspected of being a ‘national security risk’ would be especially important given the detrimental effects of the removal of non-refoulement protection. Finally, it is suggested that a more onerous burden placed upon the decision-maker would also be in line with non-penalisation requirements of the Refugee Convention, given that asylum seekers should be granted the benefit of the doubt when seeking asylum from persecution, even if it involves improper or falsified travel documents.