Immunities

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Germany and International Criminal Law: Reflections in Light of Current Developments

In its comments of November 2023, Germany informed the International Law Commission of its view that the non-applicability of functional immunity in international criminal law stricto sensu is an emerging rule of customary international law. In a judgment of 2021, Germany’s Federal Court of Justice had, however, found that functional immunity is inapplicable as a matter of existing customary international law in international criminal law stricto sensu ‘at least’ in cases against subordinate State officials. The essay explains the background to this noteworthy touch of German Janus-facedness on a fundamentally important issue of international law and it also situates the November 2023 comments of the German Government in the context of the latter’s current approach to the prosecution of crimes of aggression against Ukraine. From this, a shift in emphasis in Germany’s policy on international criminal law stricto sensu compared with the approach taken during the negotiations on the Statute of the International Criminal Court and with the principles underlying the German Code of Crimes Against International Law becomes apparent.   The…

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Past Time to Liquidate Russian Assets

This piece is cross-posted on Just Security. Two long years ago, Russia launched its brutal campaign of aggression and atrocity against Ukraine. That full-scale invasion has now killed more than 30,000 Ukrainians, displaced more than 10 million, and destroyed more than $400 billion of civilian property…

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Personal Immunities Redux before A Special Tribunal for Prosecuting Russian Crimes of Aggression: Resistance is Futile!

Since the Russian Federation renewed its aggression against Ukraine with a full-scale invasion in 2022, the world has been abuzz with initiatives and proposals to create a special tribunal for prosecuting Russian political and military leaders for committing the crime of aggression (see for instance Open Society Justice Initiative, the European Parliament,…

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