International Criminal Law

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Ecocide: an Ambiguous Crime?

One year ago, a panel of legal experts convened by the Stop Ecocide International Foundation (Expert Panel) proposed that the Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) be amended to expand the ICC’s jurisdiction to include ecocide. To effect this change, the Expert Panel drew up the following definition of the crime of ecocide: ‘unlawful or wanton acts committed with knowledge that there is a substantial likelihood of severe and either widespread or long-term damage to the environment being caused by those acts.’ According to this definition, conduct must meet two thresholds to qualify as ecocide. First, the conduct must be committed with knowledge of a substantial likelihood of serious damage. Second, it must either be unlawful in domestic or international law or wanton, meaning that it must committed ‘with reckless disregard for damage which would be clearly excessive in relation to the social and economic benefits anticipated.’ In this post, I intend to show that the drafting of this definition, which intimately connects ecocide to aspects of both International…

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Prosecuting war crimes: are Ukrainian courts fit to do it?

 Only three months after Russia’s full-scale invasion, Ukrainian courts delivered the first convictions for war crimes committed by Russian soldiers in Ukraine since February 2022. In May, a Russian soldier was sentenced to life imprisonment for killing a civilian in Sumy Region. The conviction of two more soldiers of indiscriminate attacks on…

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If Ukraine’s Fate Is not a Menu à La Carte, then Ukrainian Voices Must Be Heard

Russian President Putin’s announcement of the “special military operation” against my native Ukraine coincided with my reading of Soviet Judgment at Nuremberg by Francine Hirsch. And while some are still wondering how Russia is so blatantly abusing the legal regime prohibiting the use of force, which the Soviet Union helped establish, Ukrainians have hardly been caught…

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Russia’s Aggression against Ukraine and the Idealised Symbolism of Nuremberg

The Nuremberg International Military Tribunal (IMT) has a very strong symbolic standing for all post-Soviet nations and especially for Russia. Nuances, complexities and shortcomings are inherent to the IMT legacy. However, in Ukraine, Russia and the wider region, a Nuremberg reference will almost always have the connotation of paramount justice and the victory of the ultimate good…

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The Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty for Core Crimes: Filling the Gap?

Since 2011, work has been underway in the Mutual Legal Assistance Initiative (MLAI) to create a modern, procedural, multilateral treaty on mutual legal assistance and extradition, which better facilitates cooperation between states in the prosecution of international crimes. However, recent drafts of the Convention on International Cooperation in the Investigation and Prosecution of the Crime of…

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