International Criminal Law

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The ICC concludes its preliminary examination in Crimea and Donbas: What’s next for the situation in Ukraine?

Last week was eventful for the ICC despite the disruption of its work caused by the current pandemic. While everyone tuned in to the live hearings with the expanded list of candidates for the coveted position of the new ICC Prosecutor, the outgoing Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, was busy tidying up her work desk for the incoming Prosecutor by taking decisions on the fate of some key situations pending determination at the preliminary examination stage. First, she issued a statement on the conclusion of the preliminary examination of the situation in UK/Iraq, refusing to move ahead with an investigation due to the lack of evidence showing that the UK was unwilling to genuinely investigate alleged war crimes committed by its soldiers in Iraq. The OTP’s questionable complementarity assessment was discussed elsewhere. From a broader perspective, the ICC Prosecutor’s decision not to investigate may be seen by some as an attempt to steer clear of situations potentially implicating criminal responsibility of nationals of powerful states, especially in light of the lessons learnt when dealing with the situation…

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The ICC Prosecutor Releases Guidelines for Agreements Regarding Admission of Guilt

On 12 November 2020, the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) of the International Criminal Court (ICC) released its Guidelines for Agreements Regarding Admission of Guilt (the Guidelines). The document represents the most recent mile on a long and bumpy road headed towards the consolidation of negotiated justice in International Criminal Law. Since plea bargaining anywhere (but…

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Australian war crimes in Afghanistan: The Brereton Report

On Thursday 19 November Australia faced a reckoning with its recent past in Afghanistan.* Australian political culture approaches our armed forces with a great degree of deference and respect. Three of our last four Governors General have been, for example, senior military leaders. The Australian Defence Force support operations in respect of the January 2020 bushfires and the…

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One of the Most Significant Tributes that Power Has Ever Paid to Reason

On this day 75 years ago, Justice Robert Jackson (who never finished college and did only one year of law school), on leave from the US Supreme Court while he served as the Chief US Prosecutor at the International Military Tribunal, delivered his opening statement in courtroom 600 at the Nuremberg Palace of Justice: The…

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The International Criminal Court Independent Expert Review: questions of trust and tenure

I have previously written on the Independent Expert Review (IER) of the International Criminal Court and its findings on questions of governance structure and culture. In this blog post I’d like to turn to two other running themes through the report: trust and tenure.* The problem of trust My previous post noted the…

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