International Criminal Law

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ICC Starts Next Chapter in Colombia, But Will It Lead to Justice?

On October 28, the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor, Karim Khan, on a visit to Bogota, announced that his office is closing down its preliminary examination in the country. The decision was cast as heralding a new chapter in the ICC’s support for national justice. But given the fragile transitional justice system in Colombia, the ICC’s decision to step back now raises concerns that it could undermine victims’ access to justice. Colombia has endured over 50 years of armed conflict between government forces and non-state armed groups. Military personnel and other state agents, paramilitary groups, and guerrillas—notably the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN)—have committed thousands of grave international crimes. In 2016, as part of their peace negotiations, the Colombian government and the FARC reached an Agreement on the Victims of the Conflict as part of their peace talks. Among other measures, the agreement provided for a “Special Jurisdiction for Peace” to investigate and prosecute international crimes and other human rights violations committed in the context of…

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The Principle of Legality in the ICC’s Appeals Judgment on Abd-Al-Rahman’s Jurisdictional Challenge: A Follow-up on Merits and Shortcomings

The recent judgment of the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC, the Court) in the case of Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-Al-Rahman (“Ali Kushayb”) has already given rise to heated academic commentary and critique (see here and here). As readers may recall from previous posts on this blog, this was a judgment on an…

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The ICC Appeals Judgment on Abd-Al-Rahman Jurisdictional Challenge: A Foreseeable Turn to Substantive Justice?

On 1 November 2021, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued its Appeals Judgment on Abd-Al-Rahman Jurisdictional Challenge which could have been the ICC’s own Tadic Interlocutory Appeal on Jurisdiction. In addition to challenging the legality of Security Council (SC) Resolution 1593, the Defence claimed the ICC was prevented from exercising its subject matter jurisdiction over crimes…

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UN Security Council Referrals to the ICC and the Principle of Legality

Introduction On 1 November 2021, the Appeals Chamber (AC) of the International Criminal Court (ICC) rendered an interesting judgment relating to a jurisdictional challenge brought by the Defence in the case of Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-Al-Rhaman (“Ali Kushayb”). The challenge is noteworthy because it confronted the Court with novel issues of law relating to the…

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The return of “positive complementarity”

The (new) Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Karim A. A. Khan Q.C., on 28 October announced the closure of the preliminary examination of the Situation in Colombia after well-nigh two decades (exactly 17 years without opening a formal investigation, let alone filing charges). However, the announcement comes with an unprecedented quid pro quo…

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