International Criminal Law

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Passing the Buck? The UN Security Council’s Undue Reliance on ASEAN to Defuse the Myanmar Crisis

After the UN Special Envoy's highly-charged report to the UN Security Council of "widespread, systematic attacks on civilians in Myanmar" and the continuum of unabated atrocities against peaceful protesters, children, journalists, among other unarmed victims of Myanmar's rapid descent away from democracy towards 'failed state' status, it is readily observable that the 10 March 2021 Statement by the President of the Security Council emphasized reliance on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to help engage all parties in brokering peace: “The Security Council reiterates its strong support for regional organisations, in particular the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its readiness to assist Myanmar in a positive, peaceful and constructive manner. It commends ASEAN’s continued efforts to engage with all relevant parties in Myanmar. The Council welcomes the recent informal ASEAN Ministerial meeting on 2 March, and the statements made by the ASEAN Chair on 2 March and 1 February, which recalled the purposes and principles of the ASEAN Charter, notably the principle of democracy, adherence…

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The Ntaganda appeal judgment and the meaning of ‘attack’ in conduct of hostilities war crimes

One of the many interesting issues raised by the ICC’s recent Ntaganda appeal judgment, and the subject of this post, is whether war crimes referring to ‘attacks’ require a nexus to hostilities. IHL has traditionally distinguished between protecting persons from the conduct of hostilities (Hague law) and protecting persons in the power of a belligerent (Geneva…

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Universal Standards for Investigation of Mass Graves

1. The problem Mass graves are an all-too-frequent legacy of conflict and gross human rights violations. The magnitude of the issue is startling: in Iraq over 200 mass graves containing up to 12,000 victims have been found in territory formerly controlled by ISIL; in Srebrenica, Bosnia, some 17,000 sets of human remains from 94 graves and…

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Myanmar: Testing the Democratic Norm in International Law

It is official now: history does repeat itself. In 1990, the military regime in Burma, now Myanmar, held elections. To their surprise, the democratic opposition in the shape of the National League of Democracy (NLD) achieved an overwhelming victory. This happened despite the fact that they had taken the precaution of keeping the leader of the NLD, Daw…

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The ICC Prosecutor’s statement on the Situation in Palestine: A Hand Stretched forth in Friendship?

On 3 March the OTP of the ICC confirmed that it had initiated an investigation regarding the Situation in Palestine. The investigation will cover crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court that are alleged to have been committed in the Situation since 13 June 2014. The OTP statement was no surprise: according to Article 18…

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