Crimes Against Humanity

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The Weakest Link of the Troika? The Immunity of Heads of Government in Customary International Law

There have been a flurry of cases in the English courts concerning foreign leaders in recent months. Permission has been granted to serve the President of Mozambique in a case involving claims challenging state guarantees of the financing for projects in Mozambique. The Fifth President of Ukraine (2014-2019) Petro Poroshenko has been found to be immune from claims arising out of Ukraine’s nationalisation of PrivatBank. And on 6 October, a number of judgments were made public in the proceedings relating to the welfare of the two children of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum (“AM”), the Ruler of the Emirate of Dubai and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, and Her Royal Highness Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein (“Princess Haya”). In this post I comment on the newly-released judgments on immunities. But I note that there is much of interest in all of the judgments, including the finding in one strand of these complex proceedings that AM used NSO Pegasus to hack the mobile phones of Princess…

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Human Rights Watch Responds: Reflections on Apartheid and Persecution in International Law

We appreciate the rich discussion triggered by this week’s EJIL Talk! symposium, which has addressed a number of legal issues arising from our report “A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution.” The report has received significant media attention and sparked many useful conversations since its release in late April. But…

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Symposium Introduction: Apartheid in Israel/Palestine?

This week the blog will be running a symposium provoked by a recent Human Rights Watch report arguing that Israel is responsible for committing the crime of apartheid within its boundaries and in the occupied Palestinian territories. This report is exemplary of an increasing trend amongst human rights activists and NGOs of labelling Israel’s policies…

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«Ecocide» as an international crime: Personal reflections on options and choices

On 22nd June 2021, the “Independent Expert Panel for the legal Definition of Ecocide” – on which I had the honour to serve – launched a proposal for a legal definition of “ecocide” for the purpose of amending the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) with the addition of a 5th international crime. In the following,…

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The Proposed Definition of the Crime of Ecocide: An Important Step Forward, but Can Our Planet Wait?

Last week, an independent expert panel (“IEP”) published a proposed definition of ecocide as a potential fifth international crime to be added to the Rome Statute. The introduction of such a definition in the Rome Statute and placing crimes against the environment at the same level with “the most serious…

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