Crimes Against Humanity

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The Operational Logic behind Designating States for the Enforcement of International Sentences: The Implications of the Ongwen Case

Dominic Ongwen, convicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) of 61 counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes committed as a senior commander of the “Lord’s Resistance Army” (LRA) rebel group, was transferred on 18 December 2023 to an as yet undisclosed prison facility in the Kingdom of Norway to serve his 25-year sentence. After Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi and Bosco Ntaganda, he is the third ICC convict to serve his sentence in a European state, and the first to do so in a Nordic state. Under Article 103(1)(a) of the Rome Statute, prison sentences imposed by the ICC are to be served “in a State designated by the Court from a list of States which have indicated to the Court their willingness to accept sentenced persons”. Currently, the number of ICC prisoners serving their sentences abroad exceeds the number of ICC prisoners being returned to serve their sentences in their home states. Outwardly at least, the distribution of ICC prisoners is beginning to resemble the decentralized enforcement system…

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The Responsibility of Syria under the Convention Against Torture before the ICJ

With the oral proceedings and marathon round of interventions over the past two weeks on the preliminary objections in the Allegations of Genocide (Ukraine v Russia) case (on which, see the excellent summary here), one might forget that the International Court of Justice will be in session again from 10 October to hear pleadings in yet…

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Territorial Jurisdiction at the International Criminal Court for Deportation Across the High Seas

There is a lacuna in the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) jurisprudence on jurisdiction for the transboundary crime against humanity of deportation. The issue is whether the deportation of victims across the high seas into the territory of a Rome Statute state party falls within the ICC’s territorial jurisdiction. The ICC’s leading decisions —arising from Bangladesh/Myanmar— appear to point…

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On the rape of men in the context of forced marriages at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia

On December 23rd, 2022, the Supreme Court Chamber of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) published its full appeal judgment in the Samphân KHIEU case. The Supreme Court Chamber mostly upheld Samphân KHIEU’s conviction, including for forced marriages as crimes against humanity of other inhumane acts. The Supreme Court Chamber, however, reversed…

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New universal jurisdiction case filed in Germany for crimes committed in Myanmar before and after the coup: On complementarity, effectiveness, and new hopes for old crimes

A few days before the second anniversary of the ‘failed coup’ in Myanmar, a case was filed in Germany against senior Myanmar military generals and ‘other actors’ identified in the complaint for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. It was filed under universal jurisdiction enshrined in the German Code of Crimes against International Law (Völkerstrafgesetzbuch…

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