War Crimes

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Is the Dispute between Germany and Italy over State Immunities Coming to an End (Despite Being Back at the ICJ)?

For nearly two decades Germany and Italy have been embroiled in a dispute over the scope of State immunities under international law. The dispute which relates to the question of compensation for victims of crimes committed by Nazi forces in Italy or against Italian citizens, has recently been resubmitted by Germany to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Germany initially requested that the Court grant provisional measures but as explained below, due to developments over the past few days, Germany withdrew that request and the oral hearings scheduled for this week were cancelled. Three key judgments defined the evolution of the dispute. In 2004, the Italian Supreme Court of Cassation boldly read international law to mean that a State’s immunity from the jurisdiction of another State is not available when the action seeks compensation for harm suffered by victims of international crimes. In 2012, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) famously ruled that no such exception exist in customary international law. The Italian legislator fully complied with the ICJ’s…

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Violations of International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law, War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity Committed in Ukraine since 24 February 2022: Summary of the Report by a Mission of Experts under the OSCE Moscow Mechanism

On 13 April 2022, we presented the report of our mission on Ukraine to a special session of the Permanent Council of OSCE. Based on this presentation, the following contribution summarizes the establishment and mandate, methodology and findings of our 94 pages Report. Establishment and mandate On 3 March 2022, Ukraine,…

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Prosecuting Atrocity Crimes Committed in Northern Ethiopia: The Need for Special National Prosecution Mechanism

Over the last four years, serious human rights violations and abuses, have been committed in Ethiopia in and outside of the context of an armed conflict. These violations may constitute international crimes, such as crimes against humanity, war crimes and torture. The situation particularly worsened and garnered international attention after an armed conflict broke out in Tigray on…

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The War of Aggression Against Ukraine, Cultural Property and Genocide: Why it is Imperative to Take a Close Look at Cultural Property

For too long, a great deal of energy has been invested in trying to decipher obscure statements made by Vladimir Putin (a true “masterclass of disinformation”: Åslund 2021; cf. Kappeler 2021). Now that Putin has started a war of aggression against Ukraine, it is high time that we take his denials of Ukrainian statehood and…

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Aggression against Ukraine: Avenues for Accountability for Core Crimes

The unprovoked attack by Russia against Ukraine should be qualified as a crime against peace, or the crime of aggression, as defined in Article 6(a) of the IMT Charter and in Article 8bis of the ICC Statute. There are also allegations of war crimes as the Russian armed forces have targeted…

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