War Crimes

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The First Report of the OPCW’s Investigation and Identification Team on Syria

In April 2020, the Investigation and Identification Team (IIT) formed by the Director General of the Organisation for Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to identify the perpetrators of the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic released its First Report (First IIT Report). The IIT was established pursuant to a decision of the Conference of the States Parties to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction (Convention) taken on 27 June 2018 (27 June Decision). The First IIT Report, noting the lack of assistance information from Syrian authorities, relied upon individual interviews, documentary and photographic evidence, witness testimony, and forensic examination of samples collected from the attack sites as provided by local, regional and international actors (Annex 2-4) to support its findings. It concluded, inter alia, that there were reasonable grounds to believe that the Syrian Arab Air Force employed sarin and chlorine in attacks carried out on 24, 25 and 30 March 2017 in Ltamenah, Syria (First…

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Complicity in war crimes through (legal) arms supplies?

  German and other corporations whose arms were used in the war in Yemen have been accused of criminally assisting war crimes. The Berlin-based NGO European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) filed a complaint (a “communication”) to the International Criminal Court (ICC) making this claim with regard to a series of multinational arms companies. But…

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The Soleimani Strike and Self-Defence Against an Imminent Armed Attack

  The US drone strike on Qassem Soleimani, one of the most important members of the Iranian leadership, raises many complex questions of international law. This post will examine the lawfulness of the strike from the standpoint of the law on the use of force. It will first set out the parameters of the US justification…

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Time to fix the Rome Statute and add the crime of starvation in non-international armed conflicts!

This week the Assembly of State Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ASP) meets in The Hague for its 18th session. On the agenda is the Swiss proposal to amend Article 8 (“War crimes”) of the Rome Statute by adding a non-international armed conflict version of the war crime of starvation of…

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Five Procedural Takeaways from the ICC’s 18 July 2019 Lubanga Second Reparations Judgment

On 18 July 2019, the International Criminal Court (ICC) Appeals Chamber issued a landmark judgment upholding a USD 10,000,000 collective reparations award for victims in the case against Thomas Lubanga Dyilo. In this second—and hopefully final—Appeals judgment on reparations in the Lubanga case, the Appeals Chamber largely confirmed the methodology that Trial Chamber II…

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