War Crimes

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Gaza, Forced Displacement, and Genocide

International courts and commissions of enquiry have been reluctant to find that forced displacement constitutes genocide. Forced displacement, in its various forms, is a war crime (Rome Statute, Article 8(2)(a)(vii)) and a crime against humanity (Rome Statute, Article 7 (1)(d)), but not genocide. Indeed, the Genocide Convention omits forced transfer as a genocidal act. Still, in Croatia v. Serbia (2015), while the International Court of Justice (ICJ) found that there was no evidence to conclude that the forced displacement of Croatians was carried out with genocidal intent (Croatia v. Serbia, Judgment, para. 428), and the forced displacement was a consequence of other actions capable of being viewed as acts of genocide (para. 376), it nevertheless affirmed that it could, when taking place in circumstances calculated to bring about the physical destruction of the group, also constitute genocide (para. 163). With the mass forced displacement, starvation, and the inability to flee to safety in Gaza, this article considers the standards set by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the ICJ to…

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First war crimes conviction at the KSC: Developing jurisprudence and the right to reparations

Last December, the Appeals Panel at the Kosovo Specialist Chambers (KSC) delivered its judgment in its first war crimes prosecution. Salih Mustafa, a special unit (BIA) commander in the Kosovo Liberation Army during the Kosovo war had been convicted for the war crimes of murder, torture and arbitrary detention. He is now facing 22 years…

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The Putin-South Africa arrest warrant saga: A tale of the shrinking world of an accused war criminal

Since March of this year, the travel plans of one particular accused war criminal have been the subject of much speculation and legal debate. On 17 March 2023, the ICC announced that it had issued an arrest warrant for President Putin (and one of his officials – Ms Lvova-Belova). This, unsurprisingly, occasioned world-wide interest and attention. One focus…

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Arbitrary Detention in Non-International Armed Conflicts: A Tale of Two Hague Courts

On 3 April 2023, the much-anticipated trial against Hashim Thaçi, Kadri Veseli, Rexhep Selimi and Jakup Krasniqi started at the Kosovo Specialist Chamber (‘KSC’). In its opening statement, the Prosecution told the judges that each accused is criminally responsible of four counts of war crimes – to wit: illegal and arbitrary arrest and detention, cruel treatment, torture and…

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The ICC Arrest Warrants against Vladimir Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova – An Outline of Issues

On 17 March 2023, Pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court (“ICC” or “the Court”) issued arrest warrants for Vladimir Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova. Putin is the President of the Russian Federation. Lvova-Belova is the Commissioner for Children’s Rights in the Office of the President. The crimes alleged concern deportation and transfer of children…

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