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Ntaganda and the ‘Conduct of Hostilities Crimes’

The ICC’s appeals judgement in the Ntaganda case, although covering a diverse array of legal issues, will likely be remembered as the focus for a confused and chaotic debate on the meaning of ‘attack’ within IHL and ICL. Raised in the specific context of Ntaganda’s ordering of ‘ratissage’ operations during the NIAC in the DRC, the Trial Chamber in July 2019 held that such operations did not constitute ‘attacks’ due to their having ‘took place sometime after the assault [on Sayo], and therefore not during the actual conduct of hostilities’ (¶ 1142). The OTP’s appeal on this point contended that a nexus to a ‘conduct of hostilities’ is necessary for attack-based war crimes, however that the Article 8(2)(e)(iv) prohibition on directing attacks against cultural objects is an exception to this rule, owing to the influence of Articles 27 and 56 of the 1907 Hague Regulations (¶ 15-16, 26; see also Al Mahdi Trial Chamber decision, ¶ 14-16).

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The Ntaganda Reparations Order: a marked step towards a victim-centred reparations legal framework at the ICC

NB: The author has been involved in the work of reparations at the ICC, first as a Court-appointed expert in the Al Mahdi case in 2017 and, between 2018 and 2020, as a reparations expert at the TFV. However, this post is written in the author’s personal capacity. On 8 July 2019, Trial Chamber…

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Interview of the former President of the ICC, Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji, by Shehzad Charania

  In the final weeks of the Presidency of ICC Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji, I conducted the following interview with him. I begin by asking Eboe-Osuji why he wanted to become President. ‘I have always believed in the idea that if you want to achieve real change, you cannot just sit on the sidelines and complain.’ There…

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The ICC Prosecutor’s statement on the Situation in Palestine: A Hand Stretched forth in Friendship?

On 3 March the OTP of the ICC confirmed that it had initiated an investigation regarding the Situation in Palestine. The investigation will cover crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court that are alleged to have been committed in the Situation since 13 June 2014. The OTP statement was no surprise: according to Article 18…

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“To Release or not to Release, that is the Question”: Detention Pending Trial at the International Criminal Court after the Gicheru Case

On 29 January this year, the Pre-Trial Chamber A of the International Criminal Court (ICC) decided to grant interim release to Paul Gicheru, a lawyer suspected of offences against the administration of justice under Article 70(1)(c) of the Rome Statute, consisting in corruptly influencing ICC witnesses in cases from the Kenyan situation in 2013 (Decision). This…

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