This issue of the European Journal of International Law features prominently the theme of ‘Perpetrators and Victims of War’.
We open the issue with a series of articles focusing on International Criminal Law. Sofia Stolk starts off by shedding light on the construction of an ‘ideal perpetrator’ – a ‘sophisticated beast’ in international criminal law trials – to allow both accountability and condemnation. A complementary perspective is put forward by Christine Schwöbel-Patel, who analyses the social, political and legal construction of the ‘ideal victim’. Following, Line Gissel scrutinizes Africa’s support for the International Criminal Court (ICC) between 1993-2003. Alexandra Adams concludes this section with an examination of the legacy of the International Criminal Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda and their contributions to the intricate definition of rape.
In the next section, we feature the penultimate instalment of our Symposium on International Law and the First World War, focusing in this issue on the end of the War. Randall Lesaffer retraces the development of aggression as a concept of international law, showing that a long history of thought on use of force law preceded the Versailles Peace Treaty. Markus M. Payk analyses the Paris Peace Settlement after the Great War, examining the impact that notions of law, justice and legality had on the negotiations leading to the Settlement in the Allies’ quest to establish the ‘reign of law’.
Roaming Charges features a photograph of the stunning relief found in Wroclaw by the local sculptor Eugeniusz Get Stankiewicz: ‘The Crucifixion – Do It Yourself’. We are all perpetrators is one lesson one may take from this work of art.
Due to the recent activation of the International Criminal Court’s jurisdiction over the crime of aggression, this issue continues with a Symposium on this topic, organized by Dapo Akande. Following his Introduction, co-authored with Antonios Tzanakopoulos, the complex relationship between international criminal justice and peace is examined by Frédéric Mégret. In the next contribution, Tom Dannenbaum looks at the criminalization of aggression with regard to soldiers’ rights. Tom Ruys then reflects on the implications of this recent activation for the legal regime of the use of force between states. Marieke de Hoon focuses on the openness of the crime of aggression norm, which may cause great challenges for the ICC and could eventually result in mere show trials. Dapo Akande and Antonios Tzanakopoulos conclude by examining who will be subject to the ICC’s jurisdiction over the crime of aggression.
Our EJIL: Debate! section in this issue features an article by Rosa Freedman on the accountability of UN peacekeepers with regard to sexual abuses and an exchange between the author and Devika Hovell on the issues raised by the article.
For the Last Page of this issue, centred around ‘Perpetrators and Victims of War’, we reflect on ‘The Quality of Mercy’ from William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice.
Note: Barbara Oomen and Moritz Baumgärtel, authors of “Frontier Cities: The Rise of Local Authorities as an Opportunity for International Human Rights Law”, published in EJIL 29(2), present the ideas and arguments of their article in a short film.