Two Weeks in Review, 13 March – 26 March

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In their post, What’s at Stake in the Abortion Case Before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights?’,  and  explore the criminalization of abortion in El Salvador and the review of it by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. The two argue that the total abortion ban should be understood as part of systemic violence against feminized bodies within the healthcare system, and specifically, as structural discrimination against poor women. The two call for a transformative judgment from the Court that will end the marginalization and exclusion of these women from society through the health system.

See their full analysis here.

Following the recent announcement by Vladimir Putin, to the Federal Assembly, that Russia is suspending the Treaty between the US and the Russian Federation on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (the ‘New START Treaty’), Maria Xiouri offers her analysis of the possible legal grounds for the suspension by Russia. The first, is a fundamental change of circumstances as regulated in Art 62 of the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (‘VCLT’). The second, a material breach of the Treaty by the US as another legal basis for its suspension. Xiouri notes the substantive conditions of Articles 60 and 62 VCLT do not seem to have been met, as such, the suspension has not been brought about in accordance with international law and has no legal effect. she concludes that

‘In spite of this purported ‘suspension’, both Russia (see here) and the US (see here, 22 and here) seem convinced as to the Treaty’s contribution to strengthening international security. Though difficult under the current circumstances, compliance with the Treaty—the last remaining nuclear arms control treaty between the two countries—must be resumed, so that it can still survive, for the benefit of international peace and security.’

See the full post here.

In his post, ‘A litmus test for international justice: If not for the Yazidis, then for whom?’, Aldo Zammit Borda discusses the legal accountability of Daesh fighters for what is often refer to as the genocide of the Yazidi people. Borda argues there is

‘a need for a comprehensive, multi-level approach to accountability for Daesh atrocities against the Yazidis. States should continue collaborating with mechanisms such as UNITAD and the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), created by France and Sweden, to gather and share evidence to support prosecutions under universal jurisdiction. Moreover, states such as the United Kingdom, should consider broadening the scope of their universal jurisdiction provisions. Currently, the courts of England and Wales can only exercise jurisdiction over the offences of genocide, crimes against humanity  and war crimes committed abroad by any person who: (i) is/was a UK national or UK resident at the time of the crime; or (ii) became a UK national or UK resident after the crime and still resides in the UK when proceedings are brought. In addition, the consent of the Attorney General is required to institute proceedings for such crimes. As things stand, therefore, the scope of universal jurisdiction in the UK is limited, reducing its ability to prosecute génocidaires.’

Read the full post here.

Following the March 17 announcement of the International Criminal Court on the issuance of arrest warrants against Russian president Putin and his Children’s Rights Ombudswoman Lvova-Belova, Sergey Vasiliev offers his analysis of the meaning of the issuance of such warrants and what can be expected to happen next. Vasiliev finds the warrants to be, first and foremost, an act of norm-expressivism conveying the message that even the most powerful must be held accountable, and second, an important milestone in the path towards accountability for core crimes in Ukraine. Nevertheless, he stresses the decision’s symbolism will have various real-life consequences. Although these may not include Putin’s arrest anytime soon, this ‘wanted’ status and the war-crime-suspect stigma, will constrain Putin’s and Lvova-Belova’s foreign travel as they will risk being surrendered to the ICC each time they set foot outside Russia. mainly since, as Vasiliev notes, the 123 States Parties to the ICC Statute and States that accepted its jurisdiction in that situation (Ukraine), will be obliged to execute the warrants in accordance with the ICC’s request for arrest and surrender under Article 89(1). 

See the full post here.

Miles Jackson offers his analysis of the ICC Arrest Warrants against Vladimir Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova, and provides an overview of certain legal issues relating to the issuance of the warrants, as well as a brief reflection on some of the policy tensions it generates. Amongst others, Jackson discusses crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court, modes of liability, nationals of non-parties and immunities at the International Criminal Court along with other questions and tensions. He concludes that 

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