Two Weeks in Review, 27 March – 9 April

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International criminal law 

In her post, ‘Arresting “Mother Russia”: Female Defendants and Gender(ed) Justice in International Criminal Tribunals’, Natalie Hodgson explores the recent arrest warrant issued for Ms. Maria Lvova-Belova. Ms. Lvova-Belova, the Russian Commissioner for Children’s Rights, is being charged with war crimes for unlawful deportation of population and of unlawful transfer of population and is the second woman to be the subject of an arrest warrant at the ICC. Hodgson discusses the gendered experiences of female defendants in international criminal tribunals and argues that the arrest warrant against Ms. Lvova-Belova provides the ICC actors with a unique opportunity to adopt a gender-just approach when dealing with female defendants. In practice, the court should refuse to engage with the gendered language and pre-existing stereotypes, commonly used when describing and analyzing the behavior of female defendants, and instead focus on Lvova-Belova alleged conduct rather than her compliance with gender norms. 

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Juliette Rémond Tiedrez discusses the recent decision of the Supreme Court Chamber of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) in the Samphân KHIEU case, focusing on the court’s determination that male victims suffered forced sexual intercourse, in the context of forced marriages. Since the crimes were committed in the 1970s, at a time when men were excluded from the definition of rape, the application of the principles of legality and non-retroactivity, restricted the Supreme Court’s option to recognize the men as victims of penile rape. As such, the Court found that the acts amounted to the inhumane act of “forced sexual intercourse” instead of rape as torture. Rémond Tiedrez argues that the Court’s decision to find a crime that would apply equally to men and women should be praised, nevertheless, when possible, she notes, the accurate qualification of rape should be used rather than forced sexual intercourse. 

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Giel Verhagen examines the recent developments in Dutch Core international crimes cases in the context of the Syrian civil war. Specifically, the trends emanating from the four ongoing cases regarding core crimes in the Netherlands and their implications for international criminal justice efforts. He argues these cases in the Netherlands are part of a larger European development toward the prosecution of core international crimes committed during the Syrian Civil War in national courts. 

EJIL: The Podcast! Episode 20: Disordering International Law is now out. In this episode, Michelle Staggs Kelsall discusses the disordering of international law with Luis EslavaAndrea Bianchi and podcast host Sarah Nouwen. Listen to the podcast here: 

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The European Journal of International Law has new advanced articles and advanced reviews available to read online.

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