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Tag Archive: International Criminal Law

State Dept. Office of Global Criminal Justice on the Chopping Block–Time to save it

 

Word out of Washington is that the Trump Administration has started to restructure the State Department and particularly the Under-Secretariat for Civilian Security, Democracy & Human Rights.  “J” (as it is called around Foggy Bottom) encompasses a number of Bureaus and Offices, including the Bureau of Counter-Terrorism and Countering Violent Extremism (CT/CVE), the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM), and the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP).…   continue »

Important New Bipartisan Bill To Advance Accountability for International Crimes in Syria

 

Following on the heels of last week’s chemical weapon attack in Syria, Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Bob Corker (R-TN), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Todd Young (R-IN) have introduced the Syria War Crimes Accountability Act of 2017, which authorizes the United States to provide technical and other forms of assistance to investigations and other credible transitional justice efforts, including a potential hybrid tribunal.  …   continue »

U.S. Arms Sale to Saudis Spells Legal Trouble for State Department Officials

 

In December, the Obama administration suspended a large weapon sale to Saudi Arabia due to concerns about widespread civilian casualties from Saudi airstrikes in Yemen. The Trump administration is now looking to reverse that decision. If the White House approves the sale and overcomes expected congressional opposition, it could leave bureaucrats in the State Department holding the bag—under pressure to approve sales that put them personally at legal risk.…   continue »

The General Assembly & Accountability for International Crimes

Further to Alex Whiting’s post on Russian objections to the U.N. General Assembly’s formation of the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism to Assist in the Investigation and Prosecution of Those Responsible for the Most Serious Crimes under International Law Committed in the Syrian Arab Republic since March 2011 (IIIM), it is worth noting that the General Assembly has played a role in prior accountability efforts since its inception after World War II.…   continue »

Russia Maintains Objection to General Assembly’s Mechanism for Syria

 

On 21 December 2016, the General Assembly (GA) adopted Resolution 71/248, creating a new body to collect evidence of international crimes in Syria (formally known as “the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism to Assist in the Investigation and Prosecution of Those Responsible for the Most Serious Crimes under International Law Committed in the Syrian Arab Republic since March 2011,” and in shorthand known as “the IIIM” or “the Mechanism”).…   continue »

Understanding Complicity: When the US Makes a “Substantial Contribution” to War Crimes Committed by Foreign Partners

With power comes responsibility. In their new duties, Trump administration officials will need to consider the legal hazards associated with supporting foreign military partners who commit international crimes. Perhaps most alarming to some officials will be the risk of personal criminal liability.…   continue »

De Facto and De Jure Non-international Armed Conflicts: Is It Time to Topple Tadić?

When does violence between a state and non-state actor constitute an armed conflict and thus trigger the system of legal rules that apply in non-international armed conflict (NIAC)? That question has been at the core of law and policy debates—since the drafting of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, and reinvigorated by a series of legal issues post September 11th. …   continue »

Does the Int’l Criminal Court Have Jurisdiction over Alleged War Crimes by Saudi-Led Coalition in Yemen?

Does the International Criminal Court have jurisdiction over potential war crimes allegedly committed by the Saudi-led coalition in its battle against the Houthi rebels in Yemen? The short answer is yes. Let me count the ways.

It is an uncontroversial statement of law that the International Criminal Court has jurisdiction over the nationals of States that have ratified the ICC treaty (Article 12(2)(b)).…   continue »

The Law of Aiding and Abetting (Alleged) War Crimes: How to Assess US and UK Support for Saudi Strikes in Yemen

US and UK support for Saudi-led military operations in Yemen have received significant attention recently due to reports of strikes that damaged or destroyed hospitals, schools, and other infrastructure vital to the civilian population. When international lawyers consider the rules that apply to such assistance, the so-called law of State responsibility consumes most, if not all, of the attention (see Miles Jackson and my accompanying post that does a deep dive into that area of law).…   continue »