Wednesday 30 April 2008
In a statement issued yesterday, the Office of the Prosecutor said: 'The Office of the Prosecutor is in the process of moving on to its third case in the DRC, with other applications for arrest warrants to follow in the coming months and years. In particular, we are collecting information about crimes committed in the North and South Kivu. We are also considering the role of those who organized and financed the militia.' (See: http://www.icc-cpi.int/press/pressreleases/363.html).
This brings to four the number of arrest warrants made public concerning the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The other three suspects are in custody in The Hague. There are two outstanding warrants known to the public for the situation in Darfur, Sudan, and five for northern Uganda. Two of the five suspects in northern Uganda are believed to be dead.
Saturday 26 April 2008
I have since obtained the link to the speech referred to: http://www.cfr.org/publication/16110/. It was delivered at DePaul University, in Chicago, at a conference commemorating the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the Rome Statute. Host of the conference was Professor Cherif Bassiouni, who has an honorary doctorate from our university.
Thanks to Megan Fairlie for this.
Friday 25 April 2008
In the meantime, somecountries are considering extraditing Rwandan genocide suspects back to Rwanda to stand trial. A case in the United Kingdom involving four Rwandans is about to conclude. Early this month, in France, the Cour d’appel de Chambery, ruled in favour of extraditing an individual to Rwanda. I have obtained a copy of the judgment: http://www.mediafire.com/?e2jw4gapjgi.
Under the Genocide Convention, States are required to cooperate in facilitating extradition so that persons accused of genocide can be tried in the State where the crime was committed. But until very recently, there has been little practice.
Thursday 24 April 2008
Sunday 20 April 2008
Friday 18 April 2008
David T. Johnson, ‘The death penalty in Asia: Introduction to a Special Issue of Punishment & Society’, (2008) 10 Punishment & Society 99Thanks to Michael Radelet.
Franklin E. Zimring and David T. Johnson, ‘Law, society, and capital punishment in Asia’, (2008) 10 Punishment & Society 103
Zhang Ning, ‘The political origins of death penalty exceptionalism: Mao Zedong and the practice of capital punishment in contemporary China’, (2008) 10 Punishment & Society 117
Wang Yunhai, ‘The death penalty and society in contemporary China’, (2008) 10 Punishment & Society 137
Fort Fu-Te Liao, ‘From seventy-eight to zero: Why executions declined after Taiwan's democratization’, (2008) 10 Punishment & Society 153
Byung-Sun Cho, ‘South Korea's changing capital punishment policy: The road from de facto to formal abolition’(2008) 10 Punishment & Society 171
Eric G. Lambert, Sudershan Pasupuleti, Shanhe Jiang, K. Jaishankar, and Jagadish V. Bhimarasetty, ‘Views on the death penalty among college students in India’,
(2008) 10 Punishment & Society 207
Thursday 17 April 2008
The vote was 7 to 2, with Justices Ginzburg and Souter in dissent. But the real gem in the judgment is the reasons of Justice Stevens, who says the time has come for judicial abolition of capital punishment: ‘Full recognition of the diminishing force of the principal rationales for retaining the death penalty should lead this Court and legislatures to reexamine the question recently posed by Professor Salinas, a former Texas prosecutor and judge: “Is it time to Kill the Death Penalty?” See Salinas, 34 Am. J. Crim. L. 39 (2006). The time for a dispassionate, impartial comparison of the enormous costs that death penalty litigation imposes on society with the benefits that it produces has surely arrived.’ Justices Scalia and Thomas sign an opinion that attacks Justice Stevens. Justice Scalia, who is scheduled to visit Galway in July and teach on the summer programme organised by the New England School of Law, writes: ‘I take no position on the desirability of the death penalty, except to say that its value is eminently debatable and the subject of deeply, indeed passionately, held views—which means, to me, that it is preeminently not a matter to be resolved here. And especially not when it is explicitly permitted by the Constitution.’ Justice Scalia is a devout Catholic, and perhaps a chat with the Pope which he is in the United States will help him reflect upon the debate.
Thanks to Harry Rhea.
Tuesday 15 April 2008
Previous UN tribunals have been established to deal with widespread atrocities involving perpetration of the core international crimes, genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes (Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone). But in 2005, the Security Council opened the floodgates when it took steps to set up a tribunal to deal with the assassination of Rafik Hariri, in Lebanon. Preparations for the creation of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon are nearly complete, and the appointment of the Prosecutor and the judges should take place very soon.
But the Lebanon Tribunal only has jurisdiction over ‘ordinary’ crimes, as defined by Lebanese law. In any event, fitting a single terrorist assassination within the legal framework of crimes against humanity involves considerable judicial acrobatics.
Of course, the Security Council is hardly driven by questions of pure principle, and will not set up a tribunal for Pakistan simply because it did the same for Lebanon. Rather, it is obedient to the political priorities of its permanent members. In the case of the Lebanese assassination, it seems that the French were particularly interested in seeing the establishment of a tribunal. It will be interesting to see if any of the permanent members takes up the cause of Pakistan.
And where will it all end? Maybe we should call for a UN international tribunal to finally determine whether there was a gunman on the grassy knoll when Kennedy was shot?
Thanks to Mary McKeown for reminding me to post this material.
Monday 14 April 2008
Seeral months ago, one of the five indictees, Vincent Otti, was apparently murdered by the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army, Joseph Kony. Today we have reports that a second leader, Okot Odhiambo, against whom there is also an arrest warrant, has been executed by his boss.
She talks about all of the anti-Muslim measures and the general mood in Britain, and asks whether this is what the Irish experienced in the 1970s and 1980s.
Last week, she published memoirs of her years in the Tribunal. The book is only available in Italian, for the time being. It was reviewed in Saturday's Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/apr/12/warcrimes.kosovo.
The most sensational allegation, according to media reports, concerns a camp in Albania where hundreds of Serbs were slaughtered for their organs, which were then sold. Some journalists are asking why she didn't investigate further, but I think the answer is perhaps rather straightforward: no jurisdiction. The Tribunal had jurisdiction over the territory over the former Yugoslavia, and that excludes Albania.
Late last year, Del Ponte's press officer, Florence Hartmann, published her account of years at the Tribunal: Paix et Châtiment (http://www.amazon.fr/Paix-ch%C3%A2timent-Florence-Hartmann/dp/2081206692/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1208161780&sr=1-1). It too makes rather spectacular charges, although I found it to be a bit of a rant. Moreover, it is hard to know how much is true because those in a position to contest what is stated respect their oath of confidentiality, which is more than one can say about Hartmann (or Del Ponte, for that matter).
I'm going to Italy in a few weeks, and will try and pick up a copy of the Del Ponte book.
Sunday 13 April 2008
‘Britain was criticised by its allies and detractors at the U.N.'s main human rights forum on Thursday, over its treatment of terrorism suspects, prison inmates and racial minorities. In a three-hour debate at the United Nations Human Rights Council, countries also raised questions over the conduct of British troops deployed overseas and rising rates of suicide among prison inmates in overcrowded domestic jails. Britain, the closest U.S. ally in the "war on terror", is among the first 16 countries whose records are being examined by the 47-member forum at a two-week meeting. In response to concerns voiced by Cuba, India and Syria, Michael Wills, Britain's minister of state for justice, said his government was constantly reviewing counter-terrorism legislation to deal with an unprecedented threat. Switzerland said it hoped Britain would reduce rather than extend the maximum period during which suspects may be detained without charge. Currently 28 days, it is already the longest in the European Union, the Swiss delegation said. Iran voiced concern at "increasing racial prejudice against ethnic minorities, asylum seekers and immigrants" in Britain and a "disproportionately high number of stops and searches carried out by police against members of ethnic or racial minorities". The U.S. expressed concern at what it said was a rise in suicides among inmates in prisons throughout Britain and Ireland.’
I would describe this as being off to a good beginning. The criticisms seem frank and quite well-placed. It is appropriate that a Western country be treated this way in order to ensure balance, fairness and universality. Britain sent a relatively high ranking official, which is also a good sign of the importance of the event. No doubt the critics of Britain, including Iran, India, Syria, Cuba, the United States and even Switzerland will get their turn to be challenged. Hopefully, the UK will be as hard on them as they were on it. And they won't be able to complain the way they have in the past when their human rights abuses were denounced in United Nations fora. Their behaviour last week will make it hard for them to argue that they are being abused, or that their sovereignty is threatened. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. I couldn’t find accounts of this on the website of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The supporting documents are all there, of course: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/PAGES/GBSession1.aspx. But there is no report on the session itself, which is unfortunate. Here is the programme for the next four years: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Documents/uprlist.pdf. As you can see, Ireland will be one of the last to present.
Congratulations to Sioban Mullaly and Jean Allain, for the first edition of the Irish Yearbook of International Law. It is an impressive volume, nicely produced and rich in content, published by Hart: http://www.hartjournals.co.uk/iyil/. Articles in the first edition include:
David. M Ong, International Environmental Law’s "Customary" Dilemma: Betwixt General
Principles and Treaty Rules
Alexander Orakhelashvili, The Power of the UN Security Council to Determine the Existence of a "Threat to the Peace"
J. Paul McCutcheon & Gerard Coffey, Life Sentences in Ireland and the European
Convention on Human Rights Maria Walls & Agustina Palacios, Changing the Paradigm - The Potential Impact of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Peter Hulsroj, To the Rescue, All Hands: The Good Neighbour Principle in International Law
Getahun Seifu, The Interplay of the ACP-EU Economic Partnership Agreements and the Rules of the World Trade Organization: "Double Jeopardy" on Africa
Leopold von Carlowitz, The Right of Property for Refugees and Displaced Persons?: On the Progressive Development of Customary Law by the International Administrations in the Balkans
I think that the second edition is almost ready for publication, and should be out later this year or early next year.
Friday 11 April 2008
Wednesday 9 April 2008
Tuesday 8 April 2008
Thanks to Simon Chesterman for this.
Thursday 3 April 2008
The photo shows, from left, myself, Ray Murphy, Katarina Månsson and Michael Pugh.