Archive for 2011|Yearly archive page

New Report: War Crimes Research Office: Expediting Proceedings at the International Criminal Court

In Uncategorized on June 13, 2011 at 10:25 am

WCL’s War Crimes Research office has released a new report this week which “examines means of avoiding delays in proceedings before the ICC.” The report is available here. The executive summary is pasted below:

In its less than one decade of existence, the International Criminal 
Court (ICC) has achieved a great deal, opening formal investigations 
into six situations involving some of the most serious atrocities that 
have occurred since the birth of the Court in 2002 and commencing 
cases against a number of the individuals believed to bear the greatest 
responsibility for those atrocities.  However, nearly ten years after 
coming into being, the ICC has yet to complete a single trial, raising 
concerns among States Parties to the Rome Statute and others 
regarding the effective functioning of the Court.  Hence, while 
recognizing that the ICC is still a very young institution faced with a 
variety of novel substantive and procedural challenges, the aim of this 
report is to identify areas of unnecessary delays in proceedings 
currently before the Court that are likely to arise again, and to suggest 
ways in which such delays may be avoided in the future.  
The structure of the report is as follows: first, we address delays 
arising at the pre-trial stage of proceedings, referring to proceedings 
conducted before the Court‟s Pre-Trial Chambers; second, we address 
delays arising after a case has been transferred to the Trial Chamber; 
finally, we address issues that are relevant both at the pre-trial and trial 

Event:ASIL’s Lieber Society/American Red Cross: The Civil War and the Law of War

In Uncategorized on May 26, 2011 at 6:12 pm

Last Wednesday ASIL’s  Lieber Society and the American Red Cross sponsored an event with a very distinguished panel taking a historical look at the application of the laws of war during the American Civil War. Here is the event info:

ASIL’s Lieber Society on the Law of Armed Conflict and the American Red Cross are sponsoring a historical panel discussion on the application of the law of war in the American Civil War, in remembrance of the 150th anniversary of that conflict.  Military historians and law of war experts Gary SolisIsabelle Daoust, and Richard Jackson will be presenting historical vignettes, describing the application of the law of war (often referred to as international humanitarian law) to the Civil War.  The panelists will discuss the contributions of Francis Lieber to the development of the law, the application of this law to detention operations and guerrilla warfare, and the historical antecedents of military commissions. —-Refreshments will be provided.


  • Richard Jackson, Co-Chair, Lieber Society on the Law of Armed Conflict
  • Gary D. Solis, Adjunct Professor of Law, Georgtown University Law Center
  • Isabelle Daoust, Manager, International Humanitarian Law Dissemination Program, American Red Cross
  • John Fabian Witt, Allen H. Duffy Class of 1960 Professor of Law at Yale Law School

Lecture: Universidad de los Andes: ‘International Criminal Justice – How to Move Forward’

In Uncategorized on May 25, 2011 at 9:37 pm

The current president of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Judge Sang Hyun Song, recently delivered a lecture at at the Universidad de los Andes during his visit to Colombia. I have inserted the video above.

IBA Documentary: “In the Dock: Defence Rights at the ICC”

In Uncategorized on May 25, 2011 at 9:07 pm

The IBA’s ICC programme has released a short documentary online on “defense rights” at the ICC. Here is a short summary of the film:

In the Dock: Defence Rights at the ICC is a 27-minute educational film that covers a number of subjects including the presumption of innocence, fair trial guarantees and the right to counsel. The film is informed by interviews with defence counsel currently practicing before the ICC, international criminal law experts and elected officials of the ICC, including ICC President Sang-Hyun Song and the Former Chief Prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Richard Goldstone.

International Human Rights Law: Weekly Roundup (5/9/11-5/15/11)

In Uncategorized on May 16, 2011 at 6:15 pm

UN Human Rights System

Charter-based mechanisms

  • UNNewsCentre:UN human rights official lauds ratification milestone for disability pact.”
  • UNNewsCentre: “UN human rights staff discover mass graves in Ivorian city.”
  • UNNewsCentre: “Sexual exploitation of children on the rise in Mauritius, UN rights expert warns”
  • Jurist: UN officials concerned over Middle East rights violations
  • Expatica: UN rights chief steps up pressure over Syria toll
  • AP: “Diplomats say Kuwait to replace Syria as candidate for seat on UN Human Rights Council.” VOA: “Syria Drops Bid for Seat on UN Human Rights Council.” More from UNWatch and HRW.
  • AP: UN humanitarian chief concerned at violence against civilians in Bahrain, Yemen, Syria
  • UPR: 
  • More Coverage this week on UPR at ISHR
  • CopenhagenPost: Human rights record under the UN’s microscope.

Treaty-based mechanisms


  • UNNewsCentre: “UN human rights official lauds ratification milestone for disability pact”




UN Migrant Workers Convention

Regional Systems


  • IACHR: “The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns the murder of journalist Héctor Francisco Medina Polanco, manager and news anchor of the Omega Visión station in Honduras, who was shot on the night of May 10 in Morazán, in the department of Yoro.”
  • IACHR: “The Office of the Rapporteur on the Rights of Women of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) carried out a visit to Colombia May 2-4, 2011, to promote compliance with precautionary measures the IACHR has granted to women’s organizations.”
  • IACHR: “The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns the murder in Mexico of Quetzalcóatl Leija Herrera, who was president of the Center for Studies and Projects for Integral Human Development (CEPRODEHI) and worked to defend and promote the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and intersex persons (LGBTI) in the city of Chilpancingo, Guerrero.”
  • SurvivalInternational: “Hundreds of Brazilian Indians set up protest camp in capital”
  • AP: A Native American group appealed Friday to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights for help in stopping a planned uranium leach mining operation on lands bordered by the sprawling Navajo reservation.
  • Canada: A group of First Nations on Vancouver Island want the Inter American Commission on Human Rights to file an injunction against plans by TimberWest Forest Corp. to sell 113,000 hecatres of land in their traditional territories.
Council of Europe
  • Press Release: “Living together”: Council of Europe Eminent Persons’ report
  • Press Release: “The new Council of Europe convention to prevent and combat violence against women opened for signature in Istanbul.”
  • CPT: ” Council of Europe anti-torture Committee returns to the North Caucasian region of the Russian Federation.”
  • PressRelease: “Council of Europe’s Venice Commission visits Hungary to prepare an opinion on the new constitution”

ECtHR cases

  • Focus: “ECHR gives Bulgaria deadline to solve systematic problem in judicial system.” ECtHR: “The Court also delivered its first pilot judgments concerning Bulgaria. The State has been given a time limit in which to introduce suitable legal mechanisms to solve a systemic problem in its justice system – the absence of effective legal remedies for excessive length of civil, administrative and criminal proceedings. Press Release
  • Guardian: “European court of human rights judgment on Max Mosley: conclusion.” ECtHR PR: “In the case Mosley v. United Kingdom, the Court found no violation of the Convention. The case concerned a complaint that the United Kingdom failed to impose a legal duty on newspapers to notify the subjects of intended publications in advance to give them an opportunity to prevent such publications.”
  • OtherRecentJudgements: ECtHR: “The Court delivered two judgments on Thursday 12 May 2011 (Press release), and 18 judgments on Tuesday 10 May 2011 (Press release), in particular the cases of Gladovic v. Croatia and Popandopulo v. Russia.”
  • OpenSocietyBlog: “Europe Must Intervene in Guantánamo Capital Case: Q&A with Amrit Singh.” OpenSocietyJusticeInitiative Press Release: “Lawsuit Calls on European Court to Intervene in Guantánamo Death Penalty Case”  The ECtHR application & Rule 39 Request can be found here. More from Jurist.
  • AfriqueEnLigne: “Gambia: 49th ordinary session of African rights oranisation ends.”
  • MISA: “Misa Statement to African Commission for Human and Peoples’ Rights.”
  • IFJ: “The Federation of African Journalists (FAJ), the African Regional Organisation of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), welcomes the historic move of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) to adopt a landmark resolution on the safety of journalists and media practitioners in Africa.”
  • Foroyaa: “Press Release: Amnesty International Expresses Concern Over Rights Situation in the Continent.”

International Justice

  • WSJ: “Harvard professor Sarah Sewall has pushed the Pentagon to have a plan on the shelf for responding to mass atrocities, ethnic cleansing and genocide. Now, with Libya as a backdrop, her efforts are beginning to bear fruit.”



  • emg.rs: “Tadic: Serbia will do everything to complete its cooperation with ICTY”. emg.rs: “Brammertz to meet Tadic and Dacic today.”
  • M&C: “Serbia can and must do more, UN war crimes prosecutor warns.” BalkainInsight: Key to Mladic Arrest Is in Serbia, ICTY Prosecutor Says
  • TheCitizen: “ICTR sets new date for proceedings in case of genocide fugitive.”
  • ConcordTimes: “International Prosecutors Meet in Freetown”
  • RNW: “The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has waived protective measures enjoyed by one of its anonymous witnesses to help the Denmark’s Special International Crimes Office to investigate and eventually prosecute genocide-suspect Emmanuel Mbarushimana.”
  • AFP: “Sierra Leone ‘anxiously’ awaits Taylor verdict: official.”
Bangladesh ICT
  • BDNews24: “The law minister has dismissed the allegation of holding war crimes trial on ‘political consideration.”
  • The Independent: “ICT not following international standards for trial: Toby Cadman”
  • TheDailyStar: “War crimes witnesses to get safety: Qamrul”
  • AustralianNewsNetwork: “Cambodian war crimes court divided over third case.”
  • RNW: “The international co-prosecutor at Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia on Monday called for the unnamed suspects in a politically sensitive new Khmer Rouge case to face questioning.”
  • RNW: “In the coming months, the UN-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) expects to begin arresting and putting on trial those responsible for the assassination of the former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.”
Truth & Reconciliation

Universal Jurisdiction

  • UK:”The Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) today publishes its reporton the Police Reform and Social Responsibility (PRSC) Bill.” Engage: “JCHR report criticises Government efforts to change universal jurisdiction law.”
  • DemocracyNow: Interview with Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzón
  • M&C: “Finnish court plans hearings in Rwanda over genocide appeal.”
  • News24: Germany: “Witness testifies in genocide trial”

International Humanitarian Law

Legal Commentary/Reports/Papers

  • ICJ: The Practitioners Guide on Migration and International Human Rights Law
  • SSRN: Rule Selection in the Case of Israel’s Naval Blockade of Gaza: Law of Naval Warfare or Law of the Sea? James Kraska
  • ChineseJournalofInternationalLaw: The Isayeva Cases of the European Court of Human Rights: The Application of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Law in Non-International Armed Conflicts. Eriko Tamura

ICRC: “ICRC announces results of consultation with States on strengthening IHL”

In Uncategorized on May 12, 2011 at 5:46 pm

The ICRC recently concluded a “round of consultations” with state delegations on both improving IHL compliance and discussing ways of  strengthening protection in 4  areas of the law.

An interview with ICRC President,  Jakob Kellenberger, discussing the recent consultations was posted today.

Dr  Kellenberger’s address to the the permanent missions in Geneva is also available online.  Here is a summary of the ICRC study by Dr Kellenberger which became the basis of the consultations:

..what is required in most cases in order to improve the situation of persons affected by armed conflict is a greater compliance with the existing legal framework. However, the ICRC study also showed that ensuring better protection for these persons involves addressing normative weaknesses through a reinforcement of the law in four specific areas, namely: (a) the protection for persons deprived of liberty; (b) implementation of international humanitarian law and reparations for victims of violations; (c) the protection of the natural environment; (d) the protection of internally displaced persons.

New Report:Human Rights First: Detained and Denied in Afghanistan

In Uncategorized on May 12, 2011 at 12:02 am

New report released yesterday by Human Rights First questioning the legality of current US detention-review policies in Afghanistan under International Law.  According to the press release, here are the key findings:

  • The current U.S. detention policy in Afghanistan does not provide detainees the minimum level of due process required by international law, including the right to see and effectively challenge the evidence, and to have their rights determined by an independent authority, empowered to order release.
  • While the U.S. military has a legitimate need to protect intelligence sources and methods, the heavy reliance on secret evidence to determine whether a detainee meets the criteria for continued detention is unacceptable and does not meet the minimum requirements of due process – a practice that is counterproductive to the U.S. mission in Afghanistan because it encourages hostility toward U.S. forces.
  • The DRB’s lack of authority to order a detainee’s release represents a serious shortfall in due process, one that leaves the process open to arbitrary delays and the possibility of political interference. This undermines both the legitimacy of the board’s proceedings and the ability of detainees to meaningfully challenge their detention.
  • There is a lack of compensation – or even an official apology – for wrongful detention, theft or damage to property.
  • The responsible transition of detention authority to Afghan control is critical to the future stability of Afghanistan, as well as to U.S. national security interests in the region. To help the Afghan government meet basic standards of due process will require a lasting commitment on the part of the U.S. government, working in coordination with other donor nations.
The LA Times also published a piece today covering the detainee review process in Afghanistan.
I also recommend reading a  report (in conjunction with the HRF report) summarizing  an informal expert meeting sponsored by the ICRC and Chatham House in 2008 called: Procedural Safeguards for Security Detention in Non-International Armed Conflict.


UN Security Council Meeting:Open Debate: Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict

In Uncategorized on May 10, 2011 at 6:42 pm

Today the UN Security Council held an “open debate” meeting assessing the UN bodies track record  on protecting civilians in armed conflict situations. The meeting was opened with “briefings by top United Nations humanitarian, human rights and peacekeeping officials’ , and was subsequently followed by Statements by a number of member states.

Here is a summary of the proceedings.

A complete webcast of the meeting is also available here.

Oxfam also released a report (“Protection of Civilians in 2010”) coinciding with the SC meeting detailing “the international community’s record on protecting civilians in 2010.” According to a press release, ” the aid agency looked at 18 different armed conflicts that affected civilians throughout the world in 2010 and examined – amongst others – the number of civilians reported to have been killed, raped or displaced, as well as what actions the UN Security Council took or failed to take. The report also looked at the problem of child soldiers and at the number of aid workers killed in the course of 2010.”


International Human Rights Law: Weekly Roundup (5/1/11-5/8/11)

In Uncategorized on May 9, 2011 at 1:05 am

**UPDATE**: Share Button Added for last 10 posts

UN Human Rights System

Charter-based mechanisms

  • UNNewsCentre: “Uganda: UN rights chief deplores ‘excessive’ use of force by authorities”.
  • HRW: “UN Security Council: Support ICC Probe on Libya”
  • UNNewsCentre: “UN expert warns of impact of prolonged Israeli occupation on Palestinian children.” Press Release
  • UNNewsCentre: Kyrgyzstan:”UN rights chief urges follow-up action on report on ethnic violence.”
  • UNNewsCentre:Syria: “Ban calls for probe into killings and end to violent repression of protests.”Amnesty: Accountability For Victims Of Human Rights Abuses In Syria. HRWUN: Reject Syria’s Human Rights Council Candidacy.
  • UNNewsCentre: “UN human rights chief voices deep concern about Bahrain crackdown.”
  • UNOG: “Seven human rights experts dealing with the freedom of peaceful assembly and association; discrimination against women in law and practice; and the particular situation of people of African descent began work this week on the mandates handed to them by the Human Rights Council.”
  • UNNewsCentre: “Independent UN human rights experts seek facts on Bin Laden killing” Jurist: “UN special rapporteurs on executions want full statement of facts on Bing Laden killing.”
  • UNOG: “UN expert on contemporary forms of slaver in first visit to Peru”
  • UNNewsCentre: “Côte d’Ivoire: UN human rights team heads to alleged mass grave site”
  • Universal Periodic Review:
  • PressRelease: “Eleventh session of the Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review to be held from 2 to 13 May 2011″
  • Countries to be considered: Belgium, Denmark, Palau, Somalia, Seychelles, Soloman Islands, Latvia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Suriname, Greece, Samoa, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sudan, Hungary, Papua New Guinea. Documentation for each country can be found here. Webcast is available here.
  • ISHR: Thorough UPR coverage.
  • ALLAfrica: Somalia: “Universal Periodic Review (UPR), which is the human rights monitoring mechanism of the United Nations, is today, 3 May, reviewing Somalia.”
  • PressRelease: AHRC: NEPAL: Nepal urged to accept and implement UPR recommendations and end impunity
  • Press Release: Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development: UN’s Human Rights Review of Singapore. HRW: Singapore: UN Rights Body Should Press for Fundamental Freedoms.

Treaty-based mechanisms


  • ISHR: “Human Rights Committee advance draft General Comment on freedom of expression”


  • UNOG: “Committee against Torture to hold forty-sixth session in Geneva from 9 May to 3 June 2011. Experts to Consider Reports of Finland, Ghana, Ireland, Kuwait, Mauritius, Monaco, Slovenia and Turkmenistan.”


  • UNOG: “The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights this morning opened its forty-sixth session this morning at the Palais Wilson in Geneva, hearing an address by Ibrahim Salama, Director of the Human Rights Treaties Division of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Two new members of the Committee also took the solemn oath and the Committee elected a new bureau and adopted its agenda and programme of work.”
  • UNOG: “The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights this afternoon held a discussion with non-governmental organizations on the implementation of the Covenant in four of the five countries under review during this session, namely Turkey, Republic of Moldova, Germany and the Russian Federation.”
  • UNOG: “The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has considered the second periodic report of the Republic of Moldova on that country’s implementation of the provisions of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.”
  • UNOG: “The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has considered the initial report of Turkey on that country’s implementation of the provisions of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.”

Regional Systems


  • MercoPress: “Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff decided to cut all relations with the Inter American Human Rights Court following on the CIDH decision to request that the construction of a huge dam in the Amazon be suspended, following an appeal from indigenous groups.” Commentary: IntLawGrrls: “Brazil / Inter-American Commission standoff”
  • IACHR PressRelease: “IACHR concludes working visit to Argentina.”  
  • FemiPeters: “Economic growth alone cannot sustain peace” says Isatou Graham at 49th Ordinary ACHPR Session.
  • Today: “Stakeholders attending the NGO Forum of the Africa Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) 49th Ordinary Session have pointed out the need for the implementation of the various resolutions agreed to, noting that only by doing so could the effective protection and fulfillment of people’s rights be achieved on the continent.”
  • AllAfrica: “AU Commissioner Calls for Collective Human Rights Promotion.”
  • FIDH: “Contribution of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) within the framework of their joint programme, the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, under the agenda item: “Situation of Human Rights Defenders”
  • ISHR: “An update on the NGO Forum”
  • NYULaw: “CHRGJ examines accountability for rendition and secret detention through litigation in Africa.”
  • HRW:ASEAN: Reject Burma as Regional Group’s Chair

International Justice

  • RadioNetherlands:International justice – a ‘handy political tool’
  • AP Interview: “International court prosecutor has ‘strong evidence’ of crimes in Libya.” More from Reuters. FP:TurtleBay: “International prosecutor cites credible evidence of Libyan war crimes.” Guardian: “Libyan leaders may face UN arrest warrants for war crimes.” More from HagueJusticePortal
  • ICC PressRelease: “The Office of the Prosecutor will request an arrest warrant against three individuals in the first Libya case. Judges will decide.” First Report of the ICC Prosecutor to UNSC. Statement to the UNSC. More from Jurist
  • FIDH: UNSC members must pledge to implement arrest warrants.
  • AP: “The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court said Monday that he plans to ask judges “very soon” to open an investigation into alleged crimes against humanity and war crimes in Ivory Coast following last November’s presidential election.”
  • AllAfrica: “More patience is needed from former displaced persons in northern Uganda over the delayed arrest and prosecution of the top five Lord’s Resistance Army leaders indicted over war crimes, the International Criminal Court (ICC) urged yesterday.”
  • TheStandard: “Ocampo loses bid to appeal over evidence disclosure”
  • CapitalNews: “The International Criminal Court (ICC) has given the government of Kenya 10 days to respond to issues raised by Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo in opposing the government’s suit on the admissibility of the case against six Kenyans.”
  • TheStandard: “ICC rejects Muthaura’s bid to gag Ocampo”
  • AllAfrica: “Rwanda will issue summons to the controversial American lawyer, Peter Erlinder, to face charges related to Genocide denial and revisionism, when the appropriate time comes.”
  • HRW: “Gotovina Ruling Reaction Shows Croatia Has Yet to Come to Terms with the Past.”
  • Jurist: ICTY allows Seselj war crimes trial to continue
  • Commentary: IntLawGrrls: “Assessing the Impact of the International Criminal Court.”

Universal Jurisdiction

…..And International Humanitarian Law

  • Click here: latest roundup on the killing of OBL under International law.


Recent Events:Audio/Video *UPDATED*

In Uncategorized on May 7, 2011 at 10:03 am

UC Berkeley Center for Latin American Studies: Baltasar Garzon: “Universal Jurisdiction and International Justice: An Inseperable Reality?” Event info

Audio for the event below is available here.

ISS:Can Human Rights Regulate Modern Conflict?


The regulation of the conduct of warfare has been traditionally the preserve of international humanitarian law, but in a growing number of cases international and domestic courts have applied human rights law to situations of armed conflict. This jurisprudence builds on the principle, repeatedly stated by the International Court of Justice, that human rights do not cease in wartime. Is there a tension between the traditional regulation of armed conflict under international humanitarian law and human rights? What difficulties and risks does the application of human rights to warfare pose? More generally, is this development really to be welcome? Or is it an example of ‘human rightism’, the unreflecting and confused ideology that sees human rights as a solution to everything?

Short bio

Dr Guglielmo Verdirame will soon be joining King’s College London as Professor of International Law, appointed by both the Department of War Studies and the School of Law. He is currently a University Lecturer at the University of Cambridge and Fellow of the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law. He is the author, with Barbara Harrell-Bond, of Rights in Exile: Janus-Faced Humanitarianism (2005, Berghahn) – “a damning exposé of protection failures of those most responsible for safeguarding refugee rights: the host countries of asylum, contracting NGOs and the UNHCR” (International Journal of Refugee Law). His next major work, The UN and Human Rights: Who Guards the Guardians? (Cambridge University Press), will be published in June 2011.He has been in practice at the Bar, based at 20 Essex Street chambers, since 2007. He is a trustee of two charities involved in the advancement of human rights through law: the Africa and Middle East Refugee Assistance and the Human Dignity Trust.

Video for the event below is available here

DUKE LAW:National Security since 9/11: New Norms for a New Decade?

The years since 9/11 have produced remarkable developments in national security law and policy. These developments are ongoing, and in their evolution novel issues continue to arise. These issues, which include indefinite detention of terrorists, information security, armed drones, airport security, and the protection of privacy in the cyber era all illustrate the tensions between the needs of security in an era of asymmetrical threats and the preservation of civil liberties and other interests in a democratic society. Additionally, dealing with these threats raises new and complicated challenges with respect to civil-military relations.

Using a format of six panels and three meal speakers, our conference will be examining these issues and a number of other security issues of the new decade. To do this, we have assembled a prestigious group of scholars, policymakers and commentators who will take an interdisciplinary approach to all these issues from both a legal and a policy perspective.