17 April 2019 - NPWJ News Digest on International Criminal Justice


Bosnia, Serbia Unlikely to Copy Belgium’s Genocide Denial Law
Balkan Transitional Justice, 17 Apr 2019

Parliament in Belgium is expected to vote this month on a proposal to amend the country’s anti-racism law to make it illegal to deny genocides that have been recognised by the International Criminal Court or other UN tribunals. The proposed legislation makes it an offence to “deny, minimise, justify or approve of genocides, crimes against humanity or war crimes recognised as such by an international tribunal”, according to The Brussels Times.

Read More

US Does Not Nominate Representative to Critical Rights Body
Human Rights Watch, 16 Apr 2019

In yet another example of the US’ backpedaling from multilateralism/international organizations, the Trump Administration has failed to nominate a representative to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), the latest in series of US withdrawals from international treaties and supporting organizations. CERD, which is made up of 18 international experts on racism and international human rights law serving in their personal capacity, will continue to review the practices of the US regardless.

Read More

On Russia's border, impunity drives further violence
Open Democracy, 15 Apr 2019

Two new reports about human right violations in Russian-occupied regions of Georgia underline that the EU needs to increase support for the International Criminal Court. Trouble seems to haunt Russia’s long European border from the Barents Sea to the Caspian. In Northern Norway, local authorities complain that Russia is jamming GPS-signals, thereby jeopardising possible search and rescue operations on land and sea in the high north.

Read More

ICC rejects request to investigate war crimes in Afghanistan
The Guardian, 12 Apr 2019

Judges at the international criminal court have rejected a request by the court’s top prosecutor to open an investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity in Afghanistan, a decision described as a “devastating blow for victims”. In a lengthy written ruling, judges said any investigation and prosecution was unlikely to be successful because the expectation is that those targeted, including the United States, Afghan authorities and the Taliban, would not cooperate.

Read More

Accountability for War Crimes in Syria: The “Criminalization” Confusion
Just Security, 11 Apr 2019

In 1942, three years before World War II came to a close, international lawyer Hersch Lauterpacht prepared a memorandum for the Committee on Crimes Against International Public Order. In it, he considered whether the Nazis should be tried for war crimes when the war ended. Before he could address when and whether to prosecute the Nazis for war crimes, he observed, it was first and foremost necessary to determine “what is a war crime.” Nearly 80 years later, this question looms yet again—this time in the horrific Syrian civil war.

Read More