31 July 2019 - NPWJ News Digest on International Criminal Justice


Prosecuting Syrian War Crimes Suspects From Berlin
The Atlantic, 31 Jul 2019

BERLIN—Among the Syrians living here in the German capital, Anwar Raslan had long been notorious. Soon he may be known farther afield—not just as the first senior Syrian official to be held accountable for acts carried out during that country’s conflict, but perhaps more importantly as the defendant in a case that changed the way the world prosecutes war crimes.


The End Of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence Impunity In The International Criminal Court?
The Organization for World Peace, 29 Jul 2019

Sexual violence during conflicts has never received much attention. At the international level, very few prosecutions have been presented and even fewer cases have been convicted. In domestic jurisdictions, the rate of convictions regarding conflict-related sexual violence is extremely low and as the 2019 report on Conflict Related Sexual Violence of the United Nations Secretary-General states, the elusiveness of justice is due to the barriers that justice systems impose on victims and the restricted capacities that states have to investigate these types of offences. Also, the stigma, fear, and rejection that victims of sexual crimes often face, reduce the likelihood of accountability.


Nepal: Justice Stalled for Conflict-Era Crimes
Human Rights Watch, 29 Jul 2019

The Government of Nepal has failed to fulfill its commitment to provide justice for the victims of the country’s decade-long armed conflict, Amnesty International, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), Human Rights Watch, and TRIAL International said today. The organizations echoed statements by victims and human rights groups about the Nepal government’s inaction on addressing conflict-era human rights violations, and a lack of transparency in the appointment of commissioners to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and to the Commission on the Investigation of Enforced Disappearances


Migration: Time for the ICC put European leaders on trial
The Africa Report, 26 Jul 2019

The court’s Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, must decide whether she wants to open a preliminary investigation into the criminality of Europe’s treatment of migrants. The challenge against the EU’s Mediterranean migrant policy is set out in a 245-page document prepared by Juan Branco and Omer Shatz, two lawyer-activists working and teaching in Paris. They argue that EU migration policy is founded in deterrence and that drowned migrants are a deliberate element of this policy. The international law that they allege has been violated – crimes against humanity – applies to state policies practiced even outside of armed conflict. Doctrinally and juridically, the ICC can proceed. The question that remains is political: can and should the ICC come after its founders on their own turf?


Geopolitical Crimes: A Revolutionary Proposal
Common Dreams, 26 Jul 2019

When we think about international relations in a general way we typically presuppose a state-centric world order. I find this misleading. Actually, there are two intersecting and overlapping systems of rules and diplomatic protocols that are operative in international relations: a juridicalsystem linking sovereign states on the basis of equality before the law; and a geopolitical system linking dominant states regionally and globally with other states on the basis of inequalities in power, scale, wealth and status. It is convenient to consider the juridical system as horizontal and the geopolitical system as vertical so long as this distinction is understood as a metaphor to distinguish hierarchical from non-hierarchical relations that are operative in international politics.