“Equality of Arms” and its Effect on the Quality of Justice at the ICC

Written by: Tosin Osasona [1]

The concept of equality of arms has a dinstinctive European origin and can be traced back to the medieval era, when dispute was settled by ordeal of trial by battle. Because the trial would be to death, a rigid set of rules were put in place to ensure parity between contestants and each contestant was put at par in terms of armament and armor.[2] This worldview midwived the common law system of adversarial proceeding. Continue reading

On the Illegality of Crimean Secession under International Law

Contemporary application of the principle of territorial integrity under International law raises serious concerns. Arguably, this issue is becoming popular once again now that the Crimean referendum has finally taken place with 95% of the Crimean population having voted for secession of Crimea from Ukraine,[1] which, in turn, renders the interests of the people of Crimea claiming secession incompatible with territorial interests of Ukraine. Continue reading

Prosecuting Gender-Based Crimes: An Interview with Dr. Hilmi M. Zawati

A conversation with: Regina Paulose

In a virtual interview, accompanying the release of Dr. Zawati’s new book, Fair Labelling and the Dilemma of Prosecuting Gender-Based Crimes at the International Criminal Tribunals by Oxford University Press (2014), we discuss the prosecution of gender based crimes in the international legal system. Dr. Zawati explains below that the lack of accurate description of gender-based crimes in the statutory laws of the international criminal tribunals and courts infringes the principle of “fair labelling,” lead to inconsistent verdicts and punishments, and constitutes a barrier to justice. As a result, sexual violence in wartime settings should be prosecuted separately as crimes in themselves, not as a subsection of war crimes or crimes against humanity. Continue reading

Turning the Tide: Preventing violence against PWA

Written by: Regina Paulose

“The cruelty to and murder of African albinos has not been as widely publicized in our popular media. It should. There’s nothing more abhorrent, nothing more evil than the use of a human soul to expiate some evil spirit; nothing worse than to inflict repeated, continuous pain to a child whose only sin is having been born with a minor genetic variation.”1 Continue reading

“Courts Can’t End Civil Wars”-Of Course They Can’t Mr. Mbeki! (A response to Former President Mbeki)

In an opinion piece article published in the New York Times on 5th February 2014 and titled “Courts Can’t End Civil Wars” Thabo Mbeki[1]  and Mahmood Mamdan[2] make an argument about the place of courts in post conflict situations[3]. In the article the writers argue that courts have little, if any role, to play in post conflict situations. Rather than dealing with the messy issue of justice and accountability for the perpetrators, they argue that the international community ought to forget the past and move on to building a better society. Continue reading

Correcting Prejudice in Legal Discourse: Brazil

Written by: Brittany Friedman[1]

Too often, scholarship analyzing child prostitution in Brazil is limited to identifying at-risk groups and evaluating the relationship between sexual exploitation and poverty.  This intellectual pigeonhole has consistently prevented lawmakers and activists from fully addressing the damaging effects of child prostitution on Brazil’s socioeconomic equity.  Indeed, these types of analyses are necessary for the development and implementation of public policy; however, they overlook how subjective interpretations of the law increase social inequality by imbedding cultural stereotypes into legal discourse. Continue reading

Incorporating All of Syria’s Voices into the Transition

Written by: Regina Paulose

As various parties in and out of Syria prepare for the January 22, 2014 “Geneva II” talks, it is important for the international community to remember that a successful long term peace and transition plan in Syria will require the genuine participation of minority groups in Syria of all backgrounds. While these ideas have been communicated to the parties that will be in attendance, it is important that legitimate mechanisms are in place to ensure the participation of all in the transition and that the participation of all people remains a non-negotiable item during the talks. Continue reading