“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

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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

Transitional Justice in Post-Conflict Syria

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

Child Soldiers in Syria

Written by Garima Tiwari

“If the men are gone, our children are present.”[i]

Syria

After the death of his mother and his father’s disappearance 5 years ago, Shaaban Abdullah Hamid, aged 12 years, spent several years in the streets or doing casual jobs at a plastic factory. An uncle of Shaaban presented the boy with a handgun and offering him a job as a soldier for the Islamist group Afhad al-Rasul. The training lasted one month, after which the boy spent the following two months sniping at people walking or driving on an Aleppo bridge. Killing a civilian brought him $2.5, and killing a government soldier, $5. Working an 8-hour shift, he killed a total of 13 civilians and 10 soldiers. His firing position stayed warm round the clock, because two other boys worked the remaining two shifts. Shaaban also executed delinquent or offending rebels several times, doing so on orders from his uncle. In the end, his father got word of him and took him to a Red Crescent refugee camp in Hama. From there, both moved to Tartus to take up farming jobs. Asked about any emotions in connection with his sniping, he said he had none. [ii]  Continue reading

A Critical Review of Security Council Resolution 1593 (2005) on Darfur

Written by: Ammar Mahmoud. Ammar Mohamed Mahmoud is a First Secretary in the Embassy of the Republic of the Sudan in Abuja, Nigeria. Prior to his current position, Mr. Mahmoud had been serving in the Department of International Law and Treaties at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sudan.

As Sudan is not a party to Rome Statute[1], the Security Council used Resolution 1593, which adopted under Chapter VII of the Charter on March 31, 2005, to trigger ICC jurisdiction in Darfur stating that  Continue reading

Kenyatta Decision: A Case of Double Standards?

“Mr. Kenyatta is excused from continuous presence at other times during the trial. This excusal is strictly for purposes of accommodating the discharge of his duties as the President of Kenya”. With these words the ICC trial Chamber in the case The Prosecutor v Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta made one of the most significant decisions regarding the trial of senior state officers. The court was faced with an unprecedented situation: the leader of a country is, for the first time, due to stand trial before an international tribunal on charges of having committed war crimes. Continue reading

Challenges in International Justice

Written by: Regina Paulose

Josh D. Scheinert wrote a post in the Huffington Post critiquing the possible failures of the ICC.[1] While his post raises interesting points, his critique seems a bit unfair.  Continue reading