At the court of the naked Emperor: Reflections on the Assembly of State Parties of the ICC

David Hoile

The Assembly of State Parties, the body charged with the management and oversight of the International Criminal Court, is meeting this week in The Hague. It brings together smug western politicians, lawyers infused with their own self-importance, bored diplomats, naïve fresh-faced interns and a slew of excitable, self-righteous human rights activists from a variety of well-funded western non-governmental organisations. Having spent several days in attendance at this annual jamboree and having spent several years closely observing the behaviour of the ICC, Hans Christian Andersen’s tale The Emperor’s New Clothes comes immediately to mind. Continue reading

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Rape as a Crime versus Rape as a Punishment: What is going on in India?

Written By Garima Tiwari

Indian village council orders sisters to be raped and paraded naked after their brother elopes with married woman.[i]

This recent news and few other similar incidents evoke a number of sentiments. Of course, it is an illegal order with no statutory backing, yet it is an order of the “members of the society” or as are called “Kangaroo Courts” . And it raises pertinent issues about the perception of women in India within a complex web of Caste, Culture, Religion and a family –community system still very patriarchal. While the Nirbhaya Delhi Gang rape case is still sore and the Government’s “security regime” -in place, headlines of “sentencing to rape”, create a mismatch in legal and societal standards. This post loosely  puts forth ideas on how the simple formula of merely punishing the offender does not even look like a step forward in acknowledging the deep seated problem in a complex society like India. Continue reading

The Modern Slave Trade? Not Quite

The trafficking of human being across the Mediterranean Sea into Europe has been on the news last month. The death of almost 900 people as they sought refuge and a better life in Europe so much pricked our collective conscience that at last there seems to be some movement to prevent these events from re-occuring. Former leaders of European countries for example described it as “a stain on the conscience of our continent”[1].  Continue reading

Respecting Victims of Terrorism in Nigeria

Author: Tosin Osasona

If the Chinese proverb that “a picture is worth a thousand words” is right, then should pictures not be used more cautiously than words? When are nauseating images of gore and dead bodies’ offensive and when are they necessary? Has the mobile revolution moved death from the taboo closet that the African culture has kept it in for ages to the open? What is the effect of the repeated publication and circulation of graphic images on public consciousness? Is the dead entitled to the right to be treated with dignity? At what point do the dead stop being just mere news item and object of morbid fascination and become human? These and some other questions were thrown up by the images that surfaced after the Abuja bombing of April 14, 2014[i] and the recent school bombing in Potiskum, Nigeria.[ii] 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

“Courts Can’t End Civil Wars”-Of Course They Can’t 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

LGBT Rights: Colonisation and International Human Rights Standards

Written by Garima Tiwari

While 18 countries, home to more than 10 percent of the world’s population, now recognize same-sex marriage, 77 countries still outlaw sodomy.[i]  In seven of these countries, same-sex acts are punishable by death! Just recently, the Supreme Court of India reinstated a sodomy law recriminalizing same-sex relationships in a country home to 1.2 billion people. [ii] Max Fisher says that, “That’s more than the combined populations of the next 20 most-populous countries where same-sex acts are criminalized. If we assume that rates of homosexuality are consistent worldwide, then the number of gay men and women who can be jailed for their sexuality may well have just doubled.”[iii] Continue reading