African National Bar Associations and the Promotion of International Criminal Justice in Africa

Author: Tosin Osasona

Bar associations and law societies are a critical component of legal institutions across the world and the same can be said of African bar associations and law societies. There are fifty-four distinct national lawyers associations in Africa, five regional lawyers association and a Pan-African Lawyers Union that serves as continental platform for lawyers’ guilds across the continent.[i] Some of these national organizations have a long history dating back to colonial period and have evolved over time reflecting the political and social cultures of their societies, so much that they have become an integral part of the legal process in public consciousness.[ii]  In fact, the legal profession in Africa has been labeled “the most dominant and the most influential profession.”[iii] Continue reading

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Civilians And The Rome Statute

Written by Garima Tiwari

 

More than 2,000 Palestinians were killed in the 50-day conflict in July and August, about 70 percent of them civilians, according to the U.N. Seventy-one Israeli soldiers and civilians were killed in combat and in rocket and mortar strikes. [i]The chief Palestinian Authority negotiator, Saeb Erekat, claimed that 96 percent of Gazans killed in the summer’s Israel-Hamas conflict were civilians, reiterated PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s charge of Israeli “genocide,” and accused Israel of seeking to impose apartheid on the Palestinians.[ii] 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

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

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