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3 February 2012
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1. Daniel Bekele and Philippe Bolopion, Human Rights Watch – A chance for South Africa to do the right thing for Syria
2. Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect – Syria Veto Costs Lives: U.N. Security Council Members Must Uphold Their ‘Responsibility to Protect’
3. Amnesty International – Security Council: Russia must not block efforts to end atrocities in Syria
4. The Economist – Hold your horses: The time is not yet right for military intervention in Syria
5. Shadi Hamid, The Atlantic – Why We Have a Responsibility to Protect Syria
 
1. Minority Rights Group – MRG welcomes ICC ruling, calls for robust protection of minorities in Kenya
2. Forty-seven NGOs, including four ICRtoP Members – Letter to Foreign Ministers of African States Parties to the ICC
3. International Crisis Group – African Union must pressure Sudan to allow food aid into Kordofan and Blue Nile
 
12 February, Global Action to Prevent War - Panel Discussion: Linking Gender Perspectives and UN Security and Participation Priorities
2-3 April, Forum for International Criminal and Humanitarian Law and China University of Political Law — Lecture and Seminar: Sovereignty and Individual Criminal Responsibility for Core International Crimes
18-22, 25-29 June, Canadian Mennonite University - Canadian School of Peacebuilding

 
 
Arab League takes harsher stance as humanitarian situation deteriorates
The UN announced that the death toll had surpassed 5,400 in January as continued violence led the Arab League to strengthen its stance in Syria. On 23 January, the League called for Syrian President al-Assad to step down and for the Syrian government and opposition leaders to create a unity government. The League’s plan was immediately rejected by Syrian authorities who called the plan “flagrant interference” in Syrian affairs.
 
Meanwhile, the monitoring mission launched by the Arab League in December 2011, suffered additional setbacks as Saudi Arabia withdrew its support on 23 January, citing Syria’s failure to implement the Arab League’s peace plan. The following day, the Gulf States also withdrew from the mission. After initial reports from observers, Arab leaders had agreed to extend the mandate of the monitoring mission for another month on 27 January. However, the mission was later suspended on 29 January due to worsening conditions on the ground, including a “massacre” in the district of Karm al-Zeitoun, which led to the death of more than 74 Syrian citizens over the course of two days.
 
The League called on the United Nations to support their plan for Assad’s transition from power and the formation of a transition government. Following reports from observers of ongoing human rights violations and the possible risk of civil war, Amnesty International reiterated its call for Member States in the Security Council to agree on action in response to the crisis.
 
Security Council Deliberations Begin
The Secretary General of the Arab League Nabil El Araby travelled on 27 January to UN Headquarters with Qatari Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Than to seek support for the Arab League’s plan. An Arab and Western supported draft resolution based on the League’s strengthened stance was introduced to the Security Council by Morocco on 27 January. The U.N. Security Council held a high-level debate on 31 January on the situation in Syria where al-Thani and El Araby briefed the Council. Al-Thani stated the Syrian government’s approach to governance had become obsolete; as a result, Council failure to act would have serious consequences for the Syrian population. 
 
Statements were presented by the Foreign Ministers of France, US, UK, Guatemala, Portugal, Morocco and Germany. The representatives welcomed the draft resolution, commended efforts of the Arab League and expressed support for the League’s decision to withdraw the Observer Mission. Guatemalan Minister of Foreign Affairs Harold Caballeros reminded Security Council members of their duty to act under the principles of RtoP, recalling “the obligation of all States to observe certain norms of conduct in relation to their own populations”. French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé also recalled every state’s “responsibility to protect its civilian population”.

Opposition was voiced by the Permanent Representatives (PR) of Syria, Russia and China. Syrian PR Bashar Ja’afari rejected the resolution, stating that change in Syria would be through the will of the people and “in the interest of the homeland”. Russia stated that dialogue, not foreign intervention, would be the only way forward. The Global Centre for R2P and Amnesty International both called on Russia not to block action to protect the population, especially as the draft resolution does not allow for foreign military intervention. “Russia has a critical role to play in resolving the Syrian crisis. But Russia must uphold their 2005 commitment to the Responsibility to Protect and abstain from using their veto as crimes against humanity continue in Syria,” said the Centre in a press release. Human Rights Watch called on South Africa in particular to take this opportunity to support an international response and deter a possible Russian veto. Meanwhile, during Council deliberations South Africa and India urged all sides to work with the Arab League in a Syrian-led process, one that respects the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of Syria.
 
Negotiations continued on 2 February amid reports that the resolution had been altered to reflect concerns from Security Council Members, including calling for Assad to transition from power and on enforcing an arms embargo. The resolution will likely be revised further in advance of a vote.
 
For more information about the deliberations in the Security Council and the evolution of the draft resolution, please see our recent blog post.
 
1. A chance for South Africa to do the right thing for Syria
Daniel Bekele and Philippe Bolopion
Human Rights Watch
2 February 2012
 
Daniel Bekele is the Executive Director of the Africa division and Philippe Bolopion is UN Director at Human Rights Watch.
 
Will history repeat itself at the United Nations (UN) Security Council? The last time South Africa was called to vote on a resolution on Syria, on October 4 last year, it chose to abstain, along with India and Brazil.
 
By doing so, the South African government empowered Russia and China to veto a draft resolution that was designed to pressure the Syrian government into ending the violence against its own people. At that stage, the civilian toll in Syria was, according to the UN, almost 2700 dead, which included many children and women.
 
Four months later, the death toll has more than doubled — the latest UN report was 5400 dead, but as the country descends into chaos, the UN said it could not keep track of the deaths any more.
 
We’ll never know how events might have unfolded and how many lives might have been spared had the Security Council sent a strong, united message in October. It is still not too late for the council to speak out on this crisis.
 
Once again, Russia has taken the lead in blocking Security Council action on Syria. (…)
 
The draft resolution does not mention sanctions, nor any reference to the use of force, yet Moscow is stoking fears that this would lead to a Libya-style intervention.
 
Russia knows this resonates with South Africa, which has invoked the spectre of the use of force in Syria and warned of possible "hidden agendas."
 
But Russia might have its own "hidden agendas" in Syria. It seems bent on protecting its alliance with the Syrian government, which has long been a trading partner in the region. (…)
 
South Africa has argued that the West misused the UN resolution on Libya, going beyond its purpose of protecting civilians to overthrow Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, and says it fears similar overreach in Syria.
 
Yet the resolution at the Security Council provides absolutely no authorisation for military intervention in Syria.
 
If South African diplomats are suspicious of spin by western powers, they could listen to Navi Pillay, the UN’s human rights chief, who denounced the "ruthless repression" threatening to "plunge Syria into civil war" when she urged the Security Council to take action in December. (…)
 
South Africa did not listen, so it is once again faced with a historic choice.
 
Will it settle political scores with the West at the expense of the Syrian people? Will it hide in the shadow of Russia, which is arming and supporting the Syrian repression machine?
 
Or will it join the efforts of the Arab League and democratic countries trying to peacefully end the bloodshed?
 
We can only hope South Africa will do the right thing this time and support the Security Council efforts to protect the Syrian people. Let’s not wait for the death toll to double again.
 
Read full report.
 
2. Syria Veto Costs Lives: U.N. Security Council Members Must Uphold Their ‘Responsibility to Protect’
Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
1 February 2012
 
Syria stands at a critical juncture between civil war and a potential resolution of the conflict as envisioned in the Arab Leagues plan to end the violence. Previous use of the veto at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has cost lives.
 
By 4 October 2011 approximately 2,700 Syrians had been killed when Russia and China vetoed a UNSC resolution that would have condemned the grave human rights violations and sent a strong, collective message to President Bashar al-Assad that he must halt the bloodshed. The veto prevented action and enabled further killings.
 
Since then the death toll has doubled. Over 5,400 people have been killed. The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect (GCR2P) calls upon all UN member states to support the new Syria resolution put forward by Morocco at the UNSC. (…)
 
Russia has a critical role to play in resolving the Syrian crisis. But Russia must uphold their 2005 commitment to the Responsibility to Protect and abstain from using their veto as crimes against humanity continue in Syria.
 
Dr. Simon Adams, Executive Director of the GCR2P said, “The Russian and Syrian governments have misconstrued support for R2P and the Moroccan resolution as a call for ‘regime change' and military intervention. R2P is not about regime change, but the Syrian people have clearly demonstrated their desire for the al-Assad regime to change their behavior, end their crimes against humanity, and respect their citizens’ most fundamental human rights.” (…)
 
Yesterday the UNSC debated the Syrian crisis. Meanwhile in Syria an estimated 20 people were killed. Now is not the time for vetoes. Now is the time for the UNSC to act.
 
Read full press release.
 
3. Security Council: Russia must not block efforts to end atrocities in Syria
Amnesty International
1 February 2012
 
Russia must not block international efforts to tackle the ongoing violence and human rights violations in Syria, Amnesty International said today amid negotiations over a resolution on Syria at the UN Security Council.

Russian officials have threatened to veto the resolution if it comes to a vote.

Russia was one of several Security Council members to block a previous resolution on Syria on 4 October 2011. According to reports received by Amnesty International, more than 2,600 people have been killed in Syria since then.

“Russia’s threats to abort a binding UN Security Council resolution on Syria for the second time are utterly irresponsible. Russia bears a heavy responsibility for allowing the brutal crackdown on legitimate dissent in Syria to continue unchecked,” said José Luis Díaz, Amnesty International's representative to the UN in New York. (…)

As the Syrian government’s largest overseas arms supplier, Russia has reportedly continued arms shipments into the country in recent weeks, even as Arab League observers reported back on ongoing human rights violations carried out by Syrian security forces.

Amnesty International has called for the Security Council resolution to refer the deteriorating situation in Syria to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, impose an arms embargo on Syria and to freeze the foreign assets of President Bashar al-Assad and other senior figures. (…)

While the latest draft UN Security Council resolution is a step in the right direction, it fails to request an asset freeze, the referral of situation in Syria to the ICC or a comprehensive arms embargo.

Amnesty International has concluded that crimes against humanity are taking place in Syria – a finding also made by a UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry months ago. The draft resolution does not echo the UN Commission’s explicit call for independent and impartial investigations of all suspected perpetrators of such grave crimes. (…)

“It is encouraging that the UNSC is finally poised to take action to address the Syrian crisis. But the draft falls short of what’s required,” said José Luis Díaz. (…)
 
Read full article.
 
4. Hold your horses: The time is not yet right for military intervention in Syria
The Economist
28 January 2012
 
(…) Over the past ten months Syria has slid to the brink of civil war. (…) Defying international sanctions, the regime kills protesting citizens by the dozen. The opposition, once hostile to all violence, has started to take up arms that increasingly pour in from neighbouring Lebanon. Aided by army defectors, it gains and loses control of small patches of territory, but it will not soon win the upper hand without more help.
 
Some outsiders, including the emir of Qatar and a growing number of analysts at American think-tanks, have begun to call for military action. One argument for intervention is consistency: the bloodshed in Syria is even worse than it was in Libya under Qaddafi. If outside powers have a responsibility to protect people from a mass-murdering tyrant, then surely Syria, where more than 5,000 have been killed in a campaign of state violence, is a prime candidate. Another is that several regional powers are already backing proxies in this fight. Iran and Russia aid the regime; Saudi Arabia and Turkey favour the rebels. Left alone, the rival camps will fuel a worsening conflict that could destabilise the entire region. (…)
 
Military action would satisfy the understandable desire to do something—anything—in the face of terrible suffering. But it is unlikely to bring the conflict to a quick or satisfactory end, not least because opponents of the regime are divided. (…)
 
There is no workable plan for an intervention. A no-fly zone would be useless, as the Syrian air force has not flown. Safe havens near the borders could protect citizens but they would soon need defending against regime troops. Striking the army—as in Libya—is an option but would not change the overall situation. Unlike in Libya, no unified rebel force is ready to sweep into the capital, secure the streets and take control.
 
Even if there were a plan, the cost of a botched intervention would be far higher in Syria. (…)
 
Instead, therefore, the outside world must pursue diplomacy. Just now the opposition’s most likely source of outside support is the Arab League, which sent an unarmed observer mission to Syria last month. Predictably, the mission failed to stop the killing. (…)
 
Yet the mission has set the stage for the Arab League to call on the UN Security Council to endorse a plan under which Mr Assad would transfer power to his deputy in two months and conduct elections in five. This too might fail, but it heightens diplomatic pressure on Mr Assad’s remaining supporters abroad, especially Russia. (…)
 
Read full article.
 
5. Why We Have a Responsibility to Protect Syria
Shadi Hamid
The Atlantic
26 January 2012
 
Shadi Hamid is director of research at the Brookings Doha Center and a fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution.
 
I was an early supporter of military intervention in Libya. I called for a no-fly zone on February 23, just 8 days after protests began. Now, we're nearly 300 days into the Syrian uprising. Very few analysts, myself included, have publicly called for foreign intervention, even though the Syrian regime has proven both more unyielding and more brutal than Muammar Qaddafi's.
 
Steven Cook, in a recent and controversial piece, made the case for the military option in Syria. I agree with much of Cook's article but not all of it. Emotionally, and from a purely moral perspective, I agree with all of it. The risks of intervention, however, are tremendous. Marc Lynch has made the most persuasive case for caution. So I find myself torn.
 
It may make sense, then, to revisit the reasons I, and several others (…) broke ranks with our colleagues on the left and supported the NATO operation in Libya. First, American policymakers should -- as a matter of principle -- take Arab public opinion seriously. In the lead-up to the Iraq War, there were no widespread calls among Iraqis themselves for us, or anyone else, to intervene militarily. In Libya, there were. The Libyan rebels were practically begging us to step in with military force.
 
In recent months, a rapidly growing number of Syrian activists, both on the ground and those in exile, have called forcefully and repeatedly for some form of foreign intervention, whether through the establishment of no-fly zones, no-drive zones, humanitarian corridors, "safe zones," or through the arming of rebel forces such as the Free Syrian Army. 
 
The Syrian National Council, the most important Syrian opposition body and the closest analogue to Libya's National Transitional Council, has unequivocally called for foreign intervention. Its leaders have repeatedly issued such calls to the international community in similarly clear language. (…)
 
As I argued in a recent article in The New Republic, Arab protesters and revolutionaries, despite their often passionate dislike of U.S. policy, continue to turn to us for support in their time of need. This should not be taken lightly. In a time when millions of Arabs are demanding and dying for their freedom, the United States finds itself in a privileged role. (…)
 
Some critics of the Libya intervention feared it would set a precedent. I hoped it would set a precedent -- that whenever pro-democracy protesters were threatened with massacre, the U.S., Europe, and its allies would take the responsibility to protect seriously, and consider military intervention as a legitimate option -- provided that those on the ground asked us to do so.
 
Unfortunately, one successful case of military intervention -- in Libya -- is not enough to establish a precedent. For too long, the Syrian regime has assumed, correctly it turns out, that Libya was the exception that proved the rule. Obama administration officials have said as much, insisting that the military option is not being seriously considered for Syria. (…)
 
Indeed, there are a number of reasons why intervention, today, would be premature. But it may not be premature in a month or in two. The international community must begin considering a variety of military options -- the establishment of "safe zones" seems the most plausible -- and determine which enjoys the highest likelihood of causing more good than harm. This is now -- after nearly a year of waiting and hoping -- the right thing to do. It is also the responsible thing to do.
 
Read full article.
 
 
1. Minority Rights Group welcomes ICC ruling, calls for robust protection of minorities in Kenya
Minority Rights Group International
30 January 2012

Minority Rights Group International (MRG) welcomes the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) ruling requiring four prominent Kenyans to stand trial for crimes against humanity following post-election violence in 2007.

MRG urges the government of Kenya to specifically protect vulnerable communities as the ICC decision may create tensions and possible reprisals. Kenyans are split along political and ethnic lines regarding the ICC case with supporters of those on trial viewing it as political intrigue.

‘This week’s ICC announcement is the first step towards providing justice for the victims of the election violence in 2007. However, tensions will remain unless the final point of the Annan-brokered plan, which was for the government to address the root causes of the violence, in particular historical grievances over expropriation of land, is implemented,’ said Chris Chapman, MRG’s Head of Conflict Prevention Programme. (…)

The 2007/8 post-election violence erupted after President Mwai Kibaki was declared the winner of the presidential election held on December 27, 2007 but widely marred with electoral malpractices.

What started as a case of supporters of different candidates gathering to express their reactions to the election results, took an ugly ethnic twist as revenge attacks started targeting people from particular ethnic communities. (…)

‘The Kenya experience, while seemingly isolated, illuminates many case studies in Africa where politicians continue to use ethnicity to gain political advantage and minorities and indigenous peoples fall prey because they are politically and economically marginalised,’ said Chapman.
 
 
2. Letter to Foreign Ministers of African States Parties to the ICC
Human Rights Network Uganda, Human Rights Watch, Kenyan Section of the International Commission of Jurists
26 January 2012
 
ICRtoP Members Human Rights Network-Uganda (HURINET), Human Rights Watch (HRW), Coalition for Justice and Accountability and International Commission of Jurists-Kenya (ICJ-K) join over forty-seven NGOs calling on African state parties to the Rome Statute to reaffirm support for the ICC.
 
(…) On the occasion of the 18th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU)–which will take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on January 29-30, 2012–we, the undersigned African civil society organizations and international organizations with a presence in Africa, write to share some important developments affecting international criminal justice in Africa and to encourage African states parties to reaffirm their strong support for the International Criminal Court (ICC) and its goal of ending impunity for grave international crimes.
 
Our organizations note that the ICC is not on the formal agenda of the AU Assembly at the upcoming summit. The summit is however an opportunity for gathered African states parties to informally exchange observations about recent developments and discuss concrete steps that they and the AU can take to advance justice for the victims of crimes under international law, in accordance with Article 4 of the African Union Constitutive Act. (…)
 
Significant moment in the evolution of the ICC and need for renewed support from Africa
 
2011 was marked by a number of important developments for justice for crimes under international law, such as a higher number of ratifications of the ICC Statute than in previous years, strong popular calls for justice in North Africa, and important elections to top positions at the ICC that will result in a change of leadership at the institution in 2012.
 
Six new states ratified the ICC Statute in 2011, thus affirming their support to the values of justice and accountability it embodies. Among these six states, two are African (Tunisia and Cape Verde), thus bringing the total number of African states that are parties to the court’s treaty to 33–still the largest geographical group in the membership of the court. (…)
 
The popular uprisings in North Africa have brought to light the strong desire for justice of populations that had been subjected to repressive rule for several decades. Because of these clear aspirations, ratification of the ICC Statute as well as national prosecutions of grave human rights violations are on the agenda of some of the new governments in that region. Government changes in North Africa have the potential to bring a positive shift in the way these countries approach the ICC and accountability for grave crimes. (…)
 
The appointment of African officials to senior offices at the ICC reflects the important role that individual Africans are playing in contributing to the success of the court and is of great significance to promoting mutual understanding and strengthening cooperation between the ICC and the AU. (…)
 
The new prosecutor and the ICC face important challenges at this juncture. With the addition of three new situations (Kenya, Libya and Côte d’Ivoire), the ICC has almost doubled its work-load in not even two years. However, despite this increase in activities, in December 2011, the ASP imposed budgetary cuts on the ICC for 2012 beyond those suggested by the ASP’s expert financial body. (…)
 
Another major challenge to the court’s authority and ability to deliver justice is of course the fact that several suspects against whom the court has issued arrest warrants have still not been arrested and surrendered for trial, in relation to situations in Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Darfur region of Sudan, and Libya. (…)
 
In this regard, we would like to highlight three areas of action for your consideration:
 
- Renew and strengthen dialogue between the AU and the ICC (…)
- Reconsider the creation of an ICC liaison office in Addis Ababa: (…)
- Uphold cooperation obligations under the ICC Statute: (…)
  
Promoting justice before national courts
 
In light of the ICC’s limited resources, the court cannot be the sole actor in pursuing the fight against impunity. Under the ICC Statute, states retain the primary responsibility to bring to justice those responsible for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. (…) To that effect, our organizations call on African states parties to enact effective implementing legislation of the ICC Statute where such legislation is lacking and to support work towards strengthening of domestic systems to handle international crimes. (…)
 
Read full letter.
 
3. African Union must pressure Sudan to allow food aid into Kordofan and Blue Nile
Zach Vertin
International Crisis Group
29 January 2012
 
Zach Vertin is a Sudan/South Sudan Analyst with the International Crisis Group
.
On Sunday, heads of state from across the continent convene for the annual African Union Summit in Addis Ababa. Africa’s most pressing concerns will be discussed this week, but one looming crisis is missing from the agenda.
 
War continues in the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile regions of neighbouring Sudan, where a humanitarian catastrophe is in the making. Experts predict some conflict areas will reach extreme levels of food insecurity — barely shy of a famine designation — just one month from now.
 
On the heels of a famine that devastated the Horn of Africa, the AU is now faced with an opportunity. With Khartoum denying access, and the US exploring alternative means of emergency relief, African states can take the lead in negotiating a solution, achieving not only a humanitarian imperative in Sudan but also a political one for Africa.
 
Since June, Khartoum has been engaged in an air and ground war with opposition forces; first in Southern Kordofan and later in Blue Nile — two states that aligned with other marginalised regions during the country’s long civil war. (…)
 
In addition to the disruption of movement, trade, and livelihoods in conflict areas, the government has deliberately prevented humanitarian operators from accessing affected civilians, doing anything to prevent assistance from making its way into the hands of rebel forces or their supporters. (…)
 
Africa now has a chance to deliver on two fronts.
 
AU leaders with contacts in Khartoum should privately advise the NCP that negotiated access is both necessary and in its interest. International intervention will be politically bad for Sudan’s regime, as it will appear weak and belligerent at a time when it needs external co-operation to find its way out of an economic quandary.
 
At the same time, for those African states leery of foreign infringements on sovereignty or continuing perceptions of AU ineptitude, now is the time to take ownership and demonstrate resolve by forging a regional solution that incorporates multilateral efforts already underway. (…)
 
The AU should use this week’s summit to extend a detailed proposal to partner with the government and international relief teams in providing critical access. Meanwhile, it should quietly engage Khartoum both on a plan itself and on the political imperatives.
 
Commitment should simultaneously be sought from opposition forces to allow civilians to access assistance and ensure the safety of relief personnel and independent monitors.
 
An opportunity has presented itself, not only to mitigate a crisis and ensure regional stability in the near term, but also to bolster the AU’s reputation and role in global affairs in the long run.
 
Read full article.
 
 
1. Panel Discussion: Linking Gender Perspectives and UN Security and Participation Priorities
Global Action to Prevent War
21 February 2012
 
 With the CSW deliberations on issues and needs impacting rural women fast approaching this February and with the GA's ‘Responsibility to Protect Third Pillar’ debate scheduled for this summer, we invite you to a two-panel discussion focused on these critical discussions with serious consequences for women's security and opportunities for full participation.  (…)
 
The event will be comprised of two panels, “From the Philippines to Indigenous Communities in the US: Participation and Security Sector Barriers for Rural Women”, featuring Donna Chavis, director, Native Americans in Philanthropy and Mavic Cabrera Balleza, director, Global Network of Women Peacebuilders, and “Incorporating a Gender lens into the Responsibility to Protect Framework for Addressing Mass Atrocities” featuring Naomi Kikoler, director of policy and advocacy, Global Center for RtoP and Maria Butler, PeaceWomen Project Director, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.
 
 
Please see the event here.
 
2. Lecture and Seminar: Sovereignty and Individual Criminal Responsibility for Core International Crimes
Forum for International Criminal Humanitarian Law and China University of Political Law
Beijing, China, 2-3 April 2012
 
(…) The 2012 LI Haopei Lecture and Seminar will feature several distinguished speakers from China and abroad. This year’s honorary Lecture will be given by Judge LIU Daqun (Judge, Appeals Chamber of the ICTY and the ICTR). 
 
The broadly formulated theme of this year’s Seminar is ‘Sovereignty and Individual Criminal Responsibility for Core International Crimes’. Many members of today’s international criminal justice movement seem to assume that State sovereignty takes a decisive second place to the principle and practice of individual criminal responsibility for core international crimes.1 It is correct to note that two of the existing ad hoc international(ized) criminal jurisdictions (the ICTY and ICTY) enjoy a legal basis that rests on Chapter VII of the UN Charter. Their judges can and have issued binding orders to States. And when conducting statutory investigations on the territory of States, the prosecution services of these Tribunals have not sought permission as such from the States concerned. This particular and significant feature of contemporary international criminal justice has empowered Tribunal investigators and prosecutors, and perhaps emboldened some of them, as well as other members of the international criminal justice lobby in their calls for individual accountability for core international crimes at the international or national level.  
 
But all the ad hoc jurisdictions – the two Tribunals included – will cease to exist as active criminal jurisdictions within a few years. The only permanent international criminal jurisdiction – the International Criminal Court (ICC) – cannot base its orders and decisions in the same manner on Chapter VII of the UN Charter. The implementation of its work depends entirely on States, both de facto and de jure. Add to that the fact that three permanent members of the UN Security Council – China, Russia and the United States – are among a number of powerful States that are not members of the ICC system. Whereas the Security Council established the ICTY and ICTR in execution of its own UN Charter powers, the ICC can only occasionally rely on the Council, and even then not to the same extent. 
 
Against this general background, the 2012 LI Haopei Lecture and Seminar will consider the tension between sovereignty and individual criminal responsibility for core international crimes along three specific tracks. First, when evidence of core international crimes incriminates State officials and there are calls for criminal investigation, State immunity concerns will continue to be voiced. The immunity of State officials from criminal jurisdiction for core international crimes will therefore be considered in some detail at this Seminar. Secondly, the closing down of the ad hoc international criminal jurisdictions is likely to shift more attention to the exercise of national criminal jurisdiction over core international crimes, which would include jurisdictional exercise by States not directly affected by the said crimes. This raises issues linked to the scope of universal jurisdiction for such crimes. Thirdly, the amendments of the ICC Statute at the 2010 Review Conference with regard to the crime of aggression may at one stage enable the ICC to investigate and prosecute such crimes. How could this affect non-States Parties and States Parties that do not agree with these amendments? Could the activation of these aggression amendments and the ICC's work exacerbate tensions between the interests of State sovereignty and accountability? (…)
 
See more information.  
 
3. Canadian School of Peacebuilding
Canadian Mennonite University
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, 18-22 or 25-29 June 2012
 
Each year Canadian School of Peacebuilding (CSOP), an institute of Canadian Mennonite University, invites the peacebuilders of the world to gather in Winnipeg, Canada, for a selection of 5-day courses in June. Register today for courses on professional & personal development or for academic credit. We offer courses from local, national and international peacebuilders, to serve practitioners, professionals, activists, students, non-governmental organizations and faith-based groups. Consider learning with this international network in various approaches to peacebuilding, justice, reconciliation, conflict resolution and development – or join our email network today.
  
 
Apply here or by using a registration form (pdf) which you can fax, post or scan and e-mail.  Apply before 1 April 2012 to avoid a $50 late fee.
 
 
 
 

 

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