In Global Justice news last week: Palestine becomes 30th state to ratify Kampala amendments on crime of aggression; International Criminal Court (ICC) Bar Association formally launches following ICC training seminar; experts weigh in on strengthening national justice for ICC crimes; and much more.
Crime of aggression: Palestine makes 30
Last week Palestine became the 30th country to ratify the amendments to the Rome Statute on the crime of aggression. The ICC currently deals strictly with war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. This 30th ratification opens the possibility for the Court to also try the crime of aggression in the future – a vote by a 2/3 majority in favor of activating the ICC’s jurisdiction is still needed.
The President of the ICC’s Assembly of States Parties Sidiki Kaba referred to the crime of aggression as “the supreme international crime.”
A majority decision taken by the Assembly at any time after 1 January 2017 could activate the Court’s jurisdiction over crimes of aggression committed after that decision date.
According to Jennifer Trahan from the New York University Center for Global Affairs, activation would “cause states to take pause and ponder more seriously the potential consequences of starting an illegal war.”
Learn more about the crime of aggression, including its history, definition and the Coalition’s role in promoting a constructive and cooperative consideration of the original amendment proposals in 2010.
ICC Bar Association launches following counsel training seminar
In other news, the ICC organized a three-day training seminar for counsel, followed by the formal establishment of the ICC Bar Association (ICCBA) at the end of last week.
Lawyers representing accused persons at the ICC work independently of the Court. Attorneys can qualify to practice before the ICC, which deals with complex and select international crimes cases, by applying to join a list of counsel maintained by the Court.
The training, led by Avocats Sans Frontières France, focused on topics such as the role of such lawyers, defense investigations, and ethics. The aim: to increase awareness of the Court’s activities and to build competence to deal with cases and issues arising at the ICC.
Following the training seminar, those behind the new Association organized its first general assembly and elections, where the first President of the ICCBA was elected.
The IBA has noted the importance of an institutional voice with an equal and guaranteed place at the table where defense lawyers are concerned—particularly given the complexity of the cases before the ICC and the need to guarantee all rights under the Rome Statute are respected as the Court continues to break new ground in international justice.
Strengthening national justice
Coalition Director of Programs Kirsten Meersschaert chaired an expert panel featuring speakers from the University of Nottingham, Parliamentarians for Global Action, and state institutions on ratification, implementation and cooperation of the Rome Statute.
Other sessions addressed investigations and case-mapping, with the Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights (CMPDPH) sharing the challenges of NGO documentation and CMN presenting its online International Criminal Justice Toolkits.
More to come on our #GlobalJustice blog.
International Criminal Court investigations
Central African Republic II: UN High Commissioner for Human Rights worried about the risk of re-escalation of violence
Democratic Republic of Congo: Hearings in Ntaganda Trial continue in closed session
Côte d’Ivoire: Ivorian ex-first lady’s lawyers try to discredit accuser
Mali: ICC staff raises concerns over Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi trial and its alleged connections to Al-Qaeda
Libya: Gaddafi’s son’s new lawyers urge ICC to drop case
Sudan: Pan African Forum chairman Matsanga alleges improper investigation in Bashir case by the ICC
ICC preliminary examinations
Iraq/United Kingdom: Prosecutor corrects assertions contained in Telegraph article, stresses the distinction between war crimes and crimes of aggression
Palestine: ACAT reports complaint lodged against French company for complicity in alleged 2014 Gaza war crimes
Campaign for Global Justice
Habré prosecutor says “Better for African to try Africans”
UN chief urges end to torture in all circumstances
ABA’s ICC Project & Stanford Law release latest online round table, Arguendo, on the protection of cultural property and accountability
Retrial and renewed sentencing of Yorm Bopha in Cambodia
Denial of Armenian genocide voted to be criminalized by french members of parliament
Around the world
Yazidi victim in Iraq demands genocide trial for IS leaders
Human Rights Watch reports claim United States and France allegedly supported Habré throughout his rule in Chad
Italy and Netherlands offer to share UN council seat
Ethiopia ascends as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council despite alleged human rights violations
British police summon former Israeli foreign minister over suspected Gaza war crimes