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Article Archive for January 2009

Can video help bring a warlord to justice?

31/01/2009 – 9:47 am | Comments Off on Can video help bring a warlord to justice?

As readers of this blog are well aware, the trial of Thomas Lubanga Diylo is the first trial at the ICC, what you may not know is that it is also the first time that video has played an integral role in bringing a warlord to the court. Though there is debate about whether the charges against Mr. Lubanga are the “most heinous crimes which …

International Law Observer welcomes guest author Matisse Bustos Hawkes

31/01/2009 – 9:42 am | Comments Off on International Law Observer welcomes guest author Matisse Bustos Hawkes

In our effort to cover the developments in international criminal law – and those taking place under the umbrella of the Rome Statute in particular – International Law Observer has the pleasure of welcoming a guest post from Matisse Bustos Hawkes from the international non-profit organization WITNESS.
In his guest post, Matisse will talk about how the NGO AJEDI-Ka and WITNESS are trying to not only support …

Whither now, Additional Protocol I?

31/01/2009 – 9:02 am | 7 Comments

Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions was adopted in 1977 to ‘remedy shortcomings‘ in the original conventions of 1949. It contains a more detailed set of standards in all areas of international armed conflict, and expands the definition of ‘international armed conflict’ to include wars of national liberation (Art. 1.4.). (Non-international armed conflicts are governed by Additional Protocol II.) It has now been adopted …

The bombardments of the Gaza Strip in sight of a legal aftermath

30/01/2009 – 11:42 pm | 5 Comments

Appreciating that most of our readers would have surely engaged with a considerable amount of coverage on this subject matter I will endeavour to cover some of the issues that arise in the legal aftermath to these tragic events and bring added value mainly by consolidating some of the most noteworthy coverage.
There is now little doubt as to the existence of numerous violations of international …

The Lubanga Trial: Days 2 and 3

29/01/2009 – 9:20 am | One Comment

The lead defence counsel Catherine Mabille noted on day 2 that:
‘there has been a wholesale abuse of the rules by the office of the prosecutor,’ and ‘the (situation) is prejudicial and detrimental to the defence.’
She further noted:
‘there has been a wholesale abuse of the rules by the office of the prosecutor. The [situation] is prejudicial and detrimental to the defence.’
In this way, she asked:
 ‘How can …

EU Council removes Iranian organisation from terror list after EU Court judgment

28/01/2009 – 8:08 pm | Comments Off on EU Council removes Iranian organisation from terror list after EU Court judgment

After a battle of several year the Iranian opposition group People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (“PMOI”) has succeeded in getting its name off the EU’s black list of terrorist organisations. As EUobserver reported on Tuesday, the EU Foreign Ministers agreed to remove the name of the organization from the list due to a lack of evidence of PMOI being involved in terrorist activities. As a consequence, …

New author on International Law Observer

28/01/2009 – 5:31 pm | Comments Off on New author on International Law Observer

We are glad to welcome David McGrogan as a new author here on International Law Observer. David is a PhD candidate at the University of Liverpool Law School and is mainly active in the field of international human rights law and cultural diversity, mostly in the context of East Asia. He also brings a broad understanding of international criminal law, economic law and humanitarian law. With …

Coverage of the Lubanga trial

28/01/2009 – 4:59 pm | Comments Off on Coverage of the Lubanga trial

For more information on the ongoing trial of Thomas Lubanga at the ICC, you may want to visit the newly created website lubangatrial.org, an initiative from the Open Society Justice Initiative. The website promises daily updates on the trial from the courtroom, as well as “regular legal analysis and commentary on the Lubanga case”.

President Obama and International Law

27/01/2009 – 10:24 am | One Comment

Over on Jurist, Mary Ellen O’Connell has an interesting piece on the role that President Obama might have in restoring US faith in international law. O’Connell argues that the decline in US respect for international law is primarily attributable to Hans Morgenthau, his realist approach to international relations, and the impact that his students have had on US policy-making. Interestingly, O’Connell argues that political science …

International Criminal Court starts first war crimes trial

26/01/2009 – 9:39 am | One Comment

Today the trial of Thomas Lubanga at the International Criminal Court (ICC) will (finally) begin. After much confusion and delay inter alia regarding the issue of disclosure of evidence from the prosecutor to the defence/judges of the court (we reported earlier here, here and here), the first trial will start after almost three years of preparation with the examination of charges against the founder of the Union …

Obama Signs Executive Order Closing Guantánamo

22/01/2009 – 6:02 pm | Comments Off on Obama Signs Executive Order Closing Guantánamo

The news is just out that President Obama has signed an executive order facilitating the closure of the US detention centre in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. A draft version of the Order is available here and news links here and here.
Section 3 of the Order reads:

Closure of Detention Facilities at Guantánamo. The detention facilities at Guantánamo for individuals covered by this order shall be closed as …

EU freezes upgrading of its economic relations with Israel

22/01/2009 – 1:59 am | Comments Off on EU freezes upgrading of its economic relations with Israel

It seems that the disputed military attacks led on Gaza by Israel in the past weeks have caused first tangible consequences for its external economic relations.
Last week, it was reported that EU Commissioner Benita Ferrero Waldner froze the plans to upgrade its economic relations with Israel (for further information, see the following article in the Guardian). Initially, the Community and Israel agreed on intensifying their …

New judges at the International Criminal Court

21/01/2009 – 11:16 am | One Comment

At the seventh session of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, which opened on 19th January at the UN Headquarters in New York, six members of the ICC were elected (see press release).
1. SHAHABUDDEEN, Mohamed (Guyana)
2. SAIGA, Fumiko (Japan)
3. TARFUSSER, Cuno (Italy)
4. MONAGENG, Sanji Mmasenono (Botswana)
5. VAN DEN WYNGAERT, Christine (Belgium)
6. ALUOCH, Joyce (Kenya)
On the first ballot, …

New database on regional trade agreements

19/01/2009 – 9:34 am | Comments Off on New database on regional trade agreements

The website of the WTO has opened the doors to a new database on regional trade agreements. The database, which can be searched by country, region, legal provision, date of notification or entry into force of the regional trade agreement, contains all the notifications, links to the content of the relevant agreements, legal provisions and information on the WTO’s assessments of the agreements.
The database is …

Human Rights Watch’s 2009 Report

15/01/2009 – 10:02 am | Comments Off on Human Rights Watch’s 2009 Report

Human Rights Watch’s 2009 report is out. See report here, press release here and introduction by Kenneth Roth, Executive Director, here. Although there is every reason to exercise caution before relying too much on NGO information in general, the Report has some very good points. Alongside the usual and very valid condemnation of authoritarian regimes like Burma and Iran, it is argued that incoming president …

Economics and the Constitution

15/01/2009 – 9:59 am | Comments Off on Economics and the Constitution

While the German government has received some criticism for dragging its feet when it comes to facilitating stimulus packages aimed at kick-starting its ailing economy, the changes proposed earlier this week by Chancellor Merkel are interesting. The governing “grand coalition” has proposed to change the German constitution to secure that future German governments do not run up deficits of more than 0.5 per cent of …

Future of the ECJ

14/01/2009 – 10:14 am | Comments Off on Future of the ECJ

Vlad Perju of Boston College of Law has just posted his recent paper “Reason and Authority in the European Court of Justice on SSRN (the paper is also available via the website of Virginia Journal of International Law, where the paper was recently published). The paper is very interesting and makes the, to many critics of the ECJ, controversial claim that the Court ought to …

UN Human Rights Council condemns the Israeli attacks against the Gaza Strip

14/01/2009 – 1:16 am | Comments Off on UN Human Rights Council condemns the Israeli attacks against the Gaza Strip

On 12 January 2009, the Human Rights Council adopted a resolution on the human rights situation in the Gaza strip. The Resolution is entitled “The Grave Violations of Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory particularly due to the recent Israeli military attacks against the occupied Gaza Strip”.
As the title indicates, the Resolution contains a number of vigorous statements on the situation in the Gaza …