16 February 2011 by Geraldine Coughlan

For decades, international lawyers have wrangled over the question - What is terrorism? Is it an act designed to spread terror? Does it have a political motive? Does it involve an attack on a few people or alot of people? Since 1914, philosophers have pondered whether the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Sarajevo can be classified as an ‘act of terror’. More recently, the September 11 attacks in the US, have brought the issue of international terrorism to the forefront of debate, and with it the question of its very definition. 

22 October 2011 by -

Judge Antonio Cassese, the first president of the UN-backed Lebanon tribunal and the Yugoslavia war crimes court in The Hague, has died after a long fight with cancer.

[related-articles]Italian-born Cassese, 73, who stepped down as president of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon on Oct. 9 after more than two years in the post, died at his home in Florence, Italy, overnight, the Hague-based court said on Saturday.

13 January 2010 by Sebastiaan Gottlieb

Antonio Cassese was the first president of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and is now head of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL). He just announced that he will visit Lebanon in the coming weeks to complete the investigation into the assassination of former prime minister Rafiq Hariri.


The Security Council's referral of the situation in Darfur to the International Criminal Court (ICC) has been hailed as a giant step in the history of international humanitarian law. It has also been criticised for applying double standards by exempting the United States from the ICC's jurisdiction.


From its very creation in May 1993, The Hague-based ICTY was branded the heir of the 1945 Nuremberg tribunal. But while the Nuremberg prosecutors had only Germans in the dock, this new UN court would make a point of not being victor's justice. With the UN Security Council mandate "to maintain and restore international peace and security" came the Tribunal's obligation to investigate and prosecute crimes committed by individuals on all sides of the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia. The ICTY has done this, but it has not avoided political justice.

05 March 2007 by Franck Petit

Law professor at the University of Florence in Italy and the first president of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, Antonio Cassese presided over the United Nation's Commission of Inquiry on Darfur. The Commission's January 25, 2005 report led to the referral of the case to the International Criminal Court (ICC). In this interview, Cassese reacts to ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo's February 27 announcement of the initial results from his Darfur investigation.

11 May 2011

The international legal dichotomy of eliminating Bin Laden

In 2002, when the United States openly suggested resorting to a pre-emptive military strike against Iraq in its fight against terrorism, then French President Jacques Chirac, in the New York Times, fiercely opposed this approach as being contrary to international law - opening a door to abuse and setting a wrong precedent. “Suppose that China would invade Taiwan because Taiwan would be an alleged security threat to China. What would the world say?”, the French president exclaimed.

FDLR - Waging war by mobile phone and emails

How do you spearhead a deadly militia in Congo, from Germany? In modern times, one only needs a mobile phone and a laptop to unleash a humanitarian catastrophe. German prosecutors are convinced that two Rwandans waged a brutal war some 6,000 kilometres away via telephone calls and emails.

President with a purpose

In the coming months, the UN-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) expects to begin arresting and putting on trial those responsible for the assassination of the former Lebanese prime Minister Rafik Hariri. As the STL moves into its next phase the Tribunal's President, Antonio Cassese, continues to publish extensively on issues of international human rights and criminal law. Cassese, professor of international law at the University of Florence and former President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), spoke to the International Justice Tribune (IJT).

Guinea: court action, but when?

A few months from now, Guineans will hold a sombre commemoration: on the 28th of September 2009, soldiers, militias and mercenaries went on the rampage in the capital’s main stadium. They killed 157 people and raped dozens of women. The victims and survivors of that mass crime are beginning to ask when justice will be their due. 

Antonio Cassese