Rome Statute

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Helen Mack, sister of murdered Guatemalan anthropologist Myrna Mack, speaks at March 2015 meeting of La Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CIDH) (Photo: Flickr/cidh/Daniel Cima)
02 December 2015

IJT 188 takes a close look at Guatemala's newly opened 'high-risk' court, which many hope will expedite lawsuits concerning the country's decades-long armed conflict. 

Other features:

  • In the Netherlands, an Afghan army commander-turned-Dutch national was arrested and accused of war crimes allegedly committed in 1979.
  • In Bangladesh, two men were hanged for committing international crimes during the war of independence, compelling many Bangladeshis to celebrate and international human rights organizations to question the International Crimes Tribunal's fairness.
  • While ICC state parties held their annual meeting last month in The Hague, groups discussed on the side whether ecocide could become the fifth crime against peace.

 

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Secoya chief Humberto Piaguaje, with microphone, protests among Rainforest Action Network activists outside Chevron’s shareholder meeting in May 2011 (Photo: Flickr/Rainforest Action Network)
30 November 2015 by Tjitske Lingsma, The Hague (The Netherlands)

“The rainforest is our supermarket, our hospital, pharmacy, our school, and it is where we pray,” says Humberto Piaguaje, chief of Ecuador’s Secoya indigenous group, speaking at a Hague Talks discussion timed to coincide with the annual state parties meeting of the International Criminal Court (ICC). In stark contrast with the audience in The Hague, he wears a white tunic, overlaid by long, colourful beads crossing at the waist, and a red and yellow headdress. The Secoya see themselves as part of their habitat, the Amazon rainforest, where each earthly element has a living spirit identity. “The trees are our siblings,” the chief explains. “That’s why we feel so hurt when someone comes and destroys our land.”

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Scholars and practitioners gathered at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, for the 2009 Experts’ Meeting of the Crimes Against Humanity Initiative (Photo: Mary Butkus/WUSTL Photo Services)
16 June 2015 by Benjamin Duerr, The Hague (The Netherlands)

While war crimes have the Geneva Conventions and international treaties criminalize genocide, torture and slavery, crimes against humanity have no dedicated treaty that prohibits states from committing them. Legal scholars are working to change this, and are in the final drafting stages of an International Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes against Humanity.

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Victims' widows and survivors thank lawyers after a court's March 2015 sentence against Habré's agents (Photo: Twitter/@HenriThulliez)
17 June 2015

In IJT 184, veteran war crimes tribunal journalist and former IJT editor Thierry Cruvellier analyzes the significance of Chadian ex-dictator Hissène Habré's upcoming trial at the Extraordinary African Chambers.

Other features:

  • There's a new start date for the retrial of former Guatemalan dictator Ríos Montt
  • Scholars say it's time for a crimes against humanity convention
  • Complementarity remains a guessing game at the International Criminal Court

News brief:

Sudan's President Bashir gets away again but who looks worse: the ICC or South Africa?