SGBV at the Centre of the ASP16 Discussions

As States Parties to the Rome Statute and civil society organizations come together at the annual meeting of the International Criminal Court’s (“ICC”) governing body, the issue of gender justice, and more specifically of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), takes centre stage in the parallel meetings. The first week included several events discussing issues of sexual violence, including the investigation of gender-based crimes, and the progress made in gender justice over the last decades.

Legacy Wall

On December 7, the Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice launched the Gender Justice Legacy Wall to honour 151 individuals who have contributed to raising awareness about violence against women over the past 125 years.

States Parties to the Rome Statute have affirmed the importance of accountability for SGBV crimes as well as the need for greater protection of survivors of sexual violence by making significant contributions to the Trust Fund for Victims specifically earmarked for victims of SGBV. This is not a new item to the agenda; between 2004 and 2016, contributions amounting to almost €5.5 million were earmarked for SGBV victims by UK, Norway, Japan, Estonia, and Andorra. This year, SGBV has remained on the radar with Japan pledging €53,000 and Finland making a multi-year contribution of €800,000 (2017-2020), both earmarked specifically for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence. Although the ICC needs more financial support in this area, the current funding is crucial as reparations are a key component of the justice process.

Nevertheless, no case reaches the reparations stage unless a full and proper investigation has been completed. Hence the need for greater support at earlier stages of the prosecution, and specifically during the investigation. It is for this reason that the decision of the UK to provide £1 million to establish an investigative team that will support domestic justice efforts in Iraq, even if not specifically earmarked for SGBV, is a welcomed and celebrated step in the right direction.

Investigation of sexual violence and gender-based crimes

Two events during the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) have highlighted the necessity for the adequate collection and preservation of evidence in cases of conflict-related sexual violence to ensure successful prosecutions. Both the panel discussion on the Professionalization of the Investigation of International Crimes organized by Justice Rapid Response and the event on Accountability for Sexual and Gender-Based Crimes organized by the Centre for International Law Research and Policy addressed the challenges inherent to the investigation of such crimes, such as the quality of evidence collected, and the importance of recognizing the needs of victims and survivors.

With respect to the quality of the evidence collected, if investigations are done incorrectly, the flawed results can pose a significant challenge to subsequent prosecutions. Justice Rapid Response advocates for the identification, collection, and preservation of information that is beyond reproach, hence the need for working with experienced professionals that have received adequate training in sexual violence. JRR recruits and provides rigorous training for a readily available SGBV Justice Experts Roster, including but not limited to regional professionals with legal, investigative, human rights, forensic, and gender expertise. The short documentary “Evidence of Hope”, which was screened at the event, showcases the importance of high quality and timely investigations of SGBV, as well as the role of JRR’s Experts Roster.

The Centre for International Justice and Accountability corroborates the need for a dedicated and specialized unit for the investigation of SGBV crimes. This is a well-established practice that has notably been embraced by the IIIM and other institutions. Indeed, UN Security Council Resolution 2379 establishes an investigative team to collect, preserve, and store evidence of acts that may amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide by Da’esh in Iraq, which is a welcomed development in the fight against impunity. This reinforces the fact that individuals who collect evidence and who will ensure its reliability need to have the appropriate training and qualifications in SGBV so as to uphold the integrity of the investigation and the credibility of the subsequent judicial proceedings.

Cards

70% of cases at the ICC involve sexual and gender-based crimes, and among the 13,800 victims participating in the proceedings, 1,800 are survivors of sexual and gender-based crimes.

Finally, the interests of survivors need to be fully recognized at every step of the justice process, including the investigation stage. To do so, investigators must balance the probative value of the evidence collected with the potential harm that may be sustained by the survivor during this process. The process should be survivor-centred, and prosecutions should rely less on survivor testimony and instead broaden the evidentiary basis of such crimes. The Centre for International Justice and Accountability spoke of cases where Yazidi women who had survived sexual violence had given their statement up to six times to UN personnel, NGOs representatives, and local authorities. This repetition of statements not only risks endangering the prosecution itself, but it also re-traumatizes the survivors. Hence, prosecutors should rely on more types of evidence, including background analysis, documentation on military structures, and patterns of evidence.

In sum, the discussions taking place at this year’s Assembly of States Parties provide unique insight into best practices for the investigation of SGBV crimes and for their subsequent prosecution in national, regional or international tribunals. The ASP offers an important space to share strategies and allows for the development of concerted efforts towards greater accountability for international crimes. Consequently, we look forward to attending tomorrow’s event on “Prosecuting Sexual and Gender-Based Violence at the Special Court for Sierra Leone” hosted by the Permanent Missions of Canada and Sierra Leone,  UN Women and the Canadian Partnership for International Justice, and to pursue these crucial discussions.

This blog post and Isabelle’s attendance to the 16th Assembly of States Parties in the framework of the Canadian Partnership for International Justice was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

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ICC Assembly of States Parties Symposium: Day 7

The official schedule of Day 7 of the International Criminal Court Assembly of States Parties (ASP) included the presentation of reports by Coordinators and the introduction of draft resolutions – a signal that we are entering the final days of the ASP. As well, States Parties participated in a closed Working Group discussion on the budget, as well as a (lengthy) closed evening discussion on the activation of the crime of aggression.

While not formally part of the ASP, much attention was focused on the Prosecutor’s 26th report to the United Nations Security Council on the situation in Darfur, Sudan. TheProsecutor UNSC Security Council referred the Darfur situation to the ICC in 2005, through Resolution 1593, but has done little to assist the ICC since that time, while still requiring her to report twice yearly on the Court’s progress in the related cases and investigations. The Prosecutor’s frustration was evident. She expressed deep concern regarding States Parties’ inaction on arresting Sudan’s indicted President, and the Security Council’s inaction both on funding the ICC’s Darfur investigation and in dealing with states failing to cooperate with the Court.

The Prosecutor highlighted the argument made by some states that the law is unclear about their obligation to arrest and surrender a sitting Head of State. She rejected these arguments: “For those who may have entertained doubts about the legal obligations of States Parties and the Republic of the Sudan to arrest and surrender Mr. Al Bashir, all such doubts have since been dispelled following the decision of Pre- Trial Chamber II of the 6th of July, earlier this year … The Chamber found that South Africa failed to comply with the Court’s request to arrest and surrender Mr. Al Bashir, contrary to the Rome Statute, and that this failure prevented the Court from exercising its functions and powers under the Statute … there can be no justification for States Parties to fail to arrest a suspect against whom an ICC warrant of arrest has been issued, irrespective of that person’s official status.”

She concluded by saying that it is her Office’s hope “that this Council will do its part to enforce decisions by the Court in relation to situations which the Council itself has referred to the Court.  This specific inter-institutional role is clearly envisaged by the Rome Statute and codified, as negotiated during the Rome Conference, which also saw the participation of permanent members of the Council.”

Tomorrow, the ASP will begin with a plenary meeting to plan for the 20th anniversary of the Rome Statute. Closed meetings on the budget and on the activation of the crime of aggression will continue. Informal consultations on the ‘omnibus’ resolution will resume, for adoption on the last day of the ASP.

I am pleased that Isabelle Jacovella Rémillard joins us today to contribute a post on side-events at the ICC ASP focused on sexual and gender-based violence.

Isabelle is a Project Coordinator at theIJR-Portrait-Copy Canadian Centre for International Justice (CCIJ). She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Conflict Studies and Human Rights at the University of Ottawa and her double degree in civil law and common law at McGill University. She also holds a professional certificate in Disaster and Humanitarian Response from the McGill Humanitarian Studies Initiative.

Prior to working at CCIJ, she was involved in immigration and refugee law work, both as the Coordinator of the Oppenheimer Chair in Public International Law, where she worked alongside the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants, and at Solidarity Across Borders, where she provided assistance to asylum seekers.

As the Project Coordinator of the Community Engagement in International Justice project, Isabelle coordinates the implementation of the project, which includes new multimedia that showcases CCIJ’s clients and their access to justice efforts. She is also responsible for coordinating CCIJ’s digital outreach and organising legal education workshops with affected communities as part of this project.

 Heartfelt welcome, Isabelle, to the IntLawGrrls ICC ASP Symposium!

The difficult achievement of the fight against impunity in Mali

As part of the 16th ASP of the ICC, the side-event entitled Cinq ans après la crise de 2012: quelles avancées dans la lutte contre l’impunité au Mali? (Five years after the 2012 crisis: what are the developments in regard to the fight against impunity in Mali?) took place on 11 December 2017. This side-event was organised by Canada, Association malienne des droits de l’Homme (AMDH), Coalition malienne pour la Cour pénale internationale (CMCPI), Fédération internationale des droits de l’Homme (FIDH) and Lawyers Without Borders Canada (LWBC).

Two major events led to the 2012 crisis in Mali. Firstly, a rebellion took place in North Mali and, consequently, armed groups seized power. Secondly, former President Touré was ousted as a result of a coup d’État organized by a military junta on 22 March 2012. Following those events, the situation in Mali deteriorated, resulting in serious crimes and violations of human rights (FIDH, Crimes de guerre au Nord-Mali). Peace and security in the country were profoundly affected. Civilians – especially women and children – bore the brunt of the unrest.

Mali, as a State Party of the International Criminal Court, referred the situation to the Prosecutor, in accordance with article 13(a) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The referral focused on “alleged war crimes committed since January 2012 mainly in three northern regions of Gao, Kidal and Timbuktu, with incidents also occurring in the south in Bamako and Sévaré” (Situation in the Republic of Mali, ICC-01/12). Among others, incidents of rape, torture and enforced disappearances, as war crimes, were reported.

At the moment, the Al Mahdi case is the sole ICC trial that has been held relating to this situation. On 27 September 2016, Al Mahdi was found guilty of war crimes for intentionally directing attacks in 2012 against historic monuments and buildings dedicated to religion (The Prosecutor v. Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi, ICC-01/12-01/15).

Despite the fact that the conviction of Al Mahdi represents a success, many activists, organisations and scholars underlined the absence of representation and consideration of the harms suffered by the civilian population, in particular harms directed against women and girls who experienced sexual and gender based violence (SGBV). They are calling on the ICC to increase its investigative scope in Mali to give access to justice for victims of these crimes. Indeed, pursuant to the Policy Paper on Sexual and Gender-Based Crimes, the Office of the Prosecutor should integrate SGBV crimes in both preliminary investigations and prosecutions. Moreover, according to the complementarity principle, Malian institutions should address these issues as well.

In 2013, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) created the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), pursuant to UNSC Resolution 2100. On 29 June 2017, its mandate was extended under UNSC Resolution 2364. The principal function of MINUSMA is to support the political process in Mali and the implementation of the Peace and National Reconciliation Agreement. According to this agreement, Parties reiterated their attachment, in particular, to national unity, rejection of violence as a political tool, respect of human rights, human dignity and fundamental freedoms and fight against impunity.

The UNSC intervention in Mali must be accompanied by humanitarian and development measures. Organisations such as AMDH, CMCPI, FIDH and LWBC, are currently working in Mali. They aim to reinforce capacities of civil society in regard to the fight against impunity and the quest for peace and justice for the victims. Prevention of the upsurge of violence, reconciliation of communities and reinforcement of the dialogue between communities and political leaders are also issues which preoccupy those organisations. They also give priority to implementing access to justice for victims, which is inherent to the success of the fight against impunity. In this regard, justice is essential to the achievement of the peace process.

As previously mentioned, women had been particularly victims of SGBV during the Malian conflict. In Gao, Tombouctou and other remote areas, rapes, collective rapes and acts of sexual violence were committed in particular by combatants of armed groups, including the Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA). Among others, Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported the testimony of a fourteen-year-old girl who was raped repeatedly by six rebels over four days (HRW, Mali: War Crimes by Northern Rebels). The fight against impunity in regard to the perpetrators of SGBV in Mali is crucial in the search for justice by these women and girls, as well as their family and community.

Access to justice for victims of SGBV is an important, but challenging, issue. SGBV crimes have occurred in remote areas, making the collection of evidence and witness statements difficult. Moreover, crimes of SGBV are more generally underreported and testimonies of these crimes are sometimes difficult to collect. In this regard fear, shame, public exposure and the social and cultural context are among the challenges faced by victims of SGBV.

Mali is still an insecure country facing security problems and crisis, and thus transitional justice – through the ICC – is taking place in an unstable context. It is therefore relevant to support the implementation of a sustainable reconciliation in regard to the situation in Mali and the pursuit of the fight against impunity, which includes criminal prosecutions against the perpetrators of the most serious crimes, as SGBV crimes. Victims and survivors deserve and need access to justice and reparations, including through the work of AMDH, CMCPI, FIDH and LWBC. It is also relevant in regard to post-conflict reconstruction, reconciliation and the peace process. However, the absence of political will of the Malian institutions constitutes a major barrier in regard to implementation and achievement of the fight against impunity in Mali.

This blog post and Geneviève’s attendance to the 16th Assembly of States Parties in the framework of the Canadian Partnership for International Justice was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

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ICC Assembly of States Parties Symposium: Day 6

Day 6 of the International Criminal Court Assembly of States Parties (ASP) focused on various aspects of state cooperation.ICC

The main event of the day was a plenary meeting on cooperation. The first part of the plenary focused on the tracking, freezing and recovery of financial assets, a topic the ASP has identified as a priority focus. This topic was not new to the ASP: in October, France and Senegal (as facilitators of the Working Group on cooperation between the International Criminal Court and States Parties) co-sponsored a meeting in Paris on asset recovery. That meeting resulted in a set of non-binding recommendations and actions for both States Parties and the ICC on asset recovery, which are now under consideration at the ASP. The plenary itself considered ways in which state capacity can be increased in the conduct of asset investigations.

The second part of the plenary was forward-looking, focused on the future of state cooperation with the ICC. It was during this session that nongovernmental organizations presented a joint statement. This statement was delivered by Stella Ndirangu of Kenyans for Peace with Truth and Justice on behalf of 11 organizations, and included this plea: “When states do not cooperate with the Court, victims are denied justice. Women, men and children who look to the Court for justice are denied that opportunity. We regret, therefore, the Assembly’s limited attention to addressing non-cooperation.”

Day 6 contained a very full schedule of side-events. Geneviève Geneau contributes a blog post today on one of those side-events, on the topic of the ICC’s investigations in Mali.

Geneviève is a PhD student in international criminal law at the University of Ottawa (Canada), under the supervision of Professor Muriel Paradelle. Her research subject Photo_Geneviève Geneauconcerns critical analysis of the concept of gender justice with regard to sexual violence committed in furtherance of the crime of genocide. Her research interests are primarily sexual and gender-based violence in international criminal law and feminist legal theories. As part of her doctoral studies, she has held a position of lecturer in legal drafting at the Faculty of Law, Civil Law Section, University of Ottawa. She is also involved as a research professional with the Research Chair in law on food security and diversity at Laval University (Canada). She has been a lawyer and a member of the Quebec Bar since 2013.

 Heartfelt welcome, Geneviève, to the IntLawGrrls ICC ASP Symposium!

Reflecting on the Legacy of the ICTY: The Past (24 Years) and the Future

picture of ICTY SE

Last week at the ASP, a side event that I attended alongside other fellow delegates from the Canadian Partnership for International Justice (CPIJ), reflected on the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia’s (ICTY) 24-year long fight to end impunity and hold accountable those most responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian law. The CPIJ delegates and I were also honoured to meet with former ICTY Judge, Mr. O-Gon Kwon, who was recently elected President of the ASP until 2019. Mr. O-Gon Kwon offered his expertise on a number of topics, including the ICTY. For instance, he was asked about the most important lesson the ICC could learn from the ICTY, in his experience as a judge. In his response, Mr. O-Gon Kwon highlighted the component of greater victim participation and protection as a significant improvement of the ICC as compared with the ICTY.

Reflecting on the legacy of the ICTY over the past 24 years is crucial. We must take the time to look at the past and quantify what seemed to work well, and, perhaps more importantly, what the Tribunal has been unable to address or has underdelivered on, in part, as a result of its ambitious mandate, budgetary factors and other logistics. By recognizing the limitations and/or constraints of the Tribunal, the international community will only then be in a better position to offer recommendations for future advancements in the field of international criminal law and justice.

The ICTY side-event featured five panelists: Migel de Serpa Soares (opening remarks); Stephen Mathias, Assistant Secretary-General for Legal Affairs; Judge Carmel Agius, ICTY President; Serge Brammertz ICTY/MICT Prosecutor and John Hocking, ICTY Registrar. Mr. Elbio Rosselli presented the closing remarks.

In his speech, Miguel de Serpa Soares distinguished two particular areas of the Tribunal that could be improved in order to increase the future effectiveness of international legal institutions. First, he underscored the financial realities of the Tribunal. Both the length of trials and the associated costs have raised questions about efficacy. Second, he listed the treatment and protection of victims as something that must be accounted for. The fact that it may be a victim’s first time being involved in a legal proceeding can be a very overwhelming experience. This must be considered throughout the justice process to ensure victim protection – especially protection from their offenders.

Serge Brammertz honed in on the Tribunal’s success by recognizing the institution for being an effective information gathering tool. Such information collected over the years has contributed to facilitating the truth and educating societies on the crimes that were committed as well as the brutal reality that transpired in the siege of Sarajevo and the Srebrenica genocide, for instance. Mr. Brammertz also highlighted the ICTY’s jurisprudence on command responsibility as something that will prove useful for current and future criminal justice institutions, since holding commanders responsible for their involvement in crimes can, in turn, increase the likelihood of fostering a deterrence effect.

The final two speakers, Mr. John Hocking and Mr. Elbio Rosselli, offered a very – perhaps overly –  positive assessment of the ICTY. For instance, Mr. Hocking stated that the ICTY treated every person with humanity and dignity and, further, claimed that “when we respect human rights and when we respect human dignity, it is there that we advance the protection of human rights for all”. Consequently, he expressed his opinion that the ICTY’s success was in prosecuting, with due process, those considered most responsible for the crimes committed in Former Yugoslavia and, further went on to say that, thanks to its contribution, “criminal justice is not anymore a question of ‘if’ but a question of ‘when and how’.” In a similar vein, Mr. Rosselli indicated that the decision to create the Tribunal demonstrated profound commitment to ensuring that egregious violations of international law do not go unpunished.

The voices missing from the panel included those of victims and civil society actors on the ground in Bosnia-Herzegovina. They would have provided a more objective and holistic analysis of the work of the ICTY.

To date, the ICTY has indicted 161 individuals. To some, especially those directly involved in the investigation and prosecution phases and the inner workings of the Tribunal, this number may be hailed as a success. While it is no question that the ICTY has made important advancements in the field of international criminal law, it is, however, also essential to consider the legacy of the ICTY within the countries of the Former Yugoslavia, and for the victims and survivors. Domestic hostility towards holding war criminals to account is still very much a reality in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia and Croatia. Given this, though, has the fact that the ICTY has not been able to counter such domestic hostility dampened the Tribunal’s legitimacy? These types of considerations should continue to guide our discussions on future reflections on the ICTY.

o-gon kwonMr. O-Gon Kwon with the 2017 Canadian Partnership Delegates

This blog post and Nicole Tuczynski’s attendance at the 16th Assembly of States Parties in the framework of the Canadian Partnership for International Justice was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

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Go On! Prosecuting Sexual & Gender-based Violence at the Special Court for Sierra Leone

SCSL Dec 13 ASP SideEventGo On! makes note of interesting conferences, lectures, and similar events.

Interested IntLawGrrls readers in New York are invited to this event, taking place on the margins of the International Criminal Court 16th Assembly of States Parties:

“Prosecuting Sexual and Gender-Based Violence at the Special Court for Sierra Leone”, on December 13 from 1:15pm-2:30pm at the Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations.

Ms. Sharanjeet Parmar, former SCSL prosecutor, will discuss her experience in prosecuting sexual and gender-based crimes, and I will present conclusions from a UN Women-funded study of best practices and lessons learned in the SCSL’s prosecution of these crimes.

Co-sponsored by the Permanent Missions of Canada and Sierra Leone to the United Nations, UN Women, Western University and the Canadian Partnership for International Justice.

Light lunch will be served.

Please RSVP here: https://goo.gl/forms/rlVMWmz5kP0mgwy93

The Crime of Aggression under International Criminal Law: Links with Refugee Law

The 16th Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court is already more than halfway done. Many of the themes at the ASP this year is worthy of note, including the election of six new judges, planning for the 20th anniversary of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, as well as consideration of activation of the International Criminal Court’s jurisdiction over the crime of aggression.

Of particular interest is the ICC’s activation of the crime of aggression, which will be the focus of this blog post. The crime of aggression is defined under the Rome Statute as ‘the planning, preparation, initiation or execution, by a person in a position effectively to exercise control over or to direct the political or military action of a State, of an act of aggression which, by its character, gravity and scale, constitutes a manifest violation of the Charter of the United Nations’. The activation and exercise of the ICC’s jurisdiction over the crime of aggression is of significance because there are outstanding jurisdictional issues which are to be discussed at the ASP, including whether all States Parties are subjected to the ICC’s jurisdiction over the crime of aggression, or whether only States Parties which have ratified the crime of aggression amendments are subjected to the ICC’s jurisdiction over the crime of aggression (see Coalition of the ICC Backgrounder). This blog post will consider the impact the activation of the crime of aggressions may have on international refugee law.

ASP Work Programme

ASP Work Programme

One can see several parallels between international criminal law and refugee law. While at first glance, international criminal and refugee law may seem distinct from one another, in fact, when operating together, these two fields of law may enhance the functions of the other. First, the purposes of international criminal law and refugee law draw parallels with one another. Second, while international refugee law regime’s main purpose is to protect refugees, in order to do so, it must also protect the institution for asylum, by preventing those who have committed grave crimes from gaining refugee status and corresponding protection. Here, international refugee law borrows from international criminal law so as to ascertain what type of individuals would be excluded from international protection.

 One view of international criminal law’s purpose is to bring justice to victims through the prosecution of an individual for international crimes, i.e. by holding an individual liable for committing mass atrocities. The command responsibility rule is illustrative of this purpose in that high-ranking individuals can be held responsible for crimes committed by their subordinates. One view of international refugee law is that it offers the widest protection to those deserving through the granting of refugee status. Article 1F(a) of the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (Refugee Convention) prevents those who are undeserving of international protection from benefiting from that protection. This provision applies to those who have committed crimes prior to admission as refugees. Article 1F acts to preserve the institution of asylum, and to safeguard the receiving country from criminals who present a danger to that country’s security. Borrowing from international criminal law, international refugee law determines who is deserving of refugee status by excluding those who have committed serious international crimes. By working together, international criminal law brings perpetrators to justice, while international refugee law excludes those who try to find safe havens through acquiring refugee status and corresponding protection.

International refugee law borrows from international criminal law when determining which individuals would be excluded from refugee status under Article 1F(a) of the Refugee Convention. Under Article 1F(a), individuals are excluded from refugee status and corresponding protection where there are ‘serious reasons for considering that: (a) he has committed a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity, as defined in the international instruments drawn up to make provision in respect of such crimes’. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has stated that ‘a ‘crime of aggression’ is essentially a ‘crime against peace’’ in its commentary. A crime against peace is defined as ‘the use of armed force by a State against the sovereignty, territorial integrity or political independence of another State, or in any manner inconsistent with the Charter of the United Nations’. This definition of a crime against peace was drawn from the United Nations General Assembly 1974 definition of ‘aggression’ and such definition has been retained in the International Law Commission’s Draft Code of Crimes against the Peace and Security of Mankind. As can be seen, international refugee law draws upon international criminal law in defining the relevant crimes under Article 1F(a) of the Refugee Convention. This type of close relationship between international criminal and refugee law may enhance respect for the rule of law internationally, while preventing individuals who do not deserve to be protected under the international refugee law regime from attaining refugee status.

As briefly demonstrated, while both international criminal law and refugee law may serve different functions, these two branches of international law, when operating together, may draw upon the other to enhance international respect for the rule of law. The negotiation between States Parties at the ASP will likely clarify the activation and jurisdiction of the ICC over the crime of aggression, which may, in turn, inform how Article 1F(a) may be interpreted by international refugee law adjudicators. Now more than ever, the institution for asylum must be protected from potential abuse by perpetrators of international crimes, so that only those deserving may be given the widest possible protection under the international refugee law regime.

This blogpost and Jenny Poon’s attendance to the 16th Assembly of States Parties in the framework of the Canadian Partnership for International Justice was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

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