Corte Penal Internacional

Let’s face it, the International Criminal Court, which celebrates its twentieth anniversary on July 1, is suffering from a lack of results.  In two decades, and at a cost of almost two billion dollars, the ICC has never sustained the atrocity conviction of any state official at any level anywhere in the world. Some of its leading cases have collapsed because of faulty case-building, reversals on appeal, and outright sabotage by targeted officials. The only defendants convicted of atrocity crimes in 20 years have been five African rebels.

And yet, the ICC has had an important impact on global justice, through its governing Rome statute which has been transposed into many national laws, and the  baseline international presumption in favor of accountability it helps promote, as well as through the pressure it has exerted on some states like Colombia to undertake prosecutions or risk an ICC investigation.…  Seguir leyendo »

“Los crímenes más graves de trascendencia para la comunidad internacional no deben quedar sin castigo”. Y “los Estados adoptarán las medidas necesarias e intensificarán la cooperación internacional para que los autores de esos crímenes no queden impunes”.

Estas esperanzadoras palabras del Estatuto del Tribunal Penal Internacional (TPI) chocan, en ocasiones, con la realidad. La invasión de Ucrania por Rusia y los crímenes cometidos por las autoridades de este país, lo demuestran.

El TPI nació como un tribunal penal permanente para toda la comunidad internacional y con altas expectativas, para investigar y enjuiciar a las personas físicas, autoras de crímenes de genocidio, de lesa humanidad, de guerra y de agresión, cuando los Estados o no quieren hacerlo o carecen de capacidad.…  Seguir leyendo »

El presidente de Colombia, Iván Duque, con el Fiscal de la Corte Penal Internacional (CPI) Karim Asad Ahmad Khan luego de la firma del Acuerdo de Cooperación en Bogotá el 28 de octubre de 2021. (Presidencia de Colombia vía Reuters) (Colombian Presidency/Via Reuters)

El pasado 28 de octubre, el gobierno del presidente de Colombia, Iván Duque, y el fiscal de la Corte Penal Internacional (CPI), Karim Khan, suscribieron un Acuerdo de cooperación que cierra una investigación preliminar contra este país, abierta desde 2004, por supuestos crímenes de guerra y de lesa humanidad.

Esta inesperada y polémica decisión podría interpretarse como un nuevo capítulo de impunidad en Colombia. Sin embargo, el acuerdo suscrito entre Khan y Duque abre una puerta que parecía cerrada a un proceso de paz que languidece, ya que indica la necesidad del respaldo irrestricto a la Jurisdicción Especial para la Paz (JEP), el tribunal especial creado para juzgar a los actores del conflicto armado en Colombia.…  Seguir leyendo »

Nazi leader Hermann Goering sits in the witness box at the Nuremberg War Crime Trials, where he was later sentenced to death, in 1946.

Time is a funny thing. Not so long ago, it seems, I was an Indian girl, coming of age under the South African apartheid regime. Now I am 80 and apartheid is history, but challenges remain. The country is not yet an equal society -- economically or politically.

To see how far we have still left to go to achieve true equality -- not only in South Africa but anywhere in the world where people are denied human rights and justice -- can feel daunting, but we must remember that if we do not remain vigilant, demand accountability and continue to work toward ending human rights violations everywhere, they are likely to be repeated anywhere.…  Seguir leyendo »

El tres de septiembre de 2020 seis jóvenes portugueses de nueve a veintiún años demandaron ante el Tribunal Europeo de Derechos Humanos a la mayoría de los Estados miembros del Consejo de Europa. Apoyados por el Global Legal Action Network (“Haciendo frente a la injusticia a través de estrategias jurídicas internacionales” es su lema), alegaron como justificación de la demanda y de acuerdo a los artículos 2 y 8 de la Convención Europea de Derechos Humanos el profundo y dañino impacto que el cambio climático está teniendo tanto en su vida personal como en la familiar.

Afortunadamente, a causa del galopante cambio climático y los serios daños que determinadas multinacionales están provocando, la preocupación de la sociedad ha crecido enormemente en años recientes.…  Seguir leyendo »

Sudan's ousted president Omar al-Bashir (centre) during his trial along with others over the 1989 military coup that brought them to power, at a courthouse in Khartoum. Photo by Mahmoud Hjaj/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images.

The demand for justice was a major driver of the December 2018 Sudanese revolution that saw former President Omar al-Bashir removed after almost three decades in power, and ensuring accountability is now one of the biggest challenges facing the transitional government which replaced him.

Atrocities committed under the Bashir regime are already well documented, such as the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people and the displacement of millions in Darfur, the Nuba Mountains, and Blue Nile.

The Darfur situation was referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC) by the UN Security Council back in 2005, and arrest warrants were issued against Bashir and four others.…  Seguir leyendo »

After struggling for months to reach a consensus on who should be the next chief prosecutor, International Criminal Court members on Friday resorted to a vote by secret ballot. After two rounds of voting, British lawyer Karim Khan was declared the winner. He will replace Fatou Bensouda, whose nine-year term ends June 15.

Khan has served in multiple international courts, including the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, established after the Balkans conflict and the Rwandan genocide. More recently, Khan led a United Nations criminal probe into suspected war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide by the Islamic State militant group in Iraq.…  Seguir leyendo »

Existen cuatro crímenes execrables que conmocionan las conciencias de la mayoría de los seres humanos: genocidio, crímenes de guerra, depuración étnica y crímenes de lesa humanidad. Se han cometido desde el inicio de los tiempos. Tras la Primera Guerra Mundial hubo reacciones ante los horrores vividos. Vividos de nuevo durante la segunda, la Carta de Naciones Unidas recogió en 1945 estas preocupaciones. En los años ochenta y noventa del pasado siglo diversos gobiernos apoyaron el llamado derecho de injerencia (ascendido por algunos a deber) en los Estados que cometieran los crímenes en cuestión. No obstante, no fue hasta 2005, año en que la Asamblea General de la ONU convocó una cumbre sobre el tema, que todos los miembros de la Organización aprobaron por unanimidad la doctrina de la Responsabilidad de Proteger (RdP), diseñada para poner coto a los crímenes atroces.…  Seguir leyendo »

La fiscala Fatou Bensouda en 2018. Credit Peter Dejong/Pool vía Reuters

El informe presentado ante las Naciones Unidas por la Misión Internacional Independiente sobre Venezuela (FFM, por su sigla en inglés) le ha dado a la fiscala de la Corte Penal Internacional (CPI), Fatou Bensouda, una oportunidad de oro para saldar su deuda con Venezuela y, al mismo tiempo, dejar un legado duradero.

El informe emitido recientemente por la FFM, creada por el Consejo de Derechos Humanos de las Naciones Unidas, corrobora lo que organismos internacionales como la Organización de los Estados Americanos (OEA) y la oficina de la alta comisionada de las Naciones Unidas para los Derechos Humanos vienen advirtiendo, con un tono cada vez más perentorio, sobre los crímenes ocurridos en el país.…  Seguir leyendo »

A protester carries a former Belarusian flag during an opposition rally by the Minsk Hero City Obelisk. Photo by Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty Images.

Making the case

The recent election results in Belarus have triggered revolution in yet another post-Soviet country and Aliaksandr Lukashenka’s response has been devastatingly brutal. However, the Belarusian people’s resilience and Western sanctions – adopted on 14 August – have proved effective. As some of the 6,700 jailed protesters were released, accounts of horrific treatment by law enforcement emerged: overcrowded cells, no food, torture, forced confessions, severe beatings , and threats of rape.

With reports of mounting violence, Polish MEP Radosław Sikorski warned Lukashenka to expect not just sanctions but also the possible intervention of the International Criminal Court (ICC), an idea supported by the opposition-led Belarus’ National Salvation.…  Seguir leyendo »

In the United States and the wider world, seismic discussions are raging about the need to see justice done when fundamental human rights are violated. This is no time for any government to exert coercion against an international court that was created to do justice when there is nowhere else to turn for it.

But last week, in the latest of an escalating series of attacks against the International Criminal Court, President Trump’s administration announced new acts of economic pressure against the court. Why? Simply for doing its work by seeking to investigate allegations of war crimes committed in Afghanistan. Allies of America, human rights organizations and bar associations — notably the European Union, France, Germany and the American Bar Association — have expressed deep concern.…  Seguir leyendo »

President Trump declared a national emergency last Thursday — but it wasn’t about the covid-19 pandemic or police brutality or nationwide protests. Rather, the subject of the emergency declaration was the International Criminal Court, the body investigating the United States for suspected war crimes in Afghanistan.

Trump announced that the ICC represents an “unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.” The executive order pushes back by authorizing economic and diplomatic sanctions on ICC personnel working on the Afghanistan probe and anyone who helps them.

The Trump administration has consistently and directly opposed the ICC, in contrast to the more passive opposition or even ad hoc support from previous administrations.…  Seguir leyendo »

A painting by the artist Banksy, in 2015 in Gaza. Divorce between Israel and the International Criminal Court was consumed in Rome in 1998, when Tel Aviv refused to sign and ratify the Statute, following its recognition of the transfer of the civilian population as a war crime. © Mohammed Abed / AFP

To me, the subject of Israel and Palestine, the relations between the two entities and their peoples, as well as the role of third actors (international or not), including the International Criminal Court (ICC), has been of concern for many years. The so-called Palestine Situation before the ICC seems to put into perspective the meetings and dialogues I had more than twenty years ago. Professionally, I have devoted my energy for the past fifteen years to international criminal justice, both in teaching and research and in practice, where I have been able to work alongside the Prosecutor General of Israel, the defence and more recently, in the representation of victims of international crimes.…  Seguir leyendo »

In this piece, the author points out "the interminable circularity of ‘debate’ around declaratory and constitutive theories of international law – which is to say the whether a state exists exclusively by having satisfied some set of criteria, or whether a state exists when other states recognise it as such". © Mohammed Abed / AFP

In December 2019 the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) at the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced that it had concluded its preliminary examination into the Situation in Palestine, and was satisfied that it had competence to open a formal investigation. The announcement, however, came in the form of a Request to the Pre-Trial Chamber for confirmation that the OTP’s understanding of the scope of the Court’s jurisdiction over Palestine was correct.

Among the reasons the OTP gave for making the request was that “while the Prosecution wishes to obtain a ruling expeditiously, it would provide an opportunity for legal representatives of victims and the referring State to participate in the proceedings, if they wish.…  Seguir leyendo »

Existen cuatro crímenes execrables, repugnantes, que conmocionan las conciencias de la mayoría de los seres que habitan el planeta: el genocidio, los crímenes de guerra, la depuración étnica y los crímenes de lesa humanidad. Con esa u otras denominaciones se han cometido desde el inicio de los tiempos. Tras la Primera Guerra Mundial hubo reacciones ante los horrores vividos. Vividos nuevamente y aumentados tras la Segunda, la Carta de las Naciones Unidas incorporó en 1945 estas preocupaciones.

En 1998, impulsado por la ONU, nace el Tribunal Penal Internacional (TPI), hoy integrado por 124 Estados. Si bien algunos de los más poderosos (EE UU, Rusia, China) no forman parte de él (tampoco Israel) por temor a que algunos de sus nacionales puedan ser incriminados, es destacable que tantos Estados de culturas y acervos jurídicos dispares hayan concordado en un objetivo común.…  Seguir leyendo »

Rohingya walk through a paddy field after crossing into Bangladesh in 2017. (Bernat Armangue/AP)

On Thursday, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued a unanimous ruling that ordered Myanmar to “take all measures within its power” to protect its ethnic minority Rohingya population from genocide. The case — against which Myanmar’s civilian leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, argued unsuccessfully — ended up in front of the ICJ because of a tiny African country thousands of miles away. Here’s what you need to know about this story.

How the case got started

The case before the ICJ started a few weeks ago, when Gambia accused Myanmar of violating the United Nations’ 1948 Convention on Genocide. Suu Kyi flew to The Hague to defend her country, arguing that her government’s actions were legitimate counterinsurgency efforts against rebels in Rakhine state.…  Seguir leyendo »

Como se sabe, la Fiscalía de la Corte Penal Internacional (CPI) ha decidido el pasado 20 de noviembre la apertura oficial de una investigación a Israel por presuntas violaciones de las normas que regulan los conflictos armados y otras relativas al régimen de los territorios palestinos, que para Israel son considerados en disputa, mientras que para las Naciones Unidas son territorios ocupados. Ni que decir tiene que este hecho ya ha sido considerado por Amnistía Internacional como un paso histórico, algo que no es extraño, dada la manía persecutoria que esta organización no gubernamental viene manteniendo contra viento y marea contra Israel.…  Seguir leyendo »

Demonstrators gathered outside the International Criminal Court in The Hague to call on the court and its chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, to prosecute Israel's army for war crimes. (Peter Dejong/AP)

When the International Criminal Court was founded in 1998, it was hailed as a breakthrough in the global fight against impunity. And even as ICC’s membership has grown to 123 states, many of the world’s worst criminals continue to escape justice. It’s often easier to prosecute a murderer than a war criminal, or a genocidaire. Especially when they’re the ones in power. That is why the world needs a court of last resort, an institution to prosecute those who national justice systems are unwilling or unable to prosecute. With the ICC the world has such a court, but it should be doing better.…  Seguir leyendo »

Laurent Gbagbo looks on next to his lawyer Emmanuel Altit before the start of his trial at the ICC on 28 January 2016. Photo by Getty Images.

The 1998 treaty which established the International Criminal Court (ICC) was adopted at a time when the world (or most of it) was willing to reach multilateral agreements on a variety of topics and was encouraging the development of international criminal justice. The two tribunals, set up by the UN Security Council, for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda had been relatively successful. The time was ripe for states to agree together to set up a permanent international court with wider scope than the two tribunals.

So the ICC was created, with jurisdiction over the international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes; its jurisdiction for the crime of aggression developed later.…  Seguir leyendo »

Over the past month, the Trump administration has ratcheted up tension with the world’s leading instrument for prosecuting war crimes and crimes against humanity. On March 15, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced visa restrictions for International Criminal Court officials involved in any investigation of U.S. citizens. Last week, the ICC prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, confirmed that her visa to enter the United States has been revoked.

The administration may be tempted to argue that its toughness produced immediate results. On Friday, in a surprise development, a panel of judges at the ICC rejected the prosecutor’s bid to investigate alleged crimes in Afghanistan, including cases of torture by U.S.…  Seguir leyendo »