Episode 24 – Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji on the ICC, the Concept of “Attack,” and More

In this episode, I speak with Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji, Judge and President of the ICC until he stepped down earlier this year. He served as Judge on the ICC for almost ten years, and was President of the Court for three. Prior to that he was Legal Advisor to the UNHCR, and before that, a prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Orignally from Nigera, Judge Eboe-Osuji is a Canadian, and he practiced law in Toronto prior to his international law career. He is soon to take up a new position at the Lincoln Alexander School of Law at Ryerson University in Toronto. In our conversation Judge Eboe-Osuji reflects on his role in the development of the ICC, and some of the criticisms of the Court, before turning to a more detailed discussion of the meaning of term “directing attacks” in the Rome Statute, through the lens of the Ntaganda case. This leads to a discussion of the relationship between so-called Hague Law and Geneva Law in IHL, and between war crimes and crimes against humanity within the Rome Statute, all within the context of the object and purpose of IHL, and the need for intelligibility and accessibility as a fundamental component of the rule of law – fascinating discussion!

Materials:

The Prosecutor v. Bosco Ntaganda, Appeal Chamber Decision, Mar. 30, 2021.

The Prosecutor v. Bosco Ntaganda, Trial Chamber Decision, Jul 28, 2019.

– Abhimanyu George Jain, “The Ntaganda Appeal Judgement and the Meaning of “Attack” in the Conduct of Hostilities War Crimes,” EJILTalk!, Apr. 2, 2021.

– Ronald Acala and Sasha Radin, “Symposium Intro: The ICC Considers the Definition of ‘Attack.'” Articles of War, Oct. 27, 2020.

Reading Recommendations:

– Stanley Milgram, Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View (1969).

– Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem: The Banality of Evil (1963).

– Timothy Snyder, On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century (2017).

Episode 13 – Douglas Guilfoyle on the Australian Inquiry into War Crimes in Afghanistan

In this episode, I speak with Douglas Guilfoyle, Associate Professor at the University of New South Wales, Canberra, in Australia. We discuss the recent report of the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force on his investigation into war crimes – including murder and cruel treatment of civilians and detainees – alleged to have been committed by members of the Australian Special Forces deployed in Afghanistan. We discuss the impetus for the investigation, the nature of the findings and recommendations, and explore in some detail the report’s treatment of the issue of command responsibility, and its finding that no officers had sufficient knowledge of the misconduct so as to attract criminal liability. This includes a discussion of how the provisions on command responsibility in the Rome Statute were subtly but perhaps significantly adjusted when implemented in the Australian Criminal Code. This leads to the question of what influence the principle of complimentarity and possible ICC involvement may have had in shaping the government’s handling of the issues. Finally we discuss some of the structural, organizational, and cultural features of the Australian forces in Afghanistan that were said to have contributed to the unlawful conduct.

Materials:

“Australian War Crimes in Afghanistan: The Brereton Report,” EJILTalk!, Nov. 23, 2020.

– The Hon. PLG Brereton, Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force Afghanistan Inquiry Report, Oct. 29, 2020.

– Dan Oakes and Sam Clark, “The Afghan Files,” The ABC, Jul. 10, 2017.

Reading Recommendations:

– Monique Cormier, The Jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court over Nationals of Non-State Parties, (2020).

– Jessie Hohmann and Daniel Joyce, eds., International Law’s Objects, (2019).

– Thomas Rid, Active Measures: The Secret History of Disinformation and Political Warfare, (2020).

Episode 11 – Catherine O’Rourke on the Rights of Women in Armed Conflict

In this episode, I speak with Catherine O’Rourke, Senior Lecturer in Human Rights and International Law, and Gender Research Coordinator at the Transitional Justice Institute, at Ulster University School of Law, Northern Ireland. We discuss her very recent book, The Rights of Women in Armed Conflict Under International Law, which examines the manner in which four specific regimes — IHL, international criminal law, human rights law, and the UN Security Council — have interacted in relation to the rights of women in armed conflict, not only in theoretical and doctrinal terms, but also in very practical terms on the ground in the armed conflicts in Colombia, Nepal, and the DRC. There are some surprises in terms of which regimes are strongest, and which institutions most effective, in protecting women’s rights. We discuss both the synergies and the conflicts among the different regimes, assessing how the various regimes fall short in protecting women’s rights, and ultimately, whether the multiplicity of regimes and fragmentation of law is, on balance, a benefit or an obstacle to the protection of women’s rights in armed conflict. Another fascinating discussion that will likely leave listeners clamoring for the book!

Materials:

The Rights of Women in Armed Conflict Under International Law (2020).

– “‘Geneva Convention III Commentary’ What Significance for Women’s Rights?” Just Security, Oct. 21, 2020.

Reading Recommendations:

– Gina Heathcote, Feminist Dialogues on International Law (2019).

– Judith Gardam, “Feminist Interventions into International Law: A Generation On,” 40 Adelaide Law Review 219 (2019).

– Judith Gardam and Michelle Jarvis, Women, Armed Conflict and International Law, (2001).

Episode 2 – Kevin Jon Heller on Unilateral Humanitarian Intervention

In this episode I speak with Kevin Jon Heller, Professor of International Law and Security at the University of Copenhagen (when we spoke, he was still a professor of law at the University of Amsterdam!), and cross-appointed as Professor of Law, Australian National University, College of Law. Our discussion focuses on a recent and soon-to-be published article of Kevin’s, The Illegality of “Genuine” Unilateral Humanitarian Intervention (draft on SSRN posted below). In addition to the more common arguments that  unilateral humanitarian intervention is unlawful and that it should remain so, Kevin also makes the more novel and likely controversial argument that the use of force for purposes of unilateral humanitarian intervention constitutes an act of aggression as defined in the Rome Statute, and that the perpetrators could, theoretically, be charged for the individual crime of aggression.

Materials:

– “The Illegality of ‘Genuine’ Unilateral Humanitarian Intervention,” forthcoming 2020, (draft on SSRN).

Reading Recommendations:

– Francine Hirsch, Soviet Judgment at Nuremberg: A New History of the International Military Tribunal after World War II (2020).

– Craig Jones, The War Lawyers (2020).

– Moshen al Attar, TWAIL: A Paradox within a Paradox,” 22 Int’l Comm. L.R. 163 (2019).