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Grave breaches
Christine Byron

Background to war crimes 1 While the origins of the laws of war stretch back centuries, 2 the nineteenth and twentieth centuries were the first to see multilateral conventions on the law of armed conflict, 3 and the twentieth century was the first to see significant prosecutions for breaches of this law. 4 Following the prosecution of a small number of Germans after the First World War by the Supreme Court of the Reich in Leipzig, 5 the aftermath of the Second World War saw the prosecution by the Allies of

in War crimes and crimes against humanity in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court
Leslie C. Green

Historical background War crimes are violations of the and customs of the law of armed conflict and are punishable whether committed by combatants or civilians, including the nationals of neutral states. 2 Occasionally the term has been used to include acts like espionage 3 or war treason 4

in The contemporary law of armed conflict
Legality and legitimacy
Dominic McGoldrick

War crimes trials before international tribunals 6 War crimes trials before international tribunals: legality and legitimacy Dominic McGoldrick I Introduction An assessment of the historical place of any trials requires both a micro and a macro analysis. The microanalysis focuses on the internal processes and procedures of the trials. The macroanalysis focuses on the broader political and historical context. Both levels of analysis can review issues of legality and legitimacy.1 This essay presents a comparative critique of war crimes trials before the

in Domestic and international trials, 1700–2000
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Non-international armed conflicts
Christine Byron

Background to non-international armed conflicts The extent of jurisdiction over war crimes committed in non-international armed conflicts in the Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) was a controversial issue at the Diplomatic Conference in Rome. 1 International humanitarian law relating to internal conflicts is less well developed than that relating to international armed conflicts, although in 1949 Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions established basic rules with respect to those persons not

in War crimes and crimes against humanity in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court
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Other offences in international armed conflicts
Christine Byron

killing or wounding combatants who have surrendered or have no means of defence. The term ‘surrendered at discretion’ was explained by the British Manual of Military Law as meaning that the combatant must surrender unconditionally before obtaining the protection of this Article. 245 Violations of this prohibition were punished in war crimes trials after the Second World War. 246 In the Peleus Trial, where the commander of a German submarine ordered the killing of survivors of a sunken vessel, the Judge Advocate stated that it was a ‘fundamental usage of war that

in War crimes and crimes against humanity in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court
Author: Christine Byron

This book provides a critical analysis of the definitions of war crimes and crimes against humanity as construed in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Each crime is discussed from its origins in treaty or customary international law, through developments as a result of the jurisprudence of modern ad hoc or internationalised tribunals, to modifications introduced by the Rome Statute and the Elements of Crimes. The influence of human rights law upon the definition of crimes is discussed, as is the possible impact of State reservations on the underlying treaties that form the basis for the conduct covered by the offences in the Rome Statute. Examples are also given from recent conflicts to aid a ‘real-life’ discussion of the type of conduct over which the International Criminal Court may take jurisdiction.

A Military Tactic or Collateral Damage?
Abdulkarim Ekzayez and Ammar Sabouni

Nine years of continuous conflict in Syria have borne witness to various atrocities against civilians, some of which amount to war crimes. Most of the involved parties have committed such atrocities, but the Government of Syria (GoS) and its allies remain at the top of the list of perpetrators. Out of a population of 21 million in 2010, more than half a million Syrians were killed as of January 2019 with more than 13 million displaced either inside the country, in neighbouring countries or elsewhere. Moreover, civilian infrastructures, including but not limited to health, have been severely affected, resulting in interrupted services and suffering. Looking at patterns of these atrocities, timing of occurrence, and consequences, could allow us to draw conclusions about motivations. While the GoS maintains these attacks were against combating civilians, we argue that civilians and civilian infrastructure were military and strategic targets, rather than collateral damage to the attacks committed by the GoS and its allies. The motives behind attacking civilians may be related to military gains in imposing submission and surrender; whereas others may be linked to long-term goals such as forced displacement and demographic engineering. This paper argues, supported by several examples throughout the course of the Syrian conflict, that GoS has used a five-point military tactic with targeting healthcare being at the heart of it. This military tactic has been extremely effective in regaining most opposition strongholds at the expense of civilian suffering and health catastrophe.

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
The trial in history, volume II
Editor: R. A. Melikan

Lawyers had been producing reports of trials and appellate proceedings in order to understand the law and practices of the Westminster courts since the Middle Ages, and printed reports had appeared in the late fifteenth century. This book considers trials in the regular English criminal courts in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It also considers the contribution of criminal lawyers in developing the modern rules of evidence. The book explores the influence of scientific and pseudoscientific knowledge on Victorian insanity trials and trials for homosexual offences, respectively. The British Trials Collection contains the only readily accessible and near-verbatim accounts of civil trials from the 1760s, 1770s, and 1780s, decades crucial to understanding how the rules of evidence developed. It might be thought that Defence of the Realm Acts (DORA) or its regulations would have introduced trials in camera. The book presents a comparative critique of war crimes trials before the International Military Tribunals at Nuremberg and Tokyo and the International Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda. The first spy trial by court martial after the legal change in 1915 was that of Robert Rosenthal, who was German. The book also considers the principal features of the first war crimes trial of the twenty-first century in terms of personnel and procedures, the alleged crimes, and issues of legality and legitimacy. It also speculates on the narratives or non-narratives of the trial and how these may impact on the professed aims and objectives of the litigation.

Arjun Claire

, security of staff and access to populations became important priorities, and témoignage came to be increasingly seen as jeopardising MSF’s operational presence ( Binet, 2010 : 43). Around the same time, the International Criminal Court was established to promote accountability for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Although MSF collectively decided not to cooperate with the Court, it could do little to prevent its public statements from being used as evidence

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
The Law and Politics of Responding to Attacks against Aid Workers
Julia Brooks and Rob Grace

scrambled to treat the wounded while appealing to Afghan, US, and UN officials to stop the attack. By the time the firing stopped over an hour later, at least forty-two people had been killed – including MSF staff, hospital patients, and family members – over thirty were injured, and thirty-three were missing. MSF later alleged that the attack constituted a war crime and called for an independent and impartial investigation. The bombing of MSF’s trauma centre in Kunduz, Afghanistan by a US Air Force AC-130U gunship quickly garnered headlines around the world, generating

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs