It has taken a long to come but on 20th April the House of Commons resolved by 278 votes to zero that:
"That this House believes that Christians, Yazidis, and other ethnic and
religious minorities in Iraq and Syria are suffering genocide at the
hands of Daesh; and calls on the Government to make an immediate
referral to the UN Security Council with a view to conferring
jurisdiction upon the International Criminal Court so that perpetrators
can be brought to justice."
The Commission adopted (without a vote) recommendations relating to a submission by Argentina concerning the limits of the continental shelf to the east of Argentina. However, the Commission also noted that it
was not in a position to consider and qualify those parts of the
submission that were subject to dispute and those parts that were
related to the continental shelf appurtenant to Antarctica (see CLCS/64,
paras. 76 and 77 and CLCS/76 para. 57).
Trial Chamber III of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former
Yugoslavia (ICTY) today convicted Radovan Karadžić, former President of
Republika Srpska (RS) and Supreme Commander of its armed forces, of
genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the laws or customs
of war committed by Serb forces during the armed conflict in Bosnia and
Herzegovina (BiH), from 1992 until 1995. He was sentenced to 40 years’
Parties have the right to appeal the judgement.
Karadžić is entitled to credit for time spent in detention thus far. He has been in custody since 21 July 2008.
Article III of the US Constitution states that - "The judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in
one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to
time ordain and establish."
The power to nominate candidates for the vacancy rests with the President of the USA and President Obama has announced that he will make a nomination.
Nomination is followed by the Senate holding confirmation hearings. Examples of confirmation hearings held during the final year of a Presidency may be seen via the SCOTUS Blog.
The event provided an opportunity to hear leading experts and
relatives of those participating in the original trial reflect on this
important moment for the rule of law and international justice. The
event offered a historical perspective on the legacy of the Tribunal and
its influence on the development of international criminal law.
A keynote presentation was given by Lord Justice Fulford (Deputy
Senior Presiding Judge for England and Wales, and former judge
International Criminal Court 2003-2012).
Islamic State" (IS) claimed responsibility for the attacks in Paris on Friday 13th November - Reuters 14th November. At the time, the President of France described the attacks as "an act of war."
The United Nations Security Council has now adopted UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2249 (2015) - Read the Resolution. The resolution calls upon those Member States with the capacity to do so to take
An interesting article in The Guardian expresses concern that international law is somewhat impotent in the face of modern terrorism challenges - Lyal S. Sunga* - The Guardian 14th November
The author argues - "It is now urgent for States to update rather than sideline the Geneva
conventions, agree upon a definition of ‘terrorist act’, perhaps through
a new comprehensive UN convention against terrorism, strengthen
international cooperation and public awareness of the role and
importance of international humanitarian law, consider revising the
International Criminal Court’s Statute explicitly to cover terrorist
acts, and above all, maintain the high moral ground."
Please read the article. This is a topic to which we must return .....!
* Lyal S. Sunga has conducted monitoring, investigation, reporting,
technical cooperation, education and training in some 55 countries over
the last 25 years in human rights, humanitarian law and international
criminal law. He is Head of the Rule of Law program at the Hague
Institute for Global Justice in The Netherlands, and Visiting Professor
at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law
in Lund, Sweden
The Rt. Hon. Jeremy Corbyn MP (Leader of the Opposition) has expressed his personal views about the UK's nuclear weapon capability - BBC News 30th September - Jeremy Corbyn row after "I'd not fire nuclear weapons" comment. Corbyn's personal views are not - (at least not yet) - the policy position of the Labour Party which remains supportive of the need for UK nuclear weapons. Mr Corbyn insists that he is seeking a mature debate on this subject. Such a debate seems timely given that the government is to make its decision on Trident replacement in 2016. The costs of replacement are massive (see BBC 9th April 2015) and that in itself adds another dimension to the debate at a time when the government insists that financial austerity is necessary and when many public services are under severe financial pressure.
"The Geneva Convention Protocol from 1977 states that ‘the civilian population shall not be the object of attack’ and prohibits ‘methods
or means of warfare which are intended, or may be expected, to cause
widespread, long-term and severe damage to the natural environment’. (See here) It is impossible to use a nuclear weapon selectively, meaning that
launching Trident would certainly be illegal as there would be a huge
number of civilian casualties and devastation of the natural
environment. The ensuing radioactive contamination of the area would
also violate the population’s ‘right to a standard of living adequate
for the health and well-being of himself and of his family’, as
enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights."
"The UK’s Disarmament ObligationsArticle VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty commits the recognised nuclear weapon states to “pursue negotiations in
good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race
at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a Treaty on general and
complete disarmament under strict and effective international control”.
Successive Governments have insisted that replacing Trident
is compatible with the UK’s obligations under the NPT, arguing that the treaty
contains no prohibition on updating existing weapons systems and gives no
explicit timeframe for nuclear disarmament.It also insists it has taken a number of steps in support of the NPT,
pointing to the significant downsizing of the British nuclear arsenal since the
end of the Cold War, with the withdrawal of all other nuclear weapons systems
except for Trident, the reduction to fewer than 200 warheads in the overall
stockpile and the reductions in the operational status of the deterrent.
Furthermore, the Government insists that sustainable nuclear
disarmament can only be achieved through a multilateral process. The UK has
the smallest nuclear arsenal of the five recognised nuclear powers and says it
will be willing to place its remaining weapons on the table for negotiation when Russia and the US have reduced
their arsenals to similar levels. Others believe the Government could do more
to advance the cause of nuclear disarmament by reducing the UK arsenal further."
Such barbarity is utterly incompatible with human rights and should be condemned internationally.
Instead, we see that Saudi Arabia is to head the Consultative Group to the President of the UN Human Rights Council. The Consultative Group comprises 5 Ambassadors - UN Watch 20th September. The Group has the power to select applicants from around the world for more than 77 positions dealing with country-specific and thematic human rights mandates.
Reports that the UK Government supported Saudi Arabia becoming part of the UNHRC are particularly disturbing - The Guardian 29th September.
There are no aspects of modern life untouched by law. My main interests are criminal law, constitutional law, human rights, family law, European Union law and some aspects of international law.
In law, the word "obiter", refers to remarks which are "by the way." My own comments are also "by the way" - I write about events which happen to interest me. I do not seek to dictate or even to persuade: merely to comment and inform and this blog must never be used as a substitute for professional legal advice.
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