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Erick Sullivan

The ICC has jurisdiction over the alleged deportation of the Rohingya people

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Today, the Pre-trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (“ICC”) ruled on the Prosecutor’s request regarding jurisdiction on the deportation of Royingha people from Myanmar to Bangladesh. This ruling follows most of CPIJ’s observations submitted as Amici curiae in June 2018.

In its decision, the Chamber first determined that “it has the power to entertain the Prosecutor’s request under article 119(1) of the ICC Rome Statute (“Statute”), as well as pursuant to the principle of la compétence de la compétence”. It then decided that the Statute “contains two separate crimes” (forcible transfer and deportation) and that “the Court may exercise its jurisdiction if either an element of a crime mentioned in article 5 of the Statute or part of such a crime is committed on the territory of a State that is party to the Statute”.

The Chamber therefore ruled that “the Court has jurisdiction over the crime against humanity of deportation allegedly committed against members of the Rohingya people” because “an element of this crime (the crossing of the border) took place on the territory of a State party to the Statute (Bangladesh)”. It also recognized that “the Court may also exercise its jurisdiction with regard to any other crime set out in article 5 of the Statute, such as the crimes against humanity of persecution and/or other inhumane acts”.

The dissenting Judge Perrin de Brichambault was of the view that “articles 19(3) and 119(1) of the Statute are inapplicable and that the principle of la compétence de la compétence cannot serve as an alternative basis for the Chamber to provide a ruling”. He “believed that the Court cannot rule on its jurisdiction” at this stage, “but that it remains open to the Prosecutor to present a request for authorisation of an investigation to a Pre-Trial Chamber.”

This decision followed most of the analysis proposed in the CPIJ’s Amici Curiae observations, submitted to the ICC on June 18, 2018. These observations, in support of the Prosecutor’s arguments, concerned three distinct issues. First, the scope of article 19(3) and the powers of the Prosecutor to seek a ruling on jurisdiction before a formal situation has been assigned to it. Second, the scope of the ICC’s territorial jurisdiction under article 12(2). Third, the scope of the crime of deportation under article 7(1)(d) of the Statute.

Relevant documents:

Assembly of States Parties

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Between 2016 and 2021, the Canadian Partnership for International Justice will set up and fund the attendance of a delegation of Canadian students, headed by academics and practitioners from academic institutions and NGOs, to the Assembly of States Parties to the International Criminal Court (“ASP”) which takes place in The Hague or in New York at the end of each year.

The recruited students may have:

  • to report on the ASP, its side-events and on Canada’s participation as a State Partie while focussing on various themes ( sexual and gender-based crimes, complementarity, cooperation, elections, budget, etc.);
  • to live tweet;
  • to organize lectures at their institution;
  • to write short papers and blog posts;
  • to support the Partnership’s partners implementing their ASP programs;
  • to connect with professionals working in international criminal law;
  • to visit relevant international institutions.

Through this activity, the Partnership trains a cohort of students who are educated, engaged and networked in international and transnational law, while training and educating diverse Canadian audiences about the challenges, pitfalls and potential of the system of international justice, and about the priorities to improve the system. It also enhances Canada’s role as a global leader in the fight against impunity.


Attending the 17th ASP, 5-12 December 2018, The Hague

This year, the Canadian Partnership for International Justice will fund the attendance of a delegation of students to the ASP which will take place December 5th to 12th 2018 in The Hague (Netherlands).

Applications are accepted until the October 14th, 2018.


  • Availability between now and December 5th to prepare your mission at the ASP;
  • Availability to attend the ASP;
  • Availability to report on the ASP before, during and after the ASP;
  • Being able to get a visa for and to fly to the Netherlands before December 5th.

The ASP is a very demanding activity. Members of the delegation are requested to work long hours throughout the day. It is strongly recommended that students avoid other kinds of deadlines during or after the ASP.

Evaluation criteria

  • Cycle of studies: priority is given to master or higher degree;
  • Link between the applicant and a team member/clinic involved in the Canadian Partnership for International Justice;
  • Link between the ASP/ICC and the field of study, the professional goals and the other academic/scientific activities of the applicant;
  • Time availability to prepare the mission, to attend the ASP and to report on it thereafter;
  • Fluency and good writing command in English or French (bilingualism an asset);
  • Priority is given to applicants who have never received funding from the Canadian Partnership for International Justice.

How to apply

Your application must include your resume and relevant transcripts as well as a motivation letter explaining how your application meets the evaluation criteria.

You are strongly invited to write few paragraphs of your motivation letter in French if your application is in English and vice-versa.

Upload your application and fill in the application form below before October 14th to apply.


For further information, write to:

Érick Sullivan

Coordinator of the Canadian Partnership for International Justice