The first General Assembly of the Canadian Partnership for International Justice (CPIJ) was held in Montreal on 11 June 2018. Besides fruitfully brainstorming on the Partnership’s development, CPIJ had the pleasure to welcome two guests of honour, namely the Honourables Bob Rae and Irwin Cotler. As Canada’s Special Envoy to Myanmar, Mr. Rae has developed extensive expertise on the Rohingya situation, which he was pleased to share with CPIJ under Chatham House Rules. CPIJ particularly enjoyed this discussion as it was only a few days away from presenting its Amici Curiae observations pertaining to this situation to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Later that day, the Partnership met with Irwin Cotler, who discussed his work as a member of independent international experts panel designated by the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS). The panel was asked to determine whether there was reasonable grounds to believe that crimes against humanity have been committed in Venezuela. In its final report presented on 29 May 2018, the experts answered in the affirmative and recommended notably that the OAS Secretary General invite States Parties to the Rome Statute to refer the situation of Venezuela to the ICC. In brief, CPIJ’s first General Assembly was a frank success, and was productive, stimulating and enjoyable for all.
June 2018– On 18 June 2018, a group of experts including members of the Canadian Partnership for International Justice (CPIJ) submitted Amici Curiae observations to the International Criminal Court (ICC) on complicated and controversial questions arising in the Al Bashir case. This decision of the ICC will be particularly important since it pertains to the power of the UN Security Council to set aside immunities of a head of State in the pursuit of justice, a question which is has been debated for years.
President Omar Al Bashir of Sudan is accused of genocide and other crimes committed in Darfur. The United Nations Security Council referred the situation in Darfur to the ICC in 2005, stating that “the Government of Sudan and all other parties to the conflict in Darfur, shall cooperate fully with and provide any necessary assistance to the Court and the Prosecutor” (S/RES/1593 (2005)). However, some States, including the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, failed to arrest Omar Al Bashir. Consequently, on 11 December 2017, the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber II rendered a decision on the non-compliance by Jordan with the request by the Court, where it ruled that the immunities of Omar Al Bashir as Head of State cannot be invoked to justify a failure to comply to the Court’s request of his arrest. Jordan appealed of this decision.
A group of experts including CPIJ members submitted a request for leaveon 26 April 2018, which was accepted by the ICC on 21 May. The Amici therefore submitted their observations four weeks later, stating that the ICC Appeals Chamber should uphold the interpretation adopted by the Pre-Trial Chamber, and that Al Bashir has no immunity before the ICC. The group also suggested legal avenues to respect competing legitimate concerns. The Amici Curiae, signed by Darryl Robinson, Fannie Lafontaine, Valerie Oosterveld, Margaret M. deGuzman, Robert Cryer and Carsten Stahn, can be accessed here.
June 2018 – On 18 June 2018, members of the Canadian Partnership for International Justice (CPIJ) submitted Amici Curiae observations to the International Criminal Court (ICC) on legal issues arising from the Prosecutor’s request for a ruling on jurisdiction concerning the Rohingya being deported from Myanmar to Bangladesh.
The Prosecutor’s request under Article 19(3) of the Rome Statute is the first of its kind. She asked the Court to determine if it has jurisdiction over the situation of the Rohingya, who are currently being deported from Myanmar (a non State party to the Rome Statute) to Bangladesh (a State party). The cross-border nature of this crime, involving a country who is not a party to the Court, raises important legal questions about to the Court’s ability to adjudicate the matter.
The Amici Curiae provided the Court with observations, in support of the Prosecutor’s arguments, on 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 Rome Statute. The full text of the observations can be found on the ICC website.
“We are proud to contribute to the development of complex judicial issues which are at the very heart of the Court’s work,” said Fannie Lafontaine, the Director of CPIJ. “In this case, it will be very important for the Court to provide clarity on its jurisdiction over cross-border crimes when a non-State party is involved.”
Members of CPIJ had submitted a request for leave on 25 May 2018 to provide these observations. The request was subsequently granted by the Court in a decision that recognized the extensive collective experience of CPIJ’s members in the field of international criminal law, human rights law, refugee law, migration and humanitarian law, as well as their previous interventions before domestic and international courts.
The Amici Curiae is signed by Fannie Lafontaine, Amanda Ghahremani, Jennifer Bond, Robert J. Currie, Julia Grignon, Mark Kersten, François Larocque, Frédéric Mégret, Valerie Oosterveld, Frederick John Packer, Pascal Paradis, Darryl Robinson, Penelope Simons, Érick Sullivan, Alain-Guy Tachou Sipowo, Mirja Trilsch and Jo-Anne Wemmers.
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June 2018– On 19 June 2018, the Canadian Partnership for International Justice (CPIJ) co-researcher François Larocque was awarded the Canadian Francophonie Research Chair in Language Rights at the University of Ottawa. It is “the very first time, at the national level, that a law faculty receives a research chair on the Canadian Francophonie”, Professor Larocque explains. “Up until now, no research chair on linguistic rights and cultural communities’ legal protection existed.”
This award is a well-deserved recognition of the Professor Larocque’s obvious leadership in his field. Dedicated researcher and eloquent lawyer, he has been defending Francophones’ rights for the past 10 years, and has significantly contributed to the advancement of linguistic rights of Francophones living in minority communities in Ontario and in Canada. Professor Larocque will take advantage of his new situation to advance the state of knowledge on linguistic rights and make a tangible contribution to the development of legal norms pertaining to language in Canada. He plans to focus on legal protection of linguistic minority communities and their institutions, particularly in relation to the adoption and interpretation of constitutional laws, legislative material and case-law principles. His research will primarily focus on linguistic rights of Francophones, but will also include Aboriginal languages.
Professor Larocque’s 5-year appointment will begin on July 1st, 2018.
June 2018 – CPIJ co-researcher Joanna Harrington was awarded the 2018 Canadian Association of Law Teachers (CALT) Prize for Academic Excellence. The price is given to honour exceptional contributions to research and law teaching by a Canadian law teacher in mid-career. Recipients are chosen by a selection committee based on the quality of and innovation in teaching and learning, and the quality and impact of legal scholarship.
Harrington’s accomplished career has taken her around the world, from Australia to China and Vietnam. She has taught human rights to government officials in Suriname, and international dispute settlement to students in Shanghai. Her research activities have led to visiting appointments at the University of Oxford and the University of Texas at Austin. In addition, she is a frequent guest speaker in Canada and abroad, as well as a widely-published author, having published over 30 law review articles and book chapters. She is the co-author of a leading text used for teaching international law in Canada.
Her writing has contributed to law and policy discussions on the balance between protecting human rights and securing cross-border cooperation in the prosecution of serious crimes. Her research often involves collaboration with organizations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Chatham House think tank.
More information on Prof. Harrington’s career and accomplishments is available here.
31 May 2018– Following the expert meeting organized by the Canadian Partnership for International Justice (CPIJ) on the collaboration between national prosecuting authorities (NPAs) and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), a series of four blogposts will be published jointly by the PKI Global Justice Journal and Quid Justitiae. The first post, titled “Defining Legal Concepts and Frameworks”, was launched today on both platforms.
The expert meeting, held at Ottawa on 15 and 16 March 2018, brought together 27 worldwide experts from States, non-governmental organizations and academic institutions, which shared their views on various issues influencing the collaboration between NPAs and NGOs. The discussions aimed at significantly improving the collaboration between NPAs and NGOs in the prosecution of international crimes such as genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. An important outcome of this event is a series of four blogposts authored by Joseph Rikhof, Silviana Cocan and Érick Sullivan. The first post was published today in French and Spanish in the blog Quid Justiae, and in English in the PKI Global Justice Journal. The three other blogposts will follow every Thursday until the 21stof June.
The posts can be accessed here:
May 31, 2018– Members of the Canadian Partnership for International Justice (CPIJ) were granted leave by Pre-Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to submit observations as Amici Curiae on important legal issues with respect to the situation of the Rohingyas in Myanmar and Bangladesh.
On 9 April 2018, the ICC Prosecutor submitted a request for a ruling under Article 19(3) on whether the Court may exercise jurisdiction over the alleged deportation of the Rohingya people from Myanmar to Bangladesh. The complexity of the jurisdictional issues arise from the fact that the Rohingya are being deported from the territory of a State which is not a party to the ICC Statute (Myanmar) directly into the territory of a State which is a party to the Statute (Bangladesh). Given that it is the first time that the Prosecutor submits such a request based on Article 19(3), Pre-Trial Chamber I will be considering a number of novel and important legal issues.
Members of CPIJ submitted a request for leave to intervene as Amici Curiae on 25 May 2018. The Chamber granted leave on 29 May 2018 pursuant to Rule 103 of the ICC Rules of Procedure and Evidence. In the decision, the Chamber recognised CPIJ and its members’ extensive experience in the field of international criminal law, human rights law, refugee law, migration and humanitarian law, as well as in intervening as Amici Curiae before both domestic and international courts. It took the view that the proposed submissions are “desirable for the proper determination of the Prosecutor’s Request”.
Issues at stake
The Partnership’s members acting as Amici Curiae will support the Prosecution’s position with complementary legal observations and will assist the Chamber in the determination of issues that have never been fully litigated before the ICC. In particular, the members of CPIJ will address the three following issues:
- Whether Article 19(3) of the Rome Statute allows the Office of the Prosecutor to request a ruling on jurisdiction;
- The scope of territorial jurisdiction under Article 12(2); and
- The nature and definition of the crime of deportation under Article 7(1)(d).
The Amici Curiae observations will be submitted before 18 June 2018 by 17 members of the Partnership, namely: Jennifer Bond, Robert J. Currie, Amanda Ghahremani, Julia Grignon, Mark Kersten, Fannie Lafontaine, François Larocque, Frédéric Mégret, Valerie Oosterveld, Frederick John Packer, Pascal Paradis, Darryl Robinson, Penelope Simons, Érick Sullivan, Alain-Guy Tachou Sipowo, Mirja Trilsch and Jo-Anne Wemmers.
May 21, 2018 – A group of experts including members of the Canadian Partnership for International Justice were granted leave to submit observations on complicated and controversial questions about the immunity of a head of state.
The group of experts, composed of Darryl Robinson (Queen’s University), Fannie Lafontaine (Laval University), Valerie Oosterveld (Western University), Margaret M. deGuzman (Temple University), Robert Cryer (Birmingham Law School), and Carsten Stahn (Leiden University), have been invited to submit an Amici Curiae to the Court before June 18, 2018. Mark Kersten (Munk School of Global Affairs) and Sergey Vasiliev (Leiden University) were also consulted in the preparation of the request.
The issues arise in a case against President Omar Al-Bashir of Sudan, accused of genocide and other crimes committed in Darfur. The UN Security Council referred the situation to the International Criminal Court, and ordered Sudan to ‘cooperate fully’ with the Court. Some states, including Jordan, have failed to arrest Omar Al-Bashir. The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan appealled against the decision of Pre-Trial Chamber II on non-compliance with the Court’s request for arrest and surrender of Omar Al-Bashir. The case concerns the power of the UN Security Council to set aside immunities in the pursuit of justice.