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Ghahremani

The Nevsun case is heard before the Supreme Court of Canada

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January 2019 – On 23 January 2019, co-researchers of the Canadian Partnership for International Justice intervened before the Supreme Court of Canada during the hearing of the Nevsun case. This groundbreaking case has great potential significance for human rights and corporate accountability in Canada as it is the first lawsuit whose claims are based directly on violations of international law.

The case questions whether a Canadian mining company should be held accountable for human rights violations perpetrated abroad. The British Columbia mining company Nevsun Resources Ltd. faces charges of forced labour, a form of slavery, related to the construction of the Canadian owned Bisha gold mine in Eritrea. Plaintiffs are former mine workers who have been granted the refugee status in Canada.

Jennifer Klinck, Paul Champ and Penelope Simons at the hearing. (Photo: Twitter)

In appeal before the Supreme Court of Canada, Nevsun sought immunity for its conduct based on the common law doctrine of act of state. The respondents pleaded the absence of a doctrine of corporate immunity in international law and claimed that jus cogens norms of customary international law should serve as a source for development of the Canadian common law.

CPIJ is proud that its co-researchers Penelope Simons and François Larocque intervened, together with Jennifer Klinck and Paul Champ, as representatives of Amnesty International and the International Commission of Jurists. Co-researcher Amanda Ghahremani and the Canadian Center for International Justice (CCIJ), a CPIJ partner organization, were also part of the legal team for the respondents.

The webcast of the hearing is available here, and the parties’ factums on appeal can be accessed here. Further documentation is available on CCIJ’s website.

Members of the Partnership will intervene as Amici Curiae before the International Criminal Court concerning the Rohingya situation

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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.

Context

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:

  1. Whether Article 19(3) of the Rome Statute allows the Office of the Prosecutor to request a ruling on jurisdiction;
  2. The scope of territorial jurisdiction under Article 12(2); and
  3. 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.