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ICC

CPIJ urges the ICC to investigate atrocities perpetrated by former DRC President Kabila  

By | Press Releases

On June 17, 2020, the Canadian Partnership for International Justice submitted a letter to the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), urging it to investigate former President Joseph Kabila and senior officials from his government for atrocities perpetrated in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The letter, which was also signed by 17 other civil society organizations and experts, echoes the voices of Congolese and international human rights organizations, who have been calling for the ICC to act. 

Although the Office of the Prosecutor has previously investigated and prosecuted a handful of perpetrators of international crimes in the DRC, it has yet to seriously address the role and responsibility of former President Kabila and relevant government officials in the commission of atrocities including killings, arbitrary detentions, torture, sexual violence, enforced disappearances, and persecution. Ongoing impunity for these crimes has contributed to a climate of fear and an alarming escalation of violence in the DRC, amid rumours that Kabila is planning to return to power.   

It is time for the ICC to act and to fulfil its commitment of fighting against impunity by effectively investigating these crimes, without delay. 

Read the full letter here.

The reply of the Office of the Prosecutor is available here.

19th Assembly of State Parties to the International Criminal Court: Call for applications

By | News, Student News, Upcoming Events

Each year between 2016 and 2021, the Canadian Partnership for International Justice (CPIJ) sets up and funds a delegation of Canadian students, headed by academics and practitioners from various academic institutions and NGOs, to attend the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) to the International Criminal Court (ICC). This major event takes place in The Hague or in New York at the end of each year.

Through this activity, CPIJ trains a cohort of students who are educated, engaged and networked in international and transnational law. The Partnership also aims at 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. Through its action, CPIJ also enhances Canada’s role as a global leader in the fight against impunity.

The 19th ICC ASP will take place from 7 to 17 December 2020. The training of the delegation for this ASP will be spread out throughout the year until the event. The recruited students may have to:

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

Applications for the 19th ASP are accepted until September 1, 2020.

 

Conditions

  • Availability between now and the ASP in December to prepare the mission;
  • 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 United States before the ASP.

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 shortly after the ASP.

 

Evaluation criteria

  • Cycle of studies: priority is given to master or higher degree;
  • Link between the applicant and a team member or organization involved in the Partnership;
  • Link between the ASP/ICC and the field of study, the professional goals and the other academic/scientific activities of the applicant;
  • 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 Partnership.

 

How to apply

Your application must include:

  • Your resume;
  • Transcripts;
  • A copyof your passport ;
  • A blog post or other legal dissertation of at least 1000 words in English or French;
  • 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.

Please upload your application and fill in the application form below before September 1, 2020.

 

For further information, write to:

Érick Sullivan/Catherine Savard
Co-coordinators of the Canadian Partnership for International Justice
internationaljustice.sshrc@gmail.com

The Canadian Partnership for International Justice is attending the 18th Assembly of State Parties to the International Criminal Court

By | News, Press Releases, Student News

25 November 2019 – For the fourth year in a row, the Canadian Partnership for International Justice (CPIJ) is represented at the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) to the International Criminal Court (ICC) by a delegation of practitioners, academics and students from various NGOs and academic institutions.

Each year, the ASP is one of the most important events in the field of international justice. Representatives of States that have ratified or acceded to the Rome Statute gather to make crucial decisions on the issues the Court is currently facing. Many ICC senior officials are also attending, and many side-events are organized by civil society organizations to stimulate the discussions and strive to find solutions to the issues that hamper the project envisioned in the Rome Statute.

The 18th ASP, held from 2 to 7 December 2019 at the World Forum in The Hague (the Netherlands), will allow students to deepen their knowledge of the most important issues pertaining to international justice while living a real experience of judicial diplomacy. This event is an outstanding opportunity for CPIJ to train a cohort of students who are educated, engaged and networked in international and transnational law. Through blogging and live twitting, CPIJ’s delegates will train and educate diverse Canadian audiences about the challenges, pitfalls and potential of the system of international justice, and about the priorities to improve this system. Thanks to their experience and knowledge, the delegation will contribute to enhancing Canada’s role as a global leader in the fight against impunity.

To learn more about this year’s specific issues and to get news and updates, follow CPIJ on Twitter and Facebook, and watch for the delegates’ posts on CPIJ partners’ platforms (IntLawGrrls, Quid Justitiae, Justice in Conflict, Blogue d’Avocats sans frontières Canada, PKI Global Justice Journal).

 

Who is attending the ASP this year?

Practitioners

Students

Ghuna Bdwi (@gmbdiwe)

Ghuna Bdiwi is a Syrian human rights lawyer. She is currently finishing her Ph.D. at Osgoode Hall Law School (York University). She concentrates on legal matters that are related to human rights violations, criminal accountability, and investigations of war crimes in Syria. Ghuna has received many prestigious awards during her professional and academic journey. She is the recipient of the 2015 International Human Rights Award by the International Center for Human Rights – Canada, an award that acknowledged her advocacy work in defending human rights in Syria. Additionally, she received the 2016 John Peters Humphrey Fellowship in International Human Rights from the Canadian Council on International Law, and the 2015 Fellowship from the Nathanson Center on Transnational Human Rights, Crime and Security. She is a graduate fellow with the Canadian Centre for Responsibility to Protect (University of Toronto) and the Centre for Refugees Studies (York University). She has taught many courses in human rights in Canada and abroad. She is a member of the Constitutional committee that is drafting the Syrian constitution, and also a chair of peace and justice research centre that concentrates on heinous crimes in Syria.

Justine Bernatchez (@JustineBernatc1)

Justine Bernatchez is a LL.M. candidate in International and Transnational Law at Université Laval, under the direction of Professors Fannie Lafontaine and Christine Vézina. She is particularly interested in international criminal law and its interaction with women’s rights. For almost a year now, Justine has been working as the Canadian coordinator of the ICC Legal Tools Project. She is also working as a student supervisor for the Clinique de droit international pénal et humanitaire, at Université Laval. She holds a law degree (LL.B.) from this same university and studied at Åbo Akademi University’s Institute for Human Rights (Finland) as an exchange student. Justine is currently completing her Bar internship as a legal consultant with a defence team at the International Criminal Court.

Morgane Greco (@MorganeGrc)

Morgane Greco is an International Studies Master’s degree student from University of Montreal. She holds a Public Law’s Bachelor additionally to a Political Science’s Bachelor from Lyon II University in France. Thanks to the ERASMUS+ Program, Morgane has also spent one semester in Nicosia at University of Cyprus, where she studied the Cypriot post-conflict society. She is currently articling at the United Nations’ Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict in New York and writing a Master’s thesis about sexual violence in the Eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Morgane’s approach is focused on conflict-related Sexual Violence (CRSV) Victims, in a context of impunity. She is also very interested in justice and accountability benefits for CRSV victims.

 

Ania Kwadrans (@aniakwad)

Ania Kwadrans is a Senior Policy Advisor at University of Ottawa Refugee Hub, providing strategic and policy guidance, on local, national, and global issues affecting refugee rights. Before joining the Refugee Hub, Ania worked with Amnesty International, engaging in strategic litigation on human rights cases before courts of all levels, including the Supreme Court of Canada, and advocacy before Canadian Parliamentary Committees as well as United Nations treaty bodies. Ania holds a J.D. degree from Osgoode Hall Law School, is called to the Ontario bar, and is currently undertaking graduate studies in International Human Rights Law at University of Oxford.

 

Olivier Lacombe (@LacombeOlivier)

Olivier Lacombe is a LL.M. candidate at Université Laval Faculty of Law. His research interests are international criminal law, international human rights law as well as the rights of Indigenous Peoples. Under the supervision of Professor Fannie Lafontaine, he conducts research on the obligation to prevent the crime of genocide in international law. Olivier holds a law degree (LL.B.) from Université Laval and studied at the Institute for Human Rights at Åbo Akademi (Finland) as an exchange student. In the course of his studies, he contributed to the activities of the International Criminal and Humanitarian Law Clinic of Université Laval.

 

Ismehen Melouka (@IMelouka)

Ismehen Melouka is a Ph.D. candidate in criminology at Université de Montréal under the supervision of Professor Jo-Anne Wemmers. Having obtained a bachelor’s degree in criminology, Ismehen pursued graduate studies in victimology. She focused on the perceptions and emotions of non-indigenous people surrounding the process of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples in Canada. Her doctoral studies now allow her to explore the recognition of victimization in the same non-native population. She is also a teaching assistant for the International Justice and Victims’ Rights Summer School in collaboration with the Canadian Partnership for International Justice. Her interests in criminology and human rights also allowed her to get involved with the NGO Amnesty International – UdeM, which she was president in the past years. Ismehen is also assistant to the Special Adviser on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) for the Rector of Université de Montréal.

Carmen Montero Ferrer (@CarmentxuAyerbe)

Carmen Montero Ferrer holds a Ph.D. in law from University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain). Her thesis, entitled “International crimes of sexual violence and impunity: an examination of the transitional justice mechanisms and their application in Africa,” was defended in 2017. She currently benefits from a research fellowship awarded by the Programme of Posdoctoral Training of Xunta de Galicia, which allows her to pursue her research at the Canada’s Research Chair on International Criminal Justice and Human Rights, at Université Laval (Canada). Her research now focuses on civil society contributions to accountability for international crimes.

Lily Wang (@alilbusy)

Lily is currently a third year J.D. student at University of Ottawa. Her interest in international law stem from her undergraduate studies of International Development and Globalization and her multi-lingual work experiences abroad in Shanghai, Jerusalem, and The Hague. She is a research assistant at the University of Ottawa Human Rights Research and Education Centre(HRREC) and has also spent the 2019 summer working on the Al-Hassan defence team at the International Criminal Court. Currently, she works in the Legal department at the Canadian Red Cross and has previously worked in their Global Relations and Humanitarian Diplomacy unit. Lily’s law studies have focused largely on public international law and alternative dispute resolution methods. She hopes to bridge these two interests into a future career in international peace mediation and peacekeeping.

Coordination

Érick Sullivan(@2_ErickSullivan)

Érick Sullivan is a lawyer and the Deputy Director of the International Criminal and Humanitarian Law Clinic (Clinic). He is also the Coordinator of the Canadian Partnership for International Justice, the co-editor of the blog Quid Justitiae and a member of the Canadian Council on International Law’s Board of Directors. Holder of a Bachelor of Law (2009), he was recruited in 2010 by the Clinic as an assistant and was later appointed Deputy Director in 2012. As such, he was involved in more than 50 projects in many areas of law carried out by international organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), States and lawyers. He notably co-directed a mapping of human rights violations completed by Avocats sans frontières Canada in support of the Malian Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Since 2010, he has supervised the researches of more than 400 students and has reviewed hundreds of papers. He also contributed in different ways to numerous scientific events, such as the workshop on collaboration between national prosecuting authorities and NGOs in the prosecution of international crimes, which he co-organized in March 2018 in Ottawa.

Catherine Savard (@c_savard1)

Catherine Savard pursues her LL.M. at Université Laval under the supervision of Professor Fannie Lafontaine. Assistant coordinator of the Canadian Partnership for International Justice since 2017, she is also member of the Canada Research Chair on International Criminal Justice and Human Rights and regularly collaborates with the International Criminal and Humanitarian Law Clinic. She has previously studied at Åbo Akademi University’s Institute for Human Rights, and represented Université Laval at the Jean-Pictet international humanitarian law competition in 2018. Furthermore, she contributed to the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girlslegal analysis on genocide, made public in June 2019. Her research focuses on genocide, colonialism and treaty interpretation in international law.

18th Assembly of State Parties to the International Criminal Court: Call for applications

By | News, Student News, Upcoming Events

Each year between 2016 and 2021, the Canadian Partnership for International Justice (CPIJ) sets up and funds a delegation of Canadian students, headed by academics and practitioners from various academic institutions and NGOs, to attend the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) to the International Criminal Court (ICC). This major event takes place in The Hague or in New York at the end of each year.

Through this activity, CPIJ trains a cohort of students who are educated, engaged and networked in international and transnational law. The Partnership also aims at 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. Through its action, CPIJ also enhances Canada’s role as a global leader in the fight against impunity.

The 18th ICC ASP will take place from 2 to 7 December 2019. The training of the delegation for this ASP will be spread out throughout the year until the event. The recruited students may have to:

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

Applications for the 18th ASP are accepted until April 15, 2019.

 

Conditions

  • Availability between now and the ASP in December to prepare the mission;
  • 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 the ASP.

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 shortly after the ASP.

 

Evaluation criteria

  • Cycle of studies: priority is given to master or higher degree;
  • Link between the applicant and a team member or organization involved in the Partnership;
  • Link between the ASP/ICC and the field of study, the professional goals and the other academic/scientific activities of the applicant;
  • 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 Partnership.

 

How to apply

Your application must include your resume, transcripts, passport copy 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.

Please upload your application and fill in the application form below before April 15, 2019.

 

For further information, write to:

Érick Sullivan

Coordinator of the Canadian Partnership for International Justice

internationaljustice.sshrc@gmail.com

Lawyers Without Borders Canada Organizes an Event on the Fight against Impunity in Mali

By | Communiqués de presse, News, Press Releases

CPIJ Co-Researcher Janine Lespérance and Abdoulaye Doucouré. (Photo by Catherine Savard)

5 December 2018 – On this first day of the 17th Assembly of State Parties (ASP) to the International Criminal Court (ICC), which takes place from 5 to 12 December 2018, in The Hague (Netherlands), CPIJ partner organization Lawyers Without Borders Canada (LWBC) organized a side-event on the fight against impunity in Mali, titled “Réconciliation et lutte contre l’impunité au Mali : un faux dilemme” (“Reconciliation and Fight against Impunity in Mali: A false dilemma”).

At the occasion of this event sponsored by Canada, who was represented by the Head of Canada’s Delegation at the ASP, Mr. Alan Kessel, CPIJ Co-Researcher Janine Lespérance moderated a panel composed of Mr. Abdoulaye Doucouré, LWBC Transitional Justice Coordinator in Mali, and Ms. Bouaré Bintou Founé Samaké, President of the Malian division of the organization Women in Law and Development in Africa.

The event discussed the possibility for victims of international crimes perpetrated in Mali since the start of the armed conflict in 2012 to have access justice, thus deepening the reflection initiated at the occasion of a side-event organized during the 17th ASP in 2017.

Alan Kessel presented introductive remarks. (Photo by Catherine Savard)

After introductive remarks were presented by Mr. Kessel, discussions critically explored the draft law on “national understanding”, which was recently transmitted to the Malian National Assembly to be discussed on 13 December 2018. LWBC declared itself highly concerned by the possible adoption of this bill, which would open the door for an amnesty to be granted to authors of serious crimes perpetrated during the armed conflict which raged in this country.

The permanent insecurity that prevails in many northern communities and that has recently spread in the center of Mali was identified as a major hindrance for victims to have access to justice. It was further highlighted that sexual and gender-based violence are rampant and rarely ever denounced.

(Photo by Érick Sullivan)

Since 2015, LWBC has been active in Mali in the context of the project “Justice, prévention et réconciliation” (“Justice, Prevention and Reconciliation” or JUPREC). This project is made possible thanks to Global Affairs Canada’s financial support, and is implemented by LWBC in consortium with the Centre d’étude et de coopération internationale and the École nationale d’administration publique.

The Canadian Partnership for International Justice is attending the 17th Assembly of State Parties to the International Criminal Court

By | News, Press Releases, Student News

3 December 2018 – For the third year in a row, the Canadian Partnership for International Justice (CPIJ) is represented at the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) to the International Criminal Court (ICC) by a delegation of practitioners, academics and students from various NGOs and academic institutions.

Each year, the ASP is one of the most important events in the field of international justice. Representatives of states that have ratified or acceded to the Rome Statute gather to take crucial decisions on issues the Court is currently facing. Many ICC senior officials are also attending, and many side-events are organized by civil society organizations to stimulate the discussions and strive to find solutions to outstanding issues that hamper the project envisioned in the Rome Statute.

The 17th ASP, held from 5 to 12 December 2018 at the World Forum in The Hague (The Netherlands), will allow students to deepen their knowledge of the most important issues pertaining to international justice while living a real experience of judicial diplomacy. This event is an amazing opportunity for CPIJ to train a cohort of students who are educated, engaged and networked in international and transnational law. Through blogging and live twitting, our delegates will train and educate diverse Canadian audiences about the challenges, pitfalls and potential of the system of international justice, and about the priorities to improve the system. Thanks to their experience and knowledge, the delegation will contribute to enhancing Canada’s role as a global leader in the fight against impunity.

Follow CPIJ’s Twitter and Facebook accounts and watch for the delegates’ posts on CPIJ partners’ platforms (IntLawGrrls, Quid Justitiae, Justice in Conflict, Blogue d’Avocats sans frontières CanadaPKI Global Justice Journal) to learn more about this year’s specific issues and to get news and updates.

 

Who is attending the ASP this year?

Academics

Practitioners

Students

Gabriel Boisvert

Gabriel Boisvert is a Canadian lawyer who practised criminal defense before trial and appeal courts in Quebec between 2014 and 2017. Having a strong interest in international criminal law, he chose to resume his studies at Université Laval to pursue a master’s degree in international and transnational law (LL.M) under Professor Fannie Lafontaine. Gabriel participated to the works of the International Criminal and Humanitarian Law Clinic of Université Laval and joined the Canada Research Chair on International Criminal Justice and Human Rights as co-coordinator. Also involved as a board member of the NGO SHOUT Canada, Gabriel contributes to the organization of the Reflections on Rwanda (RoR) program, which is an educational program in Rwanda to learn about the impact of genocide and the processes of restorative justice and reconciliation. Gabriel’s main research interest is international criminal jurisdictions and their cooperation with states and international organizations.

Moussa Bienvenu Haba

Moussa Bienvenu Haba is a doctoral student at Université Laval. His thesis focuses on the role of hybrid tribunals in the peacebuilding process in transitional countries. Mr. Haba holds a master’s degree in Private Law (Conakry University) and a master’s degree in International Law (Université Laval).

During his studies at Université Laval, Mr. Haba participated in many projects within the International Criminal and Humanitarian Law Clinic and the Canada Research Chair on International Criminal Law and Human Rights. He was a research and teaching assistant in international criminal law and refugee law. He is currently lecturer in international criminal procedure and evidence.

Melisa N. Handl (@HandlMelisa)

Melisa Handl is an Argentine lawyer and a Ph.D. student in the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa (Canada). Her research interests include international law, gender, development, qualitative research, and international human rights. Melisa holds a Master of Arts in International Affairs with specialization in “International Institutions and Global Governance” from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs (Canada). Melisa also holds a Master of Laws from the University of Ottawa with a specialization in Human Rights and Social Justice. She is currently investigating whether conditional cash transfers are contributing to greater gender equality in the context of Argentina, and intends to connect a top-down approach to international human rights with the experiences of actual beneficiary women on the ground. She is part of a Canada-Mexico project which involves training Mexican judges on issues related to international human rights and is in charge of the “Violence Against Women and Gender” workshop. She is working with Professor and CPIJ Co-Researcher Penelope Simons on corporate accountability, gender, and the extractive industry and specifically, writing about gendering the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights from a socio-legal feminist methodology.

Sarah Nimigan

Sarah Nimigan is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of Western Ontario with specialization in Transitional Justice and Post-Conflict Reconstruction. Her dissertation addresses the problems facing the International Criminal Court through the African experience. More specifically, her research traces the active role taken by various African delegations in negotiating the Rome Statute from 1993-1998 to better explain and situate the criticisms levied against the ICC today. She holds an LL.M. in International Human Rights Law from the University of Exeter (United Kingdom) and a Master of Arts in Political Science with specialization in Migration and Ethnic Relations. Both her LL.M. and M.A. degrees focused on sexual and gender-based crimes within the contexts of international criminal law and transitional justice.

Marie Prigent (@MariePrigent)

Marie Prigent holds a master’s degree of International and Comparative Law from Toulouse 1 Capitole University in France. She studied international law abroad, at the Complutense University of Madrid and Université Laval in Quebec. She then joined Université Laval’s International Criminal and Humanitarian Law Clinic in January 2018 and continues her work as a research intern. Her researches focused on transitional justice, amnesty laws, victims’ participation and rights of human rights defenders. Her fields of interest include criminal, humanitarian and human rights law. She will prepare Quebec bar exam from January 2019.

 

Marilynn Rubayika (@Rubayikam)

Marilynn Rubayika earned a Juris Doctor and a Licence in Civil Law from the University of Ottawa in 2017. She is the 2018-2019 Public Interest Articling Fellow at the Canadian Centre for International Justice. Her main interests are the victims’ participation regime at the International Criminal Court and questions related to sexual and gender-based violence. She has, in her most recent experiences, worked directly with victims of international crimes.

Previously, Marilynn completed legal internships at the International Humanitarian Law department of the Canadian Red Cross and at the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Section of the Canadian Department of Justice. She also volunteered for the Philippe Kirsch Institute and completed a volunteer legal advisor mandate with Lawyers Without Borders Canada in Ivory Coast.

Marie-Laure Tapp (@MarieLaure_Tapp)

Marie-Laure Tapp is a lawyer and LL.M. Candidate (International and Transnational Law) at Université Laval. She holds a B.A. in Political Science and International Development from McGill University and degrees in Civil Law and Common Law, also from McGill University. She completed her articles at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Geneva and subsequently worked as a volunteer legal advisor in Mali with Lawyers Without Borders Canada and in Nepal with the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance. She was involved with Université Laval’s International Criminal and Humanitarian Law Clinic and works as a translator and team supervisor for the translation of the Updated Commentary on the Second Geneva Convention, a partnership between Université Laval and the ICRC Delegation in Paris. Her main areas of interest (which are numerous) are the respect and dissemination of international humanitarian law and, on the international criminal law front, the principle of complementarity and universal jurisdiction. She is also very much interested in human rights investigation and advocacy. She has also been involved in several human rights education and access to justice initiatives over the past 10 years.

Ariel Wheway

Ariel is a 4th  year student in the joint Juris Doctor and Masters of Arts in International Affairs program at the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law and the Norman Patterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University. Her studies have focused on international human rights law and international criminal law. She is currently a member of the ICC moot team at the University of Ottawa and is conducting research for the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing.

 

Coordination

Érick Sullivan (@2_ErickSullivan)

Érick Sullivan is a lawyer, the Deputy Director of the International Criminal and Humanitarian Law Clinic(Clinic), Coordinator of the Canadian Partnership for International Justice, co-editor of the blog Quid Justitiaeand member of the Canadian Council on International Law’s Board of Directors. Holder of a Bachelor of Law (2009), he was recruited in 2010 by the Clinic as an assistant and was later appointed Deputy Director in 2012. As such, he was involved in more than 50 projects in many areas of law and carried out by international organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), States and lawyers. He notably co-directed a mapping of human rights violations completed by Avocats sans frontières Canadain support of the Malian Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Since 2010, he has supervised the researches of more than 300 students and has reviewed hundreds of papers. He also contributed in different ways to numerous scientific events, such as the workshop on collaboration between national prosecuting authorities and NGOsin the prosecution of international crimes, which he co-organized in March 2018 in Ottawa.

Catherine Savard (@c_savard1)

Catherine Savard is Assistant Coordinator of the Canadian Partnership for International Justiceand member of the Canada Research Chair on International Criminal Justice and Human Rights. She currently pursues a master’s degree in international law at Université Laval under the supervision of Prof. Fannie Lafontaine. Her research interests are international criminal, humanitarian and human rights law. She recently represented her university at the Jean-Pictet international humanitarian law competitionand will represent it again in 2019 the context of the Charles-Rousseau public international law competition. She has also been very involved with the Université Laval’s International Criminal and Humanitarian Law Clinic, for which she has completed nearly 10 research mandates. Her research focus on modes of liability in international criminal law, sexual and gender-based violence and cultural genocide of indigenous peoples in Canada.

Neighbors Refer Venezuela to Criminal Court in ‘Historic’ Rebuke

By | CPIJ in the Media, News | No Comments

By Ernesto Londoño and Marlise Simons | The New York Times

President Nicolás Maduro, center, in Caracas this week. The crisis in Venezuela “demands collective action,” the president of Peru said. (Photo Miraflores Press Office)

 

Five Latin American countries and Canada on Wednesday urged the International Criminal Court to consider prosecuting senior officials in Venezuela for extensive human rights abuses, the first time that member nations have referred another member to the tribunal.

In a region where leaders tend to avoid criticizing one another publicly, the step by Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay and Peru represented an extraordinary rebuke of President Nicolás Maduro.

Governments in the region have become increasingly alarmed about the economic and political crisis in Venezuela. Acute shortages of food and medicine have prompted millions to migrate, largely to neighboring countries.

The referral gives The Hague-based tribunal a renewed sense of urgency to investigate abuses in Venezuela.

“The leaders of these six countries have taken a historic step today, unprecedented in the history of the Americas, creating a crucial milestone in the interests of justice, accountability, non-repetition and reparation to the victims of the Venezuelan dictatorship,” said Luis Almagro, the secretary general of the Organization of American States, in a statement.

Here are some facts about the referral to the international court and what it could mean for Venezuela:

Why did the other countries refer Venezuela?

Venezuelan migrants walking to Colombia this month. (Photo by Federico Rios Escobar for The New York Times)

They’re overwhelmed by the unrelenting exodus of Venezuelans, which has accelerated amid soaring inflation. The United Nations estimates that 1.6 million Venezuelans have left since 2015 and that as many as 1.8 million could migrate this year.

In recent years Venezuela’s neighbors have had an open-door policy, but it has come at a political cost as communities feel increasingly besieged by migrants, many of whom arrive with no savings and with serious health problems.

“The magnitude of this exodus is unprecedented in our region,” President Martín Vizcarra of Peru told the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, noting that his country has taken in some 450,000 Venezuelans. “It demands collective action by the international community.”

How unusual is this step?

“The magnitude of this exodus is unprecedented in our region,” President Martín Vizcarra of Peru told the United Nations General Assembly. (Photo by Richard Drew/Associated Press)

Highly. The court has never opened a case brought by one government against another, and governments in Latin America for decades have adhered to an unspoken rule: Stay out of the messy internal affairs of neighbors. But several have begun to see Venezuela’s economic unraveling as a growing regional threat. The tide of migrants has led to spikes in crime and strained the health and education systems of other countries.

“This is a significant, historic event,” said Fernando Cutz, a former senior White House official who worked on Latin America policy in the Obama and Trump administrations. “Ten years ago, it would have been impossible to think of the region turning on one of its own.”

What’s the gist of the referral?

Protesters during clashes with the Venezuelan police last year. (Photo Meridith Kohut for The New York Times)

In a letter signed by the six heads of state this week in New York, on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly, the countries asked the international court’s top prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, to investigate human rights abuses committed by the Venezuelan government since February 2014. During that month, the government used harsh tactics to clamp down on mass protests.

The letter notes that human rights experts have documented abuses that include arbitrary detentions, extrajudicial killings, torture and sexual crimes.

Isn’t the International Criminal Court already investigating Venezuela?

“Hunger!” and “Dictatorship” are scrawled on a security door in Caracas. (Photo by Meridith Kohut for The New York Times)

Yes. Ms. Bensouda announced in February that her office had launched a “preliminary examination” into allegations of large-scale human rights abuses in Venezuela. That step can lead to a formal investigation and criminal charges.

The court said it is investigating allegations that security personnel have used excessive force against demonstrators, detained members of the political opposition and subjected prisoners to “serious abuse.”

The court was established in 2002 as a tribunal of last resort for war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity. Since its inception, it has indicted only Africans and has won only a handful of convictions.

How long will an investigation take?

Venezuela issued new currency in response to runaway inflation. People waited in long lines last month in Caracas to get the bills. (Photo Meridith Kohut for The New York Times)

It’s unclear. Court investigations have tended to last for years, and experts said it would be highly unlikely for charges to be filed any time soon.

“Time frames at the I.C.C. are measured in years, not months,” said Todd Buchwald, a former senior State Department official who oversaw global criminal justice matters from 2015 to 2017.

But the sense of urgency conveyed by neighboring countries may prompt the court to make the case a priority.

People visiting a so-called red spot in Caracas, where voters presented a special identity card to receive boxes of food. (Photo Meridith Kohut for The New York Times)

“It does telegraph to the prosecutor these states are keen to provide access to people who have fled” and may have relevant information, said Joanna Harrington, a law professor at the University of Alberta who specializes in international criminal law.

Several of Venezuela’s neighbors have sought to isolate Mr. Maduro’s government as he has become increasingly authoritarian in recent years.

They also have tried to create rifts within Venezuela’s ruling party.

The threat of being prosecuted in The Hague “will most likely galvanize those in the inner circle to pull together,” said Mr. Cutz, the former White House official. But it could prompt others on the periphery of power to turn on the government, he added

President Trump described the crisis in Venezuela as a “human tragedy,” but he also challenged the authority of the International Criminal Court. (Photo Chang W. Lee/The New York Times)

Washington has long called on Latin American leaders to take a harder line against Venezuela. But Wednesday’s referral to the court is not a move the Trump administration can endorse.

During his speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, President Trump described the crisis in Venezuela as a “human tragedy.” But in the same address he also lashed out at the International Criminal Court, saying that “as far as America is concerned,” the court has “no legitimacy and no authority.”

This echoes comments made this month by John R. Bolton, the national security adviser, who called the court “ineffective, unaccountable, and indeed, outright dangerous.” Mr. Bolton’s criticism was in response to a preliminary review of allegations of abuses in Afghanistan, which may include acts committed by American military or intelligence personnel.

The State Department would not specify whether the United States supports efforts to hold Venezuelan officials accountable at The Hague.

“We encourage thorough and transparent investigations into all credible reports of abuses,” the State Department said in a statement. “The crisis in Venezuela will only be resolved through the restoration of democratic governance, realistic economic policies, the rule of law, and respect for fundamental human rights and freedoms.”

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/26/world/americas/venezuela-international-criminal-court.html