The ICC should resist its “Boy Scout Mentality” in relation to Vatican “Crimes against Humanity” for child abuse

By Dov Jacobs

Cross-posted on Spreading the Jam 


Earlier this week, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) submitted, on behalf of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, a communication  to the International Criminal Court requesting that an investigation be opened for Crimes against Humanity committed by high-level Vatican officials.

In a nutshell, the submission argues that there is evidence of widespread and systematic abuse (both rape and torture) of a civilian population by priests in a number of countries and that the Vatican, and more specifically Joseph Ratzinger, both in his former capacity as Prefect of the Congreation of the Doctrine of the Faith, and current capacity as Pope Benedict XVI, should be held liable for covering this up, even to the point of promoting it (this last point is a little ambiguous and I’ll return to it later).


This idea has been floating around for a while now. Geoffrey Robertson published a book last year arguing for such an approach. I remain skeptical however and think that there are a number of difficulties with the submission.


As a preliminary remark, one should remember that the Prosecutor is under no obligation to proceed from here, neither to open a preliminary examination, nor, of course, to open a formal investigation. The submission by the CCR does not "trigger" the jurisdiction of the ICC, as would a referral by a State Party of the Security Council, and the OTP is not even under an obligation to respond to the submission (although it claims that, for reasons of transparency, it generally will "aim" to respond to communications).


I would like to comment on three aspects: jurisdiction, the scope of the situation, and finally on whether the crime is actually constituted.



  • Jurisdiction

First of all, it should be pointed out that the Prosecutor, should it proceed with an investigation, would only be able to look into crimes that were committed after the entry into force of the Statute in July 2002. Moreover, he will only be able to look at alleged crimes that took place, either on the territory of a State Party or by a national of a State Party. In this sense, it explains why the Communication includes the United States and one alleged american perpetrator, to the extent that the crimes in the US could have been committed by nationals of State Parties and that the American Citizen might have committed crimes on the territory of State Parties.



  • The scope of the situation


Second of all, the submission raises the question of the scope of the "situation" that would be the object of an investigation. Traditionally, situations have been expected to be limited in some way, especially from a territorial perspective. Up to now, this has been the case for all the situations looked into by the Court. The CCR submission, if it was followed would therefore be a first in the history of the Court, by defining a situation through a unity of crimes and alleged perpetrators exclusively, rather than through a territorial criteria. It should be pointed out that this is an implicit consequence of the reasoning of the CCR, because they don’t actually explicitely deal with this issue. Three brief comments on this.

1) One should remember that the ICC Statute does not define what a situation is. Therefore, as I’ve discussed before in relation to the Libya Referral, any challenges to the scope of a situation faces this difficulty of having no statutory guidelines on which to base such a challenge. The case-law has suggested some limitations to the scope of a situation, but these are vague enough for anybody to argue that they could be extended to cover the events in the current submission.

2) It remains that there might be a difficulty with the submission when one considers not so much the concept of "situation" in general, but consider it in relation to the other ICC distinction, namely a "case". Indeed, I might not be able to define a situation, but what the CCR is describing in its communication certainly appears to me to be a "case": they identify a crime, the perpetrators and the mode of liabity. In this sense, the OTP, even should it accept a broader approach to a "situation", would be in violation of the Statute and the rights of the defense should it define the situation in the terms used by the CCR.

3) Which leaves the question open of how this situation would be phrased. One option would be to open a distinct investigation into each of the countries named by the CCR, but in practice, it would still require that it be shown that the crime is constituted based on a transnational policy.



  • Is the alleged crime of "Crimes against Humanity" actually constituted? (and another rant on the confusion between HR and ICL…)



Which brings me to my third point : there is the major issue of whether Crimes against Humanity are indeed constituted. There is no doubt that the abuse in the catholic church has been widespread and systematic. Where the communication fails to convince, is on the organizational element required by the Elements of the Crimes in the following way:

"Attack directed against a civilian population"[…] is understood to mean a course of conduct […] pursuant to or in furtherance of a State or organizational policy to commit such attack. […] It is understood that “policy to commit such attack” requires that the State or organization actively promote or encourage such an attack against a civilian population.


A footnote to this paragraph specifies that:


A policy which has a civilian population as the object of the attack would be implemented by State or organizational action. Such a policy may, in exceptional circumstances, be implemented by a deliberate failure to take action, which is consciously aimed at encouraging such attack. The existence of such a policy cannot be inferred solely from the absence of governmental or organizational action


How does this apply to the current situation? For one, no one seems to be arguing that the Vatican set up an actual policy to perpetrate widespread and systematic abuse against persons in the care of priests. It is their "deliberate failure to take action" which is put forward. However, even if the conduct of Church authorities is subject to criticism, I think it falls short of showing that it was "consciously aimed at encouraging such attack". In this sense, when the communication says that the Vatican has been dealing with such situations in ways that ensured such violence would continue", I think it still does not establish intent, even by omission.


In relation to this, the reasoning of the CCR is even more confusing as regards the modes of liability put forward. Indeed, the CCR is clearly confusing the constitutive elements of the crime and the modes of liability. Let me explain. The CCR considers three possible modes of liability: superior responsibility (Article 28), contribution (25(3)(d)) and aiding and abetting (25(3)(c)). All these modes of liability have in common to be "subsidiary" to the main crime, which still has to be constituted. But the CCR does not do that. It would have to show that independently of the Vatican, its officials are claimed to "only" be the accomplice, the priests that committed the abuse acted under a plan or policy that they had set up, which, again, is not argued here. Indeed, without an established Vatican policy there is nothing that links the individual cases of abuse in a sufficiently organisational way to constitute a crime against humanity.


The consequence of this is that the Vatican officials are either responsible for "direct" commission under 25(3)(a), or not responsible at all. But they cannot be held complicit for a crime that is not constituted independently  of them. Which leaves us with one, arguably progressive, but at least coherent way of putting the case forward. It is the systematic cover up of this widespread abuse that constitutes the crime against humanity, not the abuse itself. This would mirror the development under human rights law of positive obligations, whereby if the State does not prevent the violation of a right under the ECHR, for example, by a third party, it is held responsible for the violation of that right. This reasoning would at least solve the issue of the modes of liability and the constitution of the crime.


However, and regular readers of this blog won’t be surprised, I am not in favour of such an approach. This communication illustrates once again the slow (and apparently inevitable) blurring of the line between human rights and international criminal law. For me, widespread and systematic human rights violations do not necessarily constitute crimes under international law. These are related, but conceptually distinct domains that should remain distinct. In relation to this, it is unsurprising that the Communication relies heavily on the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber decision that authorized the opening of the investigation in the Kenya situation. I criticised it at the time, agreeing with the dissenting opinion of Judge Kaul, for broadening too much the scope of Crimes against Humanity. I expressed similar doubts in relation to the reference to Crimes against Humanity in the Libyan Arrest warrants. In a way, you can’t blame the CCR for its communication. It’s a direct consequence of all-encompassing conceptually blurred approach to crimes against humanity by the ICC judges themselves that is to blame. The conduct of the Church in past decades is certainly appalling, requires the utmost attention and should be dealt with accordingly, but, but I remain convinced that the ICC is not the right forum.


Hopefully, the Prosecutor and judges will not fall victim once again to the "boy scout mentality", which leads them to systematically want to save the world with two twigs and a piece of rope, even if someone else might have a far better set of tools…


UPDATE: Of course, another angle to approach this is from a PR perspective. It is clearly the ambition of the CCR to get media attention over the issue. This plays into the general trend of trying to get the ICC involved in every situation, to get some news coverage. Indeed, no situation seems to escape this trend (Palestine, Syria, Tunisia…). As discussed above, I disagree with this conceptually, but I have to admit that it is certainly effective. Thanks Joe for pointing this out.

The Astonishing Defense of Ben Laden’s Death by the Security Council

By Dov Jacobs

Cross-posted on Spreading the Jam

I won’t retrace and repeat the numerous online discussions on the general question of the legality of Bin Laden’s killing. You can find some thoughts on various blogs, such as EJIL Talk!, over at Lawfare,  Opinio Juris and Justice in Conflict.


One issue which has not been put forward in what I’ve read is whether UN Security Council Resolutions could be a basis for the legality of the killing. Indeed, discussing the issue with a colleague this afternoon, we wondered whether some UNSC Res, adopted under Chapter VII could be used to justify the killing. It might seem a little far fetched, because, although Res. 1368 implicitly approved the use of force as part of the right to self-defense after the 9/11 attacks, all Resolutions I’ve seen in relation to Bin Laden or Al Qaeda take measures to freeze assets and call for combating terrorism, but don’t explicitly allow the killing of an individual. But it is true that these Resolutions do clearly recognize the organisation and its leader as threats to peace and security and could be loosely interpreted as allowing to take these measures to stop this threat. But all in all, I didn’t believe that this argument was really valid and that the SC had ever had the intention to authorize such actions…


…And then tonight, I saw this astonishing statement from the President of the Security Council, made on behalf of the Council. Here are some notable excerpts from the statement:


“In this regard, the Security Council welcomes the news on 1 May 2011 that Osama bin Laden will never again be able to perpetrate such acts of terrorism, and reaffirms that terrorism cannot and should not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilization or group.

“The Security Council further reaffirms its call on all States to work together urgently to bring to justice the perpetrators, organizers and sponsors of terrorist attacks and its determination that those responsible for aiding, supporting or harbouring the perpetrators, organizers and sponsors of these acts will be held accountable."

“The Security Council reaffirms that Member States must ensure that any measures taken to combat terrorism comply with all their obligations under international law, in particular international human rights, refugee and humanitarian law."


So, reading these paragraphs together in plain English, and if I’m not mistaken, 1) the Security Council approves the death of Bin Laden 2) considers that his death fits the definition of "bringing someone to justice" and "holding him accountable" and 3) considers that his death complies with international law.


Let’s put aside the questionable fact that the SC would explicitly approve the death of an individual, even Ben Laden, and the question of the conformity with International Law, which is nonetheless interesting coming from the main executive organ of the United Nations. What strikes me is proposal number 2. How can a body, which has repeatedly called for the promotion of international criminal justice, and the values of the rule of law and due process that underly it, seriously make such a statement? If that is the definition of accountability, surely we can free some office space in The Hague and just close down the ICC, the ICTY, the Special Court for Sierra Leone and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. All we need is a naked wall, a blindfold and a firing squad. While we’re at it, we might as well abolish our national criminal law systems. To be clear, I’m not saying that Ben Laden should not have been killed. I’m well aware of the realities of politics. I’m just denouncing the hypocrisy of defending values and then approving actions that run counter to them in the same breath. If you believe in the rule of law and due process, then you cannot approve the killing of Ben Laden, however politically or logistically justified it may be. 

Foundations of Shared Responsibility in International Law – Deadline Approaching

By Dov Jacobs 
The research project on Shared Responsibility in International Law (SHARES) seeks to 
rethink the allocation of international responsibilities in cases where multiple actors, 
through concerted action, joint enterprise or other forms of interaction contribute to 
an international wrong. It seeks to uncover the extent and nature of the problem of 
scattering international responsibilities and will provide a fresh perspective on how 
international cooperation, and, more generally, the ever increasing interdependence in 
the international legal order, can be better matched with a proper system of shared 
This is far from just a theoretical consideration. Questions of shared responsibility have 
been raised, directly and indirectly, in an increasing number of cases, before a variety 
of international fora. The European Court of Human Rights has dealt with such 
questions repeatedly. In 2004, it had to deal with the issue of how de facto control by 
one State and de jure control by another over a territory affected the distribution of 
responsibility between Russia and Moldova over the autonomous region of Transnistria 
(Ilascu).  In  2007,  it  had  to  rule  on  the  distribution  of  responsibility  between 
international organizations and its member states in relation to the actions of the UN 
and NATO in Kosovo (Bherami and Saramati). In 2011, it had to consider the 
responsibility of two States (Belgium and Greece) in relation to the treatment of 
refugees (MSS). The International Court of Justice has also dealt with such issues in the 
past (East Timor Case (1991), Corfu Channel Case (1947)), and so have various ad hoc
institutions, such as the Arbitral Tribunal that issued an award in 2007 in relation to the 
Eurotunnel dispute, where questions of joint responsibility between France and the UK 
The Conference on Foundations of Shared Responsibility in International Law,
organized at an early stage in the SHARES project, will explore fundamental and 
conceptual issues that explain the state of law, allow for identification of gaps and 
provide insights on possibilities and limitations for further development of the law 
pertaining to shared responsibility.
These questions are of theoretical and practical relevance in themselves, and will 
inform future developments of the SHARES project as a whole. The Conference also will 
be a first take on the findings of the SHARES project so far, and will allow for a 
confrontation with other competing and/or complementary approaches. 
This call for papers invites the submission of proposals for panels that will be 
articulated around these four themes. The proposal should contain an abstract (max. 
300 words), as well as name, affiliation, contact details and a brief CV. The deadline 
for submission of the proposal is 15 May 2011. Accepted authors will be expected to 
submit a draft of their presentation by the 1 st of October 2011.
Proposals should be sent to Isabelle Swerissen ( Any enquiry about 
the conference can be directed to Dov Jacobs ( For more 
information on the SHARES project please visit:

Launch of new Website on Shared Responsibility in International Law

By Dov Jacobs 


Since September, I have been involved in a new project at the University of Amsterdam which addresses issues of Shared Responsibility in International Law. The project has just launched its new website. Here is the annoucement:

The Research Project on Shared Responsibility in International Law (SHARES) is pleased to announce the official launch of the SHARES website: The website includes a detailed description of the SHARES project and its project members. The website also features news, events, publications, blog posts and resources on shared responsibility in international law.

 The ambition of the SHARES project is to examine an unexplored and largely unrecognized problem: the allocation of international responsibilities among multiple states and other actors. It seeks to uncover the nature and extent of the problem of sharing responsibility in an increasingly interdependent and heterogeneous international legal order. SHARES will therefore offer new concepts, principles and perspectives for understanding how the international legal order may deal with shared responsibilities. The project will address general issues of Responsibility in International law, of States, as well as other entities, such as International Organizations, individuals and other non-State actors, which will impact various fields of law, such as refugee law, environemental law, human rights law or the laws of armed conflict. 


The SHARES project is a research project of the Amsterdam Center for International Law, led by Professor André Nollkaemper, and funded by the European Research Council.

Judge Garzon goes to the ECHR…

By Dov Jacobs 

Cross posted from Spreading the Jam 


… as a plaintiff, not as a judge. According to this press release from Interights, Balthazar Garzon has filed a complaint before the European Court of Human Rights challenging his prosecution in Spain for having opened an investigation in 2006 into events having taken place during the Franco era, despite the existence of an amnesty law.


Readers of my blog (herehere and here) will know that I did not join Garzon’s fan club when these events unfolded last spring. I was puzzled at how little consideration was given to the Spanish legal system, and ultimately, I believe that Garzon has ambitions that far exceed the constraints of his function in Spain and should consider a career in an international court, such as the ICC.


So what is the basis for this complaint. Here is a relevant portion from the press release:

Judge Garzón’s case represents a threat to the independence of judges and to their role in ensuring accountability for alleged widespread and systematic crimes. In his case Judge Garzón alleges that the criminal case against him in Spain violates several of that country’s obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights. These include the obligation to protect judicial independence generally, including protecting judges from unfounded criminal prosecutions as exemplified by this case. Specifically, the prosecution of Judge Garzón violates the duty not to subject individuals to an inherently unfair criminal process, to only prosecute on the basis of clear criminal law, strictly applied, to respect private life and professional development and the right of judges to reasoned judicial decisions in the exercise of judicial functions.

Just a few brief comments.


First of all, I’m not even sure the case is admissible. Indeed, "the Court may only deal with the

matter after all domestic remedies have been exhausted, according to the generally recognised rules of international law, and within a period of six months from the date on which the final decision was taken" (Article 35, EConvHR). His case has not started, and therefore Garzon has not exhausted all local remedies, especially given the fact that there is no certainty that he will indeed be found guilty. Of course, Garzon could claim undue delay in the prosecution itself, given that after a year, the trial has not started, but that is not what Interights seems to be arguing.


Second of all, there seems to be a confusion about what the ECHR does. Of course, its ultimate ambition and goal is to promote the rule of law, which does include an independent judiciary, but it is not an institutional supervision body, it does so through the violation of specific human rights of specific individuals. It is NOT an institutional rule of law supervision body. And more importantly, Human Rights Law was always primaril (although arguably that is changing) aimed at protecting individuals against the State, not the State against the State.

How does this apply to the present case? Well, the "obligation to protect judicial independence" is not specific enough to warrant a complaint. What is exactly the right being violated in the particular instance? The Press Release is ambiguous on that, but seems to be claiming the general interest of ensuring accountability for human rights violations. If that is the case, then I believe Garzon doesn’t have standing before the ECHR, as he is not directly affected in that respect. It would be for the victims of the crimes to claim that they have not received an effective remedy due to the amnesty law and the decision not to pursue the investigation, which, as far I can tell, they haven’t done (ironically, I did find a case where plaintiffs complained before the court that they had not benefited from the amnesty law, without raising an eyebrow among the judges…). In relation to this, I’m wondering if this complaint is not only unfounded legally on this point, but also disingenuous in its presentation. Indeed, according to Interight:

 The potential chilling effect on other judges when they come to determine legally or politically controversial cases is obvious, and a serious threat to judicial independence and the rule of law.

But that would only be true if the current prosecution was actually the cause for the interruption of the investigation. However, it was not! Indeed, it appears that in 2008, Garzon went to a confirming judge with his opinion about the amnesty law, who told him that he should discontinue the investigation, which he did. So the threat of prosecution is irrelevant to the fact that he followed orders in 2008. (Incidentally, that makes me agree with one point of the complaint: Garzon seems to have followed the rules. Whatever his opinion of the amnesty law and its applicability, he stopped the investigation when told to do so. That seems to be the normal functioning of a legal system, and I’m not quite sure why he should be prosecuted now)


Third of all, and as an aside, I find quite ironic the claim that a prosecution should be on the basis of "clear criminal law", when human rights activists are usually quite happy to have individuals prosecuted for international crimes that are sometimes ill-defined in elusive customary law, where defendants are expected to know that there is enough state practice (i.e, that he’s taken the time to read the criminal codes of a number of foreign countries) for a particular provision of an international convention has attained the status of custom (see Kononov at the ECHR for an example of that).


All in all, this complaint once again illustrates the style of Judge Garzon, who just cannot prevent himself from showing his grand ambitions in terms of human rights policy, irrespective of the specific legal setting he might be operating in. His current ECHR stint is at best premature, and at worst frivolous, whatever one thinks of the Spanish Amnesty law.

Special Tribunal for Lebanon to consider first indictments

By Dov Jacobs

(cross posted from Spreading the Jam

month later than had been originally expected in December, and according to an announcement on the website of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon:

The Registrar of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, Herman von Hebel, can confirm that the Prosecutor of the tribunal has submitted an indictment and supporting materials to the Pre-Trial Judge. The documents, which relate to the assassination of Rafiq Hariri and others, were handed to the Registry at 16:35PM (local time) on Monday 17th January 2011. They will now be reviewed by the Pre-Trial Judge, Daniel Fransen. The contents of the indictment remain confidential at this stage.

According to the BBC, and as as reported by Bill Schabas in December, Hezbollah leaders are expected to be named in them. We’ll have to wait for the pre-trial judge to issue arrest warrants and for them to be unsealed to get confirmation. 

Politically, this is an interesting development, given that the STL is at the center of a typical Peace vs. Justice debate, as mentioned by the International Jurist last week, the indictments being seen as divisive and threatening an already fragile political situation in the country. Even Hariri’s son has asked for the Tribunal to back off. Despite this, "The Prosecutor and his team will continue to vigorously pursue his mandate with respect to both continued investigative activity and the prosecution of this case." (statement here) and the UNSG reiterated his support for the tribunal last week.

Legally, I’ll have other opportunities to blog about this, but this tribunal has always seemed to me like an ill-thought enterprise from the start, with a poorly defined material jurisdiction (national crimes of terrorism, with only a reference to the national criminal code) and "factual" jurisdiction, for lack of a better word (the Hariri assassination and other crimes which are related to it, whatever that means). Also, what should be interesting, and what we should keep in mind is that the Tribunal is the first to allow trials in absentia, in the civil law tradition. So we don’t really need any arrests for trials to go forward. As I’ve had the opportunity of saying before, I am, on balance, in favor of such trials. Let’s have a live example to test the theory. Until I get a chance to share my own thoughts further on the tribunal, the STL has been kind enough to prepare a FAQ document on indictments for the general public.

More at a later stage when the Prosecutor issues a videotaped statement tomorrow.


Some thoughts on expert blogging: a Response to Jean D’Aspremont

By Dov Jacobs

(partially cross-posted from Spreading the Jam)


Happy new year to everyone! To start the year on a light note, I’d like to put forward some comments on Jean D’Aspremont’s thoughful discussion of legal blogging over at EJIL Talk. Given Invisible College’s status as an "expert’s blog", I think it is interesting that we contribute to the debate and I look forward to reactions from our co-bloggers.


Jean has a generally positive assesment of this practice, and I share most of his conclusions. I propose here some additional food for thought as a counter-point to Jean’s argumentation.


For one, I find it difficult to make comments on legal blogging in general. Some of them have a purely informative ambitions (publications, call for papers, recent decisions…). Others tend to be more analytical. A blog is just a medium of communication that can be used for several purposes, and is not per se hazardous or not. In the same way, there is good quality and bad quality blogging out there and it is for the reader to decide on this. Arguably, given the volume of legal blogging (and I agree with Jean that keeping track is an extremely time-consuming activity), it is harder to sift the good from the bad, but the idea remains the same.


Which leads me to a second point. the analysis should invite a mirror analysis of traditional legal scholarship. Not to sound facetious (and probably proving Jean’s point that blogging may lead to comments that "the author of the post may subsequently regret"…), but we’ve all come accross journal articles and books, even in established and reknowned publications and from esteemed publishers, which have "hasty treatment of the information" and disseminate "half-baked ideas". What we do daily, is exercise judgment, based on our previous experience of a Journal or a specific author, to decide whether to give credit to a particular piece.


The same is true of the blogosphere, which is a far more organised (or at least not any less so than the traditional legal scholarship world) than Jean seems to suggest. There is a handful of established legal blogs out there and I don’t think it is that much harder for a jurist in the field to identify them, than to know what traditional journals have a certain reputation or not.


On the interaction between legal blogging and traditional legal scholarship, I do not share Jean’s invitation to keep them entirely separate, both in terms of content, and career advancement. It all depends on what your evaluation standards are. Of course, I wouldn’t expect a scholar’s capacity for thorough research  to be assessed by his blog. In the same way, I wouldn’t judge a person’s capacity to write a book on a few paragraphs online.

However, legal blog writing is a skill and can show a certain capacity to express ideas succinctly and clearly, which can certainly be useful in a academic career, in terms of drafting short notes or abstracts, on which will often depend initial participation in a project or conference.

Moreover, in terms of content, I must admit that I do not share Xavier’s humility over at the International Jurist, who says he’s not trying to compete with some of the expert blogs. I don’t see why a good idea expressed in a blog should be less worthy of attention than a good idea developed in a lenghty article. Again, I’ve seen terrible ideas being developed over the course of entire books, and novel ideas be succinctly put forward in short blog posts.


In any case, I think that one shouldn’t oppose legal blogging and traditional scholarship. The former never had the ambition to replace the latter. They are just different means of communication, and they follow similar recognition patterns, in terms of repuation and expertise, as I point out previously. They also have different purposes which are actually complementary. Indeed, a cursory review of the list of contributors of some of the major blogs, such as EJIL Talk, or IntLawGrrls, shows that most of them are regularly published in traditional academic publications.


The bottom line is that what is important, is the author, not the medium. A poor jurist will produce poor scholarship, whatever the means. As regards a good jurist, his capacity to convey his ideas adequately through blogs will depend on the structure of his thought process. Some people need (and want) to cover every aspect of a topic before starting to communicate, others function better in perpetual debate to construct their ideas. Ultimately, as Jean points out, Blogs are a healthy platform for expert’s debate. At the end of the day, the quality of the debate will depend on what we, as active contributors, do with it. Any debate on this issue should therefore focus, as Jean does at the end of his contribution, at the shooter, not the gun.

Call for Papers: Genocide, Truth, Memory, Justice, and Recovery

By Dov Jacobs 


Truth,Memory, Justice, and Recovery



9th Biennial Conference of the

International Association of Genocide Scholars

July 19- 22, 2011


Center for Genocide Studies

Universidad Nactional de Tres Febrero

Buenos Aires, Argentina


Over the lasttwo decades, the field of genocides has rapidly proliferated. To date, however,the field has not fully addressed the aftermaths of genocide, including theways in which post-conflict societies negotiate issues of truth and memory andseek justice and recovery.

This focus isparticularly appropriate given the venue, Argentina, and the fact that thiswill be the first IAGS conference ever held in Latin America. During 1980s and1990s, the phrase “truth, memory, and justice” became key watchword ofresistance and resilience. Despite periodic attempts to focus one of theseissues alone (for example, seeking truth instead of justice), many people inLatin America have and continue to insist that only the three pillars togetherenable individual and social recovery from the collective terror. Truth,Memory, and Justice, then, are the preconditions for the fourth pillar,Recovery.

Accordingly,while welcoming papers on all aspects of genocide studies, we are particularlyinterested in papers and sessions devoted to the theme of our 9thBiennial conference, “Genocide: Truth, Memory, Justice, and Recovery.” Weinvite innovative panels and papers that consider the dynamics, causes, andconsequences of genocide, issues of memory and representation, the role ofjustice and truth in post-conflict societies, and the paths to individual andcollective recovery. Besides panels and paper, we invite other modes ofdialogue, including workshops, roundtable discussion, book presentations,cultural media, and artistic works/readings, including forums that relate topolicy initiatives, pedagogy, and education related to the history andprevention of genocide. Genocide studies covers a wide range of approaches andtheories. Scholars, practitioners, activists, graduate students, and teachersinterested in genocide studies from all disciplines are encouraged to apply.

Papers will beaccepted on a rolling basis. Further information about submissions,registration, and hotel fees will follow shortly at Otherquestions may be directed to the conference organizers, Daniel Feierstein andAlex Hinton, at:

Deadline: March 15, 2011

ICTY Appeals Chamber renders Decision on the Effect of Defendant’s Death on the Proceedings

By Dov Jacobs

Cross post from Spreading the Jam 


Over 9 weeks after the death of Rasim Delic during the appellate procedure at the ICTY, the Appeals Chamber has finally reached a decision on the termination of the proceedings. It’s an interesting case, because it is the first time that an appellate body of an international criminal tribunal has to deal with such a situation. In all other cases, the person had died before completion of trial proceedings. Both Delic’s lawyer and the prosecutor had filed motions in support of the continuation of the proceedings, based on the interests of justice and of the family’s right to know the truth.

Several legal issues of interest had to be considered, which I briefly laid down at the time of his death. Basically, 1) should the proceedings continue and 2) if they are terminated, what happens to the trial judgment. Continue reading