War crimes, universal jurisdiction and punishment

Summary: in the past, international criminals in the Arab world have rarely faced justice but a landmark trial in Germany signals the legal landscape is changing.

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3 thoughts on “War crimes, universal jurisdiction and punishment”

  1. The summary does talk of “international criminals in the Arab world”, yet the fulsome description of both the Dutch (and the German) systems of “Justice” for victims of war crimes omits a fairly major aspect of accountability for international crimes in the wider Middle East, and one that undermines the principle that our (European) Justice is blind: Israel. “The Hague Court of Appeal said Tuesday that the lower court was right to rule that Gantz, who was military chief of staff at the time of the airstrike, and Eshel had immunity because they were carrying out Israeli government policies.” [https://ca.news.yahoo.com/dutch-court-upholds-gantz-immunity-100557836.html]

    The defence of “carrying out orders” has not been lawful since Nuremberg, while the doctrine of command responsibility is explicitly incorporated into the Rome Statute of the ICC. Even sovereign immunity is no longer absolute, but subject to universal jurisdiction, as the indictments of various heads of state – notably Omar al-Bashir – has demonstrated. If allowed to stand, this ruling will open the way to eg Syrian Air Force commanders to be acquitted for eg gassing Douma, or other war criminal “government policies”, such as Saddam’s genocide of the Kurds.

    ‘The judges said that they were “not blind” to Ziada’s suffering.’ Not blind at all; just deaf. [https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/dutch-appeals-court-no-right-to-sue-gantz-for-alleged-2014-war-crimes/ar-AARAQ21]

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