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Universal jurisdiction and international crimes: Constraints and best practices

17-09-2018

This report summarises the proceedings of a workshop organised by the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI), in association with the Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) and the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE). Academics and practitioners discussed international trends as regards the concept of universal jurisdiction and the EU’s approach to promoting universal jurisdiction through its external relations, as well as practical experience in applying universal ...

This report summarises the proceedings of a workshop organised by the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI), in association with the Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) and the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE). Academics and practitioners discussed international trends as regards the concept of universal jurisdiction and the EU’s approach to promoting universal jurisdiction through its external relations, as well as practical experience in applying universal jurisdiction in the fight against impunity in Europe. The experts agreed that universal jurisdiction can play a role as part of a wider accountability strategy, complementary to international courts and prosecutions on other jurisdictional bases. They recommended more specialised training for investigators, prosecutors, judges and law enforcement staff for universal jurisdiction cases and more cooperation at EU and international level. Speakers supported the initiative for a multilateral treaty on mutual legal assistance and extradition. Special attention in universal jurisdiction cases must be given to victims seeking justice, including for sexual and gender-based crimes.

External author

Julia KREBS, Cedric RYNGAERT, Florian JEßBERGER

International Criminal Court: Achievements and challenges 20 years after the adoption of the Rome Statute

13-07-2018

Adopted on 17 July 1998, the Statute of Rome is the founding treaty of the International Criminal Court, which was set up to deal with the most serious crimes of international concern, namely genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Its establishment has inspired much hope that the most horrendous crimes will no longer go unpunished and that its deterrent effect will significantly reduce their occurrence. The EU has been a strong supporter of the ICC system from the outset. Since it began ...

Adopted on 17 July 1998, the Statute of Rome is the founding treaty of the International Criminal Court, which was set up to deal with the most serious crimes of international concern, namely genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Its establishment has inspired much hope that the most horrendous crimes will no longer go unpunished and that its deterrent effect will significantly reduce their occurrence. The EU has been a strong supporter of the ICC system from the outset. Since it began operating in 2003, the Court has conducted investigations and trials in connection with some of the world's most brutal conflicts and has not shied away from investigating individuals at the highest level of power, such as presidents in office. It has developed extensive tools to protect its most important asset – the witnesses, who in many cases have faced intimidation, violence and even death. However the Court has also encountered difficulties and inherent limitations. The atrocities committed by groups such as ISIL/Da'esh have been out of reach for the Court's jurisdiction, which is limited to states parties' territories and their nationals, unless the Security Council specifically asks it to investigate. The refusal by some major powers such as the US, China and Russia to join, the lack of cooperation by some states parties such as South Africa, as well as recent defections or the threat thereof have also put strains on its global authority. The Court's effectiveness cannot be judged solely on the convictions it passes. The ICC is a court of last resort, and its impact on national judicial systems has also been significant. The Rome Statute itself has evolved. At the end of last year, the jurisdiction of the Court was extended to cover the crime of international aggression and new war crimes taking into account the latest technological developments. This briefing updates a previous briefing on the International Criminal Court, from May 2017.

Western Balkans: Enlargement strategy 2018

13-03-2018

With a resolute tone and a sense of urgency, the European Commission's new enlargement strategy for the Western Balkans sets a clear direction for the region's six countries: it offers them a credible enlargement perspective and pledges enhanced EU engagement. It indicates 2025 as a possible enlargement date. However, seizing this opportunity remains a challenge, as the aspirants must each deliver on difficult, key reforms, and solve all outstanding bilateral disputes.

With a resolute tone and a sense of urgency, the European Commission's new enlargement strategy for the Western Balkans sets a clear direction for the region's six countries: it offers them a credible enlargement perspective and pledges enhanced EU engagement. It indicates 2025 as a possible enlargement date. However, seizing this opportunity remains a challenge, as the aspirants must each deliver on difficult, key reforms, and solve all outstanding bilateral disputes.

ISIL/Da'esh: From Mosul to Mosul

13-07-2017

In June 2014, ISIL/Da'esh took over the city of Mosul in Iraq, and from there declared the advent of an Islamic State. Three years later, in July 2017, after nine months of battle involving Iraqi security forces, popular militias and Kurdish troops, ISIL/Da'esh has been expelled from its Iraqi stronghold, adding to the past two years' severe territorial losses. This is an important victory; however, it does not yet represent the eradication of a terrorist group that still has many supporters.

In June 2014, ISIL/Da'esh took over the city of Mosul in Iraq, and from there declared the advent of an Islamic State. Three years later, in July 2017, after nine months of battle involving Iraqi security forces, popular militias and Kurdish troops, ISIL/Da'esh has been expelled from its Iraqi stronghold, adding to the past two years' severe territorial losses. This is an important victory; however, it does not yet represent the eradication of a terrorist group that still has many supporters.

International Criminal Court at 15: International justice and the crisis of multilateralism

10-05-2017

The establishment of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on 1 July 2002 was heralded at the time as a major breakthrough for ending impunity for most serious crimes of international concern, namely genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Fifteen years later, the record of the Court is mixed and criticism from both supporters and opponents has abounded. The challenges and the criticism it is currently facing are typical of many other multilateral institutions today. The Court has conducted ...

The establishment of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on 1 July 2002 was heralded at the time as a major breakthrough for ending impunity for most serious crimes of international concern, namely genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Fifteen years later, the record of the Court is mixed and criticism from both supporters and opponents has abounded. The challenges and the criticism it is currently facing are typical of many other multilateral institutions today. The Court has conducted investigations and trials on some of the world's most brutal conflicts, but it has faced criticism that it was politicised and biased against the African continent. The atrocities committed by groups such as ISIL/Da'esh have unveiled the ICC's limitations, since it is unable to investigate in Syria and Iraq, which are not parties to the Rome Statute, without UN Security Council authorisation. As a multilateral institution with universal ambitions, the Court is also limited in its effectiveness by the refusal of major powers such as the US, China and Russia to join it. Lack of cooperation by some states parties has also severely constrained its effectiveness. Yet the Court has had positive effects on the capacity of some states to deal themselves with crimes under their jurisdiction. The Court has taken its role seriously, not shying away from indicting persons of the highest rank, such as heads of state, and proving that it is committed to the principle of universal responsibility. Shortcomings in the prosecutorial investigations, for example in relation to witness interference and protection, have been addressed in a transparent and firm way.

Tense situation in Democratic Republic of Congo

21-06-2016

Political unrest is rising in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in protest against the alleged inaction of the security forces towards the massacres in the eastern region and against the possible postponement of November 2016 elections.

Political unrest is rising in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in protest against the alleged inaction of the security forces towards the massacres in the eastern region and against the possible postponement of November 2016 elections.

Syria: Turning commitments into action

13-06-2016

What started as local anti-government protests in the city of Daraa in 2011 quickly evolved into a popular uprising. The conflict has since cost the lives of 470 000 people and resulted in the displacement of almost 11 million. This is no longer a revolution but an internationalised conflict hijacked by big-power politics, and Syrians and their neighbouring countries are paying the price.

What started as local anti-government protests in the city of Daraa in 2011 quickly evolved into a popular uprising. The conflict has since cost the lives of 470 000 people and resulted in the displacement of almost 11 million. This is no longer a revolution but an internationalised conflict hijacked by big-power politics, and Syrians and their neighbouring countries are paying the price.

Global Efforts to End Sexual Violence in Conflict

25-06-2014

The Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict was co-chaired by the UK and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. An International Protocol on the Documentation and Investigation of Sexual Violence was a key result of the summit. The summit also highlighted the importance of: - providing support for victims of sexual violence ; - strengthening the capacity of national and international security and justice personnel ; - closer international cooperation. Building on the summit ...

The Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict was co-chaired by the UK and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. An International Protocol on the Documentation and Investigation of Sexual Violence was a key result of the summit. The summit also highlighted the importance of: - providing support for victims of sexual violence ; - strengthening the capacity of national and international security and justice personnel ; - closer international cooperation. Building on the summit’s momentum, the European Parliament could : - urge all the Member States to apply the International Protocol ; - advocate mainstreaming this objective into EU CFSP actions ; - suggest increasing assistance for programmes fighting sexual and gender-based violence ; - promote this objective in its own positions and actions.

Crisis in Central African Republic: the EU response

30-01-2014

Long viewed as a fragile state, the Central African Republic (CAR) is now confronted with a deep political, security and humanitarian crisis, which reached a peak in December 2013. The EU is the main donor to CAR and has stepped up its humanitarian and development aid in response to the crisis.

Long viewed as a fragile state, the Central African Republic (CAR) is now confronted with a deep political, security and humanitarian crisis, which reached a peak in December 2013. The EU is the main donor to CAR and has stepped up its humanitarian and development aid in response to the crisis.

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