Category Archives: Uncategorized

Prosecuting War Crimes: Trials and Tribulations

Kerr, R


During the course of the last decade or so, we have witnessed a growth in the business of international criminal justice, prompted by changes in the international system and a greater concern about violations of human rights occurring within the borders of a state. The establishment of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in May 1993 was the first step
on a path that led to the establishment of a permanent International Criminal Court with the adoption of a statute in July 1998 and its coming into force four years later. Prosecuting war crimes was seen increasingly as an important element of the package of measures designed to bring about ‘post-conflict reconstruction’. There was a marked increase also in the number of cases on the basis of the exercise of universal jurisdiction by certain states. More recently, however, a degree of fatigue with international criminal justice was discernable. It was suggested that alternative mechanisms involving greater local involvement and different approaches such as truth commissions or some form of amnesty might be better suited to the lofty demands of postconflict justice. The books discussed here all make a significant contribution to the growing body of literature examining ways of dealing with the commission of war crimes, crimes against
humanity and genocide and the complex legal, political, ethical and practical issues involved.
The books discussed are:
David Chuter, War Crimes: Confronting Atrocity in the Modern World (IISS Studies in
International Security series) (Boulder, CO and London: Lynne Rienner, 2003), ISBN
1-58826-209-X, 299 pp.
Jackson Nyamuya Maogoto, War Crimes and Realpolitik: International Justice from
World War I to the 21st Century (Boulder, CO and London: Lynne Rienner, 2004),
ISBN 1-58826-252-9, 267 pp.
Luc Reydams, Universal Jurisdiction: International and Municipal Legal Perspectives,
Oxford Monographs in International Law (Oxford: OUP, 2003), ISBN 0-19-925162-2, 258 pp.
Cesare P. Romano, Andrew Nollkaemper and Jann K. Kleffner (eds.), Internationalized
Criminal Courts: Sierra Leone, East Timor, Kosovo and Cambodia (Oxford: OUP,
2004), ISBN 0-19-927673-0, 491 pp.…

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Selective Justice: Prosecuting Rape in the International Criminal Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda

Nahapetian, K


Although rape has been categorised as a crime against humanity in the past international declarations and has been prohibited in military codes as far back as 1385, it has only recently begun to gain more widespread recognition as a crime against humanity, a war crime, or a form of genocide. This article examines the recent actions of the ICTY and ICTR to prosecute rape as a crime against humanity, a war crime and an act of genocide. It also discusses the varying success of these tribunals and possible explanations for the differing treatment of rape by the ICTY and ICTR as compared to other recent conflicts.…

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The Preparatory Committee’s “Definition of Crimes”—War Crimes

Paust, Jordan J


This essay provides commentary with respect to the March 1997 and December 1997 reports of the Working Group on the Definition of Crimes, with a focus on war crimes being addressed by the Working Group. The Working Group has drafted definitions of crimes for the Preparatory Committee on the Establishment of a Permanent International Criminal Court (“ICC”). The author discusses scope of improvements, points of concern and disagreement in this essay.…

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World Meet on Bangladesh

Gupta, Ranjit


Proceedings of conference ‘World Meet on Bangladesh’, held from September 18 to 20, 1971 in Delhi, India. The conference was arranged by International Committee of Friends of Bangladesh and attended by delegates from all over the world.…

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Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice determining Accordance with International Law of the Unilateral Declaration of Independence in respect of Kosovo


Kosovo’s unilateral secession from Serbia in 2008 did not violate international law, the World Court said on Thursday in a decision with implications for separatist movements everywhere, rules ICJ. The non-binding, but clear-cut ruling by the International Court of Justice is a major blow to Serbia and will complicate efforts to draw the former pariah ex-Yugoslav republic into the European Union. It is likely to lead to more states following the United States, Britain and 67 other countries in recognising ethnic-Albanian dominated Kosovo, which broke away after NATO intervened to end a brutal crackdown on separatism by Belgrade. It may also embolden breakaway regions in countries ranging from India and Iraq to Serbia’s war-torn neighbour and fellow former Yugoslav republic Bosnia to seek more autonomy. “The court considers that general international law contains no applicable prohibition of declaration of independence,” Judge Hisashi Owada, president of the ICJ, said in the clear majority ruling delivered in a cavernous hall at the Hague-based ICJ. Accordingly, it concludes that “the declaration of independence of the 17th of February 2008 did not violate general international law.”…

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Transnational Feminism: Political Strategies and Theoretical Resources

Ackerly, Brooke A and D'Costa, Bina


Despite sharing many successes at promoting international collaboration, enabling effective responses to politically powerful states, increasing awareness of formerly invisible violations of the human rights of women, and gaining ground in many countries and in international law, women’s human rights activists have many differences among them—in resources, location, issue-focus and strategies. It is appropriate to pay attention to these differences, particularly as they create challenges to the movement for women’s rights. However, we argue that the women’s human rights discourse—as developed and deployed by women’s human rights activists—can be a resource for addressing these challenges internal to the movement while facing current challenges from outside the movement. Attentive to the politics of defining a movement and its spokespeople, the article includes an extensive methodological discussion. We arrive at our conclusions after observing a broad range of women’s activism and interpreting the reflections of a wide range of activists. Taken together, they offer a view of human rights as indivisible and of the rights of all humans as interrelated. This view is useful for self-reflection within women’s movements and for the ability of participants of various women’s movements to use the women’s human rights framework for meeting contemporary challenges.…

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War Crimes and Genocide 1971: Bringing the Perpetrators to Justice

Rahman, Mizanur and Billah, SM Masum


Although prosecution and punishment of international crimes like war crimes and genocide at the international level has attracted considerable attention on the part of scholars, prosecution and punishment of extraordinary international criminals at the national level has attracted much less. There has been little concentration on how domestic courts or tribunals punish international crimes when they exercise national, territorial, or universal jurisdiction. This is a notable concern, insofar as national and local criminal justice institutions play a key role in sanctioning extraordinary international criminals. These institutions carry the bulk of the prosecutorial weight. Assuredly, they remain deeply influenced by substantive elements and procedural aspects of international institutions. It is amidst this opportunity the trial of the perpetrators of international crimes during the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971 is supposed to be held by Bangladeshi Tribunals under a law namely International Crimes Tribunal Act, 1973 (as amended in 2009). In this paper we have argued that the perpetrators of genocide of 1971 can be brought to justice devoid of any controversy under this 1973 law ensuring the standards propounded by recent trends of international criminal law. The paper makes an effort to discard the concerns surrounding the much awaited and desired trial from a blend of national and international law perspective. It suggests some avenues to make the trial more effective, transparent and acceptable. The paper while recognizing the magnitude and extent of the respective crimes, have viewed the words war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and crimes against international law and peace as overlapping expressions. As a thematic need for International Genocide Conference (Dhaka: 2009) the paper would lay emphasis on genocidal aspect of the proposed trial.…

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Case Study: Genocide in Bangladesh, 1971

Jones, A


The mass killings in Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) in 1971 vie with the annihilation of the Soviet POWs, the holocaust against the Jews, and the genocide in Rwanda as the most concentrated act of genocide in the twentieth century. In an attempt to crush forces seeking independence for East Pakistan, the West Pakistani military regime unleashed a systematic campaign of mass murder which aimed at killing millions of Bengalis, and likely succeeded in doing so.…

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Archive I: Media Archive

Archives news reports, opinions, editorials published in different media outlets from around the world on 1971, International Crimes Tribunal and the justice process.

Archive II: ICT Documentation

For the sake of ICT’s legacy this documentation project archives, and preserves proceeding-documents, e.g., judgments, orders, petitions, timelines.

Archive III: E-Library

Brings at fingertips academic materials in the areas of law, politics, and history to facilitate serious research on 1971, Bangladesh, ICT and international justice.

Archive IV: Memories

This archive records from memory the nine-month history of 1971 as experienced and perceived by individuals from all walks of life.