Legality and legitimacy
Dominic McGoldrick

War crimes trials before international tribunals 6 War crimes trials before international tribunals: legality and legitimacy Dominic McGoldrick I Introduction An assessment of the historical place of any trials requires both a micro and a macro analysis. The microanalysis focuses on the internal processes and procedures of the trials. The macroanalysis focuses on the broader political and historical context. Both levels of analysis can review issues of legality and legitimacy.1 This essay presents a comparative critique of war crimes trials before the

in Domestic and international trials, 1700–2000
A Military Tactic or Collateral Damage?
Abdulkarim Ekzayez and Ammar Sabouni

Nine years of continuous conflict in Syria have borne witness to various atrocities against civilians, some of which amount to war crimes. Most of the involved parties have committed such atrocities, but the Government of Syria (GoS) and its allies remain at the top of the list of perpetrators. Out of a population of 21 million in 2010, more than half a million Syrians were killed as of January 2019 with more than 13 million displaced either inside the country, in neighbouring countries or elsewhere. Moreover, civilian infrastructures, including but not limited to health, have been severely affected, resulting in interrupted services and suffering. Looking at patterns of these atrocities, timing of occurrence, and consequences, could allow us to draw conclusions about motivations. While the GoS maintains these attacks were against combating civilians, we argue that civilians and civilian infrastructure were military and strategic targets, rather than collateral damage to the attacks committed by the GoS and its allies. The motives behind attacking civilians may be related to military gains in imposing submission and surrender; whereas others may be linked to long-term goals such as forced displacement and demographic engineering. This paper argues, supported by several examples throughout the course of the Syrian conflict, that GoS has used a five-point military tactic with targeting healthcare being at the heart of it. This military tactic has been extremely effective in regaining most opposition strongholds at the expense of civilian suffering and health catastrophe.

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
The trial in history, volume II
Editor: R. A. Melikan

Lawyers had been producing reports of trials and appellate proceedings in order to understand the law and practices of the Westminster courts since the Middle Ages, and printed reports had appeared in the late fifteenth century. This book considers trials in the regular English criminal courts in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It also considers the contribution of criminal lawyers in developing the modern rules of evidence. The book explores the influence of scientific and pseudoscientific knowledge on Victorian insanity trials and trials for homosexual offences, respectively. The British Trials Collection contains the only readily accessible and near-verbatim accounts of civil trials from the 1760s, 1770s, and 1780s, decades crucial to understanding how the rules of evidence developed. It might be thought that Defence of the Realm Acts (DORA) or its regulations would have introduced trials in camera. The book presents a comparative critique of war crimes trials before the International Military Tribunals at Nuremberg and Tokyo and the International Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda. The first spy trial by court martial after the legal change in 1915 was that of Robert Rosenthal, who was German. The book also considers the principal features of the first war crimes trial of the twenty-first century in terms of personnel and procedures, the alleged crimes, and issues of legality and legitimacy. It also speculates on the narratives or non-narratives of the trial and how these may impact on the professed aims and objectives of the litigation.

Arjun Claire

, security of staff and access to populations became important priorities, and témoignage came to be increasingly seen as jeopardising MSF’s operational presence ( Binet, 2010 : 43). Around the same time, the International Criminal Court was established to promote accountability for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Although MSF collectively decided not to cooperate with the Court, it could do little to prevent its public statements from being used as evidence

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
The Law and Politics of Responding to Attacks against Aid Workers
Julia Brooks and Rob Grace

scrambled to treat the wounded while appealing to Afghan, US, and UN officials to stop the attack. By the time the firing stopped over an hour later, at least forty-two people had been killed – including MSF staff, hospital patients, and family members – over thirty were injured, and thirty-three were missing. MSF later alleged that the attack constituted a war crime and called for an independent and impartial investigation. The bombing of MSF’s trauma centre in Kunduz, Afghanistan by a US Air Force AC-130U gunship quickly garnered headlines around the world, generating

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Sophie Roborgh

issues such as attacks on health care, talking about documenting war crimes, there are of course even more strict protocols to follow.’ Hence, quality is emphasised over quantity. Another representative remarked: ‘We don’t need one [more piece of] evidence that those attacks are happening. We just need to analyse the data that we know are true. […] Whether it is 100 attacks or 120, it means nothing. At the end, one attack [on a health facility] is a crime’ (interview with a

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Timothy Longman

genocide. In subsequent years, however, it became increasingly clear that even as extensive efforts were made to hold genocide perpetrators accountable, RPF officials involved in war crimes and crimes against humanity would face no consequences. Although the ICTR was authorised to include RPF crimes within its consideration, the ICTR brought no charges against RPF officials. In fact, when Chief Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte attempted to launch investigations into RPF crimes, the RPF used its influence to have the tribunal reorganised and a new prosecutor appointed. In the

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Hakim Khaldi

. This approach showed that it was possible to maintain activities even when ‘jihadist’ groups like Hayat Tahrir Sham (HTS) have control over the area. In the north-east, the experience was one of ‘democratic confederalism’ – a system which proved unable to prevent discrimination against the Arab populations in accessing care at the MSF-supported hospital in Kobani. In this same region, information on the war crimes committed by the anti-IS coalition received

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Marie-Luce Desgrandchamps, Lasse Heerten, Arua Oko Omaka, Kevin O'Sullivan, and Bertrand Taithe

with them, notably Bertrand Russell and Jean-Paul Sartre, put up the International War Crimes Tribunal in 1966. Genocide in a third world conflict had thus already been widely discussed – but mainly within a leftist counter public, and part as a dominant paradigm of anti-imperialism. Imperialism created genocides, and this was hence the main issue from this perspective ( Kalter, 2016 ). What was new about Biafra was that international mainstream media, like The Times or Der Spiegel

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Open Access (free)
R. A. Melikan

examine international trials for war crimes – what are sometimes referred to as breaches of international humanitarian law – and human rights violations. The twentieth century witnessed the creation of an apparently impressive range of international tribunals with authority to consider such offences: the International Court of Justice, the European Court of Human Rights, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, and the African Court of Human Rights. All of these, however, adjudicated state responsibility for violations of international law; they did not have

in Domestic and international trials, 1700–2000