Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The ICC Debate on the Meaning of the State or Organizational Policy Requirement for Crimes Against Humanity


I would like to alert readers that the following item, which discusses the seminal International Criminal Court decision on the meaning of the State or organizational policy requirement for crimes against humanity under Article 7(2)(a) of the Rome Statute, has recently been posted on SSRN. Here is the abstract of the paper which was just published in The American Journal of International Law (July 2011) Vol, 105, No. 3, at pp. 540-547:

On March 31, 2010, in its first ever decision authorizing a prosecutorial proprio motu investigation, the Pre-Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) granted the ICC Prosecutor permission to investigate the shocking violence which followed Kenya’s December 2007 Presidential elections under Article 15 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The majority of the Chamber ruled that both the contextual and underlying requirements of crimes against humanity had been fulfilled, including that they were committed as part of a state or organizational policy as required by Article7(2)(a) of the Rome Statute. According to the majority, the latter requirement can be satisfied by any non-state actors capable of widespread and systematic attacks against a civilian population that infringes on basic human values. In contrast, in a lucid dissent, Judge Hans Peter-Kaul determined that the state or organizational policy requirement can only be met by organizations bearing state-like qualities. As the prosecution evidence had failed to show the existence of such organizations, he would deny the ICC Prosecutor permission to investigate the alleged crimes against humanity committed in Kenya.

This case note summarizes this seminal ICC decision. It sets out why the decision is not only important for any future discussion of the legal elements of crimes against humanity in the ICC, but why it also goes to the very heart of the debate about the role of the fledgling permanent court in the emerging international criminal justice system.

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