The Relationship between the International Criminal Court and its Host State: Impact on Human Rights

Emma Irving

When an international criminal tribunal establishes its headquarters in a State, its legal relationship with that State must be carved out. This legal relationship has the potential to exclude the applicability of human rights protection by curtailing the host State’s … Read more


28 March 2013

SHARES Seminar: Practice of Shared Responsibility in International Criminal Law

This SHARES Seminar will discuss papers reviewing the practice of shared responsibility in the field of international criminal law.

In conformity with the general approach of the SHARES Project, the seminar will discuss the law and practice relating to situations where multiple actors (states, international organizations and other non-state actors) have contributed to a single injury, and where questions have arisen about their ex post facto responsibility for that contribution. All papers have in common that they discuss situations where the questions of responsibility are governed, or influenced by international criminal law. (more…)


28 October 2013

The Legal Limbo Continues: Update on the Detained Witnesses at the ICC

ICC, ©

ICC, ©

In October 2012 and January of this year the SHARES blog posted about the situation of Congolese witnesses detained at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. Their detention continues, and while the resolution of their legal status is one step closer, it is also as illusive as ever, due to a decision of the Amsterdam District Court.

A detailed background to the situation can be found here, but can be briefly summarised as follows. Four individuals, detained in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on charges relating to the on going armed conflict in the country, were transferred to the ICC detention unit in May 2011 in order to give evidence as witnesses. (more…)

1 October 2013

The Charles Taylor Judgment: Disconnecting the Responsibilities of Presidents and States

Initial comments on the judgment of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) Appeals Chamber in the Charles Taylor case have focused on the rejection of the ‘specific direction’ standard in relation to complicity, and on the somewhat peculiar method for determining customary law (see Kevin Heller at Opinio Juris and Marko Milanovic at EJIL Talk). But there is more in the judgment that deserves our attention. Notably, the judgment exposes the disconnection of individual responsibility from state responsibility. (more…)

3 April 2013

The Surrender of Ntaganda to the ICC: A Story of Shared Responsibility Success

While many have speculated as to why Ntaganda decided, after so many years, to hand himself in, what is interesting from the perspective of shared responsibility under international law is the ease with which he was transferred to the International Criminal Court (ICC). The situation was fraught with potential legal complications, given that it involved multiple international actors with the potential power to prevent the transfer. Despite this, Ntaganda was seamlessly handed over to the ICC within 5 days.

UntitledBosco Ntaganda is a suspected warlord and key figure in the conflict in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The ICC has issued two arrest warrants against him, one in 2006 and the other in 2012, for international crimes including rape, murder and the recruitment of child soldiers. The arrest warrants concern crimes committed in 2002-2003, however he has continued to be active in the region. More recently Ntanganda is thought to have headed the M23 rebel group, which took the DRC city of Goma last November. (more…)

24 January 2013

Update – The Dutch Courts and Asylum at the ICC: From Shared Obligations to Obligations of No One

In October 2012, the SHARES Blog carried a post that discussed a September Dutch Court decision concerning the on-going asylum situation at the ICC. Since then there are have been two important developments: the matter has been taken to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and the original Dutch decision has been overturned on appeal. (more…)

8 October 2012

From Shared Obligations to Individual Obligations: The Hague District Court and Asylum at the ICC

On 27 September 2012, the District Court of The Hague handed down this important decision in an ongoing situation regarding three detained witnesses of the International Criminal Court (ICC) who have sought asylum in the Netherlands. The decision raises a number of fundamental issues concerning the relationship between ICC jurisdiction as opposed to the Netherlands jurisdiction, as well as important human rights issues. (more…)

3 July 2012

Europe’s torture watchdog on shared responsibility of Belgium and the Netherlands for Tilburg prison

Belgium has for many years been struggling with significant prison overcrowding. The Netherlands, on the other hand, has in recent years seen its prisons gradually emptying due to a decline in crime, forcing the Dutch government to close eight of its prisons. The two countries came up with the obvious solution, although one never adopted before in Europe: Belgium would rent an already staffed and equipped prison in the Netherlands. The location chosen was Tilburg prison, which is quite close to the border with Belgium. (more…)


21 January 2013

Witnesses in ICC Detention Centre not within the jurisdiction of the Netherlands

On 17 December 2012, the Court of Appeal of The Hague decided that three Congolese witnesses who had testified before the International Criminal Court (ICC) and who were still being detained in the ICC Detention Centre in the Hague, were not within the jurisdiction of the Netherlands in the sense of Article 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The three witnesses had applied for asylum in the Netherlands. However, the Court held that the Netherlands was not obliged to take over the witnesses from the ICC. The Court followed the judgment of the ECtHR in the case Djokaba Lambi Longa v. The Netherlands (8 October 2012, application no. 33917/12).

Source: Gerechtshof 's-Gravenhage | Judgment, 18 December 2012 | LJN: BY6075 | 200.114.941/01 (in Dutch)

3 July 2012

U.S. requests Rwanda to stop aiding Congolese rebels

The United States have asked Rwanda to stop arming or otherwise supporting armed rebels in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo, including the M23 led by Bosco Ntaganda, who is wanted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court. The request follows a UN report released on 29 June, which raised the allegations of aid and assistance provided by Rwanda.

Source: The Wall Street Journal | U.N. Report Fuels Congo-Rwanda Rift
Source: Reuters | U.S. tells Rwanda to halt support for Congo rebels

6 June 2012

Rwandan military officials allegedly support mutiny in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo

Rwandan military officials have recruited hundreds of men (and children) and sent them to support general Bosco Ntaganda, who is wanted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court (ICC), in his mutiny against the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

A report issued by Human Rights Watch reveals that, besides sending fighters, Rwanda is also providing weapons and ammunition, and has allowed general Ntaganda to enter Rwanda.

Source: Rwandan military 'aiding war crimes suspect' in Congo

31 May 2012

Special Court for Sierra Leone sentences Charles Taylor to 50 years in prison

On 30 May, the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) sentenced Charles Taylor, former president of Liberia, to 50 years in prison for planning and aiding and abetting crimes that were committed by rebel forces in Sierra Leone during the civil war (1991-2002). (more…)

Source: BBC | Charles Taylor: Preacher, warlord, president

21 May 2012

Russia wants ICC to examine NATO bombings in Libya

In the lead-up to the 2012 summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the Russian Foreign Ministry has called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to look into all cases of NATO airstrikes in Libya that resulted in civilian deaths.

“We welcome the decision of ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo to consider alleged violations of international humanitarian law,” Foreign Ministry human rights spokesman Konstantin Dolgov said in a statement posted on the ministry’s website. “We presume that the ICC will consider all cases of NATO bombing that caused civilian casualties … An impartial international investigation into the effects of NATO airstrikes during Operation United Defender in Libya is necessary to prevent such tragedies in the future,” the statement continued.

NATO carried out airstrikes last year under UN Security Council resolution 1970, which was passed to protect Libyan civilians from the retaliation by the Gaddafi regime.

Source: UPI | Russia wants ICC to examine NATO bombings
Source: RAPSI | Russia calls on ICC to consider NATO air campaign in Libya

25 March 2012

Libya Resists International Court’s Claim on War Crimes Case

Libya’s interim authorities escalated their face-off against the International Criminal Court (ICC) over the entitlement to try Seif al-Islam el-Qaddafi and Abdullah Senussi (former intelligence chief of Libya). In regard of the latter, France also seeks custody. The interim authorities are determined to try both defendants at home, but doubts on the ability to hold a fair trial have induced the ICC to step in and to seek custody of the defendants.

Source: New York Times | Libya Resists International Court’s Claim on War Crimes Case

14 December 2011

Chad Failed to Cooperate with the ICC in Arresting al-Bashir

On 13 December 2011, the International Criminal Court (ICC) decided that Chad has not met its obligation to fully cooperate with the court by failing to arrest and surrender Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir during his visit to Chad in August.  Following its decision, pre-trial chamber I of the ICC referred the matter to the Security Council and the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute, the ICC’s founding treaty.


26 November 2011

R2P, the ICC and the Libyan arrests

Carsten Stahn has written a very interesting article on the recent developments concerning the prosecution of Saif al-Islam Gaddafi and Abduallah al-Senussi before the International Criminal Court. He describes it as “a test case for international justice and the idea of shared responsibility”. The article can be found here.


11 May 2011

The international criminal court’s task is monumental – and vital

The ICC and its chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, have long faced accusations of ineffectiveness, but critics miss the point according to Geoffrey Bindman. In this op-ed, he argues that the Court must not be viewed in isolation, but “as the pinnacle of a pyramid of national courts sharing responsibility for international criminal justice.”