Drawing links between initiatives to increase protection of children during armed conflict & similar violence


“‘Protecting Children’: A Welcome Addition to Efforts to Redress Wartime Harms,” an essay I published yesterday at Just Security, underscores connections among a number of recent initiatives related to children and armed conflict.

The essay welcomes Protecting Children in Armed Conflict (Hart Publishing 2018), the 600-page report of the 2017 Inquiry on Protecting Children in Armed Conflict spearheaded by Gordon Brown, former British Prime Minister and current UN Special Envoy for Global Education. (I served on the Inquiry’s Advisory Panel.)

Leading a team of researchers was Shaheed Fatima QC, a barrister at London’s Blackstone Chambers, who spoke on this work at the International Law Weekend panel last month. (prior post here) My Just Security essay offers a detailed description and favorable critique of this research, noting the work’s connections with what the UN Security Council terms the “Six Grave Violations against Children in Armed Conflict.”

The essay further draws links between this work and the 2016 International Criminal Court Office of the Prosecutor Policy on Children, which I had the honor of helping to prepare in my ongoing service as ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s Special Adviser on Children in & affected by Armed Conflict. (prior post here) The essay points to “the complementary potential of these and other initiatives,” and concludes:

Together, they may advance two essential goals: first, to articulate norms prohibiting wartime harms against children; and second, to secure redress for any such harms that occur.

My Just Security essay is here. It is part of a miniforum which began with a post last week jointly authored by Fatima and Brown, available here. The Just Security series will continue with forthcoming posts by Sarah Knuckey (Columbia Law), Alex Moorehead (Columbia Law), and Alex Whiting (Harvard Law).

(Cross-posted from Diane Marie Amann)

Accountability for harms to children during armed conflict discussed at Center-sponsored ILW panel

NEW YORK – Ways to redress offenses against children during armed conflict formed the core of the panel that our University of Georgia School of Law Dean Rusk International Law Center sponsored last Friday at International Law Weekend, an annual three-day conference presented by the American Branch of the International Law Association and the International Law Students Association. I was honored to take part.

► Opening our panel was Shaheed Fatima QC (top right), a barrister at Blackstone Chambers in London, who led a panel of researchers for the Inquiry on Protecting Children in Conflict, an initiative chaired by Gordon Brown, former United Kingdom Prime Minister and current UN Special Envoy for Global Education.

As Fatima explained, the Inquiry focused on harms that the UN Security Council has identified as “six grave violations” against children in conflict; specifically, killing and maiming; recruitment or use as soldiers; sexual violence; abduction; attacks against schools or hospitals; and denial of humanitarian access. With regard to each, the Inquiry identified legal frameworks in international criminal law, international humanitarian law, and international human rights law. It proposed a new means for redress: promulgation of a “single instrument” that would permit individual communications, for an expressed set of violations, to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, the treaty body that monitors compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its three optional protocols. These findings and recommendations have just been published as Protecting Children in Armed Conflict (Hart 2018).

► Next, Mara Redlich Revkin (2d from left), a Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science at Yale University and Lead Researcher on Iraq and Syria for the United Nations University Project on Children and Extreme Violence.

She drew from her fieldwork to provide a thick description of children’s experiences in regions controlled by the Islamic State, an armed group devoted to state-building – “rebel governance,” as Revkin termed it. Because the IS sees children as its future, she said, it makes population growth a priority, and exercises its control over schools and other “sites for the weaponization of children.” Children who manage to free themselves from the group encounter new problems on account of states’ responses, responses that Revkin has found often to be at odds with public opinion. These range from the  harsh punishment of every child once associated with IS, without considering the extent of that association, to the rejection of IS-issued birth certificates, thus rendering a child stateless.

► Then came yours truly, Diane Marie Amann (left), Emily & Ernest Woodruff Chair in International Law here at the University of Georgia School of Law and our Center’s Faculty Co-Director. I served as a member of the Inquiry’s Advisory Board.

Discussing my service as the Special Adviser to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court on Children in and affected by Armed Conflict, I focused on the preparation and contents of the 2016 ICC OTP Policy on Children, available here in Arabic, English, French, Spanish, and Swahili. The Policy pinpoints the crimes against and affecting children that may be punished pursuant to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, and it further delineates a “child-sensitive approach” to OTP work at all stages, including investigation, charging, prosecution, and witness protection.

► Summing up the conversation was Harold Hongju Koh (2d from right), Sterling Professor of International Law at Yale Law School and former Legal Adviser to the U.S. Department of State, who served as a consultant to the Inquiry.

Together, he said, the presentations comprised “5 I’s: Inquiry, Iraq and Syria, the ICC, and” – evoking the theme of the conference – “international law and why it matters.” Koh lauded the Inquiry’s report as “agenda-setting,” and its proposal for a means to civil redress as a “panda’s thumb” response that bears serious consideration. Koh envisaged that in some future administration the United States – the only country in the world not to have ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child – might come to ratify the proposed new  protocol, as it has the optional protocols relating to children in armed conflict and the sale of children.

The panel thus trained attention on the harms children experience amid conflict and called for redoubled efforts to secure accountability and compensation for such harms.

(Cross-posted from Diane Marie Amann)

Global Governance Summer School: Hague briefings begin with International Criminal Court

THE HAGUE – Our 2018 Global Governance Summer School has moved to this Dutch capital for several days of briefings at international organizations devoted to securing accountability and reparations for violations of international law. Today centered on the International Criminal Court, a permanent organization that began operating at The Hague in 2002. Its founding charter, the Rome Statute of the ICC, was adopted 20 years ago this month.

Our Georgia Law students, who spent last week at the Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies, first visited Leiden Law School‘s Hague campus, where two international lawyers – Niamh Hayes and Leiden Law Professor Joe Powderly – talked with them about a range of issues (left). These included the development of international criminal law, practical and academic career opportunities for young lawyers interested in the area, and the advantages gained by working in The Hague on the “inside” of international criminal law issues.

The rest of the day was spent at the ICC’s Permanent Premises, located on the dunes near The Hague’s North Sea coast. Highlights of the visit included:

► A meeting with Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda (top), for whom our summer school’s co-director, Georgia Law Professor Diane Marie Amann, serves as Special Adviser on Children in & affected by Armed Conflict. Bensouda described her own path to practicing international criminal law. While acknowledging the barriers to achieving justice, she expressed the urgency of continuing the effort, on behalf of global society as well as the victims of international crimes.

► An audience with Judge Geoffrey A. Henderson (left) of Trinidad and Tobago, who was elected to the ICC in 2013 and serves in the Trial Division. Henderson emphasized the challenges of judging in a context that brings together the civil and common law systems, and offered encouragement that engaged students can change the world.

► A presentation on the work of lawyers in the court’s Registry from Elizabeth Little, Special Assistant to the Registrar, Special Assistant to the Registrar, and an overview of the court’s work from ensuring the right to family life of the accused to assisting the indigent select defense counsel.

Together, these presentations made for an informative and inspiring day in court.

Professor Amann publishes “Bemba and Beyond,” on accountability and command responsibility, at EJIL: Talk!

One week after the International Criminal Court Appeals Chamber acquitted a Congolese politician-warlord whom a Trial Chamber unanimously had convicted of rape, pillage, and other crimes, practitioners and scholars continue to debate the decision’s significance. Indeed, the case, Prosecutor v. Bemba, has been invoked in both the papers so far presented at the 2-day ICC Scholars Forum now under way at Leiden Law School’s Hague campus.

My own initial thoughts – concerned not about the decision’s fact-based details but rather to its refashioning of the legal doctrine of command responsibility – have been published at EJIL: Talk!, the blog of the European Journal of International Law. My post, entitled “In Bemba and Beyond,” discusses command responsibility as “a time-honored doctrine with roots in military justice and international humanitarian law.” Placing this appeals judgment in the context of other decisions, the post warns:

“Together, such rulings suggest a turn away from the goal of assigning responsibility at high levels, and toward a jurisprudence which acknowledges (with regret) the commission of crimes, yet holds no cognizable legal person responsible.”

Full post here.

(Cross-posted from Diane Marie Amann)

Professor Cohen’s AJIL essay on “Multilateralism’s Life-Cycle” at SSRN

Harlan Grant Cohen, the Gabriel M. Wilner/UGA Foundation Professor in International Law and Faculty Co-Director of our Dean Rusk International Law Center at the University of Georgia School of Law, has posted a chapter entitled “Multilateralism’s Life-Cycle,” which will appear in a forthcoming issue of volume 112 of the American Journal of International Law.

The manuscript, which forms part of our Dean Rusk International Law Center Research Paper Series at SSRN, may be downloaded at this SSRN link.

Here’s the abstract for this essay by Professor Cohen, an expert in global governance and member of the AJIL Board of Editors:

Does multilateralism have a life-cycle? Perhaps paradoxically, this essay suggests that current pressures on multilateralism and multilateral institutions, including threatened withdrawals by the United Kingdom from the European Union, the United States from the Paris climate change agreement, South Africa, Burundi, and Gambia from the International Criminal Court, and others, may be natural symptoms of those institutions’ relative success. Successful multilateralism and multilateral institutions, this essay argues, has four intertwined effects, which together, make continued multilateralism more difficult: (1) the wider dispersion of wealth or power among members, (2) the decreasing value for members of issue linkages, (3) changing assessment of multilateral institutions’ value in the face of increased effectiveness, and (4) members’ increased focus on relative or positional gains over absolute ones. Exploring how each of these manifests in the world today, this essay suggests that current stresses on multilateralism may best be understood as the natural growing pains of an increasingly mature set of institutions. The open question going forward is what form the next stage of development will take. Will strategies of multilateralism continue or will they be replaced by smaller clubs and more local approaches?

International lawyer Christine Keller, our Center’s new Associate Director for Global Practice Preparation

KellerWe’ve just welcomed a new international lawyer to the Dean Rusk International Law Center at the University of Georgia School of Law: Christine Keller, our new Associate Director for Global Practice Preparation.

In that position, she’ll enhance our 40-year-old Center’s mission by developing and administering global practice preparation initiatives,  including: the Global Governance Summer School we host in the Netherlands and Belgium, in partnership with the Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies, University of Leuven; our Global Externships Overseas and At-Home; academic-year events programming and support; communications; and research initiatives.

It’s a bit of a homecoming for Christine, who was an undergraduate at the University of Georgia – she earned her A.B. in Political Science with honors, and was a member of the university’s NCAA champion women’s swim team. She also holds an LL.M. from Harvard Law School (with a focus on international criminal law), a J.D. from the Santa Clara University School of Law (where she was a member of the Jessup International Moot Court team and a Justice John Paul Stevens Public Interest Fellow), and an M.A. in International Policy Studies from Stanford University.

She comes to us from The Hague in the Netherlands, where for the last decade she has practiced international criminal law. At the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, her positions included: Associate Legal Officer and then a Legal Officer in Chambers, working on the Tolimir and Karadžić cases and leading a team of attorneys on an aspect of the Prlić appeal. Before that, she worked as an Assistant Legal Officer to two successive judges of Pre-Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court. She also provided research and drafting assistance in the Office of the Prosecutor, on cases including Al Bashir and issues including victim participation. She also has worked at a San Francisco nongovernmental organization, the Center for Justice and Accountability, on topics such as European universal jurisdiction, human rights violations in Guatemala and Somalia, and the Alien Tort Statute.

Christine has studied abroad in Germany and El Salvador, is proficient in French, and has a working knowledge of Spanish.

We’re delighted to welcome her!

Hague briefings at ICC, Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal and ICJ launch 2017 Global Governance Summer School

At the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal, front from left: Ana Morales Ramos, Legal Adviser; Hossein Piran, Senior Legal Adviser; Kathleen A. Doty, Interim Director, Dean Rusk International Law Center; David Caron, Tribunal Member; and Georgia Law Associate Dean Diane Marie Amann. Back row, students Nicholas Duffey, Lyddy O’Brien, Brian Griffin, Wade Herring, Jennifer Cotton, Evans Horsley, Casey Callaghan, Kristopher Kolb, Nils Okeson, James Cox, and Ezra Thompson.

HAGUE – Briefings at key international law institutions here have highlighted the initial leg of the Global Governance Summer School led by the University of Georgia School of Law Dean Rusk International Law Center.

Our students’ journey began with a visit yesterday to the International Criminal Court Permanent Premises (left), a tile-and-ivy structure, located in dunelands not far from the North Sea, that opened just 18 months ago. Accompanying them were Associate Dean Diane Marie Amann and our Center’s Interim Director, Kathleen A. Doty, both of whom will lecture at the summer school next week.

Outlining the work of the Office of the Prosecutor were the Prosecutor’s Senior Legal Adviser, Shamila Batohi, and Legal Assistant, Annie O’Reilly (right), with whom Associate Dean Amann works in her capacity as the Prosecutor’s Special Adviser on Children in and affected by Armed Conflict. Topics included case selection and specific cases, complementarity and state cooperation, and the role of the prosecution in relation to other organs of the court.

Then Leiden Law Professor Dov Jacobs, a Legal Assistant in Defense at the ICC and member of the defense team for Laurent Gbagbo, the former Ivoirian President now on trial before the court. Shifting from the theoretical to the practical and back again, he spoke about the nature and challenges of international criminal justice, particularly as it relates to the defense function before contemporary bodies like the ICC.

The journey continued today with a morning briefing at the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal, an international organization established by treaty 36 years ago as a means to settle disputes arising out of the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. It comprises 3 Americans, 3 Iranians, and three members from other countries. Offering a fascinating dialogue on the history and operations of the tribunal were Dr. David Caron, a U.S. member of the tribunaland an international law professor at Kings College London, and Dr. Hossein Piran, Senior Legal Adviser at the tribunal.

(It was a treat to learn that one of Dr. Piran’s professors was the late Gabriel N. Wilner, who founded our European summer study abroad during his long tenure on the Georgia Law faculty. Holding the professorship named after Wilner is Georgia Law Professor Harlan Cohen, who will lecture in this summer school next week, along with Leuven Law Professor Jan Wouters and others.)

The afternoon brought us to the Hague’s Vredepalais (left), or Peace Palace, built in the early 1900s to house international institutions that would foster pacific, rather than warlike, settlements of disputes.

Leading discussion on one of those institutions, the International Court of Justice set up under the 1945 Charter of the United Nations, was Dr. Xavier-Baptiste Ruedin (right), Legal Adviser for Judge Joan E. Donoghue. Topics ranged from provisional measures, like those recently issued in a case involving India and Pakistan, to jurisdiction via advisory opinion (including one soon to arrive at the court, following yesterday’s U.N. General Assembly vote) or contentious case.

A question common to all 3 visits was the role of such institutions – and international law more generally – in the governance of global affairs. We’ll continue to seek answers next week, when our Global Governance Summer School moves to Belgium for classroom seminars and an experts conference with our partner institution, KU Leuven’s Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies.