International Court of Justice. Photo: Frans Berkelaar via Flickr (CC)
International Court of Justice. Photo: Frans Berkelaar via Flickr (CC)

AU to seek advisory opinion from ICJ on head of state immunity: At its Assembly of Heads of State and Government on 28 and 29 January 2018, the African Union agreed to seek an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on the legal obligations of States Parties to the International Criminal Court in respect of head of state immunities. Guidance will be sought on the relationship between Articles 27 (irrelevance of official capacity) and 98 (cooperation with respect to waiver of immunity and consent to surrender) of the Rome Statute and States Parties’ wider legal obligations. African ICC States Parties will also request the ICC Assembly of States Parties to convene a working group of experts to propose an interpretive clarification on the question. The issue has arisen in the context of the failure of several ICC States Parties to execute ICC arrest warrants against Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir, resulting in their referral by the Court to the ASP and UN Security Council for non-compliance with the Rome Statute. (Dabanga, Coalition for the ICC)

Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori. Photo: noticialocal.blogspot.com via Bing.
Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori. Photo: noticialocal.blogspot.com via Bing.

Inter-American Court of HR addresses pardon of Fujimori for CAH; hears from victims: On 2 February 2018, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights heard arguments on the legality of the pardoning of former Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori. The court was asked to find that the pardon contravened international law, including the court’s orders in the Barrios Altos and La Cantuta cases to prosecute and punish the perpetrators of the human rights violations there found. Fujimori was sentenced to 25 years’ imprisonment in 2009 for crimes against humanity but was pardoned due to health concerns by current Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski in December 2017. (Tico Times, Reuters, TeleSur, Amnesty International)

 

African Union. Photo: Embassy of Equatorial Guinea via Flickr (CC).
African Union Emblem. Photo: Embassy of Equatorial Guinea via Flickr (CC).

Kenya expresses commitment to Malabo Protocol to merge ACHPR with Court to try international crimes: It was reported on 5 February 2018 that Kenya had committed to ratify the 2014 Malabo Protocol to merge the African Court of Justice and the African Court on Human and People’s Rights into a single court. When the Protocol comes into force, the new African Court of Justice and Human Rights will be vested with international criminal jurisdiction to prosecute: genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, unconstitutional change of government, piracy, terrorism, mercenarism, corruption, money laundering, trafficking of persons, trafficking of drugs, trafficking of hazardous wastes, illicit exploitation of national resources, and aggression. Its personal jurisdiction will include any legal person except States. Incumbent heads of states and senior officials of African Union States will enjoy functional immunity from prosecution. To date, 10 states have signed but no state has ratified the Protocol. (Standard, Malabo Protocol)

 

Switzerland donates to Kosovo Tribunal in The Hague: In January 2018, Switzerland granted USD 214,750 funding to the Kosovo Specialist Chambers and Specialist Prosecutor’s Office (KSC). The KSC is part of Kosovo’s judicial system but based in The Hague and staffed with international judges and prosecutors. The KSC has jurisdiction over alleged crimes against humanity and war crimes by members and affiliates of the Kosovo Liberation Army in Kosovo between 1998 and 2000 relating to a 2011 Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly Report. (Swiss Info, KSC)