Brown University Seminar – Part V

This five-part blog post is drawn from Michael G. Karnavas’s Seminar at the Brown University International Organization (BRIO) February 27, 2014.  The complete piece is available on Michael’s website.

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VI. CLOSING THOUGHTS

conclusionIn wrapping up the seminar, I discussed the implications of the various positions that are out there. To strike or not to strike. Operate outside the international legal framework, or operate as if within the international legal framework (as suggested by the UK) or alternatively with the view of recalibrating (redefining) the law on the use of force?

Military strikes against Syria without UN Security Council approval are almost certainly a violation of international law. Building a coalition of the willing that operates outside the UN would not make it any more legal, though, as in Kosovo, it could be viewed as legitimate or morally right.  Punishment is not a legal justification. International law does not seem to provide a right of states to respond with force to serious violations of international law—even when that law prohibits the use of chemical weapons. Continue reading “Brown University Seminar – Part V”

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Brown University Seminar — Part IV

This five-part blog post is drawn from Michael G. Karnavas’s Seminar at the Brown University International Organization (BRIO) February 27, 2014.  The complete piece is  available on Michael’s website.

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3. Discussion on Syria—is there a legal basis or justification outside the Security Council?

justificationThe United States’ positions discussed seem to provide a justification for the use of force based on punitive reprisals and anticipatory self-defense. However, President Obama gave mixed messages.  The US seems to be scoping out all the possible justifications for the use of force. An analysis of the legal rules governing countermeasures and reprisals, armed force in reaction to a breach of an international law norm is generally prohibited.[1] Similarly, the use of force in anticipatory self-defense is not regarded as lawful. It goes beyond the Caroline precedent as an armed attack from Syria on the US or UK is not imminent. A strict application of the UN Charter to determine the legality of the use of force under Articles 2(4), 39 and 42 leaves us with the proposition that any intervention outside the Security Council, apart from self-defense, would be unlawful. In regard to the UK position, R2P leaves us at square one—as it requires Security Council authorization. R2P does not solve any of the issues when there is Security Council deadlock. Continue reading “Brown University Seminar — Part IV”

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Brown University Seminar — Part III

This five-part blog post is drawn from Michael G. Karnavas’s Seminar at the Brown University International Organization (BRIO) February 27, 2014.  The complete piece is available on Michael’s website.

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IV. DISCUSSION

EvoloutionAfter going through all the various legal provisions, I touched on the evolution of the legal theory in practice. The law is not static, and this is not the first time we have seen this type of scenario. The situation in Kosovo in the 1990s involved intervention by a coalition of the willing outside the legal framework. A somewhat progressive legal doctrine “Responsibility to Protect”—“R2P” for short—was adopted shortly after NATO’s intervention in the former Yugoslavia, in order to develop some of the legal framework in regard to the use of force. However, today, we can see that R2P falls short of legalizing intervention outside of the UN framework. Perhaps this is the price paid for acting without UN Security authorization, when examining the evolution of R2P. Continue reading “Brown University Seminar — Part III”

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Brown University Seminar — Part II

This five-part blog post is drawn from Michael G. Karnavas’s Seminar at the Brown University International Organization (BRIO) February 27, 2014.  The complete piece is available on Michael’s website.

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III. LEGAL FRAMEWORK

SyriaWith the context of the Syrian conflict in mind, I then discussed the legal framework which governs the use of force in this scenario. There are many legal provisions in the UN scheme as well as treaty and customary law which govern the use of force. I briefly took the students through these legal provisions in order to engage them in an analytical process so they could reach their conclusions—or at least cause them to look beyond any preconceptions they may have had coming into the seminar. Continue reading “Brown University Seminar — Part II”

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Karnavas gives seminar at Brown University: Red Lines and Game Changers — The Legality of Unilateral or Collective Use of Force in Syria

This five-part blog post is drawn from Michael G. Karnavas’s Seminar at the Brown University International Organization (BRIO) February 27, 2014.  The complete piece is available on Michael’s website.

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I. INTRODUCTION

Brio_logoOn February 27, 2014 I held a seminar on Syria at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, sponsored by the Brown University International Organization (BRIO): “Red Lines and Game Changers—The Legality of Unilateral or Collective Use of Force in Syria.” This seminar was intended to guide Brown University students through the legal framework surrounding the potential, and controversial, use of force in Syria by the United States in response to the use of chemical weapons.

To briefly introduce the Syrian conflict, the Human Rights Council has described the situation in Syria as follows: “The Syrian Arab Republic is a battlefield. Its cities and towns suffer relentless shelling and sieges. . . . Government and pro-government forces have continued to conduct widespread attacks on the civilian population.”[1] Further underlying the exigencies of the situation, United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon found that chemical weapons were used on a relatively large scale, resulting in numerous casualties, particularly among civilians, including many children.[2] The seriousness of these allegations has sparked a number of responses from governments and officials. Continue reading “Karnavas gives seminar at Brown University: Red Lines and Game Changers — The Legality of Unilateral or Collective Use of Force in Syria”

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Al Jazeerah article quotes Karnavas on ECCC aspiration vs. actuality

ECCC_LogoI was recently asked by journalist Julia Wallace to provide some thoughts for an article she was writing for Al Jazeera, focusing whether the ECCC has had a positive impact on the Cambodian court system.  Though I was quoted correctly and reasonably in context, much of what I had provided was lost during the editing process. Since the article came out (http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2014/03/khmer-rouge-tribunal-failing-expectations-20143293030347313.html) some have commented that my views are overly harsh and dismissive, or that I fail to acknowledge the challenges in Cambodia.   I think not, but you be the judge.  Here is the full text of what I provided to Ms. Wallace for the Al Jazeera article:

I have been involved in various projects over the past 20 years dealing with the Cambodian judicial system.  I am also a big supporter of harvesting what is useful and applicable from the ECCC, both procedurally and substantively, and to apply it in the regular courts.  (See my article, based on my presentation at the ECCC legacy conference: Bringing Domestic Cambodian Cases into Compliance with International Standards – Applicability of ECCC Jurisprudence and Procedural Mechanisms at the Domestic Level, posted on my blog michaelgkarnavas.net/blog).  With this as a backdrop, I’ll attempt to provide some answers to your questions.

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Eighth and Final Installment: JUDICIAL ETHICS IN THE INTERNATIONAL TRIBUNALS

This is the eighth, and final installment, in a series of posts drawn from a 24 January 2014 lecture on Judicial Ethics at the ADC-ICTY’s Twelfth Defence Symposium for interns and staff at the ICTY.  The complete document is available on my website.

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H. The Obligations of Defence Counsel in exercising due diligence

French_lawyer_early_20thLastly, I discussed obligations that also lie with Defence counsel.  Indeed, Defence counsel have to be diligent to raise disqualifications early in the proceedings and to the right authority.  I put the accent on how important is to make the record.  I used the Čelebići case as an example in which the issue was whether a Judge was fit to be a Judge.

ICTY Prosecutor v. Delalić et al. (Čelebići), The Case of the sleeping Judge, and the Defence’s failure to raise

In Čelebići, Judge Karibi-Whyte was sleeping during substantial portions the trial proceedings.[1]  Defence counsel for Landžo did not formally raise this issue before the Trial Chamber but filed this issue as a ground of appeal.[2]  Counsel for Landžo explained the failure to raise this issue during trial proceedings stating that she had approached “this sensitive issue in the most diplomatic way possible.”[3]  Indeed, Counsel for Landžo had first raised the issue with the Registrar and President of the ICTY Judge Cassese rather than in court: Continue reading “Eighth and Final Installment: JUDICIAL ETHICS IN THE INTERNATIONAL TRIBUNALS”

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Seventh Installment: JUDICIAL ETHICS IN THE INTERNATIONAL TRIBUNALS

This is the seventh installment in a series of posts drawn from a 24 January 2014 lecture on Judicial Ethics at the ADC-ICTY’s Twelfth Defence Symposium for interns and staff at the ICTY.  The complete document is available on my website.

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G. Staff Members

StaffOnlyFollowing the discussion on judges, I then moved on to discuss instances bias raised concerning judicial staff. The question is whether Chamber’s staff members are subjected to the same rules as Judges and therefore subject to disqualification. The answer is no, Rule 15(A) ICTY Rules of Procedure and Evidence (RPE) applies only to Judges.  Noteworthy, there is no explicit code of conduct for Chambers or Prosecution staff members even though they carry out highly sensitive functions and, in many instances, are, or are presumed to be, agents of the judges and prosecutors whom they serve.  Presumably, under their contractual obligations they are to conduct themselves in an ethical manner, though query whether that is enough.

ICTY Case Against Senior Legal Officer Florence Hartmann

In the Hartmann[1] case before the ICTY, in which a Senior Legal Officer allegedly had ex parte communications with the amicus curiae—who was acting on behalf of the Prosecutor—regarding the provision of confidential materials to the Defence.

Continue reading “Seventh Installment: JUDICIAL ETHICS IN THE INTERNATIONAL TRIBUNALS”

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Sixth Installment: JUDICIAL ETHICS IN THE INTERNATIONAL TRIBUNALS

This is the sixth installment in a series of posts drawn from a 24 January 2014 lecture on Judicial Ethics at the ADC-ICTY’s Twelfth Defence Symposium for interns and staff at the ICTY.  The complete document is available on my website.

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E. Corruption, Impartiality and Fitness to Sit as Judge

ECCC Case 002, Ieng Sary’s Motion to Disqualify Judge Nil Nonn

ScaleTipIn 2002, Amanda Pike, a documentary filmmaker, traveled to Cambodia and produced the documentary “Cambodia: Pol Pot’s Shadow.”[1]  While filming the documentary, Ms. Pike interviewed Judge Nil Nonn, the then President of the Provincial Court of Battambang.  This interview served as a basis for her article “Battambang: The Judge.”  In this article, Ms. Pike reported:

We talk with Judge Nil, who says that he’s upset by people’s lack of faith in the justice system. He laments that he often has to defend his profession to his friends. He admits that, yes, he does take bribes—of course—but only after a case is over. After all, he earns only $30 a month, not nearly enough to provide for his family. What else, he asks with that toothy grin, is he supposed to do?[2]

Judge Nil Nonn, when interviewed in 2006 by the Cambodia Daily, denied that he had ever taken bribes from the public or participated in the interview.[3]  He stated “however, if after a trial people feel grateful to me and give me something, that’s normal I don’t refuse it. . . .  I’ve settled a case for them and people feel grateful. Living conditions these days are difficult for me. But if you are talking about pressuring people for bribes—no.”[4]

Having learned of this article, the IENG Sary Defence first took steps to obtain more information.  First, the IENG Sary Defence attempted to locate Ms. Pike and obtain the video footage from her interview with Judge Nil Nonn and Judge Nil Nonn’s release form to be filmed.  Ms. Pike responded that she would not release the material voluntarily on “journalistic grounds.”[5]  Similarly, the IENG Sary Defence wrote to Mr. Welsh at the Cambodia Daily who also declined to provide information.[6]  Shortly thereafter, the IENG Sary Defence filed a motion to the Trial Chamber seeking to disqualify Judge Nil Nonn on the basis of corruption and a related request to investigate the action.[7]

Continue reading “Sixth Installment: JUDICIAL ETHICS IN THE INTERNATIONAL TRIBUNALS”

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Fifth Installment: JUDICIAL ETHICS IN THE INTERNATIONAL TRIBUNALS

This is the fifth installment in a series of posts drawn from a 24 January 2014 lecture on Judicial Ethics at the ADC-ICTY’s Twelfth Defence Symposium for interns and staff at the ICTY.  The complete document is available on my website.

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C. A Judge’s Ethical Obligation to Disclose 

DisclosureNext, I discussed a Judge’s ethical obligation to disclose.  Judges must disclose facts that may affect (or perceive to affect) their impartiality; facts that could lead a reasonable, informed observer to objectively apprehend bias.

ICTR Prosecutor v. Karemera, Disqualification of Judge Vaz

In the ICTR case Karemera, the Defence requested that Judge Vaz recuse herself because of her alleged cohabitation with Ms. Dior Fall, one of the trial attorneys for the prosecution during the case.[1]  Although Judge Vaz ultimately withdrew, the Appeals Chamber noted the improper conduct and held that the Judge should have disclosed the facts of her accommodation prior to the Defence’s objection: Continue reading “Fifth Installment: JUDICIAL ETHICS IN THE INTERNATIONAL TRIBUNALS”

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