For years Professor Meron served as a judge and the President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Nowadays, he presides over the tribunal that took its residual functions. What are the cases the new tribunal deals with? And how does he feel about the development of international criminal justice?
Professor Theodor Meron was born in 1930 in Poland, grew up in Israel and later moved to the US. He studied law in Jerusalem, Oxford and Harvard, and become one of the most respected scholars in international law. After the establishment of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), he served as a judge and the President of ICTY. When these tribunals were about to close, he became the President of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT or Mechanism) that took over the residual functions of both the former tribunals.
The Kosovo Specialist Chambers and the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office (KSC) is a new hybrid criminal tribunal that combines elements of both international and national law. Although being formally part of the judiciary of Kosovo, it has a seat in The Hague. Why was it established?
From 2011 onwards, the European Union strongly supported the establishment of a new hybrid tribunal that could investigate particular crimes that were allegedly committed or commenced on the territory of Kosovo.
After more than a year of preparations the court plans to move from provisional premises into its final building where the future proceedings should take place. The President of the KSC, Ekaterina Trendafilova, was very kind and shared her experiences and views with the Czech Centre for Human Rights and Democracy.
The December Bulletin opens with an interview with an Advocate General of the Court of Justice of the European Union, Michal Bobek. How does the first Czech Advocate General perceive the activity of the principal EU court?
The Czech representatives in the Venice Commission, Veronika Bílková and Kateřina Šimáčková, discuss the outcomes of the December session of the commission, not only about the developments in Hungary.
A report follows from a panel discussion that the Czech Centre organized at the Faculty of Law of the Masaryk University. Its main focus is the current situation of human rights in the Czech Republic.
The term “crime of aggression” in international law determines, with a certain degree of simplification, the individual criminal responsibility of a person (for example a head of state) for ordering an armed attack against a foreign state. Including this crime in the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court in The Hague has been discussed for many years and in December 2017, the final decision was adopted that the crime of aggression would be included in the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court on the 17 July 2018, twenty years after the signing of its founding treaty – the Rome Statute.
In line with the changes, the judges amended the Regulations of the Court, which entered into force on 15 November 2018.
Next to genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, aggression became the fourth crime that the Court will be able to deal with. What does its legal regulation look like and for what kind of cases can we expect it to be used in reality?
President Donald Trump invoked his national security power denying migrants asylum who enter the country illegally. Although Trump feels “we need people in our country but they have to come in legally,” the question must be asked how does this policy stand in regard to asylum law?
The point of the policy
Officials stated that the goal of the executive order was to bring asylum seekers into the country through legal measures at official border crossings and the policy more or less closes the door on asylum when migrants enter illegally. This is being done in an effort to secure national interest. One of the problems with this policy is the sheer number of border crossings, with many asylum seekers being informed at the crossings they must return another day to make their claim and sometimes requiring them to return to their home country in order to make their claim. This policy came to be in part due to the refugee caravan currently moving throughout Central America and Mexico towards the U.S. border, some of who have begun illegally crossing the border and subsequently been arrested.
When an international criminal tribunal in The Hague is mentioned, the majority of people think about the International Criminal Court. However, three other such courts are functioning in The Hague, one of them being the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. And as it applies national law, it is a very unique international tribunal. Why was it established? In what ways does it differ from the other tribunals? The answers are brought by its President, Judge Ivana Hrdličková.
Madame President, as she is called at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, was a judge in the Czech Republic in both civil and criminal cases who, at the same time, focused her academic interests on Islamic law and human rights. She also served as an expert on the Council of Europe on money laundering and terrorist financing matters at the so-called Moneyval. She was appointed a judge at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon in 2012 and became its President in 2015. In February 2018 she was re-elected for a third term of eighteen months.
The November Bulletin opens with an exceptional contribution - following the interviews with the Presidents of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and the so-called Kosovo Chambers, we bring an interview with another President of a judicial institution based in The Hague. Judge Theodor Meron is a real guru of international criminal justice who presided for many years over the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Currently he presides over the tribunal that replaced it.
Additionally, the Czech representatives in the Venice Commission, Kateřina Šimáčková and Veronika Bílková, discuss the outcomes of the October session of the commission. It mainly concerned a reform of judiciary in Romania but also counter-terrorist measures in Moldova.