Czech Centre for Human Rights and Democracy
The Centre is an independent academic institution monitoring human rights developments both domestically and worldwide, issuing a monthly Bulletin, as well as organizing conferences.
The Winter Bulletin opens with an interview with a Judge of the principal judicial organ of the United Nations that decides disputes between states. Slovak Judge and former President of the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Peter Tomka, explains what cases the ICJ deals with, how it was to serve as its President and what future challenges the Court faces.
Nikola Klímová presents a summary of the sessions of the human rights treaty bodies based in Geneva from September to December 2018. What were the outcomes of the treaty bodies?
Furthermore, there are a number of articles regarding current human rights developments. These articles are divided into the following four categories: International Criminal Justice; European System of Human Rights Protection; International Politics, Business and Human Rights; and the Czech Republic and Human Rights.
The Uighurs are an ethnic minority coming from the Xinjiang province in Northwestern China. The province is officially an autonomous region however, remains under control of the central government. Furthermore, there are many instances of human rights violations in relation to the Uighurs.
Who are the Uighurs?
The Uighurs are a Turkic-speaking ethnic minority in Central Asia. The majority of this ethnic group, over 10 million people, lives in China and the Xinjiang province, but over 300,000 live in the surrounding countries of Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. Furthermore, there have been communities established further abroad in places such as Afghanistan, Belgium, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Australia, Russia and the United States.
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?