Groningen Journal of International Law

International Law Under Construction


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Can top Italian officials be prosecuted and tried by the ICC for complicity in the crimes committed against migrants in Libya?

Andrea Preziosi | AMP711@student.bham.ac.uk

Background

The cooperation between Italy and Libya with the objective of curbing migratory pressure on Italian shores and EU external borders has attracted a great deal of criticism in light of the widespread pattern of human rights violations against migrants taking place on the war-torn territory of the African state. It was inaugurated in the early 2000s and strengthened by way of the 2017 Memorandum of Understanding. The former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has condemned the assistance provided by Italy (backed by the EU) to the Libyan Cost Guards to intercept migrants at sea and prevent them from leaving the country, where they are confronted with “unimaginable horrors”, including torture, rape and killing. The Italian strategy has sought to involve not only internationally-recognised actors, but also local tribes that control Libyan territorial borders and, reportedly, armed groups implicated in the trafficking of migrants. Despite rising criticism, the newly elected Italian government has adopted an even more restrictive policy to tackle migration, as demonstrated by the frequent episodes of boats carrying hundreds of migrants coming from Libya being prevented entry to Italian ports.

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The Challenges of Prosecuting Wars of Aggression

By Benjamin Dürr | mail@benjamin-duerr.de

Twenty years after its creation, the International Criminal Court (ICC) is on the verge of gaining jurisdiction over a new crime, enabling the court to prosecute high-level individuals for waging war. During the annual Assembly of States Parties in December, the ICC’s member states decided to activate the ICC’s jurisdiction over the crime of aggression as of 17 July 2018 – twenty years after the court’s founding treaty, the Rome Statute, entered into force. While the activation is seen as a historic step in international law, the political compromises that enabled it raise doubts about the applicability of jurisdiction over the new crime.

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