Is conduct contrary to fundamental protections of IHL still a war crime if both perpetrator and victim are affiliated to the same party to the conflict?

This question has recently become more controversial. It arose tangentially in the jurisprudence of the ad hoc tribunals (at the ICTY, in the Tadić, Kvočka and Prlić cases; at the SCSL, in the RUF case), and in the work of the UN Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict, and has recently assumed some prominence at the ICC (in Ntaganda, and potentially also in Ongwen). Some emerging practice indeed suggests that IHL does equally protect individuals from crimes perpetrated by persons affiliated to the same party to the conflict. Yet this must be set against the traditional assumption, as expressed in some post-World War II cases, that IHL only regulates the conduct of members of a party to the conflict towards members of the adverse party and enemy civilians. This talk will question the continuing validity of that assumption, and will argue that there is no general “adverse party” requirement for war crimes, provided that the nexus with the armed conflict is demonstrated.

Dr Giulia Pinzauti is assistant professor of public international law at the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies of Leiden University. Prior to joining the Grotius Centre, she served as law clerk to Judge Cançado Trindade at the International Court of Justice (2015-2016) and as an associate appeals counsel in the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (2012-2014). She also previously worked as part of the legal staff for the Pre-Trial Judge and the Appeals Chamber at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (2011-2012).

She holds a PhD in international law from the European University Institute, as well as a BA and MA from the University of Florence. She is a member of the editorial board of the Leiden Journal of International Law and of the editorial committee of the Journal of International Criminal Justice. She is also treasurer of the Antonio Cassese Initiative for Justice, Peace and Humanity, a foundation that promotes global education and training in human rights, humanitarian law and transitional justice. 

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PIL Lunchtime Discussion Group Series Michaelmas Term 2016.

The Public International Law Discussion Group at the University of Oxford is a key focal point for PIL@Oxford. The PIL Discussion Group hosts a weekly speaker event and light lunch. Topics involve contemporary and challenging issues in international law. Speakers include distinguished international law practitioners, academics, and legal advisers from around the world.

The group typically meets each Thursday during Oxford terms in The Old Library, All Souls College, with lunch commencing at 12:30. The speaker will commence at 12:45 and speak for about forty minutes, allowing about twenty five minutes for questions and discussion. The meeting should conclude before 2:00.

Practitioners, academics and students from within and outside the University of Oxford are all welcome. No RSVP is necessary.

The discussion group's meetings are part of the programme of the British Branch of the International Law Association and are supported by the Law Faculty and Oxford University Press.

To join the Public International Law Discussion Group email list, which offers details of all events and other relevant information, send a message to: pil-subscribe@maillist.ox.ac.uk . (You do not need to write any text in the body of the message, or even put anything in the Subject: line unless your mailer insists on it.) You will be sent a confirmation request, and once you reply to that, a message confirming your subscription. Alternatively, email Jenny Hassan to be added to the PIL mail list.

Convenors of the Oxford Public International Law Discussion Group are Patricia Jimenez Kwast and Nikiforos Panagis.

Kindly sponsored by the ILA - British Branch and Oxford University Press.