Category Archives: International Humanitarian Law

Via @ConversationUK – Twenty years after Srebrenica, ethnic cleansing has become a defence to genocide

Prof James A. Sweeney

James A. Sweeney (@James_Sweeney_) is Professor of International Law in the Law School at Lancaster University.  He has published widely in the areas of human rights and refugee law, and is the author of The European Court of Human Rights in the Post-Cold War Era: Universality in Transition, the first monograph to examine transitional justice in the jurisprudence of the ECHR.  His work on the human rights of failed asylum seekers, [2008] Public Law 277-301, has the distinction of being cited with approval both by the House of Lords and the Court of Appeal, in the cases of R (on the application of M) v Slough BC [2008] UKHL 52, [28], and SL v Westminster City Council [2011] EWCA Civ 954, [16].

You can find out more about James’ research at http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/fass/law/profiles/james-sweeney

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An image of the interior of the court chamber of the European Court of Human Rights , with the judges' blue seats arranged in a large horseshoe

Part II: The Impact of the ECtHR Ruling in the Case of Maktouf and Damjanovic vs Bosnia and Herzegovina: On Transitional Justice in B-H

Maja Kapetanovic

Part Two: Political Impact

In July of 2013 the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) issued a ruling in the case Maktouf and Damjanovic vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina, concerning the non-retroactive application of criminal law to war crimes cases, which had tremendous negative consequences on post conflict justice efforts in Bosnia and Herzegovina (B-H). The case concerned two applicants (Maktouf and Damjanovic), convicted for war crimes against civilians committed during the 1992-1995 war in B-H, who successfully claimed that their sentencing violated Article 7 ECHR because the 2003 Bosnian Criminal Code was retroactively applied to them (the case is discussed in more detail in a previous Lancaster Law blog by Prof. James A. Sweeney, and in his recent journal on ‘Non-retroactivity, candour and transitional relativism’). This blog post will deal the political fallout from this case in B-H. My previous post examined the legal consequences.

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White marble pillar gravestones marking the graves of victims of the Srebrenica massacre

The Impact of the ECtHR Ruling in the Case of Maktouf and Damjanovic v Bosnia and Herzegovina: Transitional Justice in B-H

Maja Kapetanovic

Part One: Legal Impact

In July of 2013 the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) issued a ruling in the case Maktouf and Damjanovic vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina, concerning the non-retroactive application of criminal law to war crimes cases, which had tremendous negative consequences on post conflict justice efforts in Bosnia and Herzegovina (B-H).

Part II is available here.

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Criminal Omissions: Assessing the Limits of the Military Profession in International Law

Lenneke Sprik

After the mass atrocities that took place in Bosnia and Rwanda during the nineties, questions were raised regarding the individual duties and criminal responsibility of military officials during peacekeeping missions.  In the Netherlands a criminal complaint was filed against the commander of the Dutch battalion (Dutchbat) who was allegedly responsible for the death of three men in Srebrenica; one working directly for Dutchbat, the others relatives of those working for Dutchbat.

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