‘Responsibility to Prosecute’? The Case of German Universal Jurisdiction, CIJA and the Arrest of Syrian Perpetrators

Arguably, more than any other global actor, Germany is at the forefront of issuing arrest warrants for atrocity crimes committed by the Syrian government in the wake of the Arab Spring. Three important observations can be made from Germany’s experience. First, it highlights the uniqueness of Germany’s universal jurisdiction as one based on a legal ‘responsibility to prosecute’. Second, it challenges prevailing preconceptions that accountability for core international crimes rests with one or two inter-state actors, such as the United Nations Security Council and the International Criminal Court. Continue reading

Climate Change, Migration and ‘Disappearing States’: The Case of Pacific Island Countries

Climate change is a material reality as much as it is a discursive one – and an extremely powerful one at that. Following the major scare story of global terrorism at the turn of this century, climate change seems to have become the new “Big Story”.1 The Pacific island countries (PICs), which face the threat of becoming entirely uninhabitable, have been positioned at the frontline of this discourse, as evidence of a changing climate and omen of a dystopian future of mass displacement. Indeed, the big story of climate change and mobility in the Pacific has been articulated through a narrative of climate refugees in need of legal recognition by the international community as they flee their sinking islands slowly swallowed up by unforgivable rising seas. Continue reading

Impeaching Remnants of the Authoritarian Past: A Constitutional Moment in South Korea

Last Friday, effective March 10 at exactly 11:21 a.m., the sitting President Park Geun-hye was removed from her office by a unanimous decision of the South Korean Constitutional Court. With public life coming to a standstill as eyes focused on TV and internet live broadcasting, the acting Chief Justice delivered the court decision. The conclusion of the constitutional impeachment procedure marked the climax of a transformative ongoing constitutional moment in South Korea. Continue reading