International Criminal Court / Palestine (John Batchelor Show, WABC-AM 770 New York) October 28, 2010Posted by daviddavenport in Radio Interview Podcasts.
Tags: International Law
Below is a link to the radio interview podcast. David’s interview is the third segment: http://podfuse-dl.andomedia.com/800185/podfuse-origin.andomedia.com/citadel_origin/pods/WABC/WABC-Batchelor/source/jbs_102810dd.mp3
The Palestinian End-Run (AdvancingAFreeSociety.org) October 27, 2010Posted by daviddavenport in Policy Articles & Papers.
Tags: International Law
For years the Middle East peace process has waxed and waned over the difficult question of forming a new Palestinian state. It might be surprising to know, then, that I just returned from the International Criminal Court in The Hague where the Palestinians are apparently attempting an end-run around the Middle East peace process to get international institutions such as the ICC to recognize a Palestinian state, with no negotiation or compromise at all.
It began in January, 2009 when the Palestinian Authority filed a submission asking the Prosecutor of the ICC to take jurisdiction over all war crimes or crimes against humanity that may have been committed by Israel during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza in December, 2008. The Prosecutor of the Court rightly said he had no jurisdiction since Israel is not a party to the Court and Palestine is not a state. Since, then, he has been reconsidering whether some creative theory of statehood might lead to a different result.
The Prosecutor invited eight experts on international law to discuss the matter and inform his eventual decision. If he decides he has jurisdiction, it will have huge political implications on the Middle East peace process, as well as open the doors of the court to independence movements all over the world.
To view the article on Hoover’s Website: http://www.advancingafreesociety.org/2010/10/27/the-palestinian-end-run/
David Davenport’s remarks to the ICC Prosecutor’s forum on the Palestinian Declaration Concerning Gaza October 20, 2010Posted by daviddavenport in Policy Articles & Papers.
Tags: International Law
Mr. Prosecutor, the matters before us today are interesting, important and difficult. But may I submit to you that they are really more interesting today as academic debates in a journal or forum. They are difficult primarily for a political body such as the UN Security Council, or a policy-making body, such as the Assembly of States Parties. They are less difficult for a prosecutor of a criminal court whose discretion is limited in such matters to the law as it is, as it was when the alleged crimes took place.
Very briefly I will list three reasons why the OTP’s decision here is actually relatively clear.
I. The Treaty of Rome and the ICC are State-Based, with their Jurisdictional Provisions Carefully Negotiated and Precisely Stated
I know there are those who believe the state-based underpinnings of international law or too limiting, even anachronistic, and need to be changed. They argue, as one paper asserts here, that the court should not be limited by the literal meaning of a word like “state,” that the Court is free to make up its own meaning based on practical realities. Another urges a so-called teleological approach where everything is defined by the ultimate purposes of the treaty.
But first, every account of the negotiation of the Rome Treaty—whether by the founding president of the Court, or one of its distinguished judges, or by scholars and observers—agrees that the jurisdictional aspects of this Court were the most hotly debated topics in Rome. Some wanted a court of very limited jurisdiction while others sought an expansive court of universal jurisdiction. In the end, Article 12, with its clear limitation to states, was part of that elaborate negotiation and compromise, one not subject to redefinition by the OTP or even the Court itself.
Second, the last place where law would countenance teleology or creative expansion is in a criminal court, where the law rightly requires that clear, bright lines be drawn and followed. Why?
–Because of the extremely serious consequences of criminal prosecution.
–Because defendants deserve to know where the lines of criminal conduct and criminal jurisdiction are drawn.
–Because criminal matters cannot be redefined to, in effect, create jurisdiction after the fact.
On this point, I think everyone at Rome in 1998, and everyone familiar with the Court in 2008 when the acts complained of here occurred, would have said precisely what you did when first presented with the matter: Israel is not a party to the Court and Palestine is not a state, so there is no jurisdiction.
That being so, it is really not the role of criminal courts and criminal prosecutors to go back now and define terms beyond their obvious meaning. That debate, if it is to be had at all, must be held in a political body, such as the U.N. Security Council, or in a policy-making body, such as the Assembly of States Parties, not in the OTP of a criminal court.
II. A Decision that the Palestinian Declaration is Sufficient Under Article 12 Would Have Profound Consequences
A. Loss of confidence in the Court
One set of reservations about the Court from the beginning has been whether it would seek expansive jurisdiction or would become engaged in primarily political matters. To its credit, the OTP has largely steered clear of such concerns, but a finding that “state” means more than “state” will erode confidence in the Court.
B. Inappropriate intrusion in the Middle East peace process
It’s simply not possible for the Court to make a limited finding of statehood for Article 12(3) purposes without having other repercussions on the Middle East peace process. The two-state solution, the Oslo Accords (with their limits on the PA’s external relations capabilities), and the complex situation on the ground in Gaza are all bound up in this. I even have concern that by considering an investigation for a year and a half, the Court is already too deeply involved in the Middle East peace process, given its charter.
C. Open door to non-state entities seeking international validation
Is the Court really prepared to entertain submissions from Chechnya, North and South Ossetia, Tibet, or groups from Sudan, Iraqi Kurdistan or the Basque region? The limited resources of the Court could easily be consumed by its becoming a step on the road to statehood, following any decision to accept the Palestinian submission.
III. Preventing Impunity Leads to No Different Conclusion
The Court, of course, seeks to prevent impunity, but only within its own carefully drafted charter and limits. To say that if the Court does not act, its purposes will not be served is simply incorrect:
A. It is a matter which Israel itself can, and has, taken up within its own legal systems.
B. The U.N. Security Council, which has been the primary decision-maker on war crimes prosecutions, also has jurisdiction to act, jurisdiction, which, I might add, will be taken inappropriately if the Court acts here.
C. Even individual states with laws of universal jurisdiction may bring actions here.
So it is simply not true that, in the absence of action by the ICC, no one else may act and impunity will result.
I would urge the Prosecutor to exercise restraint and not intervene further in this matter.
News Coverage of ICC Prosecutor’s Forum (New York Times) October 20, 2010Posted by daviddavenport in Policy Articles & Papers.
Tags: International Law
Below is the link to the article that appeared in the NY Times entitled “Palestinians Consider Shift on Statehood” by Ethan Bronner, October 20, 2010: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/21/world/middleeast/21mideast.html?src=twrhp
Healthcare Reform: Not So Fast (Townhall.com) October 19, 2010Posted by daviddavenport in Radio Commentaries.
Six months ago, President Obama signed what some hailed as the most
important piece of domestic legislation since Medicare in the 60’s or Social Security in the 30’s. But opposition to the new law is louder than ever—and I would not rule out the possibility that some or all of it will yet be overturned.
Federal lawsuits are proceeding in both Virginia and Florida, with observers more optimistic than before about judges finding at least part of the law unconstitutional. Meanwhile opinion polls are still negative, with Democrats running away from healthcare and Republicans running on a platform to repeal it. Meanwhile states are finding they have neither the money, nor in some cases the legal authority, to implement it.
Obamacare has become a political dividing line in America—and it’s not over yet.
This Election Matters (Townhall.com) October 18, 2010Posted by daviddavenport in Radio Commentaries.
If you needed a reminder of why you should vote, Congressman Chris Van
Hollen, who heads the effort to elect more Democrats to the House, has provided it. He says, if Republicans make major gains, some things that passed Congress in the last two years would not pass next time.
Cash for clunkers? Billions in wasted stimulus spending. Expansive and expensive health care reform? Most Americans now see we would be better off if those things had not passed.
President Obama says that a Republican takeover would mean hand-to-hand combat in Washington. I’m sorry but if more of the last two years is what’s at stake, I want all the combatants I can get. Somebody needs to stop these misguided policies.
This is the most important non-presidential election in years. I’ve already voted. Shouldn’t you?
ICC in Gaza October 15, 2010Posted by daviddavenport in Policy Articles & Papers.
Tags: International Law
David is one of the international law scholars presenting to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court this week (10/20/10) based on the following paper he submitted to the Prosecutor in November, 2009. Please click on the link below to read the paper: