The Role of Interpol and Extradition Treaty in International Law 

Background

An Interpol notice is an international alert circulated by Interpol to communicate information about crimes, criminals and threats from police in a member state to their counterparts around the world. The information spread via notices concerns individuals wanted for serious crimes, missing persons, unidentified bodies, possible threats, prison escapes and criminals. In the Luka Magnotta case the Red Notice was issued. This is similar to an international arrest warrant in todays use, but by definition is to seek the location and arrest of a person wanted by a judicial jurisdiction or an international tribunal with a view to his/her extradition.

Extradition is the official process whereby one country transfers a suspected or convicted criminal to another country. Between countries, extradition is normally regulated by treaties. Continue reading “The Role of Interpol and Extradition Treaty in International Law “

Tokyo War Crimes Trial

The Tokyo War Crims Trial or International Military Tribunal for the Far East

The Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal, or simply the Tribunal, was convened on April 29, 1946, to try the leaders of the Empire of Japan for three types of war crimes. “Class A” crimes were reserved for those who participated in a joint conspiracy to start and wage war, and were brought against those in the highest decision-making bodies; “Class B” crimes were reserved for those who committed “conventional” atrocities or crimes against humanity; “Class C” crimes were reserved for those in “the planning, ordering, authorization, or failure to prevent such transgressions at higher levels in the command structure”

Following the model used at the Nuremberg Trials in Germany, the Allies established three broad categories. “Class A” charges, alleging crimes against peace, were to be brought against Japan’s top leaders who had planned and directed the war. Class B and C charges, which could be leveled at Japanese of any rank, covered conventional war crimes and crimes against humanity, respectively. Unlike the Nuremberg Trials, the charge of crimes against peace was a prerequisite to prosecution—only those individuals whose crimes included crimes against peace could be prosecuted by the Tribunal Continue reading “Tokyo War Crimes Trial”

Nuremberg Trial

Backround

With Adolf Hitler’s rise to power as Chancellor of Germany in 1933, new policies were implemented by Hitler’s Nazi government, persecuting German-Jewish people and other minorities seen as threats to the Nazi state. As their time in power went on and grew stronger, these policies became exceedingly violent.  After WWII ended in 1945, some of those responsible for these crimes during the Holocaust were brought to trial in Nuremberg, Germany. This case was significant as it established the principle that wartime leaders are accountable under international law for illegal and immoral actions, meaning they are responsible for the wars they start.

Key Legal Issues

As there was no precedent for an international trial of war criminals, the Nuremberg Trials had many legal and procedural issues that had to be overcome. As the Allies (a group of 4 powers that won the war against Germany, consisting of Britain, France, the Soviet Union and America) were all prosecuting these international war criminals, the trial proceedings had to be conducted according to the laws of these 4 powers. Laws were eventually composed and the legal basis for the trial was drawn up in the London Charter, which identified crime into 3 major categories: crimes against peace, war crimes and crimes against humanity. The trials were held with a mix of legal traditions. Prosecutors and defense attorneys were held to the standards of British and American law, but decisions and sentences were made by a tribunal. However, as only the winners of the war, the Allies, were prosecuting, all their crimes during the war were left without a trial. As only Nazi Germany was tried, the trial, though morally right, was legally wrong.

Case

The best known of the Nuremberg Trials, and a trial regarded as the ‘trial of the century’, was the Trial of Major War Criminals, held from November 20th, 1945 until October 1st, 1945. Prosecuting the war criminals were representatives of the USA, Great Britain, the Soviet Union and France, with Chief Judge Geoffrey Lawrence of Great Britain and 7 associates serving as the tribunal. All members of the prosecution and tribunal were also members of the Allies. 24 men were indicted, and were allowed to choose their own representation. All were charged with crimes of conspiracy, crimes against peace, humanity or war crimes.  1 man was not deemed fit to stand for trial, and another killed himself before the trials began. Hitler and 2 of his close associates were not brought to trial, as each had committed suicide in the spring of 1945. The most common defense strategies, used by defense lawyers Otto Stahmer, Fritz Sauter and Alfred Seitel, were that the London Charter criminalized actions that were committed before the charter was introduced (ex post facto), and that the trial was a form of victor’s justice. On October 1st, 1945, the International Military Tribunal announced its verdict, sentencing 12 men to death, 3 to life imprisonment, 4 to prison terms ranging from 10-20 years, and three were acquitted.

Omar Khadr / US Black Sites / Guantanamo Bay

Background

  • A Black site is a location where an unacknowledged project is being conducted by a government agency/military contractor
  • One of the most infamous black sites is the U.S. operated Guantanamo Bay(GTMO)
  • Was finally acknowledged in 2006 by Bush 4 years after its establishment
  • Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp is a Us Military prison located in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba
  • A report by the Institute on Medicine as a Profession stated that health professionals working with the military at GTMO “designed and participated in cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment and torture of detainees.”
  • Medical evidence of torture including beatings, electric shock, sleep deprivation, sexual humiliation, and sodomy among others has been found on 11 former detainees (held at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and in Afghanistan).
    • None of which were charged

Omar Khadr

Omar Khadr was born in Canada and at the age of 15 his dad gave him to a group of Al Quida members in Afghanistan to act as a translator because he spoke three languages. In 2002 a fire fight broke out between the Americans and Al Quida forces. All Al Quida members were killed except Omar. It is highly debated what happened there but supposedly a grenade was thrown killing an American soldier. Omar was taken to Guantanamo Bay and spent 12 years there being physically and emotionally abused. At the age of 28 he was released on bail with heavy restrictions and resides in Alberta

Key Legal Issues

  • Habeas Corpus is essentially a writ of summons for a person, usually a prison warden, to challenge the legality of the detention
  • In 2002 a major petition for a writ of habeas corpus regarding GTMO detainees was denied on the foundation that U.S courts lacked jurisdiction over the camp and its prisoners
  • In 2008 the US Supreme Court ruled that the GTMO detainees were entitled to the protection of the US Constitution.

Omar Khadr

  • He was 15 when he was arrested but according to Audrey Macklin, University of Toronto professor, because he was given a sentence of more than 7 years, his sentence cannot be regarded under the young offender’s regime and is treated as an adult. It is believed that this was calculated to deny him access of being treated as a young offender
  • He was not charged with first degree murder but a war crime of murder. Macklin stated that “ the crime doesn’t actually exist in the international lexicon of war crimes and is the first person in the world to be convicted of that war crime
    • Not positive that he threw the grenade
  • During the time that Khadr allegedly threw the grenade that killed the US soldier wasn’t considered a war crime so his lawyers are challenging that they cannot charge him for something that wasn’t a crime during the time it happened

Case 
Omar Khadr

  • After 10 years in detention, he pleaded guilty
  • 5 charges of war crimes, terrorism including killing an American soldier, spying and providing material support for terrorism
  • After 12 years, he was released on bail with conditions

Outer Space

Background

  •  Five international treaties + five sets of principles governing outer space — developed under the control of the United Nations

Outer Space Treaty

  •  First internat’l treaty that provides the basic skeleton for all other space treaties; put into effect in Oct. 1967
  • Agreement adopted by General Assembly in 1963, mainly based on the Declaration of Legal Principles Governing the Activities of States in Exploration and Use of Outer Space; 99 ratifications and 25 signatures
  • Prohibits interference with activities, so exercises of jurisdiction in mining areas would also be justified to the extent necessary to prevent interference and ensure safety

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Antarctica Treaty Laws

Background

Antarctica is the south most continent it is 98% and twice the size of Australia. 70% of the worlds fresh water, lots of minerals and possibly a lot of oil is also located in Antarctica. Antarctica was first discovered in 1820 by Russian explorers and is classified as the greater heritage of mankind along with space and the moon. Upon its discovery many explorers made hollow claims on the continent as no one could actually settle there due to how unsophisticated the technology was at the time. Originally the Great Britain claimed much of the coast followed by France, Nazi Germany and Norway. Argentina and Chile took advantage of Great Britain’s involvement and preoccupation in WW2 and claimed parts of her territory. Continue reading “Antarctica Treaty Laws”

Human Trafficking

Background

  • Globally, the average cost of a slave is $90.
  • Approximately 80% of trafficking involves sexual exploitation, and 19% involves labor exploitation.
  • There are approximately 20 to 30 million slaves in the world today.
  • According to the U.S. State Department, 600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders every year, of which 80% are female and half are children.
  • The International Labour Organization estimates that women and girls represent the largest share of forced labor victims with 11.4 million trafficked victims (55%) compared to 9.5 million (45%) men.
  • Human traffickers often use a Sudanese phrase “use a slave to catch slaves,” meaning traffickers send “broken-in girls” to recruit younger girls into the sex trade. Sex traffickers often train girls themselves, raping them and teaching them sex acts.
  • Only 1-2% of victims are ever rescued.

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Environmental Law

Background

Environmental law – or “environmental and natural resources law” – is a collective term describing the network of treaties, statutes, regulations, and common and customary laws addressing the effects of human activity on the natural environment. The policy is to set minimum standards and to ensure that businesses and industrial uses are regulated to protect the environment. Customary international law refers to the relevant environment based duty of one state to warn other states promptly about icons of an environmental nature and environmental damages to which another state or states may be exposed. Continue reading “Environmental Law”

Sovereignty vs Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Re: Women)

Background

Sovereignty is the supreme and independent power or authority in government as possessed or claimed by a state or community. This entitles countries to avoid any intervention in their personal affairs. However, there is also the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on December 10th, 1948. This declaration was created to set a standard for all people of all nations. Looking back at the definition of sovereignty, it becomes obvious that these two principles are conflicting. In some countries, the governments have taken the Universal Declaration of Human Rights very seriously, and have worked to go above and beyond the basic standard of living expected of them to give their citizens. Other countries have not adopted the UDHR principles as well, and are lacking in many areas, particularly when it comes to women’s rights. These countries are able to defend their choices because of their right to sovereignty. Continue reading “Sovereignty vs Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Re: Women)”

Diplomatic Immunity

Background

  • Prevents diplomats from being susceptible to prosecution or    lawsuit under their host country’s laws and guarantees safe passage for them – members of the diplomatic staff have immunity from the criminal jurisdiction, as well as civil, of the country they are in (though they can be deported)
  • Set out as international law in 1961 in the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations where it was agreed upon by 187 countries
  • These privileges are granted to diplomats to make sure they can effectively carry out their duties
  • The home countries of the officials can waive immunity with serious crimes; they can also prosecute the official if there is a case to answer and it is in the public interest

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