Since at least 2017, Myanmar has come under increased scrutiny for the actions of its military (the Tatmadaw) against ethnic minorities in its northern provinces and in Rakhine. While the Burmese government has argued its actions are in response to threats by militant groups, many have characterised them as international crimes.
It is both realistic and legally possible for the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar (‘IIMM’) and the ICC to ensure that allegations of corporate complicity feature in the future accountability landscape for Myanmar under international criminal law. The individual complicity of corporate CEOs falls within the terms of reference of the IIMM and the material jurisdiction of the ICC. Customary international law standards of aiding and abetting, and Article 25 of the Rome Statute provide a legal basis for the accomplice liability of such individuals.
Last week, Rethinking SLIC* published Göran Sluiter's blog post on the secondary liability of social media platforms in relation to 'image-based sexual abuse' (I-BSA, also known as 'revenge pornography'). The blog has prompted Dutch Member of Parliament Michiel van Nispen of opposition party SP to submit written questions on the matter to Minister of Justice Grapperhaus.
Image-based sexual abuse (I-BSA), also known as ‘revenge pornography’, has a grave impact on its victims and can lead to feelings of fear, shame, humiliation, anger, sadness and depression, and in some cases even to suicide. There is thus every reason to have a robust investigative and prosecutorial policy in place to effectively deal with such cases. In the Netherlands, a new provision in the Dutch Penal Code, Article 139h, was inserted quite recently to better encapsulate the conduct of I-BSA, justified by the need for a focused penal provision on I-BSA on the basis of a need for a uniform framework, to do justice to victims and to send a strong signal to potential wrongdoers. Could social media platforms be held liable for aiding and abetting I-BSA?
On 23 November 2021, the District Court of The Hague delivered its summary judgment in the case filed by PAX, Stop Wapenhandel and the Dutch section of the International Commission of Jurists against the Dutch government’s decision to allow the export of military goods and technology to Egypt. The decision exposes certain inconsistencies between the English and the Dutch version of the assessment criteria in the EU Common Position. Could the English wording make a difference on appeal?
The definition of ecocide proposed by the Independent Expert Panel for the Legal Definition of Ecocide lies at the centre of the current debate surrounding ecocide as an international crime. Rethinking SLIC* is very fortunate to welcome Kate Mackintosh, one of the driving forces behind the ecocide definition and a leading member of the Panel, to speak and update us on recent developments. She will be joined by researchers from the University of Amsterdam who will shed their light on some issues surrounding the definition.
This will be a hybrid event. Register here to participate via Zoom.
Between 2012 and 2019, 674 attacks with cluster munitions were reported in Syria. The majority of those attacks were carried out within the Syrian-Russian Joint Operation. One of the deployed cluster munitions is the SPBE-D model, an example of a new generation of Russian cluster munitions, which was tested in Syria. This blogpost discusses whether Russian company NPO Basalt participated in violations of international humanitarian law by providing cluster munitions to be tested in the Syrian conflict. It also analyzes the responsibility of NPO Basalt’s executives under the rules of the Rome Statute as an aider and abettor to the aforementioned violations.
On 26 May 2021, two separate shareholder meetings at leading oil companies made major headlines, when they provided a theater for “shareholder rebellions” by climate activists and investors. At Exxon Mobil, the small, San Francisco-based hedge fund Engine No. 1 successfully campaigned to replace three of the company’s board members with its own candidates who are committed to pursuing a green business strategy. On the same day at Chevron, 61% of the company’s shareholders voted in favor of a proposal by the Dutch organization Follow This to cut carbon emissions. Can shareholder rebellions also work in the context of business and human rights violations?
There has been a steady increase in online disinformation and extremism, the effects of which have been felt offline. Through various online platforms, politicians and military leaders incite violence, far-right groups organise riots and violent attacks, forums inspire domestic terrorists to carry out mass shootings, and conspiracy theories spread like wildfire. From these examples, a common theme emerges – people use online platforms, primarily social media, to help and influence others to commit crimes offline. How should criminal law address this issue?
The allegation that arms manufacturers in the Global North (who produce and export weapons ‘lawfully’ in accordance with national export regulations) are producing weapons that are used (unlawfully) against civilian populations in the Global South has come under elevated scrutiny in recent years. Some sectors of civil society have become ever more vocal about arms exports from the EU, the US, and other major manufacturing States that appear to facilitate atrocity, despite complying with their home state’s national export controls. How can a society claim respect for human rights at home, while producing weapons that fuel conflict and criminality abroad?
The regulation of multinational corporations, especially in situations of negative impact, poses challenging questions. This conference, organised by the Open Universiteit, will address these questions from a Dutch and comparative perspective. Current developments show a transformation of voluntary and sector driven guidelines into legally binding CSR obligations that have extraterritorial application. What will this mean for corporations and the people impacted by their conduct?
It is hard to name an area of life that the Coronavirus pandemic has not affected – from travelling to doing groceries and from grieving to global politics. Some of the effects are more transient, others are here to stay: the pandemic will have had transformative effects in a number of domains – but which? And in particular, what about law? The research cooperation Transformative effects of Globalisation in Law has invited fellow scholars for an online zoom conference on the 16th and 17th of September to discuss these issues.
The conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic, one of the most devastating and barbaric in the world today, has been ongoing for over a decade. Many actors have committed atrocities and continue to do so with virtual impunity. A potential avenue for establishing the responsibility of Russia and Turkey for gross human rights abuses committed in Syria is the European Court of Human Rights. Although several individual applications have been lodged, they seem to have been rejected – most likely because the applicants failed to exhaust all domestic remedies. But would such applications always be considered inadmissible?
In this blog post, we use Kant’s infamous discussion of the murderer at the door to argue for enriching normative discussions surrounding secondary liability with the notion of respect for autonomy.
This blog offers a short overview and discussion of the possible impact of recent landmark decisions against Shell in the Netherlands and the UK. These decisions shed light on the parent-subsidiary relationship in the search of accountability for human rights violations committed by, or with the assistance of, businesses.
The armed conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic, one of the most severe humanitarian crises in the world, has been ongoing for a decade. Human rights violations of such a large scale can only take place with a great network of support. Rethinking SLIC* invites you to join us on June 18th 2021 at a seminar on modes of secondary liability for crimes committed within the Syrian conflict.