On 9 September 2023, Project Officer Dr Pablo Gavira Díaz was invited to participate in a seminar titled “Menschenrechte im Krieg – auf verlorenen Posten?” (“Human Rights in War – On Lost Ground?”), organised by the Academy Akademie Franz Hitze Haus in Münster. Dr Gavira Díaz’s intervention focused on “The Prosecution of War Crimes by (international) Tribunals”, with particular emphasis on the war in Ukraine. The presentation provided a general understanding of the legal instruments which are applicable in armed conflicts, paying special attention to the two traditions that govern the field of international humanitarian law: The Hague law and Geneva law. This was followed by an explanation of the role of international criminal law in prosecuting war criminals for the commission of international crimes. The question whether the International Criminal Court can face the variety of challenges resulting from the conflict in Ukraine was raised. The 30 participants showed great interest in discussing alternatives to prosecute sitting Heads of State when they are allegedly involved in heinous crimes. In this regard, the limitations of the Rome Statute, the role of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and the relevance of the principle of universal jurisdiction were also subject of a lively debate among the participants.
Photo Credit: Akademie Franz Hitze Haus