Domestic accountability for international crimes: achieving justice at home

18 - 18 October 2023
  • Starts at: 19:00h
  • Fee: Free
  • Venue: Asser Institute
  • Organiser: Asser Institute
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Please join us on Wednesday 18 October 2023 for the SCL Lecture ‘Domestic accountability for international crimes: achieving justice at home’. The lecture will take place at the Asser Institute in The Hague and will conclude with a reception. This SCL Lecture will offer a deep-dive into the vexed issue of domestic accountability for international crimes and the local impact of international criminal tribunals (ICTs).

The Lecture will explore the complex interplay between ICTs and domestic courts in the global fight against impunity for international crimes. Three renowned experts in the field of international criminal justice, Dr Patryk Labuda, Dr Marieke Wierda, and Dr Philipp Ambach will address these topical issues based on their academic and professional expertise. Article 1 of the Rome Statute famously states that the International Criminal Court ‘shall be complementary to national criminal jurisdictions’. This model of complementarity stands in sharp contrast with the approach taken by earlier ICTs, such as the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, both of which explicitly claimed primacy over domestic jurisdiction.

Drawing on the extensive field work recently conducted by the speakers, this SCL lecture will explore how the principle of complementarity has affected various domestic jurisdictions, including inter alia Afghanistan, Colombia, Libya, Uganda, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In this regard, the lecture will look into the following questions:

What is the evidence of the normative impact of ICTs, and in particular the International Criminal Court (ICC), at the domestic level and what frameworks can we use to assess local impact? When does the involvement of ICTs cause friction with domestic systems? What are the contours of the ‘shadow’ that international intervention by ICTs casts over domestic proceedings? Can we conclude on the basis of international and domestic practice that complementarity has now become part and parcel of the vocabulary of global governance?

This Supranational Criminal Law (SCL) lecture, organised in cooperation with the International Humanitarian and Criminal Law Platform, will not only critically assess the current state of affairs but also look into future solutions to ensure domestic accountability for international crimes. How should the ICC and new tribunals regulate relations with States to benefit the public interest and the human rights of individuals affected by international crimes? Is the future of international criminal justice domestic, international, or both?

Confirmed speakers

Dr Patryk Labuda, Polish Academy of Sciences, Institute of Legal Studies, is the author of the recent book ‘International Criminal Tribunals and Domestic Accountability: In the Court's Shadow’ (Oxford University Press, 2023).

Dr Marieke Wierda is Deputy Head of Mission and Head of Development Cooperation at the Embassy of the Kingdom of The Netherlands to Yemen and the author of the recent book ‘The Local Impact of the International Criminal Court: From Law to Justice’ (Cambridge University Press, 2023).

Dr Philipp Ambach is Chief of the Victims Participation and Reparations Section in the Registry of the International Criminal Court (ICC). 


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