Nineteenth Summer Session of SLS

Draft Academic Programme

Between Codification and Progressive Development: International Criminal Law after Rome and Kampala

The Salzburg Law School on International Criminal Law, Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Law (SLS) welcomes applications for its Nineteenth Summer Session, Sunday 30 July to Wednesday 9 August 2017. The upcoming session will focus on substantive international criminal law.

Gilbert Bitti and Eleni Chaitidou at SLS 2014
Gilbert Bitti and Eleni Chaitidou at SLS 2014

Legal theory distinguishes ‘crimes under international law’ from other international or transnational crimes. Even under a holistic view of international criminal law, specific features are generally recognized for ‘international crimes strictu sensu’ or ‘ius cogens crimes’. This fundamental distinction led to the exclusion of ‘treaty crimes’ from the competence of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Only ‘core crimes’, ‘the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole’ (Art. 5 ICCSt) shall fall within its jurisdiction. Crimes under international law protect the fundamental values of the international community; they originate from sources of international law, including customary international law, and may be directly applied before criminal courts and tribunals. With developments towards a stricter understanding of the principle of legality, an emphasis on codification efforts, and tendencies to narrowly apply legal sources, some of these distinct qualities of crimes under international law have been questioned. During the nineteenth summer session, we will defend the classic doctrinal concept of international criminal law as a branch of international law, its legal basis and its contemporary relevance.

SLS 2017 will focus on the development of crimes and categories of crimes under international law within and outside the Rome Statute system. We will assess methods for the identification of customary international law, monitor codification efforts, e.g. regarding a Convention on Crimes against Humanity, and we will discuss the potential of future developments, e.g., with a view to crimes against the environment. SLS will discuss developments within the ASP Working Group on Amendments on the further harmonization of international criminal law applicable in armed conflicts of international and non-international character, adding the use and the threat to use nuclear weapons in the definition of war crimes, and including the crime of terrorism and the crime of international drug trafficking in article 5 of the ICC Statute. Topical sessions will also cover efforts to put emphasis on certain crimes, such as the Prosecutor’s strategy on sexual and gender-based crimes.

Luis Moreno Ocampo, David Donat Cattin, Otto Triffterer, and Chris Hall at SLS 2008
Luis Moreno Ocampo, David Donat Cattin, Otto Triffterer, and Chris Hall at SLS 2008

2017 might be the turning point for individual criminal responsibility for the unlawful use of force. The crime of aggression was included in the list of crimes that fall within the jurisdiction of the ICC at the Rome Conference (Art. 5 ICCSt). However, up till now, the Court cannot exercise its jurisdiction over this crime. The jurisdictional framework adopted by consensus at the Kampala Review Conference formulated two conditions: Firstly, ‘[t]he Court may exercise jurisdiction only with respect to crimes of aggression committed one year after the ratification or acceptance of the amendments by thirty States Parties’ (common para. 2 of Art. 15bis and 15ter ICCSt). With the State of Palestine’s deposit of the 30th instrument of ratification, this condition will be fulfilled on 26 June 2017. Secondly, ‘[t]he Court shall exercise jurisdiction over the crime of aggression ... subject to a decision to be taken after 1 January 2017’ (common para. 3 of Art. 15bis and 15ter ICCST). It is now up to all States parties to honour their commitment ‘to activate the Court’s jurisdiction over the crime of aggression as early as possible’ (Resolution RC/Res.6). SLS 2017 will thoroughly analyse the definition of the crime of aggression, the conditions for the Court’s exercise of jurisdiction, as well as the outlook for an activation decision to be taken at the 2017 Assembly of States Party. In addition, SLS 2017 will provide insight on the underlying rules of the use of force under international law. The scope and ius cogens character of the prohibition of the use of force, its exceptions as formulated in the Charter of the United Nations as well as potential ‘grey areas’, in particular, the question of unauthorized humanitarian interventions. One session will be dedicated to the origins of a prohibition and criminalization of the unlawful use of force under Islamic law.

SLS 2017 will offer ample opportunity to debate current developments in the field of international criminal law, e.g. the principle of irrelevance of official capacity and the impact of three withdrawals (followed by two withdrawals of the respective notification of withdrawal) by African members States on the future of international criminal justice. Court officials will give an update on the latest jurisprudence of the ICC and we will continue our project on international criminal law in cinema.

Confirmed speakers include Judge Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi, President of the International Criminal Court (keynote speaker); Mr. Gilbert Bitti, Senior Legal Advisor to the Pre-Trial Division, ICC; Dr. Yassin M. Brunger, Lecturer in Human Rights Law, Queen's University Belfast; Ms. Eleni Chaitidou, Legal Officer at the Pre-Trial and Trial Divisions, ICC; Prof. Roger Clark, Board of Governors Professor, Rutgers University School of Law; Dr. David Donat Cattin, Secretary-General, Parliamentarians for Global Action; Adjunct Assistant Professor of International Law, Centre for Global Affairs, New York University; Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Albin Eser, Director emeritus of the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law, Freiburg; Former Judge at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia; Dr. Mohamed Elewa Badar, Reader in Comparative and International Criminal Law and Islamic Law, Northumbria University; Prof. Benjamin Ferencz, A leading Nuremberg Prosecutor with continuous efforts to enhance international criminal law and its enforcement (lecture via video message); Prof. Don Ferencz, Convenor, The Global Institute for the Prevention of Aggression; Visiting Professor, School of Law, Middlesex University; Research Associate, Oxford University Faculty of Law Centre for Criminology; Prof. Gerhard Hafner, Emeritus Professor of International Law, University of Vienna and former member of the ILC; Prof. William A. Schabas, OC MRIA, Professor of International Law, School of Law, Middlesex University, Professor of International Criminal Law and Human Rights, Leiden University; Prof. Dire Tladi, Professor of International Law, University of Pretoria; Member of the International Law Commission; Special Advisor to the South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation; Prof. Jennifer Trahan, Associate Clinical Professor of Global Affairs, New York University; Chair, American Branch of the International Law Association, ICC Committee; Dr. Astrid Reisinger Coracini, Lecturer, University of Salzburg; Director of the Salzburg Law School on International Criminal Law, Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Law.

The academic programme will start with a dinner talk on Sunday 30 July and will continue Monday 31 July through Tuesday 8 August, daily from 9.30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2.15 p.m. to 5.45 p.m. with a free Saturday afternoon and Sunday. Sunday 30 July and Wednesday 9 August are our days of arrival and departure respectively. During these eight working days, 26 academic sessions of 1,5hrs are offered (equalling 2 academic hours and 52 academic contact hours in total). The course consists of lectures, discussions, workshops and case studies, allowing for discussion and interaction among lecturers and participants. It will be held at the Faculty of Law of the University of Salzburg, located at a 16th century residence in the centre of the old town.

Participants will obtain a certificate of attendance, but may also take an exam, for which the University of Salzburg allocates 4 credits according to the European Credit Transfer System.

View Past SLS Programmes