* more forthcoming scholarship
Christina E. Wells (University of Missouri School of Law)
Constitutional Commentary, pp. 1-22, March 2010
This essay, part of a symposium on executive power, examines use of the state secrets privilege in the Obama administration. Specifically, it views the Obama administration’s approach to the state secrets privilege through the lens of “explanatory accountability” – i.e., the notion that executive officials must explain and justify their decisions or face negative consequences.
Although President Obama entered office criticizing the Bush administration’s overly broad assertions of the state secrets privilege, Obama officials nevertheless continued the Bush administration’s actions in various lawsuits. In response to sharp criticism, however, the Obama administration eventually revealed a new policy promising greater accountability and individualized decision-making regarding assertions of the state secrets privilege. In other words, the Obama administration embraced the notion of explanatory accountability by adopting the new policy.
While the Obama policy shows promise and moves toward greater accountability regarding assertions of the privilege – at least on paper – it is simply too vague to serve as an adequate mechanism of explanatory accountability. Furthermore, nothing in the policy requires Obama officials to justify their actions outside of the executive branch, thus allowing them to continue the Bush administration’s trend of broadly asserting the state secrets privilege with little or no justification. Such actions will continue unless the state secrets privilege is substantially altered to give courts the tools to serve as adequate accountability mechanisms. Pending congressional legislation may provide courts with such tools.
YAËL RONEN, affiliation not provided to SSRN
On 21 January the Palestinian Minister of Justice lodged with the ICC Registrar a ‘Declaration Recognizing the Jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court’ over acts committed on the territory of Palestine since 2002. This article concerns three issues regarding the admissibility of this declaration, all of which are linked to the question of statehood. It first argues that the ICC Prosecutor may not assume the existence of a Palestinian state because the Palestinians themselves do not make a claim to that effect. It then examines whether under a purposive interpretation of Article 12(3), declarations should also be admitted from quasi-states. Finally, it examines the consequences of the ICC Prosecutor engaging in questions concerning statehood and recognition.
FANNIE LAFONTAINE, affiliation not provided to SSRN
Canada was the first state to adopt implementing legislation following its ratification of the ICC Statute. Adopted in 2000, the Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes Act was tested for the first time in the Munyaneza case. In May 2009, Mr Munyaneza was convicted on all counts of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes and, in October, was sentenced to life imprisonment. The first case under the Act provides an opportunity to reflect on certain issues that will have an impact on Canada’s ability to effectively contribute to the enterprise of international criminal justice. This article focuses on two such issues that were relevant to the Munyaneza case, namely the definitions of offences, which rely heavily on customary international law and on the ICC Statute, and the sentencing scheme provided by the Act.
ANTONIOS TZANAKOPOULOS, University of Glasgow – School of Law
Domestic courts are increasingly being seized by persons subjected to or affected by sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council, particularly through the regime established under Resolution 1267. In Abdelrazik v. Canada, the Canadian Federal Court ‘interprets away’ the obligations of Canada under the 1267 regime, potentially forcing upon the state a breach of its international obligations under the resolution and the UN Charter. But at the same time it offers an important – if implicit – justification for that breach under international law.