Seeking Asylum before the International Criminal Court. Another Challenge for a Court in Need of Credibility

In: International Criminal Law Review
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  • * Maastricht University, The Netherlands
  • | * Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Global Governance Institute (GGI)

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In 2012 the International Criminal Court (ICC) celebrates its ten-year anniversary since its establishment. It is fair to say that the current age of the Court reflects its present maturity. At the time of writing, the Court has finally rendered its first verdict, by condemning the Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga for the conscription of child soldiers after a rather wobbly trial that took 6 years. In May 2011, the Court faced another unprecedented challenge. Four witnesses transferred from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to testify in the Lubanga and Katanga & Ngudjolo Chui (hereinafter: Katanga) trials, applied for asylum in the Netherlands. This matter, which was not anticipated in the Statute or secondary sources of ICC law, raises issues concerning the cooperation between the ICC, the Netherlands as host state and the DRC, and raises intriguing questions about the interaction of international criminal law and international refugee law.

  • 11)

     See, however, Sluiter, supra note 9, p. 8. In the opinion of Sluiter, the reference to ‘conditions’ in Article 93(7)(a) could be seen as an implicit condition from the perspective of the ICC that detained witnesses may only be returned to the state of detention when there is no serious risk of human rights violations.

  • 17)

    Sluiter, supra note 9, p. 9.

  • 69)

    Cornelisse, supra note 65, pp. 278-279.

  • 71)

    Cornelisse, supra note 65, pp. 286-287.

  • 81)

    Kendall, supra note 78.

  • 82)

    Comiteau, supra note 58.

  • 85)

    Sluiter, supra note 9, p. 16.

  • 87)

     See Carsten Stahn, ‘Between ‘Faith’ and ‘Facts’: By What Standards Should We Asses International Criminal Justice?’, Leiden Journal of International Law (2012) 266-270.

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  • 88)

    Sluiter, supra note 9, p. 5.

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