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  • Author or Editor: Sara Palacios-Arapiles x
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This article examines the interpretation of the definition of slavery/ enslavement by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Ongwen case (2021) and its application to the facts of the case at hand. This examination is warranted because Ongwen represents the first case in which the ICC was tasked with deciding whether the crime of enslavement had been committed. This article illustrates that the ICC has been outward-looking, finding that judgments of other courts largely featured in the reasoning of the ICC when interpreting slavery. The detailed study in this article further reveals that, either directly or indirectly, the ICC more specifically drew on the judgment of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in the Kunarac case. The article shows that, in doing so, the ICC reconciled legal borders by incorporating in its decision elements of general international law, international human rights law, and international humanitarian law instruments to inform its understanding of slavery/enslavement. The article highlights that the ICC contributed to norm consolidation globally.

Open Access
In: Max Planck Yearbook of United Nations Law Online


Drawing on data from the United Kingdom, Sweden, Germany, and Switzerland, this article shows that during the process of interpreting the refugee definition and applying it to the context of the Military/National Service Programme (MNSP), the definition is subject to various interpretations and applications. As a result, the treatment of similarly situated Eritrean asylum applications differs from one country to another. The article illustrates that asylum courts from the selected jurisdictions sideline relevant factors that classify the MNSP as slavery by failing to engage normatively with the international law definition of slavery. The findings suggest that a defective incorporation of international legal instruments in the assessment of protection claims based on slavery contributes to conflicting interpretations and applications of the refugee definition and can unduly de-legitimise Eritrean applications for refugee status as ‘unwanted migrants’.

Open Access
In: International Community Law Review