Series:

Lyal S. Sunga

What rules of international law make the individual, even a Head of State, responsible for perpetrating serious human rights violations, such as war crimes, torture or genocide? This question is becoming more critical in our increasingly interdependent world, and the recent invasion of Kuwait and the brutalization of its people by Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein has heated up the debate even further.
The author argues that a new rule of international law stipulating individual responsibility for all serious human rights violations is currently emerging. To show how this is coming about, he explores relevant norms in classic laws of war, international humanitarian law and modern international human rights law and surveys patterns in their implementation. He then takes account of codification efforts of the International Law Commission, the changing position of the individual in international law, and other important developments in the context of general international law as an evolving system.

Lyal S. Sunga

Does climate change create conditions in which ethnic groups, particularly in developing countries, become more likely to struggle for scarce resources which can then spur ethnically motivated violence and serious atrocities? Or is the relation between climate change and atrocities, if there is one, far more complex and perhaps indirect? How should climate change be viewed as a risk factor for the onset of violent ethnic conflict? What practical relevance could climate change effects have on early warning and prevention of serious human rights violations including crimes against humanity and genocide? The author first considers whether climate change science warnings deserve to be taken seriously before reviewing empirical studies focussing on the supposed link between climate change and ethnic conflict. Second, he argues that it is valuable to treat climate change as a possible risk factor for ethnic conflict situations in which crimes against humanity or genocide might be perpetrated, and to reflect upon early warning and prevention in this connection. The author then sets out five considerations that research on the question of a causal link between climate change and ethnic conflict should take into account.

The Emerging System of International Criminal Law

Developments in Codification and Implementation

Lyal S. Sunga