find the latest legal job
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Sydney NSW
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
Legal Inhouse / Lawyer / Company Secretary
Category: Other | Location: Brisbane QLD 4000
· Fantastic Company · Potential to be Part Time / Flexible Work Pattern
View details
Part Time Risk & Compliance Officer
Category: Other | Location: Brisbane QLD 4000
· Brisbane City · Flexible Part Time Hours
View details
Infrastructure Lawyer/SA
Category: Construction Law | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Global elite law firm · Dedicated Infrastructure team
View details
Calls for 'dedicated prosecution unit' for war crimes

Calls for 'dedicated prosecution unit' for war crimes

Prosecution of international crimes should be driven by countries' own domestic legislative mechanisms, argued legal experts at a seminar on the question of immunity and impunity in prosecuting…

Prosecution of international crimes should be driven by countries' own domestic legislative mechanisms, argued legal experts at a seminar on the question of immunity and impunity in prosecuting of heads of state, held in Sydney last week.

Mark Ierace SC, senior public defender at the NSW Public Defender's Office, told the seminar -- which was hosted by the Red Cross and Mallesons Stephen Jaques -- that many nations were now prosecuting a considerable amount of international crimes.

Ierace declared the need for Australia to have a "dedicated prosecution unit for war crimes", in line with other similar bodies overseas.

"Australia is very much out of step at the moment. America has [a unit], Canada has [a unit] and we are seeing in many, many states on a daily basis prosecutions of war crimes and crimes against humanity," Ierace said.

Kelisiana Thynne, a legal adviser for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Regional Delegation in the Pacific, said she spends much of her time discussing the need to adopt the Geneva Convention, which include provisions for criminal prosecution, with nations in the Pacific region.

"It is this domestic legal framework that will be of most use in ensuring that violations of international humanitarian law will be limited, and, if they occur, will be punished," she said.

"In particular, this means implementing into domestic law the ability to prosecute all those who commit grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions and other breaches of international humanitarian law."

Another delegate, Steven Freeland, an Associate Professor in International Law at the University of Western Sydney, said the success of international criminal law through mechanisms such as the International Criminal Court (ICC) would not only be measured on hundreds of successful prosecutions, but whether the outbreak of war was reduced.

"I think it probably is a greater accountability at the national level. Countries themselves taking on the responsibility of themselves prosecuting the perpetrators of these crimes," he said.

The seminar, timed to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the Geneva Convention on August 12, was held as a part of the Humanitarian Law Perspectives project, a joint initiative between the Red Cross and Mallesons, which aims to further legal education in the area, as well as provide research papers on cases and issues affecting international law. For links to the project's research papers, click here.

- Sarah Sharples

For an in-depth look at prosecuting heads of state through international criminal law mechanisms, see the upcoming issue 449 of Lawyers Weekly.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Calls for 'dedicated prosecution unit' for war crimes
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Crowd
06:05
Anti-radicalisation programs playing ‘second fiddle’ to terrorism laws
Several academics have questioned the balance between Australia’s counterterrorism legislation and...
 William Ah Ket
06:00
‘Bamboo ceiling’ thought piece wins inaugural law prize
A paper that explores the idea of affirmative action to achieve greater diversity among members of A...
Nov 22 2017
Reduced investment protections will make robust commercial arbitration mechanisms all the more critical for investors
Promoted by Maxwell Chambers. This article discusses the current trend away from investor protect...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...