Happy New Years!
For many reasons, 2014 was a remarkable year in the world of international criminal justice. The past 12 months saw fascinating developments – Palestine signed the Rome Statute, unprecedented pressure was been exerted to refer North Korea to the International Criminal Court (ICC), the case against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta collapsed, a final judgement in the Lubanga trial was delivered, and a UN Security Council referral of Syria to the ICC failed. It was, in all, another mixed bag. But one thing is clear: international criminal justice continues to dominate headlines. The ICC’s credibility may have taken some hits but its relevance most certainly has not.
It is never easy predicting what will happen next (anyone remember when Bosco Ntaganda walked into an American embassy and asked officials to transfer him to The Hague?). Last year’s predictions were mixed – some came true, others not so much. Still, here are a few predictions for 2015:
1. By the time 2016 rolls around, the ICC will not have opened an official investigation into events in Palestine.
2. The ICC will open official investigations in both Afghanistan and Georgia in the next 12 months.
3. The investigations in Mali will not result in any arrest warrants in 2015. In essence, the Mali investigation will be hibernated.
4. A Libyan citizen will be detained and transferred to The Hague.
5. Silvia Fernández will become the new President of the ICC.
6. No African Union member-state will withdraw from the Court.
7. The William Ruto case will not collapse but his continued trial in The Hague will cause tensions in Kenya.
8. In part because of Palestine signing the Rome Statute, Israel will (indirectly but significantly) cooperate with the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict investigating Operation Protective Edge in Gaza last summer.
9. The ICC will issue an arrest warrant for a national of a ICC member-state for alleged crimes committed in Syria.
10. Lord’s Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony will die (likely of illness). It is not clear whether or not the world will realize / recognize the fact.