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Scepticism about the ICC

Category: Publications

10 Nov 2016

Blog Post

Scepticism about the ICC should come as no surprise

JeffHandmakerISS_smallJeff Handmaker*

On 21 October 2016, South Africa’s Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Michael Masutha announced the intention of the government to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC).

South Africa’s announcement to withdraw from the ICC was accompanied by similar announcements by Burundi and possibly Kenya to either leave or consider leaving the Assembly of State Parties, which comprises the members of the Rome Statute of the ICC. The Gambia also made clear it was intending to leave the ICC, which was all the more embarrassing as it is the country of nationality of the current ICC prosecutor.


ISS Alumni Suharto Suharto (HDS 2010) has co-published an article with colleagues Pim Kuipers and Pat Dorsett entitled “Disability terminology and the emergence of ‘diffability’ in Indonesia” in the A-rated Journal, Disability and Society.

Suharto_BlogSuharto is a PhD Candidate at Griffith University in Australia in the School of Human Services and Social Work as part of the university’s Population and Social Health research programme.

The first issue of the 2016 volume of the Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights, of which SJP Professor Karin Arts is editor-in-chief, has been published.


  • Column on The EU Migration Crisis: What Next? by Thom Brooks
  • Article: Religious Organisations, Internal Autonomy and Other Religious Rights before the European Court of Human Rights and the OSCE by Sylvie Langlaude Doné
  • Article: The Functioning of the Pilot-Judgment Procedure of the European Court of Human Rights in Practice by Lize R. Glas
  • Article: Somali Piracy and the Human Rights of Seafarers by Sofia Galani
  • New documentation: Recent Publications on International Human Rights

Professor Karin Arts has published an article on contemporary human rights challenges in the Netherlands

ArtsEntitled  Reflections on Human Rights in The Netherlands, the article appears in the December 2015 issue of the Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights (vol. 33/4, pp. 374-381), a B-rated journal in the ranking of the CERES Research School.

The article addresses the following: Currently, in the Netherlands there is quite a bit of food for thought in terms of the state of human rights in the country. In 2015 the human rights record of the Netherlands as regards children’s rights and racial discrimination was scrutinized by the relevant treaty bodies of the United Nations. The assessments and recommendations of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination reached the Netherlands in a period in which issues concerning racial discrimination and the ongoing influx of asylum seekers have given rise to heated public debates. This article briefly reviews these issues and the conclusions drawn by the two UN treaty bodies. This then serves as a basis for discussing some of the implications of the current debates and treaty body assessments for the role of the State for promoting and protecting human rights and will lead to a plea for greater engagement on the part of the government of the Netherlands.

Can human rights bring social justice?

Worldwide socio-economic inequalities are mounting. While in absolute terms poverty rates are slowly going down, differences in income and wealth are growing. Deprived groups and protest movements mobilize to demand social justice. What do human rights have to offer them?

The latest essay volume in Amnesty International’s Changing Perspectives on Human Rights series, Can human rights bring social justice? focuses on the potential and limits of human rights for social justice and trade-offs in the strategic decisions of human rights NGOs.


The volume contains contributions from, among others, Sara Burke (Friedrich Ebert Stiftung), Samuel Moyn (Harvard), Aryeh Neier (formerly Human Rights Watch) and current and former Directors of Amnesty International such as Widney Brown and David Petrasek.

40802The Netherlands International Law Review, Volume 62, Number 2, 2015, has just published a Special Issue on Srebrenica

On Tuesday 11 July 1995, a date which will live in infamy, the town of Srebrenica was overrun by Bosnian Serb forces. In order to commemorate this tragedy so that we will never forget, the Board of Editors of the Netherlands International Law Review invited a select number of authors to contribute to a Special Issue on the Impact of the Fall of Srebrenica (1995-2015) on various areas of public international law.

These areas are: the law relating to the United Nations (peace and security), the law relating to international crimes, the law relating to international responsibility and the law relating to international remedies.

Read Select Articles for Free.

These articles chosen by the managing editor are free to read until September 30th, 2015:

Of Dissonance and Silence; State Responsibility in the Bosnia Genocide Case, Kimberley N. Trapp
Attributing the Conduct of Dutchbat in Srebrenica: the 2014 Judgment of the District Court in the Mothers of Srebrenica Case, Paolo Palchetti
Srebrenica: On Joint Criminal Enterprise, Aiding and Abetting and Command Responsibility, Harmen van der Wilt [OPEN ACCESS]
Lessons Learned from the Srebrenica Massacre: From UN Peacekeeping Reform to Legal Responsibility, Cedric Ryngaert and Nico Schrijver [OPEN ACCESS]

Will joining the ICC finally lead to justice?

Jeff Handmaker and Friederycke Haijer

ICCal-Araby English

Date of publication 2 February, 2015

It has its critics and its cynics. But despite the limitations, the move to the ICC is full of potential for Palestinians looking for accountability and an institution looking for relevance outside Africa. For the full article, read here.



‘No women, no peace!’ Shirin Ebadi

“The world needs peace in order to survive and have tranquillity. And peace needs the procreative spirit of women in order to sustain itself.”

Shirin-Ebadi-290x290On Tuesday 25 November 2014, the internationally-renowned and prize-winning jurist, Ms. Shirin Ebadi, delivered a powerful talk in The Hague at the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) of Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Ms. Ebadi spoke about the role of women in promoting peace and democracy in the Middle East. The full text of her talk is available HERE.

GGSJ Senior Researcher, Prof. Karin Arts, co-presented an expert group report on Palestinian Children in Military Detention to the Dutch government

On 17 April 2014 the Dutch multidisciplinary experts group published its report on Palestinian Children in Military Detention, and presented it to the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Dutch Parliament.

For more information and to download the report, click here.


Annotated Leading Cases of International Criminal Tribunals is a searchable database of case law from and commentary on the international criminal tribunals.

The database – which ISS has a subscription to – provides you with the full text of the most important decisions, including concurring, separate and dissenting opinions of the ICTY, ICTR, The Special Court for Sierra Leone, The Special Panels for Serious Crimes of Timor-Leste and the ICC.

Distinguished experts in the field of international criminal law have commented these judgments.

Just published:

Volume 37: The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia 2008-2009
Volume 39: The International Criminal Court 2006-2008
Volume 41: The International Criminal Court 2009

The judicial decisions and commentaries in these new volumes of the Annotated Leading Cases Series are now online available in full-text.


International Institute of Social Studies

Human Rights is a specialization within the Human Rights, Conflict and Gender Studies MA Major in Development Studies. This blog provides a platform for discussion for researchers, students and others interested in this field of studies. The blog is administered by the Human Rights teaching team.