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TLI Seminar Series: Dr Miles Jackson, Title: ‘Amnesties in Strasbourg’

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SW1.18, Somerset House East Wing

The Dickson Poon School of Law, King's College London

Strand

London

WC2R 2LS

United Kingdom

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Transnational Law Institute Seminar Series - Autumn Semester 2017/18

Speaker: Dr Miles Jackson (Lecturer in International Law, University of Oxford): ‘Amnesties in Strasbourg’

Time and Venue: Monday 5pm -7pm, Moot Court Room SW 1.18 (unless otherwise specified)

Convened by: Dr Nicola Palmer, Dr Liliane Mouan and Robyn Leslie

This semester the Transnational Law Seminar Series will explore the shifts in the locus of criminal accountability for international and transnational crimes. In international criminal law, there are notable moves towards domestic and regional criminal courts and a recent re-introduction of the potential for hybrid criminal courts in Syria, the Central African Republic and South Sudan. At the same time, the debates around who should have to account for their actions are broadening with states, corporations and shareholders included in a frame that has historically focused on senior military, political and religious leaders. This seminar series explores the changes that are happening in the law and interrogates the specific actors involved in these shifts in the location of criminal accountability. It includes lawyers, anthropologists, political scientists and journalists in a wide-ranging exchange on the actors, norms and processes at play.

Abstract

In the last two decades, a number of transitional amnesties have been challenged before national and international courts. No such challenge has come before the European Court of Human Rights, but that is likely to change. In this paper, I argue that when such an amnesty challenge comes, the Strasbourg Court is likely to make a grave error. That error will be to hold that the Convention requires in all circumstances the prosecution of the most grave human rights abuses – it will be to invalidate the amnesty. Taking Article 3 ECHR – the right against torture – as the focus, I show that the Court’s likely decision in such a case flows from a flawed assumption in its case law – the assumption that each of the set of duties to which an absolute right gives rise is also absolute. In other words, there is the assumption that each of the duties associated with the right against torture is non-limitable and non-derogable. That assumption, in combination with the way in which the Court has specified the content of the duty to investigate and prosecution conduct that infringes Article 3, creates something of a doctrinal trap into which the Court will fall. In doing so, it will fail to take into account powerful countervailing public interests at stake during peace-negotiations and end up unduly prioritising the ends served by criminal trials.



Biography

Miles Jackson is an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford. He has a range of research interests in international and criminal law, and in 2015 published his monograph, Complicity in International Law, with Oxford University Press. He holds MA and DPhil degrees from the University of Oxford and an LLM degree from Harvard Law School. In 2017, he was awarded the Cassese Prize for International Criminal Law Studies.

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Date and Time

Location

SW1.18, Somerset House East Wing

The Dickson Poon School of Law, King's College London

Strand

London

WC2R 2LS

United Kingdom

View Map

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