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  • Theawakeninghypothesisofthecomplementarityprinciple1

    VICTORTSILONIS

    LL.M.(Nottingham);Ph.D.(Aristotle)SeniorAttorneyatLawincludedintheICCListofCounselMemberoftheInternationalCriminalCourtBarAssociation

    Abstract

    TheprincipleofcomplementarityprescribedintheICCRomeStatute is often taken for granted in the legal analysis of internationalcriminallawanditsjurisprudence.Indeed,apartfromWilliamSchabasandhismonumentalpaper Complementarity inPractice:SomeUncomplimentaryThoughtsveryfewhaveeverquestionedit.However,acloserexaminationprovesthatthecomplementarityprinciplewasamere shadow which never obtained flesh and bones, at least arguablyuntil theAbdullahAlSenussicase.Hence, the awakeninghypothesisofthecomplementarityprincipleexamines,first,themythofthecomplementarityprincipleandthefactthatitwasneveractuallyenforceduntilOctober2013and,then,thereasoningofthetwoAbdullahAlSenussijudgments(PreTrialandAppealsChamber).Finally,the

    1IwouldlikewholeheartedlytothankProfessorOlympiaBekou(UniversityofNottingham), Professor Elisavet SymeonidouKastanidou, Professor Adam Papadamakis and ProfessorMariaKaiafaGbandi (AristotleUniversity) for significantcommentsonpreviousdraftsof thispaper.Moreover, Iwould like to thankSophiaSimitiforherassistanceinthetranslationofthefirstdraftwritteninGreekaspartofmyPhD thesis,Nina Ioannidou for linguisticsuggestionsandStergiosAidinlis (trainee lawyer&LLMstudent inCriminalLawatAristotleUniversity)forinsightfulcomments.Finally,IamlostforwordsforBrettDakin(generalcounselof theChildMind Instituteand formereditorinchiefof theHarvardHumanRights Journal)whometiculously edited the final version.Clearly, I remain thesoleresponsibleforanyerrorsoromissions[victor@newlaw.gr].

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    awakeninghypothesisofthecomplementarityprincipleleavesopentoquestioningwhetherornot thelSenussicase is indeed the first instanceoftheimplementationofthecomplementarityprinciple.

    Keywords:principleofcomplementaritiy;selfreferrals;voluntaryreferrals; Abdullah AlSenussi case; Abdullah AlSenussi judgments;awakeninghypothesisof thecomplementarityprinciple;complementarityasadeadletter;ICCjurisdiction

    Introduction

    It is considered essential for any true legal system to function onfundamentalprinciples,whichare initially reflected in its legislation.Some of these principlesmay be of utmost importancewhile othersless so;nonetheless they are all considered tobe inviolable andperformingafunctionparexcellenceapartfromspecificexceptionswhichcanbeprescribedinexistentprovisionsormayappearduringtheevolutionofcase law.Thispaperaddressessignificant issuesconcerningtheapplicationof thecomplementarityprinciple,as it iscontained inthe6th,10thparagraphofthePreambleandArticle1ICCRomeStatute, especiallyindirectly inArticle 17 ICCRome Statute entitled Issuesofadmissibility2andindirectlyinArticle20(3)ICCRomeStatute

    2TheforerunnerofArticle17ICCRomeStatutewasanarticlewhichwasapproved by the International LawCommission entitled Issues of admissibility.DraftStatute foran InternationalCriminalCourt,1994:Article35 Issuesofadmissibility:TheCourtmay,onapplicationbytheaccusedorattherequestofaninterestedStateatanytimepriortothecommencementofthetrial,orofitsownmotion,decide,havingregardtothepurposesofthisStatutesetoutinthepreamble,thatacasebeforeitisinadmissibleonthegroundthatthecrimeinquestion:(a)hasbeendulyinvestigatedbyaStatewithjurisdictionoverit,andthedecisionofthatStatenot toproceed toaprosecution isapparentlywellfounded; (b) isunder investigationbyaStatewhichhasormayhave jurisdictionover it,and there isnoreason for theCourt to takeany furtheraction for the timebeingwithrespect tothe crime; or (c) is not of such gravity to justify further action by the Court.,28October2014.

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    (nebisinidem).3Thecomplementarityprinciplemeans that ICC jurisdiction isacti

    vatedonlyintheformofareservesecurityparachuteincasetheoriginal parachute, i.e. thenational jurisdictions,fails toperform itsdutyeffectivelyanddirectly.4,5Inotherwords,theICCsimpetustoactcanbehalted by the statesparties judicial systems, so long as the latterdemonstrate the characteristicsof a functional legal system and adequatewillingness to prosecutewar crimes, genocide, crimes againsthumanityand,possibly,thecrimeofaggression.6

    3Article20 ICCRomeStatuteNebis in idem3.Nopersonwhohasbeentriedbyanothercourt forconductalsoproscribedunderarticle6.7or8shallbetriedbytheCourtwithrespecttothesameconductunlesstheproceedingsintheother court: (a)Were for the purpose of shielding the person concerned fromcriminalresponsibility forcrimeswithin the jurisdictionof theCourt:or (b)Otherwisewerenot conducted independentlyor impartially in accordancewith thenormsofdueprocess recognizedby international law andwere conducted in amannerwhich, in thecircumstances,was inconsistentwithan intent tobring thepersonconcernedtojustice.

    4AlthoughtheArticle17ICCRomeStatutereferstothecaseofastate(stateparty,accordingtotheauthorsview)beingunwillingorunablebutnotinactive,thisphrasinghasnotbeeninterpretedtomeanthatacaseisinadmissiblebeforetheICCwhenastateisinactive,withoutbeingunwillingorunable,asanarrow interpretationofArticle17 ICCRomeStatutewould imply.A typical fact isthatinthecaseofLubangathePreTrialChamberInotedthat:Thefirstpartofthetestrelatestonationalinvestigations,prosecutionsandtrialsconcerningthecaseathand insofarassuchcasewouldbeadmissibleonly if thoseStateswith jurisdictionover ithaveremained inactive inrelationtothatcaseorareunwillingorunable,withinthemeaningofarticle17(1)(a)to(c),*and3oftheStatute(f.19Interpretationacontrarioof article 17,paras.1 (a) to (c)of theStatute), (my emphasis).DecisionconcerningPreTrialChamberIsDecisionof10February2006andtheIncorporationofDocumentsintotheRecordoftheCaseagainstMrThomasLubangaDyilo,ICC01/0401/068USCorr09032006,ibid.,at19,para.29.

    5El.KastanidouSymeonidou, Legitimizingbasisand ICC jurisdiction limits,(51NoB,2003),p.452.

    6After the 2010Kampala conference, only 15 states eventually followed thepathpavedbytheminusculeLiechtensteinandratifiedthearticles8bis,15bisand15terwhichactivatetheICCjurisdictiononthecrimeofaggression.Seeofficiallist

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    In effect,however, the complementarityprinciplehadneverbeenapplieduntil recently, in the recentdecision on the case againstAlSenussi inOctober2013. It isa fact thatevensince the first ICCcase,which concerned the recruitment ofminors as soldiers by ThomasLubangaDyilo,thecompetentICCTrialChamber(followingtheOfficeof the Prosecutors submission) ruled against the application of thecomplementarity principle, so that the Thomas Lubanga Dyilo trialcouldtakeplace.7,8

    of states at https://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY &mtdsg_no=XVIII10b&chapter=18&lang=en, 4 September 2014. According to the dataprovidedbytheofficialcampaignlaunchedfortheratificationoftheamendment,36statesincludingGreececurrentlyexaminetheratificationofthecrimeofaggression: http://crimeofaggression.info/theroleofstates/statusofratificationandimplementation/, 4 September 2014. Press release 09052012, http://www.icccpi.int/en_menus/asp/press%20releases/press%20releases%202012/Pages/pr793.aspx,4September2014.TheICCcanexertits jurisdictionforthecrimeofaggressionas soonas30statesparties ratify theamendmentanda twothirdsmajoritydecisionofstatespartiesistakenataReviewConferencenosoonerthan1January2017.However,untiltheamendmentisacceptedbyseveneighthsofStatesParties,theICCwillbeunabletoexercise its jurisdictionregardingacrimeofaggressionwhencommittedbyaStatePartysnationalswhichhasnotaccepted theamendmentorcommittedonitsterritory.SeeArticles15ter(2)and(3),121(3),(5)and(6),http://www.icccpi.int/iccdocs/PIDS/ publications/RomeStatut Eng.pdf, 4 September2014.

    7V. Tsilonis, Thomas LubangaDyilo: the unstable step of the InternationalCriminalCourt?,inA.Pitsela(ed.),CriminologicalQuests:TreatisesinthehonourofEmeritusProfessorStergiosAlexiadis(Thessaloniki,Sakkoula)(2010),10391057.

    8Thewholedebateinthe2010ReviewConferenceoftheRomeStatuteinKampala,aswellas thestocktakingexercise that tookplaceduring theConference inquestionhadnopractical impactwhatsoeverontheICCpolicychangeneitheratthattimenor,asevidentlyprovedtoday,threeyearslater.Foranextremelyoptimistic review seeM. Bergsmo, O. Bekou & An. Jones, Complementarity afterKampala:capacitybuildingandtheICCslegaltools,GoettingenJournalofInternationalLaw,2(2010),791811.

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    AboutthePrincipleofComplementarityanditsRelationtoICCJurisdiction

    Undoubtedly, the complementarity principle constitutes a novelconcept for internationalcriminal law,9since itsnotionwascoined inRomein1998duringthefinaldraftingoftheICCRomeStatute.10Untilthenas thedecisionsofearlier internationalcriminal tribunals (predominantly ICTY and ICTR) show any responses to internationalcrimeshadlimitedtemporalandterritorial jurisdictionwhichwasexertedonthebasisofthereverseprincipleofprimacyovernationaljurisdictions.11,12

    9AlthoughitsideologicalrootsmaybetracedbacktoArticle6intheLondonAgreement of August 8th 1945 (which led to the founding of IMT),, 10 September 2014, where it isstated:NothinginthisAgreementshallprejudicethejurisdictionorthepowersofanynationaloroccupationcourtestablishedortobeestablishedinanyalliedterritoryorinGermanyforthetrialofwarcriminals.However,theIMTtriedonly22oftheaccusedduetotheallieslackofpoliticalwillandlackofresourcesandnotbecause the roleof criminal jurisdiction.See contraE.Zeidy, Theprincipleofcomplementa

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