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National Implementation of International Criminal Law for Serious Crimes

Some years ago we began the slow and complex work of compiling the legal instruments which reflect the application of international criminal law in the domestic jurisdiction of every country which is a member of the United Nations.

Specifically, one of the fundamental objectives of Equipo Nizkor, since its foundation in 1994 has been the application by internal jurisdictions of international criminal law with respect to crimes against peace, crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes. It was thus that our work evolved in the context of the legal proceedings in Spain of Augusto Pinochet and Adolfo Scilingo and it was in this last trial where we achieved the first conviction for crimes against humanity handed down by a European court of ordinary jurisdiction other than in respect of cases related to the Second World War.

On 14th October 2013, the Planethood Foundation held a meeting in London on the subject of "Domesticating the Core ICC Crimes", attended by representatives of international courts and distinguished academics. In the course of that meeting, Donald Ferencz, the director of the Foundation, suggested the idea of developing a global database on precisely this matter.

At Equipo Nizkor, after a systems analysis of the online treatment and presentation of the available documents, we developed a matrix, reflected in the project's home page, which allows access to each country and, at a glance, provides the reader with an idea of the application of these criminal offences within the relevant country.

The full text documents are edited in html, which facilitates consultation by any browser or programme able to read this language and allows its indexing in any search engine or specialized document software. All documents are hence full-text searchable material. In addition, their small size makes them accessible in areas with limited band width or where internet access is difficult.

Those who are familiar with our documentary work since its inception in 1994 will recognise this online data base as a logical extension of our work in the compilation of legal documents and their dissemination to provide comprehensive information on the most serious offences in international criminal law and their application in domestic jurisdictions.

The home page of this project, entitled "National Implementation of International Criminal Law" provides access by alphabetical order to the 197 countries which constitute members and observers of the United Nations. The country-by-country index is standardised so that in practice each country is presented in the same way. This allows a speedy comparison of two or more countries and the ability to ascertain at a glance the status in each country of what is known as "domestic legislation on serious international crimes". The country pages also provide the relevant existing jurisprudence and/or judicial rulings.

To make the access to the information more comprehensive, we have tried to highlight, for each country, the specific legal provisions which reflect the application (in the domestic jurisdiction) of the relevant crimes in international law. We have also included the text of any peace agreements which exist in certain countries as these generally show the solutions found to situations of armed conflict or war, in the course of which, at the least, war crimes have often been committed.

A specialised team has invested over five years of work in this extensive project and it has been designed to provide relevant information to human rights defenders, legal workers and academics at all levels as well as for judges and specialist prosecutors.

In the face of the critical international situation we are confronting today, we hope that this tool will assist the work of all those who believe that international law is a vital instrument in the achievement and maintenance of peace.


Derechos Human Rights and Equipo Nizkor would particularly like to thank the foundation which has contributed to the financing of this work over the years, the Planethood Foundation, and in particular our thanks to Benjamin Ferencz, for his lifetime efforts towards world peace and specifically for his continuous support of our work over the years, which has encouraged us greatly in difficult times.

To Donald Ferencz, for encouraging and supporting the idea for this project as well as for his efforts to achieve accountability and international recognition of the crime of aggression and for his wholehearted advocacy and defence of the international system of justice.

To Susan Carpenter, who has painstakingly reviewed the pages for each country to achieve legal and stylistic consistency, for her unerring critical eye but first and foremost, for her valuable work and essential support during the last 15 years.

To Charline Doutreloux for her work in editing the thousands of documents compiled here which has required a great deal of patience and concentration and, quite simply, love for the work.

To Olaya Álvarez, Alejandra Gómez, Emily Turner and Verónica Pérez, for their assistance editing documents.

To Antonia Macías, who has directed this project from analysis of the systems and the pertinent legal documentation for each country to the selection and authentication of the relevant documents and their systematization.

We owe this project to them.

Gregorio D. Dionis
President Equipo Nizkor

International Criminal Law:
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This document has been published on 03May18 by the Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.