Antonio Cassese Prize – Blog Post by Dr Miles Jackson

On the occasion of the award of the Antonio Cassese Prize for International Criminal Law Studies 2015–2016, the Antonio Cassese Initiative is pleased to publish a blog post written by one of the two Prize winners, Dr Miles Jackson.

“I am deeply grateful to the Cassese Foundation and the editors of the Journal of International Criminal Justice for the award of the Cassese Prize for International Criminal Law Studies. I have long admired Professor Cassese’s foundational academic and professional contributions to the field, as well as the work of each of the previous recipients. I appreciate the opportunity the prize will give me to work on a project I’ve been thinking through for a number of years.

That project concerns the ways in which political discretion and flexibility is (and can be) built into international criminal law and practice. I plan to consider this question on three levels. The first concerns the practices of the institutions of international criminal tribunals themselves. The second concerns flexibility that follows from the application of international criminal law in domestic jurisdictions. The third concerns the fact that international criminal law and tribunals are but one part of a wider legal and institutional system. In each case, I am interested in whether the accommodation of political interest within the system offers a new perspective on the traditional fault-lines between law and politics in international criminal justice.

This project will take my work in international criminal law in a slightly new direction from the two pieces in the JICJ for which the prize was awarded. The first, A Conspiracy to Commit Genocide: Anti-Fertility Research in Apartheid’s Chemical and Biological Weapons Programme, explored apartheid South Africa’s research into fertility in the 1980s. On the basis of testimony at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, it argued that scientists at the programme and their principals were engaged in a conspiracy to commit genocide — a conspiracy to surreptitiously deliver anti-fertility drugs to black South Africans with the intention of curtailing birth rates. The second, Regional Complementarity: The Rome Statute and Public International Law, asked how regional criminal tribunals fit with the admissibility requirements of the International Criminal Court. It argued that a genuine prosecution by a lawfully constituted regional tribunal should be seen as prosecution by a state in terms of Article 17 ICC Statute.

Over the next few years, I hope to move from specific issues of this kind to address wider questions about the place of criminal justice in the international legal system. I am thankful to the Cassese Foundation for their support”.

Dr Miles Jackson, Associate Professor, University of Oxford, Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford.