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Por Nicolás Carrillo Santarelli

En sede de apelación, la Corte Penal Internacional decidió que no son aplicables las normas consuetudinarias sobre inmunidades personales y funcionales frente a la Corte, y que el deber de cooperar de los Estados con la Corte exige no invocar estas inmunidades, aplicables únicamente ante tribunales internos, como excusa para no detener o enviar a quienes tengan una orden de arresto emitida por l Corte.

En momentos en los que se ha cuestionado mucho a la CPI, la decisión ha resultado ser polémica y considerada como una que no ha zanjado del todo la discusión (algunos incluso sugieren que se plantee una solicitud de opinión consultiva ante la Corte Internacional de Justicia), según se puede observar en blogs de derecho internacional prestigiosos y en los internacionalistas que comentan muy activamente como comunidad académica en la red social Twitter (algunos se oponen a los argumentos pero no al fondo), aunque a mi no me parece una mala decisión (porque no hay a mi parecer, cuando menos suficiente, opinio juris contraria a la falta de inmunidad ni generalidad en una supuesta práctica; por el precedente sobre principios de derecho penal internacional de Núremberg y por criterios sobre el principio de efectividad y abuso del derecho de quien pretenda burlar la jurisdicción internacional cuando debe operar como agente del derecho internacional con desdoblamiento funcional), según he discutido en aquel medio. Dejo a continuación algunos extractos relevantes de la decisión:

“113. The Appeals Chamber fully agrees with Pre-Trial Chamber I’s conclusions in the Malawi Decision333 as well as that of the SCSL’s Appeals Chamber in the Taylor case and notes that there is neither State practice nor opinio juris that would support the existence of Head of State immunity under customary international law vis-à-vis an international court. To the contrary, as shown in more detail in the Joint Concurring Opinion of Judges Eboe-Osuji, Morrison, Hofmański and Bossa, such immunity has never been recognised in international law as a bar to the jurisdiction of an international court.334 To be noted in that regard is the role of judicial pronouncements in confirming whether or not a rule of customary international law has as such ‘crystallized’.335 The Appeals Chamber is satisfied that the pronouncements of both the Pre-Trial Chamber in the Malawi Decision and of the Appeals Chamber of the Special Court for Sierra Leone have adequately and correctly confirmed the absence of a rule of customary international law recognising Head of State immunity before international courts in the exercise of jurisdiction. The Appeals Chamber accordingly rejects any contrary suggestion of the Pre-Trial Chamber in that regard, in both this case and in the case concerning South Africa.

114. The absence of a rule of customary international law recognising Head of State immunity vis-à-vis international courts is relevant not only to the question of whether an international court may issue a warrant for the arrest of a Head of State and conduct proceedings against him or her, but also for the horizontal relationship between States when a State is requested by an international court to arrest and surrender the Head of State of another State. As further explained in the Joint Concurring Opinion of Judges Eboe-Osuji, Morrison, Hofmański and Bossa336 and correctly found by the Pre-Trial Chamber in the Malawi Decision,337 no immunities under customary international law operate in such a situation to bar an international court in its exercise of its own jurisdiction.

115. The Appeals Chamber considers that the absence of a rule of customary international law recognising Head of State immunity vis-à-vis an international court is also explained by the different character of international courts when compared with domestic jurisdictions. While the latter are essentially an expression of a State’s sovereign power, which is necessarily limited by the sovereign power of the other States, the former, when adjudicating international crimes, do not act on behalf of a particular State or States. Rather, international courts act on behalf of the international community as a whole.338 Accordingly, the principle of par in parem non habet imperium, which is based on the sovereign equality of States, finds no application in relation to an international court such as the International Criminal Court.

116. The Appeals Chamber notes further that, given the fundamentally different nature of an international court as opposed to a domestic court exercising jurisdiction over a Head of State, it would be wrong to assume that an exception to the customary international law rule on Head of State immunity applicable in the relationship between States has to be established; rather, the onus is on those who claim that there is such immunity in relation to international courts to establish sufficient State practice and opinio juris. As further explained in the Joint Concurring Opinion of Judges Eboe-Osuji, Morrison, Hofmański and Bossa, there is no such practice or opinio juris.339

117. In sum, the Appeals Chamber finds that there was no rule of customary international law that would have given Mr Al-Bashir immunity from arrest and surrender by Jordan on the basis of the request for arrest and surrender issued by the Court. It follows that there was no ground for Jordan not to execute the request for arrest and surrender and that therefore it did not comply with its obligation to cooperate with the Court pursuant to articles 86 et seq. of the Statute […]

123. The Appeals Chamber notes in this regard that the obligation of States Parties to cooperate with the Court when exercising its jurisdiction over crimes listed in article 5 of the Statute (the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression) relates to breaches of fundamental norms of international law that have, such as the prohibition of genocide, the character and force of jus cogens.347 The obligation to cooperate with the Court reinforces the obligation erga omnes to prevent, investigate and punish crimes that shock the conscience of humanity, including in particular those under the jurisdiction of the Court and it is this erga omnes character that makes the obligation of States Parties to cooperate with the Court so fundamental. These considerations are reflected in the possibility, pursuant to article 87(7) of the Statute, of referring non-compliance with these obligations to the Assembly of States Parties and, in case the situation to which the cooperation request relates was referred to the Court by the UN Security Council, to the UN Security Council.348 The resulting importance of the duty to cooperate lends further weight to the argument that the duty to cooperate under articles 86 et seq. of the Statute must be interpreted in light of article 27(2) of the Statute.

124. As stated by Pre-Trial Chamber II in the South Africa Decision, if States Parties to the Statute were allowed to rely on immunities or special procedural rules to deny cooperation with the Court, this would create a situation which would ‘clearly be incompatible with the object and purpose of article 27(2) of the Statute’.349 Indeed, as noted by Pre-Trial Chamber II ‘the Court’s jurisdiction with respect to persons enjoying official capacity would be reduced to a purely theoretical concept if States Parties could refuse cooperation with the Court by invoking immunities based on official capacity’.350 If article 27(2) were to be read narrowly only to encompass proceedings before the Court (i.e. the Court’s adjudicatory jurisdiction), it would be unclear, as noted by the Prosecutor, whether any Head of State – even of a State Party – could ever be effectively arrested and surrendered, absent an express waiver by the State concerned.351 To read the Statute in this way would be contrary to the principle of effectiveness.

125. Furthermore, the reference in article 27(2) to immunities ‘under national law’ suggests that the provision also applies to the relationship between the Court and States Parties because national law could in any event not be invoked before the Court; the reference to ‘national law’ would be meaningless if article 27(2) were considered to be unrelated to Part 9 of the Statute.352 Therefore, contrary to the submissions of Jordan and some of the amici curiae, article 27(2) is relevant not only to the adjudicatory jurisdiction of the Court, but also to the Court’s ‘enforcement jurisdiction’ vis-à-vis States Parties to the Rome Statute.353

126. In light of the above, the term ‘cooperate fully’ in article 86 must be understood and interpreted in the context of article 27(2). A State Party would not be cooperating fully with the Court if, when faced with a request for the arrest and surrender of its Head of State, it refused to comply with this request, relying on Head of State immunity. The Pre-Trial Chamber’s finding in this regard was therefore correct in law”.

Por Nicolás Carrillo Santarelli

En la opinión consultiva que fue publicada el día de hoy, resalto un par de cuestiones sumamente interesantes. La primera de ellas consiste en la consideración de la Corte de que, distinguiendo controversias territoriales de cuestiones sobre autodeterminación, en principio debe respetar lo decidido por la Asamblea General de las Naciones Unidas en cuanto a la formulación de solicitudes de opiniones consultivas a la Corte, sin reemplazarla mediante especulaciones sobre para qué o cómo usará el pronunciamiento eventual de la CIJ, confiando en que ella puede estimar como elemento decisivo o importante lo que opine la Corte cuando haya suficiente evidencia de la seriedad de la consulta. En consecuencia, la Corte no debe abstenerse de emitir un pronunciamiento en tales eventos, salvo casos excepcionales.

Por otra parte, la Corte fue valiente (más que en la opinión consultiva sobre Kosovo, a mi juicio) en cuestiones debatidas, en este caso referentes a la autodeterminación de los pueblos y los procesos de descolonización. A (buen) juicio de la Corte, en este tipo de contextos hay que escudriñar con lupa y de forma muy intensa el que las decisiones de índole territorial u otro tipo ligados a un contexto de administración foránea reflejen una verdadera decisión libre del pueblo afectado, lo que, (a mi parecer) correctamente dijo la Corte, no ocurrió en el asunto examinado. Además, en tanto hay obligaciones erga omnes involucradas, además del rol que cumpla el Consejo de Seguridad se dijo que los terceros Estados tienen el deber de cooperar para procurar el respeto de la autodeterminación de los pueblos, lo que supone la identificación de una cara complementaria que, para mi, siempre han tenido aquellas obligaciones: además de dar a todo integrante de la sociedad internacional un interés jurídico en su respeto, les impone la carga de no reconocer situaciones contrarias a su respeto y de esforzarse por lograr el mismo mediante la cooperación, algo que ya se vislumbra en los artículos de la CDI sobre responsabilidad internacional, aunque en ellos se haga de forma algo más limitado al referirse (para sus efectos) a las violaciones graves al derecho imperativo (art. 41).

Dejo a continuación los extractos de la opinión consultiva que, a mi parecer, reflejan las consideraciones del tribunal sobre las primero de las cuestiones que resalto.

“76. The Court considers that it is not for the Court itself to determine the usefulness of its response to the requesting organ. Rather, it should be left to the requesting organ, the General Assembly, to determine “whether it needs the opinion for the proper performance of its functions” […]

81. The Court recalls that its opinion “is given not to States, but to the organ which isentitled to request it” […] The Court observes that the principle ofres judicata does not preclude it from rendering an advisory opinion. When answering a question submitted for an opinion, the Court will consider any relevant judicial or arbitral decision. In any event, the Court further notes that the issues that were determined by the Arbitral Tribunal in theArbitration regarding the Chagos Marine Protected Area […] are not the same as those that are before the Court in these proceedings.

85. The Court recalls that there would be a compelling reason for it to decline to give an advisory opinion when such a reply “would have the effect of circumventing the principle that aState is not obliged to allow its disputes to be submitted to judicial settlement without its consent” […]

86. The Court notes that the questions put to it by the General Assembly relate to thedecolonization of Mauritius. The General Assembly has not sought the Court’s opinion to resolve aterritorial dispute between two States. Rather, the purpose of the request is for the GeneralAssembly to receive the Court’s assistance so that it may be guided in the discharge of its functionsrelating to the decolonization of Mauritius. The Court has emphasized that it may be in the interest of the General Assembly to seek an advisory opinion which it deems of assistance in carrying out its functions in regard to decolonization […] 87. The Court observes that the General Assembly has a long and consistent record in seeking to bring colonialism to an end […]

88. The Court therefore concludes that the opinion has been requested on the matter of decolonization which is of particular concern to the United Nations. The issues raised by the request are located in the broader frame of reference of decolonization, including the GeneralAssembly’s role therein […] the fact that the Court may have to pronounce on legal issues on which divergent views have been expressed by Mauritius and the United Kingdom does not mean that, by replying to the request, the Court is dealing with a bilateral dispute […] 135. The Court recalls that it may depart from the language of the question put to it where the question is not adequately formulated”.

En lo concerniente a autodeterminación y el control intenso del respeto de la libertad decisoria de los pueblos, estos apartados, entre otros, me parecen relevantes:

“148. Having made respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples one of the purposes of the United Nations, the Charter included provisions that would enable non-self-governing territories ultimately to govern themselves. It is in this context that the Court must ascertain when the right to self-determination crystallized as a customary rule binding on all States […] In the Court’s view, there is a clear relationship between resolution 1514 (XV) and the process of decolonization following its adoption […] General Assembly resolutions, even if they are not binding, may sometimes havenormative value. They can, in certain circumstances, provide evidence important for establishing the existence of a rule or the emergence of an opinio juris […]

152. The Court considers that, although resolution 1514 (XV) is formally a recommendation, it has a declaratory character with regard to the right to self-determination as a customary norm, in view of its content and the conditions of its adoption. The resolution was adopted by 89 votes with 9 abstentions. None of the States participating in the vote contested the existence of the right of peoples to self-determination […] 153. The wording used in resolution 1514 (XV) has a normative character […] 157. The Court recalls that, while the exercise of self-determination may be achieved through one of the options laid down by resolution 1541 (XV), it must be the expression of the freeand genuine will of the people concerned […]

160. The Court recalls that the right to self-determination of the people concerned is defined by reference to the entirety of a non-self-governing territory […]

172. The Court observes that when the Council of Ministers agreed in principle to the detachment from Mauritius of the Chagos Archipelago, Mauritius was, as a colony, under the authority of the United Kingdom […] In the Court’s view, it is not possible to talk of an international agreement, when one ofthe parties to it, Mauritius, which is said to have ceded the territory to the United Kingdom, was under the authority of the latter. The Court is of the view that heightened scrutiny should be given to the issue of consent in a situation where a part of a non-self-governing territory is separated to create a new colony. Having reviewed the circumstances in which the Council of Ministers of the colony of Mauritius agreed in principle to the detachment of the Chagos Archipelago on the basis of the Lancaster House agreement, the Court considers that this detachment was not based on the free and genuine expression of the will of the people concerned […]

 

177. The Court having found that the decolonization of Mauritius was not conducted in a manner consistent with the right of peoples to self-determination, it follows that the United Kingdom’s continued administration of the Chagos Archipelago constitutes a wrongful act […] 179. The modalities necessary for ensuring the completion of the decolonization of Mauritius fall within the remit of the United Nations General Assembly, in the exercise of its functionsrelating to decolonization. As the Court has stated in the past, it is not for it to “determine what steps the General Assembly may wish to take after receiving the Court’s opinion […]

180. Since respect for the right to self-determination is an obligation erga omnes, all States have a legal interest in protecting that right […] while it is for the General Assembly to pronounce on the modalities required to ensure the completion of the decolonization of Mauritius, all Member States must co-operate with the United Nations to put those modalities into effect” (subrayado añadido).

La División de Codificación de la Oficina de Asuntos Jurídicos agregó recientemente la siguiente conferencia al sitio web de la Biblioteca Audiovisual de Derecho Internacional de las Naciones Unidas: “Sistema Interamericano de Derechos Humanos” por la Profesora Elizabeth Salmón.

La Biblioteca Audiovisual también está disponible como un podcast de audio, al que se puede acceder a través de las aplicaciones preinstaladas en los dispositivos de Apple o Android, a través de Soundcloud o a través de la aplicación de podcast de su preferencia buscando “Audiovisual Library of International Law”.

La Biblioteca Audiovisual de Derecho Internacional de las Naciones Unidas proporciona capacitación de derecho internacional de alta calidad y materiales de investigación para usuarios de todo el mundo de forma gratuita.

Por Nicolás Carrillo Santarelli

La Corte Constitucional de Colombia, que está encargada de realizar un examen previo sobre la constitucionalidad de los tratados antes de que el Estado consienta en vincularse por cualquier tratado, celebró esta mañana una audiencia (ver artículos de prensa aquí y aquí), que puede verse en internet (https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fcorteconstitucionaldecolombia%2Fvideos%2F1410989819038161%2F&show_text=0&width=560“>primera y https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fcorteconstitucionaldecolombia%2Fvideos%2F2252947374726870%2F&show_text=0&width=560“>segunda partes) en la que académicos y agentes del Estado, entre otros, incluyendo al embajador de Palestina (recuérdese que Colombia la reconoció como Estado hace poco), presentaron sus opiniones y posturas sobre la constitucionalidad del acuerdo. Fue muy interesante observar cómo en la audiencia se discutió si el tratado de libre comercio era coherente con principios del derecho internacional general como los relativos a la autodeterminación de los pueblos, la no intervención o el respeto de las fronteras e integridad territorial, a propósito de dudas sobre, por ejemplo, si el hecho de que los bienes que tengan origen en los territorios ocupados podrían estar cobijados por el TLC cuando comercien con ellos residentes de Israel supone algo que únicamente tenga efectos en el marco del tratado o, por el contrario, suponen algún apoyo o reconocimiento implícito de una eventual consolidación de la (ilegal) ocupación. Estos debates muestran, además de la interrelación entre distintos componentes del derecho internacional, cómo distintos actores subestatales y de la sociedad civil pueden buscar que órganos judiciales internos apliquen el derecho internacional y, como surge de los textos de Scelle y Cassese, que incluso lo garanticen (para alcanzar con distintas dinámicas, sin duda, ciertos fines), algo sobre lo que ya hemos escrito en el pasado. Una cuestión ciertamente interesante desde distintas ópticas…

Por Nicolás Carrillo Santarelli

En la sentencia sobre excepciones preliminares en el caso CERTAIN IRANIAN ASSETS (ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN v. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA), la Corte rechazó los argumentos estadounidenses basados en el alegato de que la demanda iraní constituía “abuso del derecho” o contrariaba la imposibilidad de que quien no tenga “manos limpias” (conducta intachable… ¿qué Estado acaso la tiene? Ninguno) no puede reclamar contra alguien afectado por su conducta. No tengo simpatía alguna por el argumento de manos limpias, pues incluso si un actor que ha violado normas internacionales se ha visto afectado éste debería poder reclamar contra el abuso que sufre, porque sus propios actos indebidos no dicen nada sobre la licitud o ilicitud de los que dice sufrir. Este tipo de argumentos, a mi parecer, son meras “distracciones” o argumentos algo infantiles (del tipo “¡pero él también me pegó!”…). Por lo mismo, presentar una reclamación no debería entenderse en si como abuso del derecho, salvo en circunstancias extremas en las que evidentemente haya una manipulación abierta que no busque la discusión de fondo de lo que aparentemente se pide se discuta.

Por todo lo anterior, comparto lo dicho por la CIJ en los siguientes apartados:

“113. The Court recalls that, in the case concerning Immunities and Criminal Proceedings (Equatorial Guinea v. France), it stated that only in exceptional circumstances should the Court reject a claim based on a valid title of jurisdiction on the ground of abuse of process. In this regard,there has to be clear evidence that the applicant’s conduct amounts to an abuse of process (Preliminary Objections, Judgment of 6 June 2018, para. 150) (see also Certain Phosphate Lands in Nauru (Nauru v. Australia), Preliminary Objections, Judgment, I.C.J. Reports 1992, p. 255, para. 38).

114. The Court has already observed that the Treaty of Amity was in force between the Parties on the date of the filing of Iran’s Application, i.e., 14 June 2016 (see paragraph 30 above), and that the Treaty includes a compromissory clause in Article XXI providing for its jurisdiction. The Court does not consider that in the present case there are exceptional circumstances which would warrant rejecting Iran’s claim on the ground of abuse of process […]

122. The Court begins by noting that the United States has not argued that Iran, through its alleged conduct, has violated the Treaty of Amity, upon which its Application is based. Without having to take a position on the “clean hands” doctrine, the Court considers that, even if it were shown that the Applicant’s conduct was not beyond reproach, this would not be sufficient per se touphold the objection to admissibility raised by the Respondent on the basis of the “clean hands”doctrine (Avena and Other Mexican Nationals (Mexico v. United States of America), Judgment, I.C.J. Reports 2004 (I), p. 38, para. 47; Maritime Delimitation in the Indian Ocean (Somalia v.Kenya), Preliminary Objections, Judgment, I.C.J. Reports 2017, p. 52, para. 142)” (subrayado añadido).

Lo único que no me gusta de estos apartados es que, por las razones expuestas por mi arriba, no haya aprovechado la oportunidad para rechazar la doctrina de “manos limpias”. Ojalá lo hubiese hecho. Sospecho que no quiso cerrar la puerta por si algún día le “conviene” a la Corte invocarla o aceptarla para no abordar una situación o cuestión compleja…

La División de Codificación de la Oficina de Asuntos Jurídicos agregó recientemente las siguientes conferencias al sitio web de la Biblioteca Audiovisual de Derecho Internacional de las Naciones Unidas: “La Corte Penal Internacional a veinte años de su creación: Consolidación o decadencia?” por la Sra. Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi, y “Derechos humanos e internet: Estándares internacionales” por el Sr. Eduardo Bertoni.

La Biblioteca Audiovisual también está disponible como un podcast de audio, al que se puede acceder a través de las aplicaciones preinstaladas en los dispositivos de Apple o Android, a través de Soundcloud o a través de la aplicación de podcast de su preferencia buscando “Audiovisual Library of International Law”.

La Biblioteca Audiovisual de Derecho Internacional de las Naciones Unidas proporciona capacitación de derecho internacional de alta calidad y materiales de investigación para usuarios de todo el mundo de forma gratuita.

Mi conferencia sobre  “Inmunidad del Estado y Derechos Humanos” está disponible en la Biblioteca Audiovisual de Derecho Internacional de las Naciones Unidas. En este vínculo pueden encontrar la conferencia y otros materiales relacionados con su contenido:  http://legal.un.org/avl/ls/Espósito_S.html. Agradezco al equipo de la Biblioteca Audiovisual de Derecho Internacional la invitación y su buen trabajo.

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