New Reports Chart Path to Accountability for Mass Starvation

Our latest publication is a report on starvation crimes in Yemen. It is part of series of reports in the project “Accountability for Starvation: Testing the Limits of the Law,” together which analyze how existing law might apply to starvation crimes, and document specific instances in Syria, South Sudan and Yemen.

Accountability for Starvation Crimes: Yemen, by Sama’a al-Hamdani, Alex de Waal and Global Rights Compliance, (World Peace Foundation and Global Rights Compliance),Policy Brief No. 4, September 2019. This memo addresses multiple contributors to famine conditions in Yemen, drawing important distinctions between pre-existing vulnerabilities, generally difficult economic conditions, and actions that appear to indicate use of starvation as a weapon of war. This last category includes specific economic policy decisions, destruction of objects indispensable to life, hampering the movement of essential commodities, and impeding humanitarian supplies and operations. 

Accountability for Starvation Crimes: Syria,” by Mohammad Kanfash and Ali al-Jasem (Damaan Humanitarian Organization), Policy Brief No. 3, June 2019. This memorandum addresses the issue of starvation crimes committed during the war in Syria (2012-18) including the goals and methods of the perpetrators, the outcomes for the victims, and the possibilities for legal redress. It includes an overview of the use of starvation during the war and case studies of Eastern Ghouta (in the Damascus suburbs), Aleppo and Deir Alzor, and discusses the issue of penal starvation. 
 

Accountability for Starvation: South Sudan,” by Tong Deng Anei, Alex de Waal and Bridget Conley (World Peace Foundation), Policy Brief No. 2, June 2019. This memorandum addresses the issue of starvation crimes committed during the civil war in South Sudan (2013-18) including the goals and methods of the perpetrators, the outcomes for the victims, and the possibilities for legal redress. It includes an overview of the use of starvation during the war and three case studies. 
 

 

The Crimes of Starvation and Methods of Prosecution and Accountability,” by Global Rights Compliance, Policy Paper No. 1, June 2019. This paper discusses the significance of the amendment to the Rome Statute to allow the Article 8(2)(b)(xxv) crime to be prosecuted in NIACs as proposed by the Government of Switzerland to the Working Group of the Assembly of State Parties to the ICC in 2018. It outlines how support for the proposal will narrow the apparent impunity for those perpetrating starvation, enable redress for victims, and strengthen the fundamental protection of civilians and civilian objects. The authors analyse the elements of the crime of starvation through the relevant international legal frameworks, including IHL and International Criminal Law (ICL). This section seeks to bring legal clarity to a much-neglected offence. It further seeks to bring clarity to the applicable legal framework, detailing how the conduct of warring parties and individuals may constitute a starvation violation.

 

About the Project

This project is a collaboration between WPF and Global Rights Compliance.

Global Rights Compliance in partnership with The World Peace Foundation combine their expertise on conflict and food insecurity to identify how international law may be used to advance the prevention, prohibition, and accountability for mass starvation. Delineating the elements of starvation crimes, disentangling what is permissible and impermissible in warfare, and understanding the complementary enforcement regimes, will help to clarify the law and build a range of relevant skills enhancing the potential for redress and accountability.The Project will work towards operationalising UN Security Council Resolution S/RES/2417 (‘UNSC 2417’), through a concerted focus on the legal and factual, demands raised by mass starvation, especially with regard to the direct impact of armed conflict on food security, ensuring that UNSC 2417 delivers more than rhetoric. 

More information is available on the project website: StarvationAccountablity.org

 

Key Outputs:

A Role for Social Nutrition in Strengthening Accountability for Mass Starvation?” by Susanne Jaspars (WPF Occasional Paper #18), June 24, 2019. This paper aims to stimulate discussion of the role of social or politically-oriented approaches to nutrition in situations of famine and crisis. More specifically, it examines whether there is a role for social nutrition in strengthening accountability for mass starvation.

Accountability for Starvation Crimes: Syria,” by Mohammad Kanfash and Ali al-Jasem (Damaan Humanitarian Organization), Policy Brief No. 3, June 2019. This memorandum addresses the issue of starvation crimes committed during the war in Syria (2012-18) including the goals and methods of the perpetrators, the outcomes for the victims, and the possibilities for legal redress. It includes an overview of the use of starvation during the war and case studies of Eastern Ghouta (in the Damascus suburbs), Aleppo and Deir Alzor, and discusses the issue of penal starvation.

Accountability for Starvation: South Sudan,” by Tong Deng Anei, Alex de Waal and Bridget Conley (World Peace Foundation), Policy Brief No. 2, June 2019. This memorandum addresses the issue of starvation crimes committed during the civil war in South Sudan (2013-18) including the goals and methods of the perpetrators, the outcomes for the victims, and the possibilities for legal redress. It includes an overview of the use of starvation during the war and three case studies. 

The Crimes of Starvation and Methods of Prosecution and Accountability,” by Global Rights Compliance, Policy Paper No. 1, June 2019. This paper discusses the significance of the amendment to the Rome Statute to allow the Article 8(2)(b)(xxv) crime to be prosecuted in NIACs as proposed by the Government of Switzerland to the Working Group of the Assembly of State Parties to the ICC in 2018. It outlines how support for the proposal will narrow the apparent impunity for those perpetrating starvation, enable redress for victims, and strengthen the fundamental protection of civilians and civilian objects. The authors analyse the elements of the crime of starvation through the relevant international legal frameworks, including IHL and International Criminal Law (ICL). This section seeks to bring legal clarity to a much-neglected offence. It further seeks to bring clarity to the applicable legal framework, detailing how the conduct of warring parties and individuals may constitute a starvation violation.

Movement Towards Accountability for Starvation,” Project Briefing Paper, February 2019.  While international criminal law (‘ICL’) has become increasingly sophisticated and robust over the past decades, it has largely failed to address crimes related to starvation. This is partially due to lacunae in the relevant law, but it is also due to prosecutorial and political will, or rather the lack thereof, to apply the existing law. Despite significant challenges, during 2018, governments reached consensus that international law prohibits starvation as a weapon of war. This briefing paper summarizes two key advances: the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution S/RES/2417 (‘UNSC 2417’) and a move to amend the Rome Statute so that the prohibition of starvation applies in both International Armed Conflicts (IAC) and in Non-international Armed Conflicts (NIAC).

Accountability for Starvation Project Overview,” Global Rights Compliance and the World Peace Foundation, Project Overview, October 2018. This paper provides a short overview of the project’s activities and goals.    

Can We Prosecute Starvation?” by Global Rights Compliance and the World Peace Foundation, Briefing Paper, May 1, 2018. Famine is properly understood as an atrocity: the result of distinct and often criminally intentional policies that target discrete populations in the pursuit of military or political goals. Famines will no longer occur when they are so morally reprehensible that causing them, or allowing them to happen, is unthinkable. In order to achieve this goal, we need a sharper application of international law. Although starvation has appeared in a handful of prosecutions in international criminal law over the modern era, there have been a dearth of prosecutions resting squarely on the crime been a dearth of prosecutions resting squarely on the crime of starvation.

 

 

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