News & Events

GRC’s Catriona Murdoch interviewed for the Asymmetrical Haircuts Podcast on the ICC Starvation Amendment

23 April 2020

Is starving people to win a war a crime? Most international humanitarian law scholars say yes. And the International Criminal Court added starvation as a war crime to their statute in December 2019.


But how do you prosecute it? Starvation and famines rarely occur in a vacuum.


GRC’s Catriona Murdoch answers these questions in the latest podcast of the Asymmetrical Haircuts – “Episode 22 – Calling starvation what is is, with Catriona Murdoch” alongside Matthias Lanz-Pedretti, former Deputy Head of the IHL and International Criminal Justice Section of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) of Switzerland. The podcast has been published as part of a partnership between Asymmetrical Haircuts and


On 6 December 2019, a vital amendment to the Rome Statute to include the war-crime of starvation in a non-international armed conflict was unanimously passed at the 18th session of the Assembly of State Parties to the International Criminal Court (ASP).


GRC have been privileged to have worked alongside the Swiss FDFA and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs throughout the process and the crucial amendment has underpinned all of GRC’s starvation outputs such as: high-level panel events, including co-sponsoring with the Swiss the only side event during ASP 18 which focussed on the starvation amendment; policy papers, advocacy interviews, and analysis.


The current scale of suffering and death as a result of the use of starvation is unprecedented in modern history, with a number of present conflicts embroiled in acute food insecurity that has threatened famine, or breached that threshold already. The 2020 Global Report on Food Crises has estimated 135 million people acutely suffering from food insecurity in 2019 and the World Food Programme has projected 265 million people to face the same by the end of 2020. With conflict and insecurity still the main driver of food crises, the prevention, prohibition and accountability of starvation has now become more important than ever.


GRC have been engaged on the issue of starvation since 2017 in conjunction with The Netherlands’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Welt Hunger Hilfe, the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland, and a range of civil society organisations, principally in Yemen, South Sudan and Syria. GRC, in partnership with the World Peace Foundation, are proud recipients of grant funding from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands for the project ‘Accountability for Mass Starvation: Testing The Limits of the Law’.


For more information on GRC’s starvation projects and expertise, please see

Related News