International Law in Brief


International Law in Brief (ILIB) is a forum that provides updates on current developments in international law from the editors of ASIL's International Legal Materials.
| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : June 08, 2021 |

On May 25, 2021, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights issued its judgment in Big Brother Watch and Others v. The United Kingdom. In 2013, 2014, and 2015, a number of civil liberties organizations lodged complaints with the Court after Edward Snowden revealed intelligence surveillance and sharing programs operated by the U.S. and the UK. The applicants believed that because of the nature of the programs, some of their communications and/or communications data were likely to have been intercepted by UK and/or U.S. intelligence agencies. They argued that the...


| By: Olivia Beech : June 03, 2021 |

On May 24, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its judgment in Guam v. United States, holding that “a case against the US for causing toxic waste pollution in Guam may proceed.” According to JURIST, the case involves toxic waste dumping at a site known as Ordot Dump, which, Guam argued, is the responsibility of the U.S. This site was constructed in the 1940s for the purpose of military waste disposal, but it appears that over the years, harmful chemical toxins, such as Agent Orange and DDT, were dispersed and leaked into regional water channels and the Pacific. Guam argued that...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : June 01, 2021 |

A case against some of Croatia's COVID-19 restrictions has been communicated to the European Court of Human Rights. In Magdiç v. Croatia, the Applicants question the legality of measures adopted by Croatia to inhibit the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The measures in question: (1) place restrictions on the ability to leave one's domicile and residence except under exceptional conditions and with official permission; (2) prohibit public gatherings of greater than five people; and (3) suspend religious gatherings. The Applicants challenge these measures based on Article 9 (freedom of...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : May 06, 2021 |

On Thursday, May 6, 2021, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued its sentence in the case against Dominic Ongwen. As reported earlier by ILIB, Ongwen was convicted of 61 crimes against humanity and war crimes for acts committed in Northern Uganda between July 2002 and December 2005. The ICC sentenced Ongwen to 25 years of imprisonment, less the time spent in detention from January 4, 2015, to May 6, 2021. In the sentencing decision, the ICC recalled that it is required to "take into account, inter alia, 'the individual circumstances of the convicted person'," which in...


| By: Halli Berrebbi : April 27, 2021 |

On Tuesday, April 20, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled in Case C-896/19, Repubblika v. Il-Prim Ministru that Malta’s system for appointing judges did not contradict EU law. As reported by JURIST, the ruling went before the national court when Repubblika, an association created to promote the rule of law in Malta, had challenged the procedure, which was provided by the Constitution of Malta. The process in the Maltese Constitution stated that judiciary members are appointed by the president acting under the advisement of the prime minister. However,...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : April 26, 2021 |

On April 21, 2021, Italy ratified Protocol 15 to the European Convention on Human Rights. Its ratification triggers the entry into force of the Protocol in all Council of Europe member states from August 1, 2021. The three-page Protocol adds to and amends the Convention in a number of ways. For example, it adds a new recital to the Convention's Preamble, affirming the principle of subsidiarity and the margin of appreciation doctrine. It also introduces a new paragraph 2 in Article 21 (Criteria for office), stating that candidates for the Court must be less than 65 years old at the time the...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : April 20, 2021 |

The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) and the UN Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) have published a second version of their Draft Code of Conduct for Adjudicators in International Investment Disputes. This new version updates the original draft Code, published near one year ago. According to an ICSID press release, the Code of Conduct "provides applicable principles and detailed provisions addressing matters such as independence and impartiality, and the duty to conduct proceedings with integrity, fairness, efficiency and civility."

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| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : April 02, 2021 |

On March 30, 2021, the International Criminal Court (ICC) Appeals Chamber upheld the conviction and sentencing of Bosco Ntaganda. Ntaganda was convicted on July 8, 2019, of 18 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity for actions carried out in 2002-03 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (covered in ILIB). He was then sentence to 30 years' imprisonment, the longest sentence term to be imposed by the ICC (also covered in ILIB). The Appeals Chamber rejected all of Ntaganda's arguments, including that his right to a fair trial had been violated, that the Trial Chamber "exceeded the...


| By: Sameer Shaikh : March 31, 2021 |

On Monday, March 22, 2021, The Council of the European Union took action against those responsible for the February 1 military coup in Myanmar, imposing sanctions against 11 individuals. In application of the EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime, the Council implemented a travel ban preventing these individuals from entering EU territory. In particular, these measures aim at those comprising the highest ranks of the Myanmar Armed Forced (Tatmadaw), adding onto existing arms embargos and export bans already seeking to limit the Tatmadaw’s capacity. These new sanctions directly follow the...


| By: Halli Berrebbi : March 30, 2021 |

On March 25, 2021, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) placed sanctions upon two Burmese military holding companies, Myanmar Economic Holdings Public Company Limited (MEHL) and Myanmar Economic Corporation Limited (MEC), both of which control significant portions of the country’s economy, including trading, natural resources, alcohol, cigarettes, and consumer goods. The goal of these sanctions is to target the economic resources, or the “financial lifeline” that fuels the Burma military regime. The OFAC reiterates that the sanctions are not directed...