International Law in Brief

By: Eric A. Heath | September 23, 2016 |

On September 14, 2016, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, published a policy paper that lays out the procedure of the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) for selecting and prioritizing cases. According to the press release, this paper works in conjunction with a previous policy paper that explains the process of opening investigations into situations as a whole. The OTP formulated the new paper based on the applicable legal framework, jurisprudence of the Court, operational experience of the OTP, national and international judicial practice, and extensive...

By: Eric A. Heath | September 23, 2016 |

On September 13, 2016, the Court of Justice of the European Union held that European Union (EU) law does not allow member states to expel non-EU nationals from EU territory or automatically refuse them a residence permit when the individual is the sole caretaker of an EU citizen that is a minor and the sole ground for expulsion or refusal is the caretaker’s criminal record.  The ruling resolved two separate cases, Alfredo Rendón Marín v. Administración del Estado and Secretary of State for the Home Department v. CS, which addressed similar questions of EU law. According...

By: Eric A. Heath | September 23, 2016 |

On September 13, 2016, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants. According to the press release, the “Member States agreed to a set of commitments, among them acknowledging a shared responsibility to manage large movements of refugees and migrants in a humane, sensitive, compassionate and people-centred manner.” Additionally, “the Assembly underlined the importance of working collectively and, in particular, with origin, transit and destination countries, noting that ‘win-win’ cooperation in that area would have profound benefits for...

By: Douglas Cantwell | September 15, 2016 |

On September 9, 2016, the United Nations Security Council issued a press statement condemning the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) for conducting its fifth underground nuclear test. According to reports, the detonation produced a more powerful yield than North Korea’s previous tests, indicating progress towards nuclear warheads capable of being mounted on ballistic missiles. In its statement, the Security Council condemned the DPRK’s continued pursuit of a nuclear weapons program, which threatens international peace and security and flagrantly disregards a number of Security...

By: Catherina Valenzuela-Bock | September 15, 2016 |

On September 7, 2016, the WTO Appellate Body issued its report in United States — Anti-Dumping and Countervailing Measures on Large Residential Washers from Korea, reversing parts of the panel report handed down in March, which had found that the American method of calculating anti-subsidy duties was correct. According to a news report, the dispute arose after the U.S. Department of Commerce had imposed up to 82 percent of anti-subsidy duties on Korean-made washers after a complaint from U.S. manufacturer Whirlpool, who had argued that the Korean machines were sold below their...

By: Catherina Valenzuela-Bock | September 15, 2016 |

On September 6, 2016, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that member states are not required to grant every European Union (EU) citizen who has moved within their territory the same protection against extradition that they offer their own nationals.  According to the press release, Aleksei Petruhhin, an Estonian citizen, was arrested in Latvia and taken into provisional custody. Shortly thereafter, the Latvian authorities received an extradition request from Russia, stating that criminal proceedings had been initiated against Petruhhin. The Court noted that in moving from...

By: Catherina Valenzuela-Bock | September 15, 2016 |

On August 31, 2016, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals overruled a $650 million verdict against the Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization for harm suffered by Americans through terrorist attacks in Israel. According to a news report, eleven families had brought suit against the Palestinian organizations under the Anti-Terrorism Act, alleging they were responsible for terrorist attacks that killed or wounded them and their family members. The Second Circuit found that the District Court had erred in exercising jurisdiction, noting that the attacks had occurred “...

By: Douglas Cantwell | September 15, 2016 |

On August 24, 2016, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) submitted their third joint report to the Security Council on chemical weapons uses in Syria. According to reports, the Security Council tasked the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) in August 2015 with identifying “individuals, entities, groups, or governments involved in the use of chemicals as weapons, including chlorine or any other toxic chemicals.”  The report examined nine cases of previously established chemical weapons uses that occurred in...

By: Catherina Valenzuela-Bock | September 15, 2016 |

On August 23, 2016, the European Court of Human Rights ruled in J.K. and Others v. Sweden that the return of three Iraqi asylum seekers in Sweden to their home country would violate Article 3 (prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights. According to the press release, J.K had run a business with solely American clients from a U.S. military base in Iraq and had been targeted by al-Qaeda because of his cooperation with Americans. After several attempts to kill him, bomb his house, and destroy his business stock, J.K and his...

By: Douglas Cantwell | September 14, 2016 |

On August 22, 2016, Ahmad Al-Faqi Al Madhi admitted guilt at the start of his trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC).  Al Madhi’s trial was concluded two days later on August 24, 2016. According to the press release, Al Madhi was accused of the war crime of intentionally directing attacks against historical monuments and buildings dedicated to religion. As a member of Ansar Eddine, an extremist group affiliated with Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Al Madhi was accused of destroying nine mausoleums and one mosque in Timbuktu, Mali, between June 30 and July 11, 2012....