International Law in Brief

By: Catherina Valenzuela-Bock | July 20, 2016 |

On July 7, 2016, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled in Genentech Inc. v. Hoechst GmbH that the beneficiary of a patent license must pay the agreed royalty even if it does not infringe the patented technology. According to the press release, Behringwerke, a German company, granted Genentech a “worldwide non-exclusive licence to use a patented human cytomegalovirus enhancer.” Genentech subsequently used the enhancer in a manner that did not infringe the licensed patents and refused to pay royalties on that basis. The Court ruled “that EU competition law does not...

By: Catherina Valenzuela-Bock | July 20, 2016 |

On June 30, 2016, the Appeals Chamber for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia confirmed the convictions of Mićo Stanišić, former Minister of the Interior of Republika Srpska, and Stojan Župljanin, former Chief of the Regional Security Services Centre of Banja Luka, for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992. According to the press release, both appellants had argued that their right to a fair trial had been violated by the participation of Judge Frederik Harhoff in the proceedings. The Appeals Chamber disagreed, ruling...

By: Catherina Valenzuela-Bock | July 20, 2016 |

On June 29, 2016, in R (on the application of Bancoult (No 2)) v. Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, the U.K. Supreme Court dismissed a challenge brought by Chagos Islanders against the House of Lords decision from 2008 regarding their expulsion from their homes in the British Indian Ocean Territories (BIOT). According to the press release, the U.K. granted the U.S. permission to build a military base on the largest of the Chagos Islands, Diego Garcia, in 1966, and issued an ordinance that made it unlawful for the islanders to remain on Diego Garcia. They...

By: Catherina Valenzuela-Bock | July 20, 2016 |

On June 25, 2016, the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China issued a joint declaration on the promotion of international law. According to an analysis of the declaration, it “represents a defensive political document,” which counters the criticism that both countries have ignored and violated international law in recent years, some of which has centered around Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula and China’s territorial ambitions in the South China Sea. The declaration describes the two countries’ understanding of the global legal order and addresses issues such as...

By: Doug Cantwell | July 12, 2016 |

On July 1, 2016, the U.S. government released two documents on civilian causalities resulting from U.S. counterterrorism strikes abroad. The first is an Executive Order issued by President Barack Obama entitled, “United States Policy on Pre- and Post-Strike Measures to Address Civilian Casualties in U.S. Operations Involving the Use of Force.” The order calls upon U.S. government agencies to train personnel, develop systems, take precautions, and undertake assessments to protect civilians. Agencies are also ordered to investigate and review all incidents involving civilian casualties,...

By: Gaia Mattiace | July 12, 2016 |

On June 30, 2016, the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution on “Protection Against Violence and Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.” The resolution appoints for a three-year term an Independent Expert tasked with raising awareness, assessing best practices and gaps in existing policies, and supporting national efforts against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Chile, Uruguay, and Brazil jointly introduced the resolution and referenced the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ May 4, 2015, report on...

By: Ashley Young | July 12, 2016 |

On June 27, 2016, Palestine became the thirtieth state party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to deposit its instrument of ratification of the amendments addressing the crime of aggression (Kampala amendments). Palestine’s acceptance is significant because a minimum of thirty ratifications are required before the amendments may be activated. Because participants in the 1998 Rome Conference could not agree on a precise definition of the crime of aggression, the drafters deferred the decision for a subsequent review conference, stating in Article 5.2, “The Court...

By: Aldo Perez | July 07, 2016 |

On June 27, 2016, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that Israel and Turkey had reached an agreement to resume full diplomatic relations, ending six years of estrangement between the two countries. The once-close regional powers severed relations after a May 31, 2010, incident in which Israeli naval commandos forcibly boarded the Mavi Marmara, one of six vessels sailing seventy-two miles offshore that formed part of a flotilla assembled to deliver humanitarian aid to the blockaded Gaza Strip. The incident resulted in the death of nine Turkish passengers, the...

By: Mary Snover | July 07, 2016 |

On June 23, 2016, the United Kingdom held a referendum on whether to leave or remain in the European Union. A nationwide majority of 51.9 percent voted to leave. The referendum turnout was 46.5 million people, or 72.2 percent of the population. A majority of voters in England and Wales voted to leave, while a majority of voters in Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain. The process for a member state to leave the European Union is detailed in Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which stipulates that “any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own...

By: Mary Snover | July 07, 2016 |

On June 23, 2016, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos signed a ceasefire agreement with Timoleón Jiménez, the commander of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and presidents from six Latin American countries attended the ceremony in Havana, Cuba. In a statement, the Secretary-General expressed support for the negotiating process initiated in 2012 and recognized that “the Colombian peace process validates the perseverance of all those around the world who work to end violent conflict.” The ceasefire agreement details a plan for...