International Law in Brief

By: Eric A. Heath | February 03, 2017 |

On January 19, 2017, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution urging ”all Gambian parties and stakeholders to respect the will of the people and the outcome of the election which recognized Adama Barrow as President-elect of The Gambia and representative of the freely expressed voice of the Gambian people as proclaimed by the Independent Electoral Commission.”  The resolution follows recent turmoil in the Gambia over the defeat of former president Yahya Jammeh in general elections and his refusal to cede the office to the newly elected President Barrow. Since the passing of...

By: Eric A. Heath | February 03, 2017 |

On January 18, 2017, the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York ruled in ACLU v. Department of Defense that the Department of Defense must release a collection of photographs taken at the Abu Ghraib prison and other military detention facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan by U.S. Army personal between 2003 and 2005. In support of his ruling, the judge stated that “the executive has failed to articulate the reasons supporting its conclusion that release of the photographs would endanger Americans deployed abroad.” The litigation surrounding this case began thirteen...

By: Eric A. Heath | February 03, 2017 |

On January 18, 2017, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled in Toshiba Corp. v Commission to uphold fines against Toshiba and Panasonic totaling €1.47 billion for their participation in an illegal cartel of television components. According to the press release, in a prior decision the General Court “annulled the fine of €28 048 000 imposed on Toshiba individually and reduced from €86 738 000 to €82 826 000 the fine imposed jointly and severally on Toshiba and Panasonic.” Toshiba sought to have the Court set aside that judgment completely on appeal, however. The Court...

By: Eric A. Heath | February 03, 2017 |

On January 17, 2017, the European Court of Human Rights ruled in Hutchinson v. the United Kingdom that whole life sentences in the United Kingdom are compatible with Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).  According to the press release, the case concerned a man serving a whole life sentence for murdering three of his family members and raping another. The man alleged “that his sentence amounted to inhuman and degrading treatment as he had no hope of release,” in violation of Article 3 of the ECHR due to discrepancies in U.K. law regarding review of such...

By: Eric A. Heath | January 30, 2017 |

On January 17, 2017, the U.K. Supreme Court issued three rulings touching on various allegations of wrongful acts committed by the U.K. when fighting international terrorism in the joined cases: Belhaj v. Straw and Rahmatullah (No 1) v. Ministry of Defence (collectively Rahmatullah 1); Rahmatullah (No 2) v. Ministry of Defence and Mohammed v. Ministry of Defence (collectively Rahmatullah 2); and Abd Ali Hameed Al-Waheed v. Ministry of Defence and Serdar Mohammed  v. Ministry of Defence (collectively Al-Waheed...

By: Eric A. Heath | January 30, 2017 |

On January 17, 2017, the European Court of Human Rights ruled in the Case of A.H. and Others v. Russia that Russia unlawfully discriminated against American nationals by banning them from adopting Russian children. According to the press release, Russia’s actions violated Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which covers the right to respect for private and family life. President Vladimir Putin of Russia signed a bill in December 2012 that included a ban that prevented U.S. citizens from adopting Russian children. The ban was part of a bill drafted in response to...

By: Eric A. Heath | January 30, 2017 |

On January 16, 2017, the High Administrative Court of Egypt blocked the transfer of two uninhabited Egyptian islands in the Red Sea, Tiran and Sanafir, to Saudi Arabia. According to a news article, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi stated that “the islands had always belonged to Saudi Arabia and that Riyadh had asked Egypt to station troops there in 1950 to protect them,” while the group of attorneys challenging the move “argued that a 1906 maritime treaty between Egypt and the Ottoman Empire stated that the islands were Egyptian.” The Court determined that the government failed to...

By: Eric A. Heath | January 30, 2017 |

On January 12, 2017, outgoing President Yahya Jammeh of the Gambia asked the Supreme Court for an injunction that would bar his successor, President-Elect Adama Barrow, from entering office. Jammeh lost reelection in December, initially accepting the results but ultimately rejecting the outcome and claiming the election was rife with “irregularities.”  He had been in power for twenty-two years after seizing the presidency during a coup in 1994. According to a news article, he declared a state of emergency on January 17, 2016, just days before his mandate ends. Numerous high level...

By: Eric A. Heath | January 30, 2017 |

On January 10, 2017, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruled in Osmanoǧlu and Kocabaş v. Switzerland (only available in French) that Switzerland did not violate the right to freedom of religion enshrined in Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) when it fined the parents of two Muslim girls for refusing to send their children to mandatory mixed gender swimming activities at their school. The applicants were two Swiss nationals with joint Turkish citizenship living in Basle, Switzerland. According to the press release, the Court “found that by giving...

By: Eric A. Heath | January 30, 2017 |

On January 9, 2017, the governments of Australia and Timor Leste agreed to “an integrated package of measures intended to facilitate the conciliation process and create the conditions conducive to the achievement of an agreement on permanent maritime boundaries in the Timor Sea.” According to a trilateral joint statement issued by the two governments and the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), part of this package will be the termination of the 2006 Treaty on Certain Maritime Arrangements in the Timor Sea pursuant to Article 12(2) of that treaty. With an eye to stability and...