International Law in Brief

By: Eric A. Heath | January 13, 2017 |

On January 6, 2017, the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a report detailing a Russian campaign to influence the recent U.S. presidential elections. The report is a truncated version of a highly classified report assembled by various U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies.  The report states that the alleged election tampering “represent[s] the most recent expression of Moscow's longstanding desire to undermine the US-led liberal democratic order" and that "these activities demonstrated a significant escalation in directness, level of activity, and scope...

By: Eric A. Heath | January 13, 2017 |

On December 31, 2016, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution welcoming the efforts of Russia and Turkey to end the violence in Syria and “jumpstart a political process.” The Security Council also reiterated “its call on the parties to allow humanitarian agencies rapid, safe and unhindered access throughout Syria, as provided for in its relevant resolutions.”  The Council stated that it looked forward to the upcoming meeting in Astana, Kazakhstan, between the Syrian government and opposition groups, viewing it as “as an important part of the Syrian-led political process”...

By: Caitlin Behles | January 13, 2017 |

On December 28, 2016, the White House announced an executive order increasing sanctions against Russia in response to alleged cyberattacks intended to interfere with the U.S. presidential election. The executive order sanctioned four Russians and five Russian entities and listed additional sanctions for any individual deemed to be responsible for engaging in “cyberenabled activities” that have “contributed to, a significant threat to the national security, foreign policy, or economic health or financial stability of the United States.” According to a statement by President Barack Obama,...

By: Caitlin Behles | January 13, 2017 |

On December 23, 2016, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution condemning Israel’s actions “aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, including, inter alia, the construction and expansion of settlements, transfer of Israeli settlers, confiscation of land, demolition of homes and displacement of Palestinian civilians, in violation of international humanitarian law and relevant resolutions.” The Security Council also condemned “all acts of violence against civilians, including...

By: Caitlin Behles | January 13, 2017 |

On December 21, 2016, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled in joined cases Tele2 Sverige AB v. Post-och telestyrelsen and Secretary of State for the Home Department v. Watson and Others that EU member states may not impose general and indiscriminate obligations on electronic communications services providers to retain data. According to the press release, the Court found that legislation requiring the general and indiscriminate retention of data does not include a requirement that the data be linked to a threat to public security, and therefore, this type of...

By: Caitlin Behles | January 13, 2017 |

On December 19, 2016, the UN Security Council passed a resolution demanding immediate and unhindered access for the UN and its partners to deliver humanitarian assistance for the citizens in Aleppo and across Syria. The Security Council highlighted that it is alarmed by “the continued deterioration of the devastating humanitarian situation in Aleppo and by the fact that urgent humanitarian evacuations and assistance are now needed by a large number of Aleppo inhabitants.” The Council also noted its concern regarding the evacuations of civilians from Aleppo, stressing that they “must be...

By: Eric A. Heath | January 13, 2017 |

On December 19, 2016, la Cour de Justice de la République—a French court with jurisdiction over cases against current and former government officials—convicted Christine Lagarde of using government funds in a criminally negligent manner, though the court spared her a criminal record or any actual punishment. Lagarde served as the French finance minister under the Sarkozy administration and currently the managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). According to a news article, Lagarde still maintains the support of the IMF and various governments, including the United States...

By: Caitlin Behles | January 13, 2017 |

On December 15, 2016, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights ruled in Khlaifia and Others v. Italy that Italy had violated the European Convention on Human Rights in regard to the holding of Arab Spring migrants in 2011 on the island of Lampedusa, then on ships in Palermo harbor, followed by their removal to Tunisia. According to the press release, the Court found “that their deprivation of liberty without any clear and accessible basis did not satisfy the general principle of legal certainty and was incompatible with the need to protect the individual against...

By: Eric A. Heath | January 13, 2017 |

On December 15, 2016, the United Nations Security Council, acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, passed a resolution calling for a framework to keep non-state actors from acquiring weapons of mass destruction.  According to the press release, the resolution called upon member states to strengthen their national, legally-binding measures aimed at preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and endorsed a recent report on such measures that member states have already implemented. The resolution was passed in the wake of various deployments of chemical...

By: Eric A. Heath | January 13, 2017 |

On December 15, 2016, the Federal Court of Australia ruled that Internet service providers (ISPs) in Australia must block websites that allow users to illicitly download copyrighted material. The Court ordered the ISPs to block the five named entities—Pirate Bay, Torrentz, TorrentHound, IsoHunt, and SolarMovie—and all their related websites through various methods. The ban only applies to the websites of these entities, and the Court would have to approve any additions.