International Law in Brief

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

On January 24, 2017, the U.K. Supreme Court ruled in R v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union that the government must put to a vote of Parliament the triggering of Article 50 of the Treaty of the European Union, which would notify the European Union of the U.K.’s intent to leave the EU.  According the press release, the Court reasoned that since the European Communities Act (ECA) that brought the U.K. into the EU and granted rights to British residents was implemented by Parliament, any withdrawal from the EU must also be enacted by Parliament, rather than relying on...

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

On January 23, 2017, the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) amendment to the WTO Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement entered into force when member states surpassed a two-thirds threshold of required ratifications. According to the press release, the member states “took the decision to amend the TRIPS Agreement specifically to adapt the rules of the global trading system to the public health needs of people in poor countries.” The amendment made permanent a waiver for the export of pharmaceuticals produced by compulsory licensing that originated in...

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

On January 20, 2017, a three-judge panel of the Central District Court in Seoul ruled that the Korean government had violated Korean law by detaining and forcing treatment upon prostitutes that catered to U.S. soldiers in the 1960s and 1970s. According to a news report, the Court ordered the government to pay each of the fifty-seven plaintiffs the “equivalent of $4,240 each in compensation for physical and psychological damage,” though the judges stopped short of forcing the government to apologize or finding that it was responsible for creating and maintaining the camps in which the...

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

On January 20, 2017, the U.K. High Court of Justice (HCJ) ruled in Micula v. Romania that the registration of an International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) tribunal award issued against Romania in 2013 should not be annulled, though its enforcement should be stayed pending a parallel proceeding. The original dispute arose when Swedish nationals with business interests in Romania filed suit against the Romanian government under the bilateral investment treaty (BIT) between Sweden and Romania that was signed in 2002 and entered into force in 2003. The...

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

On January 19, 2017, the Russian Constitutional Court (RCC) ruled (Russian only) that Russia did not have to comply with the 2014 European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruling, OAO Neftyanaya Kompaniya Yukos v. Russia. The ECtHR ruling ordered Russia to pay 1.8 billion euros to former shareholders of Yukos, an energy company nationalized by the Russian government, for the retroactive collection of taxes in violation of the Protocol to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. The RCC rejected this determination, reasoning that the Russian...

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

On January 19, 2017, Mexico agreed to extradite Joaquin Guzman Loera, known as “El Chapo,” to the United States to face prosecution for charges related to his leadership Sinaloa Cartel.  According to a bulletin from the U.S. Department of Justice, “Guzman Loera is charged in six separate indictments throughout the United States.” In 2015, Guzman Loera escaped from his Mexican prison through an elaborate tunnel system; he was recaptured in 2016, however.

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...