International Law in Brief


International Law in Brief (ILIB) is forum that provides updates on current developments in international law from the editors of ASIL's International Legal Materials.
| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : November 19, 2019 |

On November 19, 2019, the Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhumane or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) published the report from its September/October 2017 periodic visit to Estonia and Estonia's response to the CPT report. The focus of the visit was people in police custody and prisoners on remand who are held in police and prison facilities. The CPT expressed concern regarding the failure of Estonian authorities to effectively implement previous recommendations, such as those relating to improving prison conditions and reducing the use of prolonged...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : November 19, 2019 |

On November 19, 2019, the Court of Justice of the European Union (C.J.E.U.) issued its preliminary ruling in Joined Cases C‑585/18, C‑624/18, and C‑625/18, each involving questions relating to the independence of the newly-created Disciplinary Chamber within the Polish Supreme Court. According to a press release issued by the Court, the cases involved actions by three Polish judges challenging amendments to the law on retirement age (covered in a previous ASIL ILIB post). In particular, the referring queried the jurisdiction of the Disciplinary Chamber and asked the C.J.E.U. "whether, on...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : November 18, 2019 |

On November 18, 2019, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the reversal of a longstanding U.S. policy holding Israeli settlements on the West Bank to be unlawful under international law. According to the Washington Post, Pompeo claims that the policy change will "increase the likelihood" of a peace agreement. U.S. policy on the legality of Israeli settlements under international law was previously based on a 1978 legal opinion drafted for the Carter Administration. The full text of Pompeo's speech will be posted on ILIB once it is available.


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : November 14, 2019 |

On November 14, 2019, Pre-Trial Chamber III of the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced its decision to allow the Prosecutor to proceed with an investigation into alleged crimes in the Situation in the People's Republic of Bangladesh/Republic of the Union of Myanmar. A press release issued by the Court explains that, "[t]he Chamber concluded that the Court may exercise jurisdiction over crimes when part of the criminal conduct takes place on the territory of a State Party. While Myanmar is not a State Party, Bangladesh ratified the ICC Rome statute in 2010 . . . the...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : November 14, 2019 |

On November 13, 2019, the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) rendered its award in the case of Magyar Farming Company Ltd., Kintyre Kft, and Inícia Zrt v. Hungary. The dispute arose out of changes to Hungarian land law which "precluded lessees of State-owned agricultural land plots [like the Claimants] from exercising statutory pre-lease rights in cases where the National Land Agency...leased the land out by way of a tender." Under the previous land law, the Claimants (including Magyar Farming Company Ltd., incorporated in the UK) had a lease...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : November 14, 2019 |

On November 13, 2019, the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom issued its judgment in R. v. T.R.A. interpreting section 134 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 (CJA), which implements the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment of 1984 (UNCAT). A press release issued by the Court explains that the appellant in the case was charged with conspiracy to commit torture and with several counts of torture in the context of the first Liberian civil war in 1990 and the takeover in parts of Liberia by an armed group, the National...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : November 12, 2019 |

On November 12, 2019, the Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice of the European Union (C.J.E.U.) ruled for the first time on the scope of EU member states' right to reduce or withhold material reception conditions in the event of a serious breach of the rules of the accommodation center, or as a result of seriously violent behavior. Case C-233/18 Haqbin concerned Mr. Zibair Haqbin, an Afghan national who arrived in Belgium as an unaccompanied minor and made an application for international protection. He was housed in a reception center, but after a fight with other residents, he...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : November 11, 2019 |

On November 8, 2019, the International Court of Justice (I.C.J.) found that it has jurisdiction to hear claims made by Ukraine against the Russian Federation alleging violations of the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism (1999) (ICSFT) and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (1965) (CERD). In September, Russia raised preliminary objections to the jurisdiction of the Court and the admissibility of Ukraine's application. As to the latter, the I.C.J. also ruled that Ukraine's claims were admissible....


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : November 11, 2019 |

On November 7, 2019, the International Criminal Court's Trial Chamber VI sentenced Bosco Ntaganda to 30 years in prison in connection with his July 8, 2019, conviction of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo between 2002 and 2003. According to a press release from the Court, the Chamber imposed a specific sentence for each of Ntaganda's crimes. However, because the conditions for imposing a life sentence were not met, the Chamber could only impose a total of 30 years' imprisonment, in accordance with the Rome Statute. His nearly six years...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : November 11, 2019 |

The Court of Justice of the European Union (C.J.E.U.) announced on November 7, 2019, the opening up access to documents previously only available to the Judicial Network of the EU. According to the Court, "[t]he main objective...is to share and centralise information and documents relevant to the application, dissemination and study of EU law, as interpreted and applied not only by the Court of Justice of the European Union but also by national courts and tribunals" and "to promote mutual knowledge and understanding of the laws and systems of the Member States from a comparative law...