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: Caitlin Behles : June 20, 2019 |

On June 20, 2019, the Court of Appeal of England and Wales ruled in favor of the Campaign Against Arms Trade, finding that U.K. arms sales to Saudi Arabia for potential use in the Yemen conflict are unlawful. The Court noted that under EU law, member states “shall … deny an export licence if there is a clear risk that the … equipment might be used in the commission of serious violations of international humanitarian law.” The press release notes that in reviewing the evidence, the Court determined that the “government made no concluded assessments of whether the Saudi-led coalition had...


| By: Caitlin Behles : June 14, 2019 |

On June 14, 2019, the International Court of Justice delivered its Order rejecting the United Arab Emirate’s (UAE) request for provisional measures in the case concerning the Application of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD), which Qatar initiated against the UAE in June 2018. The UAE requested the Court order measures to “preserve the UAE’s procedural rights” and to “prevent Qatar from further aggravating or extending the dispute between the Parties pending a final decision in th[e] case,” including specifically requesting that...


| By: Caitlin Behles : June 11, 2019 |

On June 11, 2019, the UN Security Council adopted its first resolution to deal specifically with persons reported missing during armed conflict. The Council condemned “the deliberate targeting of civilians or other protected persons in situations of armed conflict, and call[ed] upon all parties to armed conflict to put an end to such practices.” The Council asked such parties “to take all appropriate measures, to actively search for persons reported missing, to enable the return of their remains, and to account for persons reported missing without adverse distinction and to put in place...


| By: Caitlin Behles : May 30, 2019 |

On May 29, 2019, the Scottish government published a bill that would allow it to hold a referendum on Scottish independence. The bill does not list a date for the referendum, which will be set later by additional legislation, but it does list the technical aspects of holding a referendum and “prescribes the rules for voting and sets out the rules for how the poll should be conducted,” as noted in the explanatory notes. British Prime Minister Theresa May, as well as three current candidates to replace her as Conservative leader, have stated they would block a request to hold another...


| By: Caitlin Behles : May 29, 2019 |

On May 29, 2019, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights delivered its first judgment in infringement proceedings under Article 46 § 4 (binding force and execution of judgments) of the European Convention, finding the Azerbaijan had not fulfilled its obligations from a 2014 ruling in which the Court ordered the state to unconditionally release political activist Ilgar Mammadov. As noted in the press release, the Court determined “that the Government had taken only limited steps to implement the judgment, which had not amounted to Azerbaijan acting in ‘good faith’ or in a...


| By: Caitlin Behles : May 28, 2019 |

On May 28, 2019, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights released a report titled, “The Price is Rights: The Violation of the Right to an Adequate Standard of Living in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea” (DPRK). As noted in the press release, the report “highlights how the public distribution system in the DPRK has been broken for over two decades and how, as people seek to eke out a living in a legally precarious parallel economy, they are  exposed to arbitrary arrest, detention, and extortion.” The report was based on 214 accounts from escapees of North Korea from...


| By: Caitlin Behles : May 27, 2019 |

On May 25, 2019, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) prescribed provisional measures ordering Russia to release three Ukrainian naval vessels and their twenty-four servicemen in relation to the Case Concerning the Detention of Three Ukrainian Naval Vessels (Ukraine v. Russian Federation). The matter concerns Ukraine’s claim that Russia violated the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea regarding its coastal rights in the Black Sea, the Sea of Azov, and the Kerch Strait, when it detained the three vessels and their servicemen in November 2018. Ukraine requested...


| By: Caitlin Behles : May 15, 2019 |

On May 15, 2019, the U.K. Supreme Court ruled in R (Privacy International) v. Investigatory Powers Tribunal and others that that the extent of the U.K. government’s power to hack into internet services is subject to judicial review. The case concerned whether the British Parliament was sufficiently clear in drafting an “ouster” clause in an attempt to keep the decisions of the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT), which oversees challenges to the U.K. intelligence services, from review by other courts. It was instigated in the aftermath of Edward Snowden’s disclosures of the U.K....


| By: Caitlin Behles : May 06, 2019 |

On May 6, 2019, the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court confirmed Pre-Trial Chamber II’s decision that Jordan had not complied with its obligations under the Rome Statute when it failed to arrest Omar Al-Bashir while he was on Jordanian territory in March 2017 in regard to the arrest warrant against Al-Bashir for five counts of crimes against humanity, two counts of war crimes, and three counts of genocide. The Appeals Chamber held that there is no Head of State immunity under customary international law and that Head of State immunity is also inapplicable in this situation...


| By: Caitlin Behles : April 30, 2019 |

On April 30, 2019, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled in Opinion 1/17 of the Court that the investor-state dispute settlement mechanism under the EU-Canada free trade agreement, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), is compatible with EU law. The provision at issue creates a mechanism that would allow investors to enforce rights against the host state of an investment before an international arbitration tribunal and the aim was to establish an “Investment Court System” (ICS). As noted in the press releases, in 2017, Belgium requested an opinion from...