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: Emma Schoenberger : June 22, 2020 |
On June 17, 2020, Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, released a statement about “the Human Rights Council Urgent Debate on current racially inspired human rights violations.” In her statement, Bachelet acknowledges that the murder of George Floyd “symbolise[s] the systemic racism that harms millions of people of African descent” and is “emblematic of the excessive use of disproportionate force by law enforcement…across the globe.” She calls for “decisive action … to address the … racism that” leads to a variety of inequalities around the world, including “refusals of...

| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : June 18, 2020 |

On June 18, 2020, the Council of Europe's Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) published its opinion on draft amendments to the Russian Constitution that address the extent to which international agreements, treaties, and the decisions of international bodies apply to Russia. In particular, the draft amendments make three main changes: (1) they prohibit the execution of decisions of interstate bodies where such decisions contradict the Russian Constitution; (2) they empower the Constitutional Court to decide upon questions concerning the enforcement of decisions by such...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : June 11, 2020 |

On June 11, 2020, the Trump administration announced a series of sanctions against employees of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The travel restrictions and economic sanctions were established by an Executive Order in response to the ICC's decision to authorize an investigation into the situation in Afghanistan and crimes alleged to have been committed on its territory since May 1, 2003 (including other alleged crimes that are sufficiently linked to Afghanistan, but committed elsewhere since July 1, 2002). The Executive Order states that the ICC investigation "threaten[s] to...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : June 10, 2020 |

Reuters reports that the District Court for the District of Columbia has been asked to compel Facebook to "release 'all documents and communications produced, drafted, posted or published on the Facebook page' of military officials and police forces" in Myanmar in the context of The Gambia's case against Myanmar at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). On January 23, 2020, the ICJ ordered a series of provisional measures to safeguard the rights of the Rohingya group in Myanmar, as requested by The Gambia. The case is ongoing, and The Gambia has until October 23, 2020, to file its...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : June 03, 2020 |

On June 3, 2020, the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO), the Council of Europe's anti-corruption body, published its 2019 annual report. A press release from the Council of Europe states that

[i]n 2019, compliance with GRECO recommendations under the 4th evaluation round slightly increased [from last year]: 36% of recommendations had been fully implemented by the end of the year. The recommendations with the lowest level of compliance continued to be those issued in respect of MPs (27%), whilst it was higher in respect of judges (37%) and prosecutors (...


| By: Emma Schoenberger : June 01, 2020 |

On May 29, 2020, China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) released a decision that builds on the Hong Kong Special Administrative Regions’ (HKSAR) pre-existing obligations under the Basic Law and is intended to increase national security in Hong Kong. The decision stipulates that, in addition to “complet[ing] the national security legislation stipulated in the Basic Law . . . at an earlier date,” the HKSAR must “effectively prevent, stop and punish acts and activities endangering national security.” The decision also includes measures intended to increase oversight of the HKSAR’s actions...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : June 01, 2020 |

On June 1, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court published its opinion in Nasrallah v. Barr. The case concerned judicial review of an order under the U.N. Convention Against Torture (CAT) of whether or not to grant relief to an applicant for protection. CAT relief is granted to a noncitizen if he or she demonstrates a likelihood of torture in the country of removal. The U.S. Government sought to remove the petitioner after he pled guilty to receiving stolen property, but the petitioner applied for CAT relief to avoid going back to Lebanon. The petitioner’s application for CAT relief was...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : June 01, 2020 |

On June 1, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court published its opinion in GE Energy Power Conversion France SAS v. Outokumpu Stainless USA, LLC, a case involving interpretation of the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (New York Convention). The issue was “whether the [New York Convention] conflicts with domestic equitable estoppel doctrines that permit the enforcement of arbitration agreements by nonsignatories.” GE was a subcontractor for three contracts between ThyssenKrupp Stainless USA, LLC and F. L. Industries, Inc., tasked with “design[ing],...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : June 01, 2020 |

On Friday, May 29, 2020, President Trump announced that as of that date, the U.S. relationgship with the World Health Organization (WHO) is terminated. According to the New York Times, the administration cited the WHO's handling of the current pandemic as one of the main reasons for U.S. withdrawal. The United States was one of the original proponents and supports of the WHO, and has been engaged with it since it began in 1948. The New York Times reports that it is unclear whether withdrawal can occur without Congressional approval. 


| By: Emma Schoenberger : June 01, 2020 |

On May 29, 2020, the European Court of Human Rights published an advisory opinion to the Constitutional Court of Armenia on retroactive application of law and whether references to specific articles of the Armenian Constitution within its Criminal Code were “compatible with Article 7 of the Convention.” According to a press release, the Constitutional Court had requested the opinion in its review of a case against Robert Kocharyan, the former president of Armenia, who had been “charged…under Article 300.1 § 1 (Overthrowing the constitutional order) of the 2009 Criminal Code,” but committed...