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 : July 09, 2020 |

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) published Directive 2311.01 on its Law of War Program. The policy assigns responsibility for the Program and establishes the Department of Defense Law of War Working Group. The Law of War Working Group is tasked with advising the DoD General Counsel "on law of war matters to develop and coordinate on law of war initiatives and issues." The Directive applies to a number of offices and departments, collectively referred to as "DoD Components." It states that it is DoD policy that: (1) members of DoD components comply with the laws of war, including Common...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : July 07, 2020 |

On July 1, 2020, the U.N. Security Council adopted resolution 2532 calling on states to immediately cease hostilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Security Council expressed "grave concern about the devastating impact" of the pandemic and underscored the enhanced need for cooperation on the national, regional, and international levels. In recognition that the "pandemic is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security," the Council demanded "a general and immediate cessation of hostilities in all situations on its agenda" and called upon states that are parties...


| 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],...