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 : March 18, 2020 |

The Russian Constitutional Court has approved amendments to the Russian Constitution that will allow President Vladimir Putin to serve an additional two terms as president. As reported by JURIST on March 17, 2020, the Russian Constitution's current limitation to two terms will be replaced by amendments that will "reset the term-limit clock and allow [Putin] to run again." These changes previously received parliamentary support and will now be put to a national referendum, which is scheduled for late April.


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

The U.S. Department of State published its 2019 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices on March 11, 2020. In an accompanying statement by Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, Robert A. Destro, remarked that the reports "look beyond law, policy, or statements of intent and examine what a government actually did to protect human rights during the year and to promote accountability for violence - violations and abuse." Specifically, the reports are comprised of seven sections:

Respect for the Integrity of the Person Respect for Civil Liberties Freedom to...

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

On March 11, 2020, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon presented its eleventh annual report for the period March 1, 2019, to February 29, 2020, to the UN Secretary-General and the Government of Lebanon. The Tribunal is dedicated to the investigation of the attack which took place in February 2005 and the trial of those accused of killing 22 people (including former Lebanese Prime Minister, Rafik Hariri) in the attack. It was established in UN Security Council Resolution 1757 of May 30, 2007. The report highlights three "key milestones" achieved by the Tribunal in the past year: (1) progress...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : March 09, 2020 |

On March 9, 2020, the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) unanimously dismissed Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi's appeal against Pre-Trial Chamber I's decision on admissibility of April 5, 2019. According to a press release from the ICC, the appeal concerned the finality of a judgment rendered against Mr. Gaddafi in absentia in 2015 before a Libyan court. The Pre-Trial Chamber rightly (according to the Appeals Chamber) found that because the judgment was rendered in absentia, it cannot be considered final under Libyan law. Therefore, the case is admissible at...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : March 05, 2020 |

On March 5, 2020, the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) unanimously authorized the Prosecutor to launch an investigation into the situation in the Republic of Afghanistan. According to a press release from the ICC, the Appeals Chamber judgment amended an earlier judgment by Pre-Trial Chamber II rejecting the Prosecutor's request to begin an investigation into the situation. In reviewing the case, the Appeals Chamber concluded that the Pre-Trial Chamber had incorrectly evaluated whether an investigation would be in the "interests of justice" under Article 53(1)(c) of...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : March 04, 2020 |

A report on requests for de-listing from the U.N. sanctions scheme was published by the Ombudsperson, Daniel Kipfer Fasciati, to the U.N. Security Council Committee on February 7, 2020. The report specifically concerns a number of U.N. Security Council resolutions on Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Da'esh), Al-Qaida, and associated individuals, groups, undertakings, and entities. The report outlines activities related to delisting cases since the previous report was published on August 1, 2019, as well as activities undertaken in relation to developing the the Office of Ombudsperson...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : February 28, 2020 |

On February 28, 2020, the Supreme Court of Canada published its decision on jurisdiction in Nevsun Resources Ltd. v. Araya. According to a case brief published by the Court, the case involves a dispute between workers in the Bisha mine in Eritrea. The mine is owned by Bisha Mining Share Company, which is owned by Nevsun, a Canadian company and the appellant in the case. The workers allege that the harsh and dangerous working conditions in the mine violate customary international law. The issue in the case was whether the Canadian courts had jurisdiction over the case. Nevsun...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : February 28, 2020 |

On February 27, 2020, the Court of Appeal of England and Wales (Civil Division) issued its judgment in Plan B Earth v. Secretary of State for Transport. The case involved a challenge to a 2018 decision (called an Airports National Policy Statement - ANPS) by the then Secretary of State, Chris Grayling, that identified Heathrow Airport as the preferred location for a new runway. The ANPS sets out a fundamental planning framework that, once finalized, cannot be challenged. Though several legal challenges against the ANPS were mounted, the successful challenge was based on the...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : February 25, 2020 |

On February 25, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its judgment in Monasky v. Taglieri, which focused on the meaning of "habitual residence" under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. The case involved a dispute between the petitioner, a U.S. citizen and her husband, an Italian national, over the habitual residence of their daughter. According to the facts of the case, the petitioner lived with her husband in Italy, where their daughter was born. After alleged abuse by the respondent, the petitioner took her daughter to Ohio. The respondent...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : February 25, 2020 |

On February 25, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that foreign nationals cannot file civil rights claims in American courts. Hernandez et al v. Mesa involved the killing of a fifteen-year-old Mexican national on Mexican soil at the Texas border by Jesus Mesa, a U.S. Border Patrol Agent. The deceased's family sued for damages under Bivens v. Six Unknown Fed. Narcotics Agents, under which the Supreme Court allowed a Fourth Amendment claim for damages, despite a lack of authorization for such a suit under federal law. Though Bivens has since been expanded upon...