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 : February 07, 2020 |

On February 5, 2020, the Court of Appeal of England & Wales upheld an Unexplained Wealth Order (UWO) granted by the High Court against the wife of Jahangir Hajiyeva, an Azerbaijani banker jailed for defrauding the International Bank of Azerbaijan in 2016. Mrs. Hajiyeva was the first person to have been served with a UWO, a tool established in Chapter 1 of the Criminal Finances Act 2017. According to a press release by the UK National Crime Agency (NCA), Hajiyeva v. National Crime Agency involved a challenge to one of two UWOs granted against Mrs. Hajiyeva, which required her...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : February 06, 2020 |

The European Union Commission has responded to U.S. targeted sanctions on an oil pipeline being built from Russia to Germany, known as Nord Stream 2. The sanctions were provided for in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020. The Commission response, among other things, states that "[t]he EU does not recognise the extraterritorial application of US sanctions, which it considers to be contrary to international law." The EU further commented that "the EU opposes the imposition of sanctions against EU companies conducting legitimate business in accordance with EU law" and...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : February 06, 2020 |

On February 5, 2020, the District Court of the Hague in the Netherlands issued a judgment (currently only available in Dutch) that the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, has hailed as a "clear victory for all those who are justifiably concerned about the serious threats digital welfare systems pose for human rights." NJCM et al. v. The Netherlands involved a challenge to the use of a benefits fraud detection tool called "System Risk Indication" or SyRI, which Mr. Alston had criticized in an amicus curie brief for the Court as "pos[...


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

On February 5, 2020, the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers formally agreed a checklist on checks and balances for states adopted by the Commission on Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) in June 2019. According to a press release from the Council of Europe, the checklist "follows a warning by the Venice Commission . . . that some governments, on gaining power in an election, are trying to dismantle democratic safeguards, rushing through laws without genuine political debate, and sacking independent judges and officials to make their own appointments." The checklist consists...


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

The Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) has published its third report on the status of the human rights treaty body system, as requested under UN General Assembly resolution 68/268 (2014) on "strengthening and enhancing the effective functioning of the human rights treaty body system". In addition to providing details regarding the implementation of the above resolution, the report includes information on treaty ratifications, state party reporting, and in situ visits to state parties. It also outlines various challenges in implementing treaty body mandates in 2018 to 2019, such...


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

On Friday, January 31, 2020, President Trump signed an executive order aimed at curtailing inflows of counterfeit goods into the U.S. through online sales. The executive order states that "[e]-commerce . . . is being exploited by traffickers to introduce contraband into the United States, and by foreign exporters and United States importers to avoid applicable customs duties, taxes, and fees." It further states that "the policy of the United States Government [is] to protect consumers, intellectual property rights holders, businesses, and workers from counterfeit goods, narcotics . . . and...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : January 30, 2020 |

Three and a half years after the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, the United Kingdom is set to withdraw formally on January 31, 2020, at 11 p.m. (U.K. time). On January 24, the Withdrawal Agreement was signed by Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the UK, Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, and Charles Michel, President of the European Council. The European Parliament subsequently voted to approve the Agreement on January 29th. Prior to the signing of the Withdrawal Agreement, the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act received Royal Assent on...


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

On January 28, 2020, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) published a joint report on trials of individuals associated with the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) which took place from May 1, 2018, through October 31, 2019. According to a press release from the OHCHR, though the report generally applauds efforts to bring such individuals to trial, it expresses concerns surrounding the extent to which basic fair trial rights are respected. The Executive Summary to the report notes specific...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : January 27, 2020 |

On January 23, 2020, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) indicated provisional measures in the case of The Gambia v. Myanmar. According to a press release issued by the Court, The Gambia requested a series of five provisional measures "to preserve . . . the rights of the Rohingya group in Myanmar, of its members and of The Gambia under the Genocide Convention." To indicate provisional measures, several conditions must be fulfilled. First, the Court must have prima facie jurisdiction over the case. On this point, the Court determined that it had jurisdiction over the case based on a...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : January 16, 2020 |

On January 16, 2020, the Council of Europe's Venice Commission for Democracy Through Law and the Directorate General of Human Rights and Rule of Law of the Council of Europe published an "Urgent Joint Opinion on the amendments to the Law on organisation on the Common Courts, the Law on the Supreme Court and other Laws." Like the OSCE opinion published earlier this week, the Venice Commission expressed concern over the laws and their negative impact on the independence of the Polish judiciary. A similar sentiment was expressed by the Venice Commission in a 2017 opinion on similar...