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 19, 2020 |

On February 19, 2020, the International Criminal Court (ICC) dismissed the appeal of Al Hassan Ag Abdoul Aziz against the Court's September 27, 2019, ruling establishing the Court's jurisdiction over allegations that Al Hassan committed crimes against humanity in Timbuktu, Mali, in 2012 and 2013. According to a press release issued by the ICC, the Court concluded that the Pre-Trial Chamber rightly concluded that the "sufficient gravity" requirement in article 17(1)(d) of the ICC Rome statute had been met. In discussing the detail of the gravity requirement, the Court held that a...


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

The United Nations Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict published on February 18, 2020, "Practical guidance for mediators to protect children in situations of armed conflict." In his foreword to the publication, António Guterres, UN Secretary-General, commented that the guidelines "are an important part of [the] Special Representative's work to support Member States in putting children at the centre of initiatives aimed at preventing and ending conflicts." The Special Representative, Virginia Gamba, noted in the front matter that "[g...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : February 13, 2020 |

On February 13, 2020, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) announced its decision in N.D. and N.T. v. Spain. According to a press release from the Court, the case concerned two individuals (one from Mali and the other from Côte d’Ivoire) who were immediately returned to Morocco from Spain after unlawfully entering the autonomous Spanish city of Melilla on the North African coast. The individuals argued that their return to Morocco violated ECHR articles 4 ECHR (prohibition of collective expulsion) and 13 (right to an affective remedy). The ECtHR...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : February 12, 2020 |

On February 12, 2020, the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom (UK) issued its judgment in R (Jalloh) v. Secretary of State for the Home Department, holding unanimously that domestic common law on false imprisonment should not be aligned with the concept of deprivation of liberty under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). According to a press release from the Court, the respondent had been released from immigration detention on bond, at which point a number of restrictions on his movement were imposed upon him, including requirements to regularly report to an immigration...


| 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...