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 : May 08, 2020 |

On April 29, 2020, the United Kingdom Supreme Court (UKSC) released its judgment in the case of AM (Zimbabwe) v. Secretary of State for the Home Department. AM, the appellant, “is a citizen of Zimbabwe” who, “while lawfully resident [in the UK] . . . committed a string of serious crimes.” Additionally, he “is HIV positive.” AM is appealing a deportation order issued by the Secretary of State in 2007, stating “that, if deported to Zimbabwe, he would be unable to access the medication which, here in the UK, prevents his relapse into full-blown AIDS.” Early on in the process of his...


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

The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea has published its 2019 Annual Report. The Report discusses the three cases upon which it rendered judgments in 2019 (M/V "Norstar" (Panama v. Italy), Case concerning the detention of three Ukranian naval vessels (Ukraine v. Russian Federation) provisional measures, and M/T "San Padre Pio" (Switzerland v. Nigeria), provisional measures) and provides information concerning two pending disputes (Dispute concerning delimitation of the maritime boundary between Mauritius and Maldives in...


| By: Emma Schoenberger : May 04, 2020 |
On April 30, 2020, Fatou Bensouda, Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (ICC), submitted a “Prosecution Response to the Observations of Amici Curiae, Legal Representatives of Victims, and States” to the ICC’s Pre-Trial Chamber I. This response follows an initial “Prosecution request pursuant to article 19(3) for a ruling on the Court’s territorial jurisdiction in Palestine” (submitted in January 2020). In her initial request, Bensouda stated “[t]here is a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes have been or are being committed in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem...

| By: Emma Schoenberger : May 01, 2020 |
  On April 27, 2020, the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes published its award in Global Telecom Holding S.A.E. v. Canada. The case concerns an alleged breach by Canada of the Agreement between the Government of Canada and the Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt for the promotion and Protection of Investments (BIT). Specifically, Global Telecom Holding (GTH) “asserts . . . that Canada . . . fail[ed] to (a) afford GTH fair and equitable treatment, (b) ensure full protection and security of GTH’s investment, (c) guarantee the unrestricted transfer of...

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

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights published its 2019 Annual Report on April 30. The Report indicates that the Court held 34 hearings on contentious cases and on compliance with judgments; 25 judgments on the merits and on interpretation; and held 69 hearings concerning orders on provisional measures and on compliance with judgments. It further states that during 2019, 32 new contentious cases were submitted to the Court, which is an increase from 18 cases submitted in 2018. The Report provides additional information about the Court's 2019 activities, including details on its various...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : April 29, 2020 |

The Council of Europe's Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) has published a compilation of extracts from its reports and opinions on states of emergency. The compilation includes twelve benchmarks for states, including the making of a declaration of a state of emergency; obligations in relation to human rights derogations; parliamentary and judicial oversight during the state of emergency; the scope of emergency powers; and elections during states of emergency. The introduction explains that "[t]he compilation is intended to serve as a source of reference for drafters...


| By: Emma Schoenberger : April 28, 2020 |

On April 22, 2020, the Council of Europe announced that the European Committee of Social Rights had adopted a “Statement of interpretation on the right to protection of health in times of pandemic.” The statement enumerates ways that countries can ensure that their responses to a pandemic respect “the right to protection of health”(protected by “Article 11 of the European Social Charter”). In addition to “prevent[ing] and limit[ing] the spread of the virus” and caring for “those who fall ill,” states must educate the public about “the disease in question,” take “precautionary measures,”...


| By: Emma Schoenberger : April 23, 2020 |

On April 21, 2020, the State of Missouri (represented by its Attorney General, Eric S. Schmitt) filed a lawsuit against The People’s Republic of China (PRC), The Communist Party of China, and other Chinese institutions and state organs it holds responsible for the “appalling campaign of deceit, concealment, misfeasance, and inaction … [that] unleashed this pandemic [COVID-19].” The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri Southeastern Division. The plaintiff alleges that the defendants were aware of human-to-human transmission long before they took...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : April 21, 2020 |

On April 17, 2020, a Pre-Trial Judge at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) granted the status of “victim participating in the proceedings” to 29 of 33 applicant-victims in the case of Prosecutor v. Ayyash (STL-18-10). The case concerns three attacks in Lebanon in October 2004, and June and July 2005. The Judge noted that, though the remaining four applicants were denied the status due to incomplete applications, they are entitled to try again if they provide additional information. The decision is currently available in French only. 


| By: Emma Schoenberger : April 20, 2020 |
On April 20, 2020, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) announced via press release that Robert Spano (Iceland) would be succeeding Linos-Alexandre Sicilianos (Greece) as president of the Court on May 18, 2020. Spano received a combined BA and Masters degree in Law from University of Iceland in 1997 and his Magister Juris from University of Oxford in 2000. Since then, he has served in various roles, including as Vice-Dean and Dean of University of Iceland’s Faculty of Law, Editor of the Law Review of the Lawyers’ Association of Iceland, and member of Iceland’s Judicial Supervisory...