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: Caitlin Behles : October 23, 2018 |

On October 23, 2018, the UN Human Rights Committee, the body of independent experts that monitors implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), issued decisions regarding Sonia Yaker and Miriana Hebbadj, finding that France violated the human rights of two women by fining them for wearing the niqab. The two decisions were decided concurrently as they posed the same question regarding whether the French 2010 law prohibiting “any article of clothing intended to conceal the face” in public spaces, with the effect of banning the niqab, violated the ICCPR....


| By: Caitlin Behles : October 22, 2018 |

On October 19, 2018, the Vice President of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ordered (available in French) Poland to immediately suspend provisions of the recent Polish law on the Supreme Court that lower the retirement age for Supreme Court judges to 65, which would have the effect of removing nearly one-third of the Court’s judges. In October 2018, the European Commission brought an action before the CJEU, arguing that Poland had infringed EU law concerning judicial independence by applying the new law to judges appointed before the law was enacted and giving the...


| By: Caitlin Behles : October 11, 2018 |

On October 11, 2018, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 2438 in which it extended modifications to the mandate of the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) until April 15, 2019, stating that this will be the final extension unless the parties reach specified benchmarks regarding border demarcation. The Council noted that the “situation in Abyei and along the border between the Sudan and South Sudan continues to constitute a serious threat to international peace and security,” but also welcomed the progress that had been made towards implementing the Joint Border...


| By: Caitlin Behles : October 10, 2018 |

On October 9, 2018, The Hague Court of Appeal upheld a prior judgment in State of the Netherlands v. Urgenda Foundation ordering the Netherlands to reduce greenhouse gas emissions quicker than the government had planned after Dutch environmental group Urgenda Foundation sued the government. The Court upheld the District Court’s determination that the Dutch government must do more to address the threat of climate change in light of its duty of care to protect the environment pursuant to Articles 2 (right to life) and 8 (right to respect for private and family life) of the European...


| By: Caitlin Behles : October 03, 2018 |

On October 3, 2018, the International Court of Justice issued its provisional measures in Alleged Violations of the 1955 Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations, and Consular Rights (Islamic Republic of Iran v. United States of America), ordering the United States to ease some of its sanctions against Iran. The case concerns Iran’s case against the United States for violating the Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations and Consular Rights concluded between the two states in 1955 when the United States stated that it would reimpos sanctions against Iran after leaving the Joint...


| By: Caitlin Behles : October 01, 2018 |

On September 30, 2018, the United States, Mexico, and Canada reached an agreement in the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Upon its ratification by the three states, the USMCA will replace NAFTA, which had been in effect since 1994. The USMCA makes a number of changes to NAFTA, some of the bigger areas being in relation to automobiles and country of origin rules, the daily industry, labor, the environment, intellectual property protections, and digital trade. The USMCA is also subject to review after...


| By: Caitlin Behles : October 01, 2018 |

On October 1, 2018, the International Court of Justice ruled in Obligation to Negotiate Access to the Pacific Ocean (Bolivia v. Chile) that Chile was not obligated to negotiate sovereign access to the Pacific Ocean for Bolivia. As noted in the press release, Bolivia argued that Chile had an obligation to negotiate in order to reach an agreement giving Bolivia sovereign access to the ocean, citing several discussions between the states over a number of years that Bolivia argued showed Chile had bound itself to negotiations that would lead to the access point. Bolivia brought eight...


| By: Caitlin Behles : September 28, 2018 |

On September 28, 2018, the UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution that calls for an independent mechanism to collect and analyze evidence in regard to the serious international crimes committed in Myanmar against Rohingya Muslims and other minorities since 2011. The resolution requests that the independent mechanism “prepare files in order to facilitate and expedite fair and independent criminal proceedings, in accordance with international law standards, in national, regional or international courts or tribunals that have or may in the future have jurisdiction over these crimes.” As...


| By: Caitlin Behles : September 24, 2018 |

On September 24, 2018, the European Commission referred Poland to the Court of Justice of the European Union in regard to a recent Polish law that lowers the retirement age of Supreme Court judges from seventy to sixty-five, which could force twenty-seven out of seventy-two sitting judges into retirement. According to the press release, the Commission argued that the law “undermines the principle of judicial independence, including the irremovability of judges, and thereby Poland fails to fulfil its obligations under Article 19(1) of the Treaty on European Union read in connection with...


| By: Caitlin Behles : September 21, 2018 |

On September 21, 2018, the International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda decided to close the preliminary examination into the situation in Gabon. In September 2016, the government of Gabon sent the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) a referral regarding alleged crimes that had been taking place in Gabon surrounding the presidential election since May 2016. In the referral, the Gabonese government “alleged that opposition leader and former presidential candidate, Mr. Jean Ping, incited his supporters to commit genocide during his 2016 presidential campaign” and that opposition...