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 : January 02, 2020 |

On December 19, 2019, the Pre-Trial Chamber of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) released its Considerations on Appeals Against Closing Orders in Case 004/02 against AO An. A press release from the ECCC and a statement by the International Co-Prosecutor explain that the ECCC was faced with conflicting closing-investigating judges' orders for the first time. Following an investigation into allegations against AO An, the international co-investigating judges concluded that the case should proceed to trial and issued an order accordingly. However, the national co-...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : December 20, 2019 |

On December 20, 2019, the Dutch Supreme Court (Hoge Raad) ordered the Dutch Government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by twenty-five percent by the end of 2020 in its judgment in Netherlands v. Urgenda [currently in Dutch only]. According to the New York Times, the Dutch Supreme Court stated that the government "must act 'on account of the risk of dangerous climate change that could also have a serious impact on the rights to life and well-being of residents of the Netherlands'" (see also paras 5.2.1-5.5.3 of the judgment, which heavily cited Article 2 and...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : December 19, 2019 |

On December 19, 2019, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) issued its judgment in Case C-532/18 Niki Luftfahrt concerning the meaning of "accident" under the 1999 Montreal Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air. The EU signed the Convention on December 9, 1999, and it entered into force there on June 28, 2004. According to a press release issued by the Court, the case, which was referred to the CJEU by the Austrian Supreme Court (Oberster Gerichtshof), involved a woman who was scalded from hot coffee which spilled on...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : December 19, 2019 |

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) held in a judgment (currently available only in French and Spanish) issued on December 19, 2019, that Members of the European Parliament (MEP) acquire that status from the moment the election results are declared and therefore enjoy, from that moment, the privileges and immunities attached to that status. According to a press release (in English) released by the Court, Case C-502/19 Junqueras Vie, concerned the provisional detention of Mr. Junqueras Vies, who was involved in the organization of a referendum on self-determination in...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : December 12, 2019 |

On December 11, 2019, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe adopted a Recommendation aimed at making the guardianship of unaccompanied migrant children more effective. A press release issued by the Council of Europe states that the "Recommendation seeks to ensure that unaccompanied and separated children's rights and their best interests are respected in line with international and European standards." The Resolution itself consists of a brief preamble and five main recommendations. Detailed "guiding principles and implementing guidelines" are contained in an Appendix. These...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : December 12, 2019 |

On December 11, 2019, the United States and the European Union gathered in Washington for their twice-annual meeting to discuss priorities in the field of Justice and Home Affairs. A joint statement following the meeting explains that the aim of the Ministerial Meeting is "to oversee transatlantic cooperation in the area of Justice and Home affairs and address common security threats." Chief among priorities for the two Transatlantic Partners is "fighting terrorism in all its forms," and an emphasis on sharing information derived from combat zones to assist in criminal prosecutions. The...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : December 10, 2019 |
The European Union and the Council of Europe have each adopted instruments seeking to address the protection of whistleblowers. EU Directive 2019/1937 of October 23, 2019, on the protection of persons who report breaches of Union law represents the first effort of the EU to adopt a Union-wide legislative instrument on the subject matter. A press release from April 2018 at the start of the legislative process states that the new law “will establish safe channels for reporting both within an organisation and to public authorities” and “will also protect whistleblowers against dismissal,...

| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : December 05, 2019 |

On December 5, 2019, the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) published its annual Report on Preliminary Examination Activities. The ninth of its kind, the Report details the Office's determinations under Article 53(1)(a)-(c) of the Rome Statute from December 1, 2018 to November 30, 2019. A press release issued by the Court highlights that the Prosecutor's Office "received 795 communications pursuant to article 15 of the Statute" and that of those, "617 were found to be manifestly outside the jurisdiction of the Court." The aim of these reports is to "promote...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : December 04, 2019 |

Also over Thanksgiving week, on Wednesday, November 27, 2019, President Trump signed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019. As reported in the Washington Post, the Act "authorizes sanctions on Chinese and Hong Kong officials involved in human rights abuses and requires the State Department to perform an annual review of the special trade status that Washington grants Hong Kong. 


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : December 03, 2019 |

On November 28, 2019, a Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) unanimously held in Mustafa v. Belgium (in French only) that a civilian tried within the Bulgarian military court system suffered a violation of his fair trial rights under Article 6 of the Convention because the Bulgarian military courts lacked safeguards to preserve their independence and impartiality that are available in the ordinary courts. According to a press release issued by the Court (in English), the applicant in the case, Mr. Mustafa, was one of several defendants convicted of illegal cross-...