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 : August 25, 2020 |

The Government of Canada has appealed against the July 22 decision of the Federal Court of Canada in Canadian Council for Refugees v. Canada (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship) (previously covered on ILIB), which held that the country’s Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA) with the United States violates the Canadian Charter Rights and Freedoms. According to a statement issued by the Honorable Bill Blair, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, the appeal alleges that "there are factual and legal errors in some of the Federal Court's key findings" and that "it...


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

On August 18, 2020, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon pronounced its judgment (see also a summary of the judgment) in Ayyash et al. The case concerned the February 14, 2005, attack against the former Prime Minister of Lebanon, Rafik Hariri who, along with 21 others, was killed by explosives. The Trial Chamber unanimously found the accused, Salim Jamil Ayyash, guilty of five offenses, including conspiracy to commit a terrorist act and the intentional homicide of Mr. Hariri. The other three accused persons were found not guilty. According to a press release from the Tribunal, the Trial...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : August 10, 2020 |

A joint press statement has been issued by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, and the European Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders, on the initiation of a discussion on how to enhance the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield framework to comply with the judgment of the Court of Justice of the EU in Schrems II (covered previously in ILIB) on July 16 of this year, which declared the framework invalid. The statement reads:

The European Union and the United States recognize the vital importance of data protection and the significance of cross-border data...


| By: Emma Schoenberger : August 10, 2020 |

On August 5, 2020, the Plenary of the Brazilian Federal Supreme Court voted in favor of an injunction that requires “the federal government to adopt measures to contain the spread of Covid-19 in the indigenous communities.” The Federal Supreme Court website lists the measures included in the injunction: “the creation of sanitary barriers and a situation room, the removal of invaders and the presentation of a confrontation plan.” The purpose of the sanitary barrier is to ensure isolation of indigenous people in order to prevent further spread; the purpose of the situation room is to ensure...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : August 04, 2020 |
The U.S. Commission on Unalienable Rights, announced last July by Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, published its Draft Report on July 16, 2020. The Commission’s task is “to furnish advice to the Secretary for the promotion of individual liberty, human equality, and democracy through U.S. foreign policy.” As such, the Commission decided to first engage in a review of the principles that have shaped America’s distinctive, dynamic rights tradition over the years” and compare those principles to the international principles in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The resulting Draft...

| By: Emma Schoenberger : August 03, 2020 |
On July 25, 2020, Poland’s Minister of Justice, Zbigniew Ziobro, announced that Poland would begin taking steps to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention. In his statement (original summary in Polish), Ziobro noted that withdrawing from the Convention does not mean that victims of violence would lose protection under the law. He emphasized that Poland’s domestic law already demands a level of protection for women consistent with the terms of the Convention. Explaining Poland’s reasons for withdrawing, he stated that some of the practices the Convention mandates may be in conflict with Polish...

| By: Emma Schoenberger : August 03, 2020 |

On July 23, 2020, Australia submitted a letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations stating its position regarding China and the South China Sea. The submission states that, “[t]he Australian Government rejects any claims by China that are inconsistent with the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).” The submission refers to and disputes several arguments made by China in previous submissions. Regarding “China’s claim to ‘historic rights’ or ‘maritime rights and interests’” Australia reiterates that “[t]he Tribunal in the 2016 South China Sea Arbitral...


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

The UN Refugee Agency has published a Good Practice Paper on Statelessness Determination Procedures, as part of a greater initiative to publish a series of such papers to assist states and achieve its goal of ending statelessness by 2024. The paper provides an overview of existing statelessness determination procedures, noting that “[o]nly about twenty States worldwide have established dedicated [statelessness determination procedures” and that several states, including the United States, pledged in 2011 to establish procedures. Following that overview, the Paper goes into detail on key...


| By: Emma Schoenberger : July 27, 2020 |

On July 22, 2020, lawyers for Kathleen O’Donnell filed a claim in the Federal Court of Australia against The Commonwealth of Australia, the Secretary to the Department of Treasury, and the Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Office of Financial Management. According to the notice, Ms. O’Donnell contends that climate change will have an appreciable impact on Australia and therefore financial products that its government offers on the Australian Securities Exchange; consequently, “an investor is entitled to be informed of those risks.” By not including this information on “Information...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : July 23, 2020 |
On July 22, 2020, the Canadian Federal Court ruled in Canadian Council for Refugees v. Canada (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship) that the country’s Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA) with the United States violates the Canadian Charter Rights and Freedoms. Each of the applicants in the case had traveled to the U.S., but, unable to obtain refugee status, made their way to Canada to apply for refugee status there. However, because the STCA requires asylum-seekers to apply for asylum in the first country in which they arrive, the applicants had to be returned to the U.S. The...