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 : 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 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: 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: 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...

| By: Emma Schoenberger : July 20, 2020 |

On July 16, 2020 the European Court of Justice released its judgment in Schrems II regarding the Privacy Shield agreement between the United States and the European Union; the judgment relied on analyses of the Standard Contractual Clauses Decision (SCC Decision), the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and the Commission’s 2016 Privacy Shield Decision. It was in response to a request from the High Court for a preliminary ruling; the original complaint was brought in 2013 by Mr. Max Schrems and “requested … that Facebook Ireland be prohibited from transferring his personal...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : July 15, 2020 |
On July 13, 2020, Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo, announced that the U.S. considers that “Beijing’s claims to offshore resources across most of the South China Sea are completely unlawful…” The statement issued on Monday explained that the U.S. is “aligning [its] position on the [People’s Republic of China’s] maritime claims in the [South China Sea] with the [Arbitral] Tribunal’s decision of 2016, highlighting three aspects in particular addressing (1) PRC assertions of maritime claims in relation to the Philippines; (2) U.S. rejection of PRC claims to “waters beyond a 12-nautical mile...

| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : July 14, 2020 |

On July 14, 2020, the International Court of Justice published its judgment in the appeals relating to the jurisdiction of the Convention on International Civil Aviation (ICAO) Council under Article II, Section 2, of the 1944 International Air Services Transit Agreement (Bahrain, Egypt and United Arab Emirates v. Qatar [full judgment and press release]) and under Article 84 ICAO (Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates v. Qatar [full judgment and press release]). The Court unanimously rejected the appeals in both cases and held fifteen to one in each case...