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 : July 26, 2018 |

On July 25, 2018, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that organisms obtained by mutagenesis—“a set of techniques which make it possible to alter the genome of a living species without the insertion of foreign DNA”—are to be considered genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and are subject to the EU GMO Directive. However, organisms obtained by mutagenesis that have a long safety record in a number of applications are exempt, though member states may individually subject them to obligations within the Directive or otherwise, as long as they are in compliance with EU law. As...


| By: Caitlin Behles : July 25, 2018 |

On July 25, 2018, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled that the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) must reconsider whether the KitKat shape had acquired a distinctive character within certain EU states in order to be registered as an EU trademark. The case concerns Nestle’s application of the “4 Finger KitKat” shape as an EU trademark, which EUIPO agreed to register in 2006. According to the press release, a competitor challenged the trademark at the General Court, which found “that EUIPO had erred in law in finding that the mark at issue had acquired...


| By: Caitlin Behles : July 25, 2018 |

On July 25, 2018, the Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that a Palestinian with refugee status from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) cannot obtain EU refugee status while receiving protection or assistance from UNRWA. The Court also laid out the specific criteria by which Palestinians may apply for and receive asylum and subsidiary protection, and reiterated “that an individual may obtain asylum in the EU only if he or she are in a position in which his or her personal safety is at serious risk, has unsuccessfully sought assistance from...


| By: Caitlin Behles : July 24, 2018 |

On July 23, 2018, the International Court of Justice delivered its Order on Qatar’s request for provisional measures in the case concerning Application of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Qatar v. United Arab Emirates). The Court found that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) may have discriminated against Qatari nationals when it implemented a blockade in June 2017 and ordered the UAE to reunite Qatari families that were separated due to the blockade, allow Qatari students to complete their studies in the UAE, and allow Qataris...


| By: Caitlin Behles : July 20, 2018 |

On July 19, 2018, Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court dismissed (available in French) requests for reparations made by applicants in the case of The Prosecutor v. Germain Katanga for transgenerational harm, which refers to harm passed from parent to child. According to the press release, the Chamber looked at “the progress of scientific studies on the transgenerational transmission of trauma and, in particular, of two theories – epigenetic transmission, which is biological, and social transmission, which is learned.” It went on to review the principle requiring a...


| By: Caitlin Behles : July 19, 2018 |

On July 18, 2018, the Organization of American States (OAS) passed a resolution condemning the violence in Nicaragua and calling on the government to set an electoral calendar. Through the resolution, the OAS condemns “all acts of violence, repression, and human rights violations and abuses committed by police, parapolice groups, and others against the people of Nicaragua” and urges all parties “to participate actively and in good faith in the National Dialogue as a mechanism to generate peaceful and sustainable solutions to the situation unfolding in Nicaragua.” The OAS also requested...


| By: Caitlin Behles : July 10, 2018 |

On July 9, 2018, Eritrea and Ethiopia agreed to a Joint Declaration of Peace and Friendship, which marked a start to normalization of ties between the two states and an end to twenty years of conflict. The Declaration has five main provisions, which state that “war between Ethiopia and Eritrea has come to an end”; the governments will work “to forge intimate political, economic, social, cultural and security cooperation”;  “transport, trade and communications links between the two countries will resume”; “diplomatic ties and activities will restart”; “the decision on the boundary between...


| By: Caitlin Behles : July 09, 2018 |

On July 9, 2018, the UN Security Council passed a resolution to strengthen protections for children in armed conflict. In the resolution, the Security Council condemns all violations of international law regarding recruitment of child soldiers to armed conflict, as well as all violence, abductions, and attacks against children in all situations of armed conflict. The Council made note of the importance of the work of the Special Representative on Children and Armed Conflict and called on “all parties to armed conflict to allow and facilitate safe, timely and unhindered humanitarian access...


| By: Caitlin Behles : June 26, 2018 |

On June 26, 2018, the International Labour Organization (ILO) issued a judgment in A. v. ICC, stating that the International Criminal Court (ICC) was at fault in the Libyan government’s detention of four ICC officials in June 2012 while there on Court business and ordering 340,000 euros in moral damages to two of the individuals. In its determination of damages, the Tribunal considered that the complainant’s detention was a direct result of the ICC’s failure to prepare for the mission and the damage the individuals suffered while in detention in Libya. The award “addresses the...


| By: Caitlin Behles : June 26, 2018 |

On June 26, 2018, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled in MB v. Secretary of State for Work and Pensions that a member state may not require an individual who has changed gender to annul his or her marriage, which was entered into before changing genders, in order to receive a retirement pension at the age necessary for the gender he or she has acquired. The case concerns MB, who was born male, married a woman, and later underwent sex reassignment surgery, but did not obtain a certificate of recognition of her change of gender, since that would have required her to...