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: Erin K. Lovall : August 09, 2019 |

On August 8, 2019, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the UN body for assessing the science related to climate change, released a new special report, Climate Change and Land. The Report focuses on climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems. The experts authoring the report  highlighted that the rise in global temperatures, which are linked to increasing pressures on fertile soil, risk jeopardizing food security for the planet. According to the Report, agriculture,...


| By: Erin K. Lovall : August 09, 2019 |

On August 7, 2019, the U.S. Army and Marine Corps published a new manual, The Commander’s Handbook on the Law of Land Warfare ((Army Field Manual (FM) 6-27/Marine Corps Tactical Publication (MCTP) 11-10C), replacing the FM 27-10, The Law of Land Warfare, which was published in 1956. The Handbook “provides a general description of the law of land warfare for Soldiers and Marines, delineated as statements of doctrine and practice, to guide the land forces in conducting disciplined military operations in accordance with the rule of law.” The Handbook sets forth useful...


| By: Erin K. Lovall : August 09, 2019 |

On July 17, 2019, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) rendered its final judgment in the Jadhav Case (India v. Pakistan). In May 2017, India instituted proceedings at the ICJ against Pakistan asserting that Pakistan had violated the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (VCCR) when it detained  Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav, an Indian national. In its Application, India stated that Jadhav was taken by Pakistan from Iran on suspicion of espionage and sabotage activities. India claimed that Indian authorities were not informed of Jadhav’s detention until twenty-two days after his...


| By: Caitlin Behles : July 29, 2019 |

On July 29, 2019, the High Court of England and Wales Queen's Bench Division ruled against civil liberties group Liberty in its challenge to the “bulk hacking” powers granted to the U.K. government in the 2016 Investigatory Powers Act (IPA), which allow intelligence agencies to conduct mass surveillance of electronic devices and to extract and store information. Liberty argued that such powers were “too wide” and “lack the ‘minimum safeguards’ established by the European Court of Human Rights for secret surveillance regimes.” However, the Court determined that Parliament had considered the...


| By: Caitlin Behles : July 16, 2019 |

On July 16, 2019, Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court released its written decision in the case of The Prosecutor v. Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goud, in which it listed the full reasons for the oral decision it made on January 15, 2019, acquitting Gbagbo and Blé Goudé from all charges of crimes against humanity allegedly committed in Côte d'Ivoire in 2010 and 2011. As noted in the press release, the majority determined that the Prosecutor had presented an “unbalanced narrative” that ignored essential information, making it impossible to fully understand what...


| By: Caitlin Behles : July 08, 2019 |

On July 8, 2019, Trial Chamber VI of the International Criminal Court found Bosco Ntaganda guilty of eighteen counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, committed from 2002 to 2003 in Ituri, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The case relates to his position as the former Deputy Chief of Staff and commander of operations of the Union des Patriotes Congolais/Forces Patriotiques pour la Libération du Congo (UPC/FPLC) and his role in the non-international armed conflict taking place in the DRC at that time. As noted in the press release, the Court found Ntanganda “guilty...


| By: Caitlin Behles : June 20, 2019 |

On June 20, 2019, the Court of Appeal of England and Wales ruled in favor of the Campaign Against Arms Trade, finding that U.K. arms sales to Saudi Arabia for potential use in the Yemen conflict are unlawful. The Court noted that under EU law, member states “shall … deny an export licence if there is a clear risk that the … equipment might be used in the commission of serious violations of international humanitarian law.” The press release notes that in reviewing the evidence, the Court determined that the “government made no concluded assessments of whether the Saudi-led coalition had...


| By: Caitlin Behles : June 14, 2019 |

On June 14, 2019, the International Court of Justice delivered its Order rejecting the United Arab Emirate’s (UAE) request for provisional measures in the case concerning the Application of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD), which Qatar initiated against the UAE in June 2018. The UAE requested the Court order measures to “preserve the UAE’s procedural rights” and to “prevent Qatar from further aggravating or extending the dispute between the Parties pending a final decision in th[e] case,” including specifically requesting that...


| By: Caitlin Behles : June 11, 2019 |

On June 11, 2019, the UN Security Council adopted its first resolution to deal specifically with persons reported missing during armed conflict. The Council condemned “the deliberate targeting of civilians or other protected persons in situations of armed conflict, and call[ed] upon all parties to armed conflict to put an end to such practices.” The Council asked such parties “to take all appropriate measures, to actively search for persons reported missing, to enable the return of their remains, and to account for persons reported missing without adverse distinction and to put in place...


| By: Caitlin Behles : May 30, 2019 |

On May 29, 2019, the Scottish government published a bill that would allow it to hold a referendum on Scottish independence. The bill does not list a date for the referendum, which will be set later by additional legislation, but it does list the technical aspects of holding a referendum and “prescribes the rules for voting and sets out the rules for how the poll should be conducted,” as noted in the explanatory notes. British Prime Minister Theresa May, as well as three current candidates to replace her as Conservative leader, have stated they would block a request to hold another...