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 : March 11, 2020 |

On March 11, 2020, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon presented its eleventh annual report for the period March 1, 2019, to February 29, 2020, to the UN Secretary-General and the Government of Lebanon. The Tribunal is dedicated to the investigation of the attack which took place in February 2005 and the trial of those accused of killing 22 people (including former Lebanese Prime Minister, Rafik Hariri) in the attack. It was established in UN Security Council Resolution 1757 of May 30, 2007. The report highlights three "key milestones" achieved by the Tribunal in the past year: (1) progress...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : March 09, 2020 |

On March 9, 2020, the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) unanimously dismissed Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi's appeal against Pre-Trial Chamber I's decision on admissibility of April 5, 2019. According to a press release from the ICC, the appeal concerned the finality of a judgment rendered against Mr. Gaddafi in absentia in 2015 before a Libyan court. The Pre-Trial Chamber rightly (according to the Appeals Chamber) found that because the judgment was rendered in absentia, it cannot be considered final under Libyan law. Therefore, the case is admissible at...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : March 05, 2020 |

On March 5, 2020, the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) unanimously authorized the Prosecutor to launch an investigation into the situation in the Republic of Afghanistan. According to a press release from the ICC, the Appeals Chamber judgment amended an earlier judgment by Pre-Trial Chamber II rejecting the Prosecutor's request to begin an investigation into the situation. In reviewing the case, the Appeals Chamber concluded that the Pre-Trial Chamber had incorrectly evaluated whether an investigation would be in the "interests of justice" under Article 53(1)(c) of...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : March 04, 2020 |

A report on requests for de-listing from the U.N. sanctions scheme was published by the Ombudsperson, Daniel Kipfer Fasciati, to the U.N. Security Council Committee on February 7, 2020. The report specifically concerns a number of U.N. Security Council resolutions on Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Da'esh), Al-Qaida, and associated individuals, groups, undertakings, and entities. The report outlines activities related to delisting cases since the previous report was published on August 1, 2019, as well as activities undertaken in relation to developing the the Office of Ombudsperson...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : February 28, 2020 |

On February 28, 2020, the Supreme Court of Canada published its decision on jurisdiction in Nevsun Resources Ltd. v. Araya. According to a case brief published by the Court, the case involves a dispute between workers in the Bisha mine in Eritrea. The mine is owned by Bisha Mining Share Company, which is owned by Nevsun, a Canadian company and the appellant in the case. The workers allege that the harsh and dangerous working conditions in the mine violate customary international law. The issue in the case was whether the Canadian courts had jurisdiction over the case. Nevsun...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : February 28, 2020 |

On February 27, 2020, the Court of Appeal of England and Wales (Civil Division) issued its judgment in Plan B Earth v. Secretary of State for Transport. The case involved a challenge to a 2018 decision (called an Airports National Policy Statement - ANPS) by the then Secretary of State, Chris Grayling, that identified Heathrow Airport as the preferred location for a new runway. The ANPS sets out a fundamental planning framework that, once finalized, cannot be challenged. Though several legal challenges against the ANPS were mounted, the successful challenge was based on the...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : February 25, 2020 |

On February 25, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its judgment in Monasky v. Taglieri, which focused on the meaning of "habitual residence" under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. The case involved a dispute between the petitioner, a U.S. citizen and her husband, an Italian national, over the habitual residence of their daughter. According to the facts of the case, the petitioner lived with her husband in Italy, where their daughter was born. After alleged abuse by the respondent, the petitioner took her daughter to Ohio. The respondent...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : February 25, 2020 |

On February 25, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that foreign nationals cannot file civil rights claims in American courts. Hernandez et al v. Mesa involved the killing of a fifteen-year-old Mexican national on Mexican soil at the Texas border by Jesus Mesa, a U.S. Border Patrol Agent. The deceased's family sued for damages under Bivens v. Six Unknown Fed. Narcotics Agents, under which the Supreme Court allowed a Fourth Amendment claim for damages, despite a lack of authorization for such a suit under federal law. Though Bivens has since been expanded upon...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : February 19, 2020 |

On February 19, 2020, the International Criminal Court (ICC) dismissed the appeal of Al Hassan Ag Abdoul Aziz against the Court's September 27, 2019, ruling establishing the Court's jurisdiction over allegations that Al Hassan committed crimes against humanity in Timbuktu, Mali, in 2012 and 2013. According to a press release issued by the ICC, the Court concluded that the Pre-Trial Chamber rightly concluded that the "sufficient gravity" requirement in article 17(1)(d) of the ICC Rome statute had been met. In discussing the detail of the gravity requirement, the Court held that a...


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

The United Nations Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict published on February 18, 2020, "Practical guidance for mediators to protect children in situations of armed conflict." In his foreword to the publication, António Guterres, UN Secretary-General, commented that the guidelines "are an important part of [the] Special Representative's work to support Member States in putting children at the centre of initiatives aimed at preventing and ending conflicts." The Special Representative, Virginia Gamba, noted in the front matter that "[g...