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 : September 24, 2018 |

On September 24, 2018, the European Commission referred Poland to the Court of Justice of the European Union in regard to a recent Polish law that lowers the retirement age of Supreme Court judges from seventy to sixty-five, which could force twenty-seven out of seventy-two sitting judges into retirement. According to the press release, the Commission argued that the law “undermines the principle of judicial independence, including the irremovability of judges, and thereby Poland fails to fulfil its obligations under Article 19(1) of the Treaty on European Union read in connection with...


| By: Caitlin Behles : September 21, 2018 |

On September 21, 2018, the International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda decided to close the preliminary examination into the situation in Gabon. In September 2016, the government of Gabon sent the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) a referral regarding alleged crimes that had been taking place in Gabon surrounding the presidential election since May 2016. In the referral, the Gabonese government “alleged that opposition leader and former presidential candidate, Mr. Jean Ping, incited his supporters to commit genocide during his 2016 presidential campaign” and that opposition...


| By: Caitlin Behles : September 21, 2018 |

On September 21, 2018, the highest court in Scotland, the Court of Session, ruled in Wightman MSP and others v. Secretary of State for Exiting the EU that a judicial review question about whether the U.K.’s notice to leave the EU can be unilaterally revoked before the March 29, 2019, deadline, rather than be approved by all EU member states, should be answered by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). The Court decided that the question was not hypothetical or premature because U.K. members of parliament must ratify any agreement between the U.K. and the EU Council,...


| By: Caitlin Behles : September 18, 2018 |

On September 18, 2018, a Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights ruled in Lachiri v. Belgium that there had been a violation of Article 9 (freedom of thought, conscience and religion) of the European Convention on Human Rights when a woman was excluded from a courtroom after refusing to remove her hijab. As noted in the press release, the Court found that banning the woman, who was not a state representative, “had amounted to a ‘restriction’ on the exercise of her right to manifest her religion.” While the Court held that the restriction pursued the legitimate aim of “...


| By: Caitlin Behles : September 17, 2018 |

On September 17, 2018, the International Criminal Court (ICC) Trial Chamber VII delivered its re-sentencing decision for Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, Aimé Kilolo Musamba, and Jean-Jacques Mangenda Kabongo, following the ICC Appeals Chamber judgment that had reversed the initial sentences against the men in March 2018. As noted in the press release, the Chamber “sentenced M. Bemba to one year imprisonment and fined him EUR 300,000. M. Kilolo and M. Mangenda were sentenced each to a total of 11 months of imprisonment. M. Kilolo was also fined EUR 30,000.” Because of the time they had already...


| By: Caitlin Behles : September 14, 2018 |

On September 13, 2018, the European Court of Human Rights ruled on three joined applications in Big Brother Watch and Others v. The United Kingdom that some part of the U.K. surveillance regimes violated the European Convention on Human Rights Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life/communications) and Article 10 (right to freedom of expression and information). The press release notes that the original complaints—filed in the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations regarding U.S. and U.K. surveillance and intelligence sharing programs—concerned three surveillance...


| By: Caitlin Behles : September 07, 2018 |

On September 6, 2018, International Criminal Court (ICC) Pre-Trial Chamber I held that the Court may exercise jurisdiction over the alleged deportation of the Rohingya people from Myanmar to Bangladesh. As noted in the press release, the Chamber held that although acts concerning the “alleged deportation of members of the Rohingya people occurred on the territory of Myanmar (which is a State not party to the Statute), the Court may nonetheless exercise its jurisdiction, since an element of this crime (the crossing of a border) occurred on the territory of Bangladesh (which is a State party...


| By: Caitlin Behles : August 29, 2018 |

On August 27, 2018, the UN Human Rights Council released the Report of Independent International Fact-Finding Mission (Mission) on Myanmar concerning the recent alleged human rights violations by military and security forces in Myanmar, and particularly in Rakhine State. The Mission concluded that the gross human rights violations and abuses committed in Kachin, Rakhine, and Shan States “undoubtedly amount to the gravest crimes under international law” and that “Myanmar has a heavy responsibility to remedy the situation as a matter of the utmost urgency.” As noted in the press release, the...


| By: Caitlin Behles : August 17, 2018 |

On August 16, 2018, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) granted precautionary measures to migrant children separated from their families as a result of recent U.S. immigration policies. As noted in the press release, the IACHR issued two resolutions in which it “reiterated that, under the principle of complementarity, the State, through its domestic authorities, is primarily responsible for protecting the human rights of the persons under its jurisdiction” and requested information from the United States regarding reunification of these families. The Commission noted that...


| By: Caitlin Behles : August 16, 2018 |

On August 15, 2018, the Israeli Military Advocate General (MAG) released a report providing an update on their investigation of the Israeli military “Operation Protective Edge,” launched in 2014 in the Gaza Strip during the seven-week conflict between Israel and Palestine. The report provides the MAG’s findings on fighting in the city of Rafah on August 1, 2014, also known as “Black Friday,” during which Hamas militants ambushed three Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers during a humanitarian ceasefire and Israel responded with attacks that resulted in the death of over 110 Palestinians...