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 : October 03, 2018 |

On October 3, 2018, the International Court of Justice issued its provisional measures in Alleged Violations of the 1955 Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations, and Consular Rights (Islamic Republic of Iran v. United States of America), ordering the United States to ease some of its sanctions against Iran. The case concerns Iran’s case against the United States for violating the Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations and Consular Rights concluded between the two states in 1955 when the United States stated that it would reimpos sanctions against Iran after leaving the Joint...


| By: Caitlin Behles : October 02, 2018 |

On October 1, 2018, the International Court of Justice ruled in Obligation to Negotiate Access to the Pacific Ocean (Bolivia v. Chile) that Chile was not obligated to negotiate sovereign access to the Pacific Ocean for Bolivia. As noted in the press release, Bolivia argued that Chile had an obligation to negotiate in order to reach an agreement giving Bolivia sovereign access to the ocean, citing several discussions between the states over a number of years that Bolivia argued showed Chile had bound itself to negotiations that would lead to the access point. Bolivia brought eight...


| By: Caitlin Behles : October 01, 2018 |

On September 30, 2018, the United States, Mexico, and Canada reached an agreement in the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Upon its ratification by the three states, the USMCA will replace NAFTA, which had been in effect since 1994. The USMCA makes a number of changes to NAFTA, some of the bigger areas being in relation to automobiles and country of origin rules, the daily industry, labor, the environment, intellectual property protections, and digital trade. The USMCA is also subject to review after...


| By: Caitlin Behles : September 28, 2018 |

On September 28, 2018, the UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution that calls for an independent mechanism to collect and analyze evidence in regard to the serious international crimes committed in Myanmar against Rohingya Muslims and other minorities since 2011. The resolution requests that the independent mechanism “prepare files in order to facilitate and expedite fair and independent criminal proceedings, in accordance with international law standards, in national, regional or international courts or tribunals that have or may in the future have jurisdiction over these crimes.” As...


| 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...