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 : May 01, 2020 |

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights published its 2019 Annual Report on April 30. The Report indicates that the Court held 34 hearings on contentious cases and on compliance with judgments; 25 judgments on the merits and on interpretation; and held 69 hearings concerning orders on provisional measures and on compliance with judgments. It further states that during 2019, 32 new contentious cases were submitted to the Court, which is an increase from 18 cases submitted in 2018. The Report provides additional information about the Court's 2019 activities, including details on its various...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : April 29, 2020 |

The Council of Europe's Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) has published a compilation of extracts from its reports and opinions on states of emergency. The compilation includes twelve benchmarks for states, including the making of a declaration of a state of emergency; obligations in relation to human rights derogations; parliamentary and judicial oversight during the state of emergency; the scope of emergency powers; and elections during states of emergency. The introduction explains that "[t]he compilation is intended to serve as a source of reference for drafters...


| By: Emma Schoenberger : April 28, 2020 |

On April 22, 2020, the Council of Europe announced that the European Committee of Social Rights had adopted a “Statement of interpretation on the right to protection of health in times of pandemic.” The statement enumerates ways that countries can ensure that their responses to a pandemic respect “the right to protection of health”(protected by “Article 11 of the European Social Charter”). In addition to “prevent[ing] and limit[ing] the spread of the virus” and caring for “those who fall ill,” states must educate the public about “the disease in question,” take “precautionary measures,”...


| By: Emma Schoenberger : April 23, 2020 |

On April 21, 2020, the State of Missouri (represented by its Attorney General, Eric S. Schmitt) filed a lawsuit against The People’s Republic of China (PRC), The Communist Party of China, and other Chinese institutions and state organs it holds responsible for the “appalling campaign of deceit, concealment, misfeasance, and inaction … [that] unleashed this pandemic [COVID-19].” The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri Southeastern Division. The plaintiff alleges that the defendants were aware of human-to-human transmission long before they took...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : April 21, 2020 |

On April 17, 2020, a Pre-Trial Judge at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) granted the status of “victim participating in the proceedings” to 29 of 33 applicant-victims in the case of Prosecutor v. Ayyash (STL-18-10). The case concerns three attacks in Lebanon in October 2004, and June and July 2005. The Judge noted that, though the remaining four applicants were denied the status due to incomplete applications, they are entitled to try again if they provide additional information. The decision is currently available in French only. 


| By: Emma Schoenberger : April 20, 2020 |
On April 20, 2020, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) announced via press release that Robert Spano (Iceland) would be succeeding Linos-Alexandre Sicilianos (Greece) as president of the Court on May 18, 2020. Spano received a combined BA and Masters degree in Law from University of Iceland in 1997 and his Magister Juris from University of Oxford in 2000. Since then, he has served in various roles, including as Vice-Dean and Dean of University of Iceland’s Faculty of Law, Editor of the Law Review of the Lawyers’ Association of Iceland, and member of Iceland’s Judicial Supervisory...

| By: Emma Schoenberger : April 17, 2020 |
On April 14, 2020, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit decided that “the district court lacked personal jurisdiction over the defendants” in Shabtai Scott Shatsky et al. v. Palestine Liberation Organization, et al. The suit was brought by “[t]he American victims of a 2002 suicide bombing in the West Bank and their families” against the Palestinian Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority. To make its decision, the Court of Appeals (CA) reviewed whether or not the summary judgment issued by the district court was final (and therefore...

| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : April 16, 2020 |
On April 14, 2020, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights issued a press release regarding its statement, "COVID-19 and Human Rights: The problems and challenges must be addressed from a Human Rights perspective and with respect for international obligations” (adopted on April 9, 2020). The statement encourages states to ensure that their responses to COVID-19 (especially those that “may impair or restrict the enjoyment and exercise of human rights”) are in-line with the rule of law, the state’s international obligations, and respect for the human rights of all individuals. The statement...

| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : April 16, 2020 |

On April 15, 2020, the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance published an executive summary of its annual report on Adherence to and Compliance with Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Agreement and Commitments, as required by Section 403 of the Arms Control and Disarmament Act (22 U.S.C. § 2593a). The summary explains that, when evaluating state compliance, a number of factors are considered, including, "the nature and precise language of the obligations undertaken in the context of international law, information regarding the country’s activities...


| By: Emma Schoenberger : April 13, 2020 |
On March 13, 2020, the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) rejected all three of the respondent's preliminary objections in Daniel W. Kappes and Kappes, Cassiday & Associates v. Republic of Guatemala. They released the full text of their decision on April 10, 2020. The claimants in the case allege that Guatemala has negatively impacted their Guatemalan company, Exmingua and that Guatemala has breached several provisions of the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement. The Republic of Guatemala raised three preliminary objections:...