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 : April 10, 2019 |

On April 10, 2019, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea issued its judgment in The M/V “Norstar” Case (Panama v. Italy), finding that Italy violated the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and awarded Panama $285,000 with interest to compensate for the loss of the M/V “Norstar.” The case concerns Italy’s detention of the Panamanian-flagged vessel the M/V “Norstar” after Italy requested that Spanish authorities seize the vessel while it was anchored in Spain in connection with allegations against eight individuals for smuggling and tax evasion. The Tribunal...


| By: Caitlin Behles : April 05, 2019 |

On April 5, 2019, the World Trade Organization released its Panel report on “Russia – Measures Concerning Traffic in Transit,” in which it reviewed for the first time the national security exception contained in Article XXI of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 (GATT). In the dispute, Ukraine challenged the legality of Russian measures restricting the transit of the Ukrainian goods meant for Central Asia through Russian territory, while Russia argued that the transit restrictions are justified under the national security exception as “necessary for the protection of its...


| By: Caitlin Behles : March 29, 2019 |

On March 28, 2019, the East African Court of Justice ruled in Media Counsel of Tanzania and Others v. Attorney General of Tanzania that multiple sections of Tanzania’s 2016 Media Services Act violated the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community in regard to freedom of the press and freedom of expression. Three civil society media organizations brought the claim, arguing that several provisions of the Act create “an unjustified restriction on the freedom of expression.” In particular, they argued that the Act violates freedom of expression by restricting certain...


| By: Caitlin Behles : March 28, 2019 |

On March 28, 2019, the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights released its decision that Italy violated a woman’s human right to health after Italian fertility laws required her to undergo a forced pregnancy. The press release states that the couple sought fertility treatment at an Italian clinic, but the woman requested that the embryo they produced not be implanted due to its likelihood of miscarriage. The clinic told her that she was required under the law to continue with the transfer or she would be sued, so she allowed the procedure and then suffered a miscarriage. The...


| By: Caitlin Behles : March 28, 2019 |

On March 28, 2019, in Germany v. Commission, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) annulled a decision by the European Commission and set aside the General Court’s judgment concerning orders for Germany to recover aid it had given certain industries that were heavy users of energy in the form of an exemption from a green energy surcharge in 2012. The case concerns a German law in which the state guaranteed producers of electricity from renewable sources a higher than market price, supported through a surcharge on energy suppliers. Germany capped the surcharge for...


| By: Caitlin Behles : March 28, 2019 |

On March 28, 2019, the UN Security Council passed a resolution aimed at increasing efforts to counter and criminalize terrorist financing. Acting under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, the Council directed states to ensure that their domestic laws ensure the ability to prosecute, as serious criminal offenses, the provision or collection or funds or other resources with the intention or knowledge that they will be used to support terrorists or terrorist organizations. The Council determined that member states shall ensure domestic counter-terrorism measures are consistent with their...


| By: Caitlin Behles : March 27, 2019 |

On March 26, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Sudan v. Harrison et al. against victims and their families of the USS Cole bombing, holding that a lower court could not issue a default judgment against Sudan because it had been improperly served. The case concerns the bombing of the USS Cole in Aden, Yemen, in 2000, which killed seventeen crew members, after which Al Qaeda claimed responsibility and the victims sued Sudan for giving material support to Al Qaeda for the bombing. When suing under an exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, there are four methods of...


| By: Caitlin Behles : March 26, 2019 |

On March 26, 2019, the European Court of Human Rights ruled in Berdzenishvili and Others v. Russia that Russia must compensate Georgian citizens in amounts ranging from EUR 2,000 to EUR 15,000 for violations of their human rights due to the administrative practice of arrest, detention, and expulsion in October 2006. In its judgment on the merits from March 2017, nineteen applicants brought charges against Russia after authorities instituted identity checks on Georgian nationals, arrested and detained them, and gave orders for their administrative expulsion from Russia. As noted in...


| By: Caitlin Behles : March 25, 2019 |

On March 25, 2019, Judge Mary T. Moreau in Alberta, Canada, decided in Khadr v. Warden of Bowden Institution that the war crimes sentence of a Canadian man, Omar Ahmed Khadr, who the United States previously detained at Guantanamo Bay, has expired. Khadr was captured in Afghanistan in 2002 when he was fifteen years old, pled guilty to crimes committed in Afghanistan in order to receive a sentence of eight years in 2010, was transferred to Canada in 2012 to continue serving his sentence, and was given judicial interim release in 2015. Since then Khadr has recanted and appealed his...


| By: Caitlin Behles : March 22, 2019 |

On March 20, 2019, the European Commission fined Google €1.49 billion for breaching EU antitrust rules regarding abusive practices in online advertising. The European Commission stated that Google abused its market dominance by using its position to include in a number of clauses in contracts with website owners that restricted how and whether they could show competitors’ search ads on their search results pages. These competitors were then not able to compete on the merits, “because there was an outright prohibition for them to appear on publisher websites or because Google reserved for...