International Law in Brief


International Law in Brief (ILIB) is a forum that provides updates on current developments in international law from the editors of ASIL's International Legal Materials.
| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : February 01, 2023 |

On January 17, 2023, the German Federal Court of Justice published its judgment [in German only] of November 30, 2022, confirming the November 2021 conviction of Taha A.-J., an ISIS member, for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes against Yazidi victims in Fallujah, Iraq. According to a press statement issued by the victim’s counsel, this is the first-ever conviction of an ISIS member for genocide. The Federal Court of Justice held that “. . . the organised enslavement of women and girls, especially in connection with religious re-education […] served to destroy the Yazidis...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : January 03, 2023 |

On December 21, 2022, the European Court of Human Rights indicated interim measures in the case Armenia v. Azerbaijan (no. 4). The request for interim measures brought by the Government of Armenia alleged that Azerbaijan was blocking Armenians’ access to the Lachin Corridor which, according to a press release from the Court, is used by Armenian residents in Nagoro Karbakh to access vita services, including medical care. In its decision to indicate provisional measures, the Court noted that Azerbaijan was obligated under Article 6 of the Trilateral Statement signed November 9, 2020, to “...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : January 03, 2023 |

On December 22, 2022, the U.S. Senate passed the Justice for Victims of War Crimes Act. The Act allows for national prosecution of war criminals in a number of situations: (1) where the offense occurred "in whole or in part" in the United States; (2) where the victim or offender is a U.S. national; (3) where the victim or offender is a member of the U.S. armed forces; and (4) where the victim or offender is present in the U.S. (regardless of nationality). The Act also provides that in case of an offense covered by the current war crimes statutes, "an indictment may be found or an...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : December 07, 2022 |

On November 23, 2022, the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom issued its unanimous decision in response to a reference by the Lord Advocate concerning whether the draft Scottish Independence Referendum Bill, which asks “should Scotland be an independent country?,” is outside the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament because it refers to matters reserved to the Union or the UK Parliament under the Scotland Act of 1998. The Lord Advocate’s (senior law officer of the Scottish Government) reference was made under paragraph 34 of Schedule 6 to the Act. The Advocate General for...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : December 02, 2022 |

On December 1, 2022, the International Court of Justice issued its decision in the Dispute over the Status and Use of the Waters of the Silala (Chile v. Bolivia) concerning a dispute over the Silala River, which is shared by both states, and whether it is governed by international law. The case originated in 2016 when Bolivia demanded compensation for Chile’s use of the river, arguing that Chile has no rights to the river because its only means of flowing into Chile is by artificial channels. Chile instituted ICJ proceedings that year. According to a summary from the ICJ, Chile...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : November 21, 2022 |

This month's COP27 climate summit in Sharm El-Sheikh resulted in a draft agreement on climate change (called a cover decision). At 20 pages, the draft covers several issues, including food and energy crises, emissions, financing, technology, capacity building, cooperation, and periodic review of progress. According to The Guardian (which provides a helpful breakdown of key aspects of the draft), the many placeholders in the draft demonstrate that "some of the most contentious issues . . . have yet to be resolved."


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : November 03, 2022 |

On November 3, 2022, the European Court of Human Rights issued two judgments on whether extradition from a Council of Europe member state to the United States would be in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights. Sanchez-Sanchez v. U.K. concerned an extradition request from the Northern District of Georgia for the trial of Sanchez-Sanchez (a Mexican national) on drug importation and conspiracy charges. Sanchez-Sanchez argued that his extradition to the U.S. would be in violation of Article 3 of the Convention (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment) because he...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : October 27, 2022 |

The World Justice Project has released its 2022 Rule of Law Index, which surveys citizens and experts in 140 jurisdictions to measure the state of the rule of law. Among its many insights is the conclusion that there has been a global decline in the rule of law for the fifth year in a row, i.e., the "rule of law weakened in more countries than it improved in 2022." In addition, the quality of the rule of law fell in seven of eight factors that are measured, including the absence of corruption, fundamental rights, and open government. The Index also reports on the continued "widespread...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : October 25, 2022 |

The International Council of Arbitration for Sport (ICAS), which governs the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), has adopted amendments to the CAS Code, with effect from November 1, 2022. According to a press release from the CAS, the amendments address the “significant increase” in football arbitrations by increasing the number of ICAS members from 20 to 22 so that more stakeholders are represented on the Council. In addition, the amendments reflect that the ICAS Legal Aid Commission will manage a new, dedicated Football Legal Aid Fund. Finally, a number of smaller amendments have been...


| By: Regina Valentine : October 12, 2022 |

On September 27, 2022, Oxfam International published a briefing paper on Climate Finance in West Africa/Sahel. The briefing assessed the implementation of climate finance instruments in eight countries in the most debt riddled region in the world. The briefing found that, (1) the finance is being over-reported with significant favor being shown to debt instruments that are unsustainable for the region; (2) Current climate finance flowing to the region is far from meeting each nation’s climate finance needs; (3) adaptation finance is insufficient; (4) reported climate finance is not being...