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 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...


| By: Caitlin Behles : August 14, 2018 |

On August 13, 2018, the International Crimes Tribunal of Bangladesh (ICTB) sentenced five people to death for crimes against humanity during the state’s 1971 war of independence from Pakistan. The three-member panel unanimously found the men guilty of “abduction, confinement, torture, murder, and rape” and “responsible for the offences as enumerated in the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act, 1973 committed in violation of international humanitarian law in the territory of Bangladesh in 1971, during the war of liberation.” The Tribunal found that the convicted men were also part of the...


| By: Caitlin Behles : August 02, 2018 |

On August 1, 2018, the Protocol No. 16 to the European Convention on Human Rights entered into force for the ten member states that have signed and ratified it: Albania, Armenia, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Lithuania, San Marino, Slovenia and Ukraine. As noted in the press release, “Protocol No. 16 enables the highest national courts and tribunals, as designated by the member States concerned, to request the Court to give advisory opinions on questions of principle relating to the interpretation or application of the rights and freedoms defined in the Convention or the Protocols...


| By: Caitlin Behles : July 26, 2018 |

On July 25, 2018, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that organisms obtained by mutagenesis—“a set of techniques which make it possible to alter the genome of a living species without the insertion of foreign DNA”—are to be considered genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and are subject to the EU GMO Directive. However, organisms obtained by mutagenesis that have a long safety record in a number of applications are exempt, though member states may individually subject them to obligations within the Directive or otherwise, as long as they are in compliance with EU law. As...


| By: Caitlin Behles : July 25, 2018 |

On July 25, 2018, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled that the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) must reconsider whether the KitKat shape had acquired a distinctive character within certain EU states in order to be registered as an EU trademark. The case concerns Nestle’s application of the “4 Finger KitKat” shape as an EU trademark, which EUIPO agreed to register in 2006. According to the press release, a competitor challenged the trademark at the General Court, which found “that EUIPO had erred in law in finding that the mark at issue had acquired...


| By: Caitlin Behles : July 25, 2018 |

On July 25, 2018, the Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that a Palestinian with refugee status from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) cannot obtain EU refugee status while receiving protection or assistance from UNRWA. The Court also laid out the specific criteria by which Palestinians may apply for and receive asylum and subsidiary protection, and reiterated “that an individual may obtain asylum in the EU only if he or she are in a position in which his or her personal safety is at serious risk, has unsuccessfully sought assistance from...