Current Developments

Somaliland and Secession Politics in Eastern Africa

Somalia has been that isolated relative that no one speaks about. The one that lives in a little hut, far away from the general community, with little interaction with anyone. Nieces and nephews do not visit her, because she is said to be a witch. Everyone fears her, and so she is largely ignored. Nobody wants to go near her homestead. Since the overthrow of Siad Barre in 1991, Somalia …

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Current Developments

Examining the Legal Anomalies Created by Inconsistencies between the European Convention on Human Rights and the Dayton Constitution

On 15th February, 2016, Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter Bosnia) applied for membership to the European Union. It has since seen little progress towards achieving this goal, which is heavily due to the incompatibilities of its Constitution with the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (hereinafter the Convention). While Bosnia’s application for EU membership has brought these incompatibilities to the fore, this issue dates back to …

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Current Developments

Galeone San José: Schatzjagd und Unterwasserkulturerbe

Art. 16 der UNESCO-Konvention von 2001 ermöglicht effektive Schutzmaßnahmen

Als die im frühen 18. Jahrhundert gesunkene, vermutlich mit sagenhaften Schätzen beladene Galeone San José 2015 vor der Küste Kolumbiens geortet wurde, war dies eine internationale Sensation. Als kürzlich bekannt wurde, dass Kolumbien die Bergung des Schiffes im Rahmen einer Public-private-Partnership plant, bei der Teile des auf über 10 Milliarden US-Dollar geschätzten Fundes als Gegenleistung an beteiligte Unternehmen gelangen könnten, begegnete dies substantieller Kritik. Im April 2018 verabschiedete der Wissenschaftlich-Technische Beirat zum UNESCO …

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Current Developments

It could have been worse

A Historian’s Impression of the Conference “Contingency in International Law: How International law could have been”

Both historians and jurists are intrigued by the future: historians – despite their habitual claims to the contrary – wish to say something meaningful about the future by studying the past, whereas jurists make and render law in order to establish justice, lawfulness, and ultimately peace. Yet, while historians at times reject the “learning from the past” paradigm, fearing an oversimplification of history, the papers presented at the conference on …

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Current Developments

‘Vetoing’ the admission of a third state in international organizations

Lessons learned from the Greece-fYROM case

On the 17th June, ‘the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’ (hereinafter: ‘fYROM’) and Greece signed an Agreement to resolve their 27-year-long dispute over the former’s name. Most importantly, fYROM committed to change its constitutional name from ‘Republic of Macedonia’ to ‘Republic of North Macedonia’ for both domestic and international purposes. The bizarre dispute (and the Agreement itself) has raised interesting legal questions, serving as the most prominent case of an inter-state battle over …

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Current Developments

Endlich! – Erster Haftbefehl gegen einen ranghohen Vertreter des syrischen Assad-Regimes

Zur strafrechtlichen Verfolgung von im syrischen Bürgerkrieg verübten Verbrechen in Deutschland

Können mutmaßliche syrische Völkerrechtsverbrecher einfach unbehelligt nach Europa ein- und wieder ausreisen? Diesen Eindruck musste man bei der Lektüre eines Berichtes gewinnen, der vor einigen Wochen in der französischen Tageszeitung „Le Monde“ erschien. Bereits im Januar diesen Jahres sei Ali Mamluk, der als „Direktor des Nationalen Sicherheitsbüros“ der Ba’ath-Partei, seit Jahrzehnten eine feste Größe in dem syrischen Sicherheits- und Unterdrückungsapparat, auf Einladung des italienischen Geheimdienstes AISE nach Rom geflogen und …

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Current Developments

The first genocide of the 20th century before a domestic court

A New York Court about to decide on its jurisdiction in Rukoro et al. v. Germany

Once more, Germany is confronted with compensation claims concerning wrongs committed in the past (see on this topic already the post by Andreas Buser). After unsuccessful previous cases against Germany by the Ovaherero and Nama people before the Permanent Court of Arbitration and U.S. federal courts in Washington, D.C., the pending class action complaint against the Federal Republic of Germany in the United States District Court Southern District of New York is the …

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Current Developments

The Philippines’ move away from the International Criminal Court over the war on drugs: A blow for human rights in Asia

As a signatory to every human rights treaty and being at the forefront of promoting international human rights, Philippines is considered as one of the  “architects” of the United Nations and the human rights system. This was seen as a huge step forward for human rights in Asia. However, now with the decision to withdraw from the Rome Statute, and the International Criminal Court (ICC), this will be seen a …

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Current Developments

Stretching Abstract Reasoning to its Limits

The IACtHR and the Right to a Healthy Environment

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights issued the Advisory Opinion (AO) of 15 November, 2017 (OC-23/17), on the subject matter of the environment and human rights. Its wide-ranging features already sparked a lively debate in the blogosphere (see here, here and here). Whereas some welcome the Court’s engagement with environmental rights, others are either skeptical of the way in which the AO deals with criteria of state responsibility in human …

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Current Developments

Defending the Defenders

Assessing LAC-P10, the new treaty to protect environmental activists in Latin America

The assassination of Berta Cáceres On 3 March 2016 Honduran indigenous activist Berta Cáceres was assassinated. She was a coordinator of the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) and one of the leading voices in her people’s fight against Agua Zarca Dam at the Río Gualcarque. Her activism had earned her the Goldman Environmental Prize and years of threats and intimidations by state and non-state actors, which …

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