Current Developments

The complacency of constitutional courts: India’s Supreme Court and the Citizenship Amendment Act

Locals in New Delhi protest against CAA CAB NRC

It is a common assumption that Constitutional courts in a democracy perform the role of protecting citizens’ rights against arbitrary use of government power. This is an important limb of the study of courts and judicial independence – that courts remain, in a healthy democracy, the institutions where the citizens can safely seek redressal for their grievances against the state when all else fails. However, looking at events the world …

READ MORE →

Current Developments

How is COVID-19 affecting Amazonia?

Violations to human rights and the environment

COVID-19 has spread throughout the world as a health crisis with deep socio-economic consequences. While the focus of the effects of COVID-19 often lie in urban centers, Indigenous people have increasingly faced devastating and disproportionate consequences to the spread of the virus. In this context, this blog post asks: Are there legal remedies to ensure the protection of Indigenous peoples from COVID-19 and environmental degradation? Are these remedies adequate to …

READ MORE →

Current Developments

“Stop quarantine, start war”

The legality of the use of force in Nagorno-Karabakh

National clashes between Armenians and Azerbaijanis have recently taken over media headlines again. In the ECHR’s Chamber judgment on the Makuchyan and Minasyan v. Azerbaijan and Hungary case of 25 May, the Court found a procedural violation of Article 2 (right to life) and 14 (prohibition of discrimination) of the Convention by Azerbaijan after it released and promoted an extradited officer who had murdered an Armenian soldier during training. In …

READ MORE →

Current Developments

A bridge too far: Polish-Czech border incident

On 28 May 2020, when the Polish and Czech borders were closed due to the pandemic, two Polish soldiers, assigned to assist the Polish Border Guard, decided to relocate their guard post in the Polish town Pielgrzymowo. They crossed a bridge over a small stream and established a new border post next to a historic chapel, apparently not knowing that by crossing the bridge they also crossed the Polish-Czech border …

READ MORE →

A computer-generated image of objects in Earth orbit that are currently being tracked.
Current Developments

Orbit tax – mitigating space debris or aggravating economic disparity?

­­­Since the launch of Russian satellite Sputnik-1 in 1957, the space industry has never looked back. Currently, there are about 20,000 satellites orbiting the earth, and with the private players like SpaceX and OneWeb in the market, it is estimated that by 2025 the space industry will be launching about 1,100 satellites per year. As mankind moves forward in the era of hyper-dependency on satellite supported technologies, the pollution known as …

READ MORE →

Current Developments

Ungleichheit ist die wahre Pandemie

Die aktuelle, durch COVID-19 verursachte globale Krise hat nicht nur die Schwäche des hegemonialen globalen Wirtschaftsmodells, sondern auch die dringende Notwendigkeit aufgezeigt, die Verteidigung der Menschenrechte aus einer transnationalen Perspektive zu überdenken. Seit mehr als 40 Jahren sind wir Zeug*innen eines Rückschlags beim Schutz und bei der Wahrung der Menschenrechte, insbesondere der kollektiven Rechte von Frauen, Arbeitnehmer*innen und indigenen Völkern. Beunruhigend ist vor allem, dass die Ungleichheit in fast allen …

READ MORE →

Current Developments

Inequality is the real pandemic

The current global crisis caused by COVID-19 has highlighted not only the weakness of the hegemonic global economic model, but also the dire need to rethink the defense of human rights from a transnational perspective. For more than 40 years, we have witnessed a setback in the protection and safeguard of human rights, particularly the collective rights of women, workers, and indigenous peoples. Worryingly, inequality has risen in almost all …

READ MORE →

Current Developments

Incidental jurisdiction in the award in “The ‘Enrica Lexie’ Incident (Italy v. India)” – Part II

After having addressed the existence, requirements and limits of incidental jurisdiction of UNCLOS tribunals under Article 288(1) UNCLOS in the first post, this post turns to the approach taken by the arbitral award in Italy v. India. Facts of the case To briefly recapitulate, the case concerned an incident that occurred on 15 February 2012 in India’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Two armed Italian Navy marines that belonged to a vessel …

READ MORE →

Current Developments

Incidental jurisdiction in the award in “The ‘Enrica Lexie’ Incident (Italy v. India)” – Part I

On 21 May 2020 the arbitral tribunal constituted under Annex VII of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in the The ‘Enrica Lexie’ Incident (Italy v. India) rendered its award. While both parties succeeded with some of their (counter-)claims, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs merely took note of the award, whereas the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs was “pleased”. Pending review by the parties with …

READ MORE →

Current DevelopmentsResponse

An Islamic legal scholar as judge at the ICC: In conformity with Islamic law?

On 6 July 2020, Juliette Rémond Tiedrez wrote a fantastic article on Völkerrechtsblog titled Time for an Islamic legal scholar at the ICC? She suggested that there should be an Islamic law expert (faqih) sitting as judge of the International Criminal Court (“ICC”) based on a few reasons. First and foremost, the Islamic legal tradition is widely used yet usually forgotten and not represented, thus raising questions towards the ICC’s …

READ MORE →

Hagia Sophia at Sunrise
Current Developments

Turning Hagia Sophia into a mosque (again)

Has international law anything to say about that?

The announcement by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to change the status of Hagia Sophia and to turn it into a Mosque last Friday, 10 July 2020, has provoked a worldwide outcry. With a ruling of 2 July 2020, published also on Friday, 10 July 2020 (No 2020/2595), the Council of State, Turkey’s highest administrative court, invalidated the 1934 transformation of Hagia Sophia from a Mosque into a museum. On the day the court ruling …

READ MORE →

Current Developments

Die türkischen Operationen Claw-Eagle und Claw-Tiger im Irak – Zeit für Widerspruch!

Militärische Interventionen des türkischen Militärs in die kurdisch bewohnten Gebiete des Iraks haben eine erschreckende Regelmäßigkeit angenommen. Am 14. Juni dieses Jahres begann – unterstützt durch iranische Artillerie am 16. Juni – mit den kombinierten Operationen Claw-Tiger und Claw-Eagle der neueste Angriff der Türkei. Sie setzt damit ihren Kampf gegen die als Terrororganisation eingestufte Arbeiterpartei Kurdistans (PKK) in der Region fort, den sie seit den 1980er Jahren führt. Einmal mehr …

READ MORE →

Current Developments

Collective punishment in the Indian-administered Kashmir

India violating the prohibition of collective punishment

On 19th May 2020, Indian security forces destroyed at least fifteen houses during a military operation against two separatist militants in Kashmir. This destruction of houses is merely a part of the larger pattern of ‘collective punishments’ carried out in the Indian-administered Kashmir. In this blog post, the author argues that the Indian government’s recent security measures and policies in Kashmir violate the prohibition of collective punishment and therefore breach …

READ MORE →

Current Developments

The governance of disease outbreaks in international health law

From Ebola to COVID-19 (Part II)

In the first part of this two-part post, we broadly addressed the legal framework provided by the International Health Regulations (IHR), a binding legal instrument within the aegis of the World Health Organization (WHO). In the following subsections, we turn to two more legal dimensions, which were directly at stake during the 2014-2016 West African Ebola crisis and are also present in the COVID-19 pandemic, namely: 1) the role played …

READ MORE →

Current Developments

The governance of disease outbreaks in international health law

From Ebola to COVID-19 (Part I)

A deadly virus starts spreading in several communities. Reports are issued warning of the potential fallout if no action is taken. Yet both national authorities, as well as the WHO, the United Nations as such, and the international community as a whole are subjected to harsh criticism for ignoring the initial warning signs. Had they acted sooner, some say, more lives could have been saved. An overreliance on epidemiological assessments …

READ MORE →

Current Developments

Swapping livelihood with electricity

Legal analysis of human rights violations by Guinea’s new dam construction

Guinea’s Souapiti dam which is slated to start functioning in September 2020, is seen as a systematic means to provide urgent electricity access to the country. The construction of the dam, however, comes at a considerable human cost and will displace an estimated 16,000 number of people. A report documented by Human Rights Watch (HRW) highlights that the dam’s reservoir will eventually “flood 253 square kilometres of land, including a …

READ MORE →