BofaxeCurrent Developments

Undermining past efforts?

On the legality of using anti-personnel mines

On 31 January 2020, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham announced that the US government was planning to authorize high-level US military commanders, in exceptional circumstances, to employ “non-persistent” land mines specifically designed to reduce harm to civilians and partner forces. The Department of Defense had commented that the previous anti-personnel landmine (APM) policy could place American Forces at a severe disadvantage during conflict. This contribution critically discusses the employment …

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BofaxeCurrent Developments

From persecution to poverty

Trump’s Guatemala ‘agreement’ and the expansion of the ‘safe third country’ principle

A 2019 ‘safe third country’ agreement between Guatemala and the US allows the US to send asylum seekers who arrived at the US-Mexican border to Guatemala. Under the agreement Guatemala processes the asylum seekers’ claims sent by the US and if successful grant protection. On the 6th of January 2020 a U.S Department of Homeland Security spokesperson made a statement outlining that certain Mexicans seeking humanitarian protection in the US …

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BofaxeCurrent Developments

A significant opening

On the HRC’s groundbreaking first ruling in the case of a ‘climate refugee’

The Human Rights Committee (HRC) has just added to the many important international legal developments of the young decade and issued its first ruling on the case of a “climate refugee”, i.e. a person fleeing their home country because of the effects of climate change. This post analyses the groundbreaking ruling which increases the pressure on states to take action against climate change and explains its significance (see the full …

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BofaxeCurrent Developments

All eyes on the Court

On the ICJ hearings on provisional measures in The Gambia v. Myanmar

Whilst Myanmar’s treatment of the Rohingya minority has long been subject to public scrutiny, in November news broke that The Gambia instituted proceedings against Myanmar before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) under Article IX of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Genocide Convention) for the alleged genocide against the Rohingya Muslim minority. Last week’s hearings were confined to The Gambia’s request for provisional …

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BofaxeCurrent Developments

Trumping Mexico’s Sovereignty?

On a potential US extension of the “War on Terror” to a “War on Cartels”

President Trump reportedly planned to label Mexican drug cartels as foreign terrorist organizations, stating that the US considered to “go in and clear out”. The Mexican response was quick to follow, expressing concerns about a possible US intervention and the concomitant threat to Mexico’s sovereignty. Although President Trump has temporarily halted such designation in the face of Mexican protests (see here), questions remain: What (if any) consequences does the designation …

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BofaxeCurrent Developments

No voice, no rights, no protection?

The legal status of animals under international law

On 19th November, the animal protection organisation PETA filed a complaint with the German federal constitutional Court (BVerfG) against a law that legalizes the unanaesthetized castration of pigs for two more years (see here). Notably, PETA is suing in the name of the animals themselves. The complaint is based above all on the constitutionally recognized national objective of animal protection (Art. 20a German basic law). In addition, the constitutional complaint …

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BofaxeCurrent Developments

Does policy “Trump” international law?

On the legality of the US’ statement on Israel’s settlement policy

US secretary of state Mike Pompeo has announced a reversal of US policy on Israeli settlements in the West Bank. While the Obama Administration deemed Israel’s settlement activities illegal under international as well as Israeli law and an obstacle to the peace process in the region, the Trump Administration now officially breaks with that position by stressing that “the establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not …

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BofaxeCurrent Developments

India’s mosque that was and temple that will be

On the issue of minority land rights in international law

“Mandir mein, masjid mein tu aur tu hi hai imaano mein” [You’re there in the temples, in the mosques, and in all belief]. These lyrics, performed in a musical ode to the eternal sentiment of love as part of the famous 1960 Indian film “Mughal-E-Azam”, echoe the quest for inter-religious harmony in the subcontinent. This theme was at issue in the Indian Supreme Court’s landmark judgment of 9 November in …

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BofaxeCurrent Developments

In dubio contra bellum

Why the prohibition to use force will survive Turkey’s operation Peace Spring

What does Turkey’s operation “Peace Spring” against Kurdish militias in Northern Syria and the subsequent reactions of the international community mean for the prohibition on the use of force? “The right to self-defence may be regarded as broadened now,” some fear (e.g. here). But can the law regulating the use of force in international relations change so easily in the face of this intervention and careful reactions of the international …

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BofaxeCurrent Developments

Playing with Fire

Is the aid pledged by the G7 an offer Brazil’s President Bolsonaro cannot refuse?

“Our house is burning”, French President Macron found graphic words to address the wildfires in the Amazon rainforest, which have reached threatening levels in the past weeks. 80,000 fires this year alone have resulted in the loss of approximately 350,000 hectares of rainforest. Notably, Brazilian President Bolsonaro is known to support the ‘slash-and-burn’ agriculture, which is responsible for most of the fires, and only initiated a two month ban of …

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