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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Current Developments

(Un-)Precedented?

The relevance of the Urgenda case to the Children vs. Climate Crisis Communication

The communication brought by sixteen children before the Committee on the Rights of the Child to address the effects of states’ inaction on climate change seems at first glance unprecedented and foreign to our common ideas about international environmental law. Yet, as the Urgenda case shows, a rights-based approach to climate change is not wholly unheard of. Individual communications to the Committee on the Rights of the Child              The fact …

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Current Developments

More than just a scientific report

The global assessment on biodiversity and ecosystem services as scientific and political tool

In May 2019, headlines worldwide suddenly became concerned with biodiversity. News sites and journals all quoted a report from the United Nations and its alarming conclusions that a million species could go extinct in the near future. In other terms, approximately one out of eight species, both plant and animal, is threatened with extinction. This massive extinction will be accompanied by a global ecosystem collapse and the consequent loss of …

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Current Developments

International climate change adjudication: A means to amplify voices of the global south?

Traditionally, the UN Climate change regime has been premised on an intergovernmental negotiations paradigm where political actors play the dominant role in the development of norms. In this post, I argue for using international adjudication as a supplementary tool to complement international negotiations. Adjudication, which entails the participation of impartial, third‑party decision makers, might help us overcome blind spots of negotiations by redistributing argumentative burdens and providing an expressive function …

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Current DevelopmentsResponse

Not for sale?

Some thoughts on human rights in cases of cession of territory

Pierre Thielbörger and Timeela Manandhar have given an innovative and thought-provoking account of the lawfulness of the incumbent US president’s potential plans to purchase Greenland. Vividly and succinctly they make their case against the possibility of a sale of the island under international law. However, their colorful picture of the legal scenery arguably glosses over some nuances. I do not intend to comment again on President Trump’s announced intention to acquire the …

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Current Developments

Thank you, Greta & friends!

Procedural aspects on the climate crisis-related communication to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child

Sixteen children, among them the popular Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, from 12 different countries have filed a communication to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child under the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a communications procedure. The communication complains of a rights violation by five different states: Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany and Turkey. The petitioners’ claim: Each of these states …

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Current Developments

Nord Stream 2: Arbitration Notices from Moscow

Sometimes the unimaginable becomes reality: Donald Trump, his Democrat counterparts, the European Parliament and the European Commission are all united – in their opposition against the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. The construction of this mega project, a gas pipeline from Russia to Germany that is to supplement the existing Nord Stream twin-pipeline in the Baltic Sea, has caused a stir on both sides of the Atlantic. Observers who thought that …

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Current Developments

Only a small step forward

The shy contribution of the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement to the ISDS reform

On June 30th, 2019, the European Union signed a trade agreement and an investment protection agreement with the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. This is the third time the EU has used its exclusive competence in the field of foreign direct investment (FDI) to conclude an investment protection agreement (IPA) vis-à-vis an extra-European country, after CETA’s investment chapter and the EU-Singapore IPA. With this “new generation” of investment treaties, the EU …

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Current Developments

Repatriated to “Prison”

Landgrabbing as a tool of segregation in Myanmar

The Rohingya, a religious and ethnic minority in Myanmar, have been systematically persecuted and discriminated against for decades. The government and the military (“Tatmadaw”) enforced various measures against the Rohingya, such as forced labor, denial of education and basic healthcare, and extreme restriction on traveling, and have made parts of Rakhine State an “open-air prison” for many Rohingya. The Tatmadaw’s repeated rounds of gruesome violence against them significantly exacerbated the …

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Current Developments

Future of whaling vis-à-vis Japan’s withdrawal from IWC

Japan conducted its first successful commercial whale hunt on July 1, 2019 since thirty years, against significant resistance from the international community, after it had formally withdrawn from the International Convention on the Regulations of Whaling (ICRW) in December 2018 by exercising the ‘opting out’ clause. The recommencement of hunting poses pertinent questions for international law: What legal impact will the withdrawal have on the work of the International Whaling …

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