Current Developments

The 2019-2020 novel coronavirus outbreak and the importance of good faith for international law

The 2019-2020 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak first identified in Wuhan, China currently stands at the center of the international community’s focus. The World Health Organization (WHO) issues daily situation reports on the virus’ spread. Alternatively, other sources are constantly being updated thanks to almost real-time tracking technology (see also the website created by members of the John Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering). At the time of writing, the …

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Current Developments

Grundrechte schützen – eine grenzenlose Verpflichtung?

Die Anwendbarkeit deutscher Grundrechte in der Tätigkeit des BND aus völkerrechtlicher Perspektive

Mit Spannung konnte man in der letzten Woche eine außergewöhnliche Verhandlung vor dem Bundesverfassungsgericht verfolgen. Die geheimste deutsche Behörde, der Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), musste sich im Rahmen einer Verfassungsbeschwerde den kritischen Fragen der höchsten deutschen Richterinnen und Richter stellen. Die Verfassungsbeschwerde richtet sich gegen das novellierte Gesetz über den Bundesnachrichtendienst (BNDG), welches eine umfassende Überwachung von Auslandskommunikation ermöglicht, und deshalb eine Verletzung von Art. 10 GG darstelle. Zentral war dabei eine …

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Current Developments

SDGs and the rule of law: the need to globalize the ethics of legal tech

In the context of the rapid adoption and integration of legal technology at a global level, this blog will problematize the consequences of the bias of current discussions on the ethics of legal tech in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs strongly emphasize the importance of the rule of law as a basis for development.  While there is a fast-growing literature on the ethics of legal …

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Current Developments

Zur Tötung von Qasem Soleimani: Wann darf man Soldaten töten?

Der tödliche Drohnenangriff auf Qasem Soleimani und Mitglieder der „Popular Mobilization Forces“, darunter deren Anführer Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, wirft eine Reihe rechtlicher Fragen auf. Neben dem (an dieser Stelle nicht näher behandelten) ius ad bellum und dem US-Verfassungsrecht betrifft das auch das Recht auf Leben und das humanitäre Völkerrecht: Schon jetzt ist klar, dass die traditionelle Definition internationaler bewaffneter Konflikte bei gezielten Tötungen an ihre Grenzen stößt. Zeit, hier nachzuschärfen. Ein …

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Current Developments

The targeted killing of Qassem Soleimani – a short recapitulation

A lot has been said, written and tweeted about the targeted killing of Qassem Soleimani and the aftermath since his death on January 3. This post aims to organize the jumble and point to remaining open questions in international law. The incident may not only shape the near future of state relations in the Middle East, it will also get its place in history through the legal assessment, because the …

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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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Current Developments

The Brexit agreement: an unlikely role model for the WTO?

How the WTO enforcement mechanism could be improved with insights from the UK withdrawal agreement

On the one hand, the WTO. This institution that was considered the ‘jewel in the crown’, has now been deprived of an Appellate body, a problem which is only the tip of the iceberg. On the other hand, Brexit. Triggered by the referendum in 2016, postponed multiple times, a problem which seems to be here to stay, notably considering the overwhelming win of the conservative party on 13th December. Two …

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Current Developments

Fighting modern slavery in Brazil

The Fazenda Brasil Verde decision of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and current implementation challenges

Formally abolished by law in 1888, slavery – in its modern forms – continues to exist in Brazil to this date. In 1995, the Brazilian State officially recognized this fact and has since then taken a variety of legislative and institutional measures to combat slave labour on its territory. Translating these measures into concrete change on the ground remains a challenge though and may be further complicated by the current …

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