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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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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Current Developments

Saber-rattling in space

How international law does (not) regulate States’ plans for Space Forces

Does international law entitle states to have military space forces? Recent efforts by several states as well as NATO to strengthen their military space capabilities re-ignite this debate. The issue is not unregulated; international space law in particular is not silent on this issue. But the limits are not as strict as one might think. Renewed military interest in space At its 70th anniversary summit in London in December 2019, …

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Current Developments

Climate change in the Security Council

On the road to qualifying climate change as ‘threat multiplier’

Wildfires are heating the Earth from the Arctic to the Amazon, islands are drowning, and the record for the hottest year has been broken every year since 2015. No one would doubt that climate change causes these events. Despite people from all continents protesting in the streets to urge decision-makers to eventually take action to help combat climate change, the UN Security Council (UNSC) has not taken any binding measures …

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Current Developments

Social media platforms as expropriated investors

Reviewing state measures from the perspective of international investment law

The reach and expanse of social media in the past decade has been enormous. With its growth, several legal issues have emerged. Particularly, instances of refusal to share personal data of users have led platforms to shut down their operations in some states. These developments raise concerns if the conventional understanding and interpretation of investments and investor-state disputes must be modified for fitting modern forms of business models like social …

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Current Developments

The Gambia and the Rohingya’s nightmare

Which opportunity for individual criminal accountability after the possible ICJ decision against Myanmar for genocide?

The Gambia submitted an application to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on 11 November 2019 against the Republic of the Union of Myanmar for acts of genocide committed against the Rohingya people. The proceedings have been initiated in application of the Genocide Convention of 1948 which both countries have ratified. They have also accepted the ICJ’s jurisdiction provided for therein under article IX. The Rohingya constitute a minority group …

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