Current Developments

The citizenship test in India

The National Register of Citizens through national and international perspectives

The National Register of Citizens (NRC), published on August 31, 2019, which documents legal citizens in India, has declared 19 lakh (or 1,9 million) residents of Assam as illegal immigrants, a number substantially lower than that provided by the Supreme Court of India in 2004 on the total number of illegal migrants in this state in North-Eastern India. This deviation raises many questions, including on the ambiguous stance of the …

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Bernard Spragg, Diamond Princess, Flickr, CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0)
Current Developments

40 days and 40 nights

Human rights in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak and quarantines

The word ‘quarantine’ is rooted in the practice of quaranta giorni, which meant isolating ships arriving from infected ports for 40 days. For ages, countries have dressed the curtailment of individual liberties in the garb of safeguarding public health, and the recent Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is no different. Infected, symptomatic and even asymptomatic people are facing a violation of their privacy, inordinate restrictions on their movement and risk of infection …

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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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Call for ContributionsClimate JusticeSymposium

International law in an age of catastrophe

Call for Contributions for a symposium on Climate Justice

We live in an age of catastrophe. This is not alarmism. Rather, denying this would mean disregarding all scientific evidence we have. At the beginning of this new decade, Australia is literally on fire and Indonesia under water. 2019 has marked the year in which the climate crisis has finally entered broader public debate, with protesters around the globe demanding that governments take the threat seriously and significantly increase the …

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InterviewPractitioner's Corner

“To be a judge means to be criticized from all sides”

An interview with Angelika Nußberger

Angelika Nußberger was the German judge at the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) for nine years; her term of office came to an end at the turn of the year. Back at her chair at the University of Cologne, the German jurist and Slavicist looks back with us on her years at the Court, which she also headed as Vice-President since 2017. A conversation about legal challenges in today’s …

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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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InterviewPractitioner's Corner

„Richter sein bedeutet, von allen Seiten kritisiert zu werden“

Ein Interview mit Angelika Nußberger

Angelika Nußberger war neun Jahre die deutsche Richterin am Europäischen Menschenrechtsgerichtshofs (EGMR), zum Jahreswechsel ist ihre Amtszeit zu Ende gegangen. Zurück an ihrem Lehrstuhl an der Universität Köln blickt die deutsche Rechtswissenschaftlerin und Slavistin mit uns zurück auf ihre Jahre am Gerichtshof, dem sie seit 2017 auch als Vizepräsidentin vorstand. Ein Gespräch über rechtliche Herausforderungen in der heutigen Welt, die unterschiedliche Kritik am Gerichtshof, Erfolg und Misserfolg der zahlreichen Reformen …

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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

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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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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