Current Developments

Judicial imperialism and the PCIJ’s interpretation of the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne (Part II)

This is the second part of a two-part analysis of the PCIJ’s Advisory Opinion concerning the Interpretation of the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne. The first part reviewed the opinion’s background and the drafting history of article 3 of the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne which the Advisory Opinion focussed on. Article 3 concerned the delimitation of the boundary between Turkey and Iraq following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. The key …

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Current Developments

Judicial imperialism and the PCIJ’s interpretation of the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne (Part I)

It is commonly accepted that the contemporary instability in certain areas of the Middle East is attributable, at least in part, to the arbitrary manner in which many boundaries were drawn by the victorious powers after the end of the First World War. Less often discussed is the role that international law and, in particular, the Permanent Court of International Justice (the ‘PCIJ’) played in this context. By scrutinising the …

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Current Developments

Imperialism, International Law and the Chagos Islands

Reflections on Legal Consequences of the Separation of the Chagos Archipelago

The Chagos tragedy (the Advisory Opinion of the ICJ can be found here) represents a story that in one way or the other is fundamentally a story of international law and its complicity in subjugating, oppressing and dominating an ‘inferior’ people. It shows that the erstwhile colonial world order is neither really ‘past’ nor that modern international law, as it is often claimed, is necessarily a harbinger for emancipation and …

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Current Developments

The ICC’s ‘Evidence Problem’

The Future of International Criminal Investigations After the Gbagbo Acquittal

On 15 January, Trial Chamber I acquitted Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé of crimes against humanity. This is an important decision. Gbagbo is the first former head of state to be tried by the ICC, and his acquittal comes just months after the controversial acquittal of Jean-Pierre Bemba, a rebel-cum-vice-president of the DR Congo. Of course, as with Bemba (see here, here and here), international lawyers will disagree on …

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Current Developments

A power struggle or something more?

The current disqualification saga at the United Nations International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals

The past six months at the United Nations International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, the successor organisation of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda (in the following: the Mechanism), have witnessed an unprecedented series of disqualification motions in both the Mladić and Karadžić appeals trials. While the events have been largely claimed to be the result of an internal power struggle between two senior judges at …

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Current DevelopmentsResponse

Plausibility and the ICJ

A response to Somos and Sparks

Since the ICJ’s 2001 decision in LaGrand (Germany v US), the Court’s jurisprudence on provisional measures indicated under Article 41 of its Statute has expanded dramatically. This is for two reasons—both, in my mind, connected to LaGrand. In the first place, with the Court having declared its provisional measures binding, it was incumbent upon it to ensure their requirements were clear and predictable. In the second (and in view of …

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Current Developments

The urgent, the plausible and the irreparable

The significance of lowering ICJ thresholds for provisional measures

The ICJ’s decision on Iran’s application for provisional measures in its high-profile proceedings against the United States of America for alleged violations of their 1955 Treaty of Amity was handed down on Wednesday. This tightly constrained and circumscribed stage of the proceedings, though only a precursor to the far more significant jurisdictional and merits stages—each of which has the potential to ask questions with lasting significance for international law and …

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Current Developments

Stretching Abstract Reasoning to its Limits

The IACtHR and the Right to a Healthy Environment

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights issued the Advisory Opinion (AO) of 15 November, 2017 (OC-23/17), on the subject matter of the environment and human rights. Its wide-ranging features already sparked a lively debate in the blogosphere (see here, here and here). Whereas some welcome the Court’s engagement with environmental rights, others are either skeptical of the way in which the AO deals with criteria of state responsibility in human …

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Current Developments

The Kosovo Specialist Chambers

A New Chapter for International Criminal Justice in the Balkans

As the doors were closing on Churchillplein 1, the Hague, the former home of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), only a short walk away a new institution began preparing indictments for war crimes committed during the Yugoslav wars. 

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Current Developments

The identification of individuals

Some thoughts on the ECHR judgment in the case N.D. and N.T.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in its judgment in the case and N.T. v. Spain found that push-backs to Morocco in the border zone of the Spanish enclave Melilla violated the prohibition of collective expulsion. The decision is important as it concerns the delimitation between legitimate border protection and practices that violate the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) – and thereby the key question in all regulation …

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