Current Developments

A bridge too far: Polish-Czech border incident

On 28 May 2020, when the Polish and Czech borders were closed due to the pandemic, two Polish soldiers, assigned to assist the Polish Border Guard, decided to relocate their guard post in the Polish town Pielgrzymowo. They crossed a bridge over a small stream and established a new border post next to a historic chapel, apparently not knowing that by crossing the bridge they also crossed the Polish-Czech border …

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IL in Pandemic TimesSymposium

To sue or not to sue

Enforcing the obligation to notify under the international health regulations

Various areas of international law highlight the value of information and the essential role of the obligation to notify in fulfilling other duties. The current COVID-19 global crisis has further stressed the significance of notification requirements, given the hypothesized possibility that the pandemic could have been averted had the obligation to notify been fulfilled. Through International Court of Justice (“ICJ”) cases that analyze this obligation, mainly relative to the customary …

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IL in Pandemic TimesSymposium

Claims after COVID?

COVID-19 and state defenses in response to investment claims

COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc – not only by taking the lives of thousands of people across the world but also by impacting the national and international economy. The pandemic has disrupted business in all of its manifestations and caused millions of workers to be laid off. Many companies, including those owned and run by foreign investors, are subjected to an unprecedented host of state measures. These unexpected circumstances have …

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Climate JusticeSymposium

Judging climate change obligations: Can the World Court rise to the occasion?

Part II: What role for international adjudication?

In Part I of this post, we sought to identify the core rules of international environmental law that needed evolution and clarification for a claim relating to climate change to succeed. We now turn to how international adjudication might help to achieve genuine legal change. The 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change has been at the centre of the UN’s various initiatives on the issue, and at the …

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Climate JusticeSymposium

Judging climate change obligations: Can the World Court rise to the occasion?

Part I: Primary obligations to combat climate change

The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic piles crisis atop crisis. As confirmed infection rates cross 2.5 million and attributed deaths pass 170,000 (at time of writing, in April 2020), it is increasingly being accepted that biodiversity loss has reduced the resilience of natural systems when faced with the emergence of new diseases. At the same time, ever closer contact between humans and animals (through intensive farming, habitat encroachment and other factors) has increased …

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Current Developments

And the victims’ voices?

On the ICJ’s provisional measures in the Myanmar genocide case and the role of the IIMM

On January 23, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) unanimously issued its provisional measures order for the case of the Rohingya. Even though the international community has welcomed the indication of provisional measures as a step towards accountability for the heinous crimes committed against the religious minority, the importance of this order should not be overestimated. “There were so many bodies and so much blood in the river, it looked …

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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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Interview

Whose rights? Whose justice? (Second part)

An interview with Marta Torre‑Schaub on climate liability and climate justice

Völkerrechtsblog is pleased to present the second part of the interview with Marta Torre‑Schaub. In this section, we will discuss the status of the Amazonian forest in international law, the importance of national litigation for climate protection and questions of climate justice for the most vulnerable states and groups. This completes the picture of legal liability under international law for environmental damage in the field of climate change. Given the vulnerable …

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Interview

Whose rights? Whose justice? (First part)

An interview with Marta Torre Schaub on climate liability and climate justice

The urgent need to combat climate change seems widely accepted. Nonetheless, the measures taken so far have remained ineffective while irreparable environmental damages are constantly augmenting and threats to the human existence increase. For instance, last summer’s Amazon fires have caused concern around the globe. Prof. Stephen M. Walt (Harvard) recently raised the question of whether “states have the right – or even the obligation – to intervene in a …

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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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