Groningen Journal of International Law

International Law Under Construction


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Happy 60th Anniversary, European Court of Human Rights: Celebrating (with) Protocol 16 Advisory Opinion and Infringement Proceedings

By Aikaterini Tsampi| A.Tsampi@rug.nl

This year, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR/Court) turned 60. To celebrate this occasion at the University of Groningen, the “ECtHR Evenings” were organised at the Faculty of Law – Department of Transboundary Legal Studies. In the framework of four “ECtHR Evenings” sessions, which took place between April and May 2019, UG LLB students researched, read and reflected on the recent (2019) ECtHR case-law under the supervision of dr. Aikaterini Tsampi. While many cases were discussed during these sessions, the present blog contribution will focus on the outcome of two proceedings that have already marked the 2019 judicial activity, if not the entire history, of the Court.

On 10 April 2019, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights delivered its Advisory Opinion concerning the recognition in domestic law of a legal parent-child relationship between a child born through a gestational surrogacy arrangement abroad and the intended mother, under Article 1 of Protocol No. 16 to the European Convention on Human Rights (“ECHR” or “Convention”). Shorty thereafter, the Grand Chamber delivered its judgment in Proceedings under Article 46 § 4 of the Convention in the case of Ilgar Mammadov v. Azerbaijan. Continue reading


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Bringing responsibility home: What next for parent company liability?

By Russell Hopkins

Introduction

The dust is settling on the UK Supreme Court’s unanimous decision in Lungowe v Vedanta. In a judgment laced with metaphors, Lord Briggs depicts the English court as having “one hand tied behind its back” since the European Court of Justice held in Owusu v Jackson that proceedings against a UK-domiciled defendant could not be stayed on forum non conveniens grounds. His Lordship laments that the court’s other hand has been “effectively paralysed” by prior cases wrongly treating the risk of irreconcilable foreign judgments as a “trump card” to be deployed by claimants in favour of English jurisdiction. Meanwhile, the court is left “beating its head against a brick wall” by repeated failures to keep jurisdictional litigation within proportionate bounds. This is vivid imagery woven into a thorough analysis of whether England really ought to be the place to litigate environmental harm from a Zambian mine. Continue reading


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Would it be useful if the UN Security Council were to Establish a Climate Change Court or Tribunal?

By Prof. Shirley Scott| s.scott@unsw.edu.au 

As evidence mounts that diplomacy will likely prove inadequate for achieving the necessary mitigation – or adaptation for that matter, there is increasing preparedness to explore alternative governance mechanisms. Indeed, those people already most significantly threatened by climate change, such as the inhabitants of the Small Island Developing States in the Pacific, are already prepared to supplement, if not replace, the UNFCCC diplomatic process with decisive action by the UN Security Council. Continue reading


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The Origins of Transitional Justice

By Marcos Zunino

Wherever there are allegations of serious human rights violations or international crimes, from Syria, to Venezuela, to Myanmar, calls for transitional justice follow. They involve implementing a policy for dealing with these violations that may include criminal trials, truth-finding initiatives, reparations programmes, vetting of personnel, and state reform efforts. These mechanisms are meant to pursue the transitional justice elements of justice, truth, reparations and guarantees of non-recurrence while paying special attention to the needs and views of victims. Transitional justice has thus emerged as the primary framework for responding to widespread violence. Indeed, ours has even been called the ‘era of transitional justice’. When did this idea of a need to respond to mass violence with this particular toolbox and goals appear? Continue reading


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Climate change and human rights: The Torres Strait Islanders’ claim to the UN Human Rights Committee

By Dr Miriam Cullen

In May 2019, a group of eight Torres Strait Islanders, with legal representation from Client Earth, submitted a claim to the UN Human Rights Committee (UN HRC) alleging that Australia’s contribution to emissions together with its failure to establish adequate adaptation measures violates their human rights. The claim is legally significant as it is the first lodged with the UN HRC by island inhabitants threatened by climate change. It is also the first instance of climate change litigation based in human rights law against the Australian Government. The filings remain confidential, but this blog post sketches the possible parameters of the claim, drawing on a journal article I published last year. Continue reading


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The Colombian Special Jurisdiction for Peace: Its Statutory Law and the Road Ahead for the Peace Process

Salvador Herencia Carrasco | shere045@uottawa.ca

Introduction

The Special Jurisdiction for Peace (SJP) is the judicial branch of the Integrated System of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Non-Repetition (Integrated System) which was established in the Peace Agreement signed between Colombia and the FARC-EP. This Agreement was approved by Congress in November 2016. The SJP has the mandate to investigate, prosecute and convict those with the gravest responsibility for crimes perpetrated in the internal armed conflict, which lasted more than fifty years. Continue reading


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Duty and semantics: Can legal responsibility under the Genocide Convention be avoided by circumventing use of the term “genocide”?

Narissa Ramsundarnarissa.ramsundar@canterbury.ac.uk

I. Introduction

Today, with the rise of live media broadcasting, journalists can report on the threat of genocide as events unfold on the ground. The instantaneous transmission of news may raise state awareness that a genocide is imminent. So far, there have been examples whereby state responses to such reports have tended to downplay the intensity of the killings. This was prominently demonstrated in the responses to the Rwandan genocide that occurred in April 1994. President Clinton in a radio address on the 30th of April, 1994, some 3 weeks after the genocide spoke of “mass killings of civilians in Rwanda.” According to Samantha Power, [p. 359]. The Rwanda example is by no means unique, and states’ mistaken belief that circumvention of the term “genocide” somehow avoids legal responsibility under the Genocide Convention (GC) and other instruments proscribing Genocide remains persistent. Continue reading