Tackling modern slavery: gaps to uncover
Contemporary forms of slavery continue to be a major challenge in the 21st century. International law prohibits slavery, human trafficking and forced labour, and states are generally committed to eliminating these human rights abuses, but over 25 million people were in modern slavery on any given day in 2016 (Global Estimates of Modern Slavery). As the UN Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Slavery pointed out in her latest report to the General Assembly, the scale of the phenomenon is even larger than what statistics indicate (para. 8). Continue reading
Andrea Preziosi | AMP711@student.bham.ac.uk
The cooperation between Italy and Libya with the objective of curbing migratory pressure on Italian shores and EU external borders has attracted a great deal of criticism in light of the widespread pattern of human rights violations against migrants taking place on the war-torn territory of the African state. It was inaugurated in the early 2000s and strengthened by way of the 2017 Memorandum of Understanding. The former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has condemned the assistance provided by Italy (backed by the EU) to the Libyan Cost Guards to intercept migrants at sea and prevent them from leaving the country, where they are confronted with “unimaginable horrors”, including torture, rape and killing. The Italian strategy has sought to involve not only internationally-recognised actors, but also local tribes that control Libyan territorial borders and, reportedly, armed groups implicated in the trafficking of migrants. Despite rising criticism, the newly elected Italian government has adopted an even more restrictive policy to tackle migration, as demonstrated by the frequent episodes of boats carrying hundreds of migrants coming from Libya being prevented entry to Italian ports.
Read the first part of this post here.
Ishita Chakrabarty | email@example.com
India’s Violation of Customary IHL Principles
The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Acts (AFSPA) and the Public Safety Act introduced the obligation of the prosecutor to obtain prior sanction from the Union Government before initiating prosecution against the police and the paramilitary forces. Various charges have been leveled against officials, ranging from the commission of extra-judicial executions to deliberate torture, the killing of detainees in custody and reprisal killing of civilians. In some cases, the State Police even refused to register the charges. For instance, in 2017, the video of a civilian tied to an army jeep showed the Government’s animosity towards its own citizens. The civilian was being used as a human shield to avert incidents of stone pelting. Continue reading
Ishita Chakrabarty | firstname.lastname@example.org
On 14 June 2018, the OHCHR released a report on the human rights violations committed by India in the Kashmir region. India reacted to the report by snubbing it as “fallacious, tendentious and motivated”. Despite identifying the human rights violations committed by India, the report contains no mention of the State’s constant transgression of International Humanitarian Law (‘IHL’) norms. In light of this omission, the present contribution intends to examine India’s violations of its IHL obligations in the context of the Kashmir situation with a special focus on State-inflicted collective punishments on the civilian population. Continue reading
Dr Dominic Dagbanja| email@example.com
The duty of states to protect the environment is not just a matter of municipal law, it is also reflected in international treaties like the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the African Convention on Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources and in international declarations.
The duty to protect the environment is fulfilled through the implementation and enforcement of environmental laws and regulations. As Philippe Sands and other scholars pointed out, one of the challenges facing environmental law is the difficulty of enforcement, particularly where environmental protection objectives come into conflict with economic interests. The Commission for Environmental Cooperation of North America (CECNA), for instance, argued that environmental regulations may run afoul of bilateral investment treaties (BITs). The CECNA also pointed out that conflict with BITs is one of the reasons both national environmental law and international environmental law rules suffer from inadequate domestic implementation. The United States Trade Representative similarly noted that while “securing a stable investment climate and a level playing field for […] investment abroad is an important objective […], arbitral claims brought by investors against governments (through “investor-State” arbitration) could be used inappropriately to challenge […] domestic laws and regulations, including those concerning the environment.” Continue reading
Sara L. Ochs | firstname.lastname@example.org
On 16 November 2018, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (“ECCC”) Trial Chamber announced its judgment convicting former Khmer Rouge senior leaders Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan of genocide, crimes against humanity, and grave breaches of the Geneva Convention. While this is the first genocide conviction handed down by any hybrid criminal tribunal, the judgment convicts two defendants whom the ECCC has previously convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. The issuance of this judgment is also underscored by widespread speculation of the ECCC’s forthcoming closure, creating concern that this could be one of the last judgments issued by the Tribunal. Continue reading
Cees Verburg | email@example.com
In March 2018 the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled in a preliminary procedure that the investor-State arbitration clause contained in the Netherlands-Slovakia Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) was incompatible with primary European Union (EU) law. Due to the language employed by the CJEU, this ruling casts doubt over investor-State arbitration clauses in nearly 200 existing BITs concluded between EU Member States as well as the intra-EU applicability of the arbitration clause of the multilateral Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) to which the EU itself is a Contracting Party.
In a blog post written a week after the judgment I argued that one should not expect that international arbitration tribunals constituted under the existing intra-EU investment treaties will suddenly decline jurisdiction because of the CJEU judgment. This blogpost aims at providing an overview of the subsequent developments in relation to the above–mentioned Achmea judgment and the consequences that this judgment entails for intra-EU investor-State arbitration on the basis of investment treaties.