Groningen Journal of International Law

International Law Under Construction


Leave a comment

Calling Out Collective Punishments in the Context of the Kashmir Situation (Part II)

Read the first part of this post here

Ishita Chakrabarty | ishita.chakrabarty24@gmail.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


1 Comment

Calling Out Collective Punishments in the Context of the Kashmir Situation (Part I)

Ishita Chakrabartyishita.chakrabarty24@gmail.com

Introduction

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


Leave a comment

The Conflicting Relationship between Bilateral Investment Treaties and Environmental Law in Ghana

Dr Dominic Dagbanjadominic.dagbanja@uwa.edu.au

Introduction

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


1 Comment

Cambodia’s Genocide Conviction: A Sense of Justice?

Sara L. Ochs | sochs@elon.edu

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


1 Comment

The Dichotomy Between European Union Law and International Law: Responses to the Achmea Judgment of the European Court of Justice

Cees Verburg | c.g.verburg@rug.nl

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.

Continue reading


Leave a comment

International Arbitration & the Remedy Gap for Victims of Business-Related Human Rights Abuses

 Prof. Katerina Yiannibas | katerina.yiannibas@deusto.es

In a legal utopia, every jurisdiction in the world could boast of efficient and affordable access to justice that would provide appropriate remedy to victims of human rights abuses. There would be equal protection and enforcement of international human rights, responsible cross-border business conduct, fair and unbiased adjudicative processes with effective assistance of counsel, and never any reprisals against victims or their defenders. Regrettably, this is not the world we live in. The contemporary legal reality instead evidences widespread legal and practical barriers to access remedy for victims of business-related human rights abuses.

Continue reading


1 Comment

Technologies for International Law & International Law for Technologies

Dr Berenice Boutin | b.boutin@asser.nl

Advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), and their societal and policy implications, are at the forefront of current public debates (see, e.g., here, here, and here). The topic is also on the agenda of international organisations, and, in September 2018, the United Nations Secretary-General launched a ‘Strategy on New Technologies’ outlining ‘how the United Nations system will support the use of these technologies to accelerate the achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and to facilitate their alignment with the values enshrined in the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the norms and standards of international law.’

Continue reading