Groningen Journal of International Law

International Law Under Construction


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EUROPEAN STATES TO RETURN BENIN BRONZES TO NIGERIA: TOWARDS A DECOLONISED LEGAL BASIS FOR ANCHORING CULTURAL RESTITUTION CLAIMS

Anh Nguyen

Introduction and Historical Background of the Benin Bronzes

In 1897 over 3000 plaques and sculptures known as the Benin Bronzes were looted by British troops in an armed “punitive expedition” against the Benin Kingdom after its ruler, the Oba, massacred a British delegation for not heeding his warning not to enter the kingdom during a sacred period. The Benin Bronzes were brought back to Britain, where they were transferred to the British Museum, which still houses the largest collection of Benin Bronzes in the world, as well as to other European and US institutions and private collectors.

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The ECtHR on Nagorno-Karabakh: Current Approaches and Future Prospects

Gayathree Devi KT

In recent years, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has seen an influx in claims concerning human rights violations in contested territories. Nagorno-Karabakh is one such interesting territory, because it involves competing territorial claims not only from States – Azerbaijan (the internationally recognized territorial State) and Armenia (the occupying force) – but also from a non-State actor, the Republic of Artsakh. Although Artsakh lacks international recognition, it has been exercising de facto control over Nagorno-Karabakh to the exclusion of Azerbaijan since at least 1991. Its role in the human rights situation in Nagorno-Karabakh matters, because several human rights violations in the region are being committed by this de facto regime (DFR), whether with or without Armenia’s support. Against this backdrop, this blogpost analyses how the ECtHR has been establishing jurisdiction and responsibility for claims arising out of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict so far. It also considers the implications of the court’s 2021 decision in Georgia v Russia (II) for claims arising out of the recent resumption of hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh.

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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


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Are States accountable for modern slavery?

Dr Philippa Webb philippa.webb@kcl.ac.uk
Dr Rosana Garciandía | rosana.garciandia@kcl.ac.uk

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