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Article Archive for March 2009

The ICTY Trial Chamber finds that Karadžić can read and understand English

30/03/2009 – 8:45 am | 2 Comments

The ICTY Trial Chamber delivered on 26 March Decision on Prosecution Motion Seeking Determination that the Accused understands English for the Purposes of the Statute and the Rules of Procedure and Evidence in Prosecutor v Radovan Karadžić. This decision inter alia concerns whether statements made on Opinio Juris by one of Karadžić’s legal advisers can serve as an evidence for establishing that Karadžić masters English language. Equally …

Antonio Cassese elected president of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon

30/03/2009 – 8:09 am | Comments Off on Antonio Cassese elected president of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon

According to a press release of the UN, Antonio Cassese, the former (and first) president of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has been elected president of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL). Pursuant to Art. 8(2) of the Statute of the STL (annexed to UN Security Council resolution 1757) this makes judge Cassese the presiding judge of the Appeals Chamber.
The composition of …

100,000 visitors

29/03/2009 – 10:20 pm | Comments Off on 100,000 visitors

Over the weekend the number of readers of International Law Observer crossed the 100,000 visitors mark. A great thank you to all of our readers, worldwide, for spreading the word around! We hope that you enjoy the various contributions on the blog and encourage you to keep participating in the discussion on international law related subjects.
Your ILO-team.

Thoughts on the Human Rights Council's 10th Session

26/03/2009 – 11:12 am | 2 Comments

The UN Human Rights Council’s 10th Regular Session is currently coming to a close. As usual, the various reports available make for fascinating and frustrating reading, not least because of the design of the OCHR’s website, which could charitably be described as eccentric.
The major point of interest was the report of Richard Falk, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian …

The Environment and Armed Conflicts

25/03/2009 – 10:16 am | One Comment

The overarching consideration that the belligerent parties in armed conflicts should adhere to must be the need to avoid unnecessary civilian casualties. This, however, is not the sole concern. In addition to taking into consideration the plight of civilians, belligerent parties will also have to take into account the environment. Environmental issues are linked to armed conflicts in a number of ways. For instance, Article …

The Oxford Companion to International Criminal Justice

24/03/2009 – 9:42 am | Comments Off on The Oxford Companion to International Criminal Justice

Antonio Cassese (ed.), The Oxford Companion to International Criminal Justice, OUP, 2009, pp. 1008.
Short book review by Jernej Letnar Černič.
International criminal law falls within the areas of international law which have progressively developed in the past two decades. This field of law has come a long way since its first steps in Nuremberg and Tokyo after the Second World War and the more recent establishment …

ITLOS amends it rules on prompt release proceedings

23/03/2009 – 9:47 am | Comments Off on ITLOS amends it rules on prompt release proceedings

On 17 March 2009, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea adopted an amendment to the rules relating to the prompt release of vessels.  The new rules change the way in which financial security may be posted to comply with the relevant provisions of the Law of the Sea Convention.
Articles 73 and 226 of the Law of the Sea Convention require a state …

Defining a broader material scope of protection: The emerging Law of Air Warfare

18/03/2009 – 10:14 pm | One Comment

On 10 March 2009, Diakonia IHL Program, 4th International Humanitarian Law Session on Air warfare with Ove Bring, a Professor of International Humanitarian Law at the University of Stockholm. The discussion concerned the normative framework of rules applicable to air warfare, and contextualised specific rules to the case of the recent war on Gaza.
The project on air warfare rules has released a first version of …

Trade Dispute over US Ban of Chinese Poultry

18/03/2009 – 12:32 am | Comments Off on Trade Dispute over US Ban of Chinese Poultry

As the shadow of the financial crisis looms over national economies,  government’s worries about protectionist measures of their trade partners spread.
A recent example for this can be found in the China’s recent displeasure about the US rules on Chinese poultry. This regulation blocks imports of Chinese poultry products because of the alleged health risk they pose to US consumers. While it seems that China is …

The "I’m-my-own-country" defence

13/03/2009 – 5:22 pm | Comments Off on The "I’m-my-own-country" defence

As we reported earlier on the so-called “Homer defence“, here is another peculiar defence strategy: according to the AP, a man accused of driving drunk said Pennsylvania courts have no jurisdiction over him because he’s his own country. The defendant stated that he believes police lack jurisdiction to pull him over. As he said in court: “I live inside myself, not in Pennsylvania.” He went on: …

The Amsterdam Declaration on Transparency and Reporting

11/03/2009 – 9:38 am | One Comment

The Board Members of the Global Reporting Initiative have earlier this  week adopted the Amsterdam Declaration on Transparency and Reporting. The Declaration argues for the adoption of the ‘global reporting framework that enhances transparency and is informed by the legitimate interest of all key sectors of society.’ In this way, the increased transparency would contribute to better corporate performance in relation to environmental, social and governance …

Environmental Law and Justice in Context

10/03/2009 – 8:15 am | Comments Off on Environmental Law and Justice in Context

As environmental law as a legal discipline comes of age, it becomes appropriate to subject it to critical appraisals of various shapes and forms. One such appraisal is undertaken in “Environmental Law and Justice in Context”, edited by Jonas Ebbesson and Phoebe Okowa of Stockholm University and Queen Mary University respectively, with special reference to justice and fairness. As noted in the introduction by Ebbesson, …

Systematic failure to enforce the law against Israeli occupation forces in the Palestinian territories

09/03/2009 – 10:40 pm | Comments Off on Systematic failure to enforce the law against Israeli occupation forces in the Palestinian territories

Ben-Naftali and Zamir have recently published an article in the Journal of International Criminal Justice titled ‘Whose ‘conduct unbecoming’? The shooting of a Handcuffed, Blindfolded Palestinian Demonstrator’. The work considers the case of HCJ 7195/08 Abu Rhama et al. v Military Advocate General – the petition in the case is available in English. The case of this 27-year old Palestinian demonstrator who was handcuffed, blindfolded, …

New feature: the “Relevant Literature” section

09/03/2009 – 9:41 pm | Comments Off on New feature: the “Relevant Literature” section

By creating this blog the authors of International Law Observer wanted to promote the critical debate on up-to-date legal developments in the field of (public) international law inter alia by reporting on recent developments in the academic field, informing on influential case-law of international tribunals, presenting international custom and important legislation by international organizations and introducing new publications. In order to put more emphasis than …

Sudanese President’s Indictment: Justice or Neo-Colonialism?

09/03/2009 – 2:03 pm | 2 Comments

On the 4th of March 2009, after seven months of deliberation, the International Criminal Court charged President Omar Hassan al-Bashir of Sudan with war crimes and crimes against humanity in the violence that has engulfed the Darfur region in recent years. But he escaped the charge on genocide at least for now, as the ICC has made it clear that the charges could also be …

ICC asks the Prosecutor to amend the charges against Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo

09/03/2009 – 11:00 am | Comments Off on ICC asks the Prosecutor to amend the charges against Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo

Last week much attention at the ICC has been devoted to the confirmation of arrest warrant against Omar al-Bashir, while less attention has been paid to the important decision of the Pre-trial Chamber III to adjourn the confirmation of charges hearing in the case of The Prosecutor v. Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo and to ask the Prosecutor to consider submitting an amended document containing the charges. …

ITLOS Election

07/03/2009 – 5:20 pm | Comments Off on ITLOS Election

A Special Meeting of States Parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea was convened on Friday 6 March in order to elect a judge to fill the vacancy created by the sad death of Judge Choon-Ho Park in November last year. In accordance with the practice of the States Parties, it was accepted that the place should be filled with …

Another Racist Anti-Racist Conference?

06/03/2009 – 12:00 pm | 7 Comments

In April this year the Human Rights Council will hold a ‘Durban Review’ conference in Geneva, in order to “evaluate progress towards the goals set” at the 2001 World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance (WCAR). The 2001 meeting ended in confusion when the Israeli and US delegations walked out, and its impact was largely forgotten when a few days later the …