Author: Kristen E. Boon

A big item on the Security Council’s agenda this month is reconsideration of the mandate of the Ombudsperson and Monitoring Regime for Al Qaida Sanctions, pursuant to Security Council resolutions 1267 and 1989.  Of particular interest are measures proposed by Like Minded States this year (including, amongst others, Switzerland, Belgium, Austria, Norway, Costa Rica, and Germany) which suggest a variety...

The phenomenon of land grabbing involves powerful transnational economic actors, including corporations, national governments, sovereign wealth funds, and private equity funds, that have searched for empty lands in distant countries that can serve as sites for fuel and food production in the event of future price spikes. Typically, the foreign investors enter long-term leases with national governments for 25 or 50...

A recent meeting of the International Commission on the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT) has been heralded by environmental groups as a win for science in the management and conversation of scarce resources on the high seas.  One of the species within ICCAT’s jurisdiction is the Bluefin Tuna, a species that has famously declined, and some would claim, collapsed in...

Under India’s presidency, the UN Security Council debated the global phenomenon of maritime piracy on November 19.  The outcome was a presidential statement, not a resolution.  Although not binding, it highlights future trends in the Security Council's approach to piracy.   Unlike prior Security Council actions that have been region specific, Monday’s debate reflects the global dimensions of the issue...

I recently had the honor of chairing a panel on the Responsibility to Protect at the annual Canadian Council of International Law (CCIL) conference in Ottawa.   The evolving contours of this concept provided for a stimulating exchange between panelists Lieutenant Colonel David Antonyshyn, Dr. Joanna Harrington, and Ryan Liss.  I highlight some of the themes here for broader reflection and...

This week, state delegates to the Sixth (Legal) Committee of the UN have been debating the most politically sensitive topic of the latest International Law Commission‘s (ILC) report: Head of State Immunity from criminal jurisdiction. The topic is sensitive for several reasons.   First, it raises the question of whether there should be exceptions to immunity for serious crimes.  In this regard...

The annual CCIL conference in Ottawa is just around the corner.   The program this year is fantastic (as always).  Here is an overview from Prof. Fannie Lafontaine, one of the co-chairs: From the financial turmoil in Europe and the environmental disasters in Haiti and Japan to the surge for democracy in the Middle East and the resulting civil strife, international...

For those of us in the direct line of Hurricane Sandy, it seems appropriate to highlight recent developments in international disaster law. Many of the legal challenges arising from natural disasters involve practical issues such as obtaining visas, removing bureaucratic barriers to financial aid and ensuring that foreign actors offering assistance comply with local laws. However, natural disasters also raise a number...

Two years ago this month, an unprecedented cholera outbreak in Haiti left more than 7,500 Haitians dead.   As the New York Times reported in a front page article in May 2012, Lightning fast and virulent, it spread from here through every Haitian state, erupting into the world’s largest cholera epidemic despite a huge international mobilization still dealing with the effects of...

In his August 9, 2012 report, the Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan Mendez, makes the claim that there is an emerging norm that the death penalty constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.  Mendez acknowledges that international law does not prohibit the death penalty, but notes it does encourage its elimination.  Specifically, his report states:  "there is an evolving standard whereby states...

Children and armed conflict or “CAAC” (as the unharmonious acronym goes), has become a controversial area of activity for the UN Security Council.   Although the Security Council has adopted a series of important resolutions on the topic since 2005, its most recent foray into the fray led to four abstentions to Resolution 2068.   Azerbaijan, China, Pakistan and Russia declined to support...

The International Law Commission (ILC) has adopted the Draft Articles on the Responsibility of International Organizations (RIO). The final version of the articles is available on the ILC’s website. As the Chairman of the Drafting Committee noted, the adoption of these articles marks a historic occasion as the ILC has been working on the law of responsibility for over 60 years.The...