Courts & Tribunals

Until his arrest by the Rwandan military earlier this year, General Laurent Nkunda, a Congolese Tutsi and former chairman of the Congolese Congrès National pour la Défense du Peuple (CNDP), had been considered one of the key destabilizing figures in eastern Congo. Back in 2004, Nkunda and his rebel troops took control of the South Kivu town of Bukavu,...

On July 22nd, the tribunal arbitrating the dispute between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/ Army over the Abyei region rendered its final award concerning boundary delimitation (and, effectively, oil resource exploitation rights). (Links to the webcasts of the oral proceedings here.) The Washington Post reports: Sudan's fragile peace overcame a major hurdle Wednesday when a legal panel...

The Rwandan government announced today that it will stop taking new gacaca cases as of July 31st and that it intends to wind down gacaca operations within five months. Gacaca is a traditional local justice procedure (gacaca roughly means “justice on the grass” in Kinyarwanda) that the government modified to process the staggering number of low-level genocide cases and...

For critics of universal jurisdiction, Spain's UJ statute has become the poster child for accusations of excess. How strange it seems that roughly ten years ago it was so widely celebrated as the provision that brought down General Augusto Pinochet. Spain's indicting the former Chilean dictator and Britain's detaining him on the attendant arrest warrant and extradition request...

British Justice Secretary Jack Straw recently proposed amending the United Kingdom's International Criminal Court Act of 2001 (which permits universal jurisdiction prosecution of atrocity crimes) to allow authorities to file cases for atrocities committed as far back as January 1, 1991. This would close a loophole that has been giving safe haven to génocidaires who enter the UK after...

I want to thank Opinio Juris for having me over the next couple of weeks as a guest-blogger. I noticed that Eugene Kontorovich's thought-provoking posts last week dealt primarily with the issue of Israeli settlements in the West Bank. My posts to start will not be that focused. If I had to discern one overarching theme for...

Readers may have noticed we didn't have much to say about last week's ICJ judgment in Costa Rica v. Nicaragua, which involved disputed water rights in the San Juan river (the full judgment is here; for those interested in a short version, the ICJ Registry's summary is here).  Well, Marko Milanovic of EJIL: Talk! (and a former OJ guest blogger)...

Following-up on my recent post on assessing systemic bias in international investment arbitration, readers may be interested in a recent article by Susan Franck of Washington & Lee University entitled Development and Outcomes of Investment Treaty Arbitration. Here's the abstract: The legitimacy of investment treaty arbitration is a matter of heated debate. Asserting that arbitration is unfairly tilted toward the developed world,...

I want to quickly point to a post from late last month at EJIL: Talk! that I just recently came across. Tolga Yalkin considered the argument that international investment arbitration as a system is fundamentally biased. Considering arguments set out by Professor M. Sornarajah of the University of Singapore, Yalkin wrote: Sornarajah advanced the proposition-enjoying increasing purchase in the international legal community-that bilateral and...

[Rene Uruena is Assistant Profesor and Director of the international law program at the Universidad de Los Andes in Bogota, Colombia. He is also a Fellow at the Centre of Excellence in Global Governance Research, University of Helsinki.] Last year, Colombian armed forces bombed a guerrilla camp a couple of miles into Ecuadorian territory. After some diplomatic tension at the OAS, everyone made...

With the Supreme Court term now complete, I thought it would be useful to give a brief year-end review of the Court's decisions. The Supreme Court produced no blockbuster cases this year on any subject related to our discipline. It was truly a sleeper year. There were three cases addressing immunity; two cases addressing asylum, one case...

It seems likely that Spain is about drastically curtail its universal jurisdiction law--the law that had been used by Magistrate Baltasar Garzon to go after Augusto Pinochet--such that it really won't be universal jurisdiction at all.  While some (many?) of my international law colleagues may view this as a step backwards, I welcome this adjustment as a prudent move that will foster...