Courts & Tribunals

The ICJ has issued a judgment in the case Maritime Delimitation in the Black Sea (Romania v. Ukraine). At first glance the issue may seem relatively dry: whether Serpents' Island in the Black Sea is an inhabited island or just a rocky outcropping. But the answer to this question affects maritime delimitation lines, which in turn resolves which country has the right to...

Although prospects of a marriage remain somewhat fanciful, if the ASIL Task Force on U.S. Policy Toward the International Criminal Court has its way, the Obama Administration will take steps to engage with the ICC in a much more positive way than the Bush Administration.  The Task Force issued a press release today, proposing several significant shifts in U.S. policy. ...

It’s an absurd question, of course, to ask why the environment is more important than human rights. But it’s actually true: protecting, say, endangered sea turtles is far more important than protecting against cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of individuals. At least that is the conclusion if one is examining the question from an international trade perspective. The...

The Supreme Court heard oral argument on Monday in the terrorism victim asset attachment case of Iran v. Elahi. (Transcript here). The case is extraordinarily complicated but it boils down to a question of statutory construction. Elahi was one of a handful of terrorism victims who received payment from the United States government under the 2000 Victims...

I have not been following the work of the Cambodia special chambers, which is probably why I found these views by James Bair (blogger, loyal OJ reader and soon-to-be JD from Northeastern Law School) all the more informative and interesting.  Bair is a former legal intern at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) and has followed the...

[Susan Benesch is a Fellow at the Center for Applied Legal Studies at Georgetown Law Center and a former guest blogger here at Opinio Juris.] Simon Bikindi, the Rwandan pop star whose two-year trial at the ICTR was apparently the first attempt to criminalize music in international law, was just convicted of incitement to genocide but not, after all, for his...

Deborah has already mentioned the bill introduced this week by Rep. John Conyers for a National Commission on Presidential War Powers and Civil Liberties, which has been likened in the popular press to a truth and reconciliation commission. (A draft version of the bill is available here.)  I think this is a somewhat inaccurate description.  Truth commissions are often focused  on understanding...

Just in time for Christmas too.  Of course, it was not really him.  Rather, it was Judge José Luis Jesus, the newly elected president of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS).  President Jesus addressed the UN General Assembly on December 5, 2008, and met separately with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon a day earlier.  Although these annual speeches traditionally provide...

Over at the Harper's blog, Scott Horton has posted a Q& A with Mary Ellen O'Connell about her book "The Power & Purpose of International Law."  (OJ hosted a discussion of Professor O'Connell's book last month, accessible here.)   Among the interesting exchanges is this discussion of the U.S. relationship to the ICJ and rejoining the Optional Protocol of the...

Violence in Kenya following the disputed 2007 elections left more than 1,300 people dead and more than 500,000 internally displaced.  Last month, Kenya's Commission of Inquiry into Post-Election Violence released a 527-page report -- the Waki Report -- that concluded much of the violence was planned and organized by members of Kenya's security agencies, business leaders, politicians, and government officials. ...

In working through an explanation for the source of international law’s authority in the international community, Mary Ellen O’Connell describes the important role of positive law but also shows its limits. For example, it is very hard to imagine a serious contention that it is somehow possible to legalize genocide or slavery through the mere fact of enacting positive law....

 [Steve Charnovitz is an associate professor of law at The George Washington University Law School. He blogs at the International Economic Law and Policy Blog.] On October 31, 2008, I made a presentation at the ASIL’s Tillar House of a proposal for an “International Court of Justice Decisions Implementation Act.” My proposal is an outgrowth of my essay in the Agora...