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The Questionable “Extraterritoriality” of Switzerland’s Jurisdiction in the Semenya Case (ECtHR)

On 15 May, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) held public hearings in the case of Semenya v Switzerland. This follows the appeal from the first instance judgment in July 2023 in which the Court found a violation of Caster Semenya’s rights under Article 14 in conjunction with Article 8, and Article 13, due to the imposition on her of World Athletics’ regulations requiring her to undergo hormone treatment to lower her naturally high testosterone levels to be able to compete in the women’s category. The case raises many important issues related inter alia to gender in sport. The factual circumstances and first instance decision have been discussed previously in this blog and elsewhere. This post seeks to draw attention to one particular aspect, namely the issue of jurisdiction. Specifically, it questions whether, as Switzerland claims, this is truly a case of the extraterritorial application of human rights law, thus requiring the Court to establish that Switzerland exercises…

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The strange story of the “conditional” admission of the State of Palestine to the United Nations

On 10 May 2024, the General Assembly (GA) adopted by an overwhelming majority Resolution ES-10/23 on the admission of the State of Palestine to the United Nations. The resolution does not pronounce the admission. After determining in point 1 of the operative part that the State of Palestine meets the requirements for admission under Article 4(1) of the…

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Deep seabed mining: A general policy at the International Seabed Authority?

Comprising 168 member States, the International Seabed Authority (ISA) is responsible for all seabed mineral exploration and future exploitation activities on the international seabed (‘the Area’). Negotiations on the rules, regulations and procedures for exploitation activities are currently ongoing at the ISA. Before any exploitation activities can commence, UNCLOS requires its member…

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Announcements: Rio School on Global Governance, Democracy and Human Rights; SAIELN Local Approaches to International Economic Law; Lessons from Courtroom battles on International Climate Law; ICLQ New Forum and CfP; Futureproofing Human Rights Symposium

1. Rio School on Global Governance, Democracy and Human Rights. The Rio School on Global Governance, Democracy and Human Rights is a four-month intensive program, taught in English, aimed at expanding knowledge on European Union institutions and practices in Global Governance, particularly their relevance to South America. The lectures cover various topics, highlighting the EU’s role as a global regulator…

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Is There General International Human Rights Law?

Sir Nigel Rodley KBE, PhD (Essex) is Professor of Law and Chair of the Human Rights Centre at the University of Essex. He is also Chair of the UN Human Rights Committee. One can’t begin to answer this question without posing…

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The Use of Nerve Agents in Salisbury: Why does it Matter Whether it Amounts to a Use of Force in International Law?

Over the past few days, there has been discussion of whether the attempt to murder Sergei Skripal and his daughter, in the UK, by the use of a nerve agent amounts to an unlawful use force by Russia in breach of Art. 2(4) of the United Nations Charter…

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UNCITRAL and ISDS Reform: China’s Proposal

On 19 July 2019, China submitted its proposal on investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) reform to UNCITRAL. A Chinese version is available, though an English translation is yet to be posted. China reaffirms its commitment to ISDS as an important mechanism for resolving investor-state disputes…

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The USA and Re-Appointment at the WTO: A ‘Legitimacy Crisis’?

In recent weeks, it has been reported (for example, here, here, here and here) that the WTO faces a ‘legitimacy crisis’ in the wake of US opposition to the re-appointment to a second, four-year term of Mr Seung Wha Chang (South Korea) to the…

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The Forever Negotiations

A major question coming out of the 2015 Paris conference was whether the Paris Agreement represented a meeting of the minds and would provide a stable framework for international cooperation on climate change going forward, or whether it papered over differences and left crucial issues unresolved.  For twenty-five…

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Philippines Initiates Arbitration Against China over South China Seas Dispute

Today, the Philippines has initiated arbitral proceedings against China with regard to China's claims over much of the South China seas. Those Chinese claims have led to serious disputes between China and several of its neighbours in East Asia with those disputes intensifying recently. Both the Philippines and China…

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