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Unfulfilled Promises of the ICJ Litigation for Ukraine: Analysis of the ICJ Judgment in Ukraine v Russia (CERD and ICSFT)

1. Summary and Context On 31 January 2024, the ICJ delivered its long-awaited Judgment on the merits in the case Ukraine v Russia concerning alleged violations of the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism (ICSFT) and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD). It was a sobering experience for those who followed the case closely, as the vast majority of Ukraine’s claims were rejected. Notwithstanding a broad range of claims advanced by Ukraine against Russia under both Conventions, the ICJ narrowly found (13:2) that Russia violated Article 9(1) of ICSFT due to its failure to investigate individuals who allegedly committed terrorism financing offences based on information received from Ukraine, and violated Articles 2(1)(a) and 5(e)(v) of CERD with regard to the way in which it implemented its school education in the Ukrainian language in Crimea (Judgment, para. 404). Ukraine may find some consolation in the fact that the ICJ found that Russia violated its obligations under the 2017 provisional measures order, which obliged…

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Decoding Nicaragua’s Historic Request to Intervene in South Africa v Israel

Days before anyone could even read it, Nicaragua’s application to intervene under Article 62 of the ICJ Statute in South Africa v Israel made headlines around the world. To most observers, this intervention may recall those filed in Ukraine v Russia, another Genocide Convention case in…

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Extending human rights accountability for corporate actors in the LIDHO v Cote d’Ivoire case of the African Court

In September 2023 the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACtHPR or African Court) handed down its first judgement for harm caused, including to the environment, due to the dumping of toxic waste. This commentary focuses on how this judgement expands the African jurisprudence on the question of corporate accountability for infringement of human rights.

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The African Union’s Statement on the Application of International Law to Cyberspace: An Assessment of the Principles of Territorial Sovereignty, Non-Intervention, and Non-Use of Force

A growing number of States have published statements examining the application of international law to cyberspace (for an overview see the Cyber Law Toolkit). On 29 January 2024, the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council adopted the ‘Common African Position on the Application of International Law to the Use of Information and Communication Technologies in…

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The Newly Independent State of South Sudan - Should We Rethink the Right to Secession?

It would be remiss of us not to note the birth of South Sudan as the world's newest State. South Sudan gained independence from the Republic of Sudan last Saturday (9 July) and was admitted to the United Nations yesterday as the 193rd member of the UN. Independence…

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Two Articles on the Relationship between IHL and IHRL

Readers interested in my four scenarios on the relationship between international humanitarian law and international human rights law who want to know how I would decide them, as well as those who've read coverage of the Serdar Mohammed v. MoD judgment, might also be interested in two companion articles…

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The Spectre of Trexit: Proposal to Reintroduce the Death Penalty in Turkey

On 1 October 2018, just ten days before the European and World Day against the Death Penalty, the only elected member of parliament of the BBP - a Turkish ultra nationalist party - submitted a draft legislation proposal to Parliament asking for the reintroduction of the death…

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A guide to tackling the collective causation problem in international climate change litigation

In the wide variety of arguments that defendants have brought up in climate change litigation, one argument is a constant. This is the argument that climate change is a problem of collective causation. That is: climate change harm is caused by actions and omissions of many actors…

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Who is a Civilian? A Follow up on the Status of Hamas Police Officers

At the end of 2008, I put up a post in which I suggested that a key issue in assessing the lawfulness of Israeli airstrikes in Gaza was determning the status of Hama police officers. Before attempting to make the proportionality calculation International Humanitarian Law (IHL) requires, one has…

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The Legal Status and Characterisation of Maritime Militia Vessels

A recent report has described how Royal Australian Navy helicopter pilots were targeted with lasers during a night flight in the South China Sea. The lasers were allegedly directed from Chinese fishing vessels – the primary cadre from which the so-called Chinese ‘maritime militia’ is drawn. Further,…

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Dapo Akande

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