Home Articles posted by Geraldo Vidigal

Compliance Adjudication at the ICJ – The Alleged Violations Case

Published on January 26, 2016        Author: 

The ICJ should soon deliver judgments on Preliminary Objections in the two most recent Nicaragua v Colombia cases. Both cases are closely related to the 2012 Judgment in Territorial and Maritime Dispute (Nicaragua v Colombia). In one of them, Nicaragua repeats a pleading the Court rejected in the 2012 Judgment for procedural reasons – that the maritime delimitation take into account Nicaragua’s proposed extended Continental Platform. In the other, Alleged Violations of Sovereign Rights, Nicaragua requests the Court, first, to declare that Colombia has violated Nicaragua’s maritime sovereignty as established in the 2012 judgment; second, that Colombia ‘is bound to comply with the Judgment of 19 November 2012, wipe out the legal and material consequences of its internationally wrongful acts, and make full reparation for the harm caused by those acts’.

International Courts and Compliance Jurisdiction

Alleged Violations is the first attempt in half a century to directly bring to the ICJ a dispute concerning compliance with one of its judgments. This is less surprising once one finds out that, in the 1951 judgment in Haya de la Torre, the ICJ refused to provide meaningful guidance regarding the implementation of its 1950 Asylum judgment, on grounds that implementation of judgments must be based ‘only on considerations of practicability or political expediency’, and therefore is ‘not part of the Court’s judicial function’. Subsequent compliance cases (discussed below), other than the sui generis case of Nuclear Tests II, were ‘disguised’ as requests for interpretation, most clearly in Avena and Temple.

Alleged Violations therefore gives the Court the opportunity to re-assess its jurisprudence on the matter, and establish that questions regarding compliance with and implementation of judgments are legal questions, as justiciable as any other. Read the rest of this entry…

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Curriculum Vitae: A Prequel | The Video

Published on January 10, 2016        Author: 

Earlier this week, we reproduced in two posts on EJIL:Talk! Roger O’Keefe’s insighful and hilarious Inaugural Lecture, delivered at UCL at the end of 2015. It is now available as an online video.

In his inaugural lecture, Professor O’Keefe teases out some recurrent international legal problems through the story of the life and opinions of D. H. G. H.-G. Salamander, lesser highly qualified publicist and minor poet.

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New EJIL:Live Extra! Joseph Weiler and Lorna McGregor Discuss the Adequacy of ADR to Deal with Human Rights Issues

Published on December 29, 2015        Author: 

The latest in our EJIL:Live! podcast series features an extended conversation between Professor Joseph Weiler, Editor-in-Chief of EJIL, and Professor Lorna McGregor of the University of Essex, whose ground-breaking article, “Alternative Dispute Resolution and Human Rights: Developing a Rights-Based Approach through the ECHR”, appears in EJIL, Volume 26, Issue 3. The conversation delves deeply into the issues raised by her article, providing an extremely useful complement to the article itself.



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Trade Agreements, EU Law, and Occupied Territories (2): The General Court Judgment in Frente Polisario v Council and the Protection of Fundamental Rights Abroad

Published on December 11, 2015        Author: 

This is a follow-up to my July post on Action for Annulment Frente Polisario v Council (Case T-512/12), a case before the General Court of the European Union (GC) in which Frente Polisario – the National Liberation Movement for Western Sahara – seeks the Annulment of the EU Council decision adopting the 2010 EU-Morocco Agreement on agricultural, processed agricultural and fisheries products. The GC delivered its judgment yesterday, both recognizing the standing of Frente Polisario and granting the (partial) annulment of the decision, with implications for EU-Morocco relations and for EU external relations law more broadly.

(1) Standing of Frente Polisario under Article 263 TFEU

As regards standing, the most striking aspect of the judgment is that the Court accepted the Frente’s entitlement to plead as a ‘moral person’, with the ‘necessary autonomy’ to challenge a decision of the EU legislator (paras. 50-53), without reference to the sui generis character of Frente Polisario or to the unique situation of Western Sahara. This would seem to open the door for other ‘autonomous entities’, even those with no claim to international legal personality, to challenge EU decisions under Article 263 TFEU.

By the same token, the Court fell short of recognizing the Frente’s legal personality under international law. Read the rest of this entry…


EJIL:Talk! Is Now on Facebook

Published on November 20, 2015        Author: 

We are proud to announce the creation of the EJIL:Talk! Facebook page. EJIL:Talk! posts will show automatically on the timeline of those who ‘like’ our page. This new feature provides our readership with yet another platform on which to follow us – if you are on Twitter, you should already be following us there – , facilitates the circulation of our materials, and allows EJIL:Talk! posts to reach a wider audience.

We remain committed, of course, to providing academics and practitioners in all fields of international law with a site for top-notch legal analysis and a setting for high-level exchange with fellow international lawyers, less limited by the formal requirements and time constraints of the European Journal of International Law. We hope that this new feature will add to our community and facilitate the engagement of scholars, students, and professionals with EJIL:Talk!

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WTO: The First 500 Disputes and the Last 100 Disputes

Published on November 11, 2015        Author: 

Yesterday, the WTO dispute settlement system received its 500th formal request for consultations. Because members may only request a WTO panel after unsuccessful consultations, filing such a request is the first step in the initiation of WTO disputes. For this reason, the request for consultations, without being per se a contentious act, signals the willingness of the member requesting consultations to take a dispute to adjudication. Between 1995 and 2015, therefore, the WTO received almost 24 disputes a year – an impressive amount for a purely inter-state dispute settlement system. Confirming the tendency of increased participation of developing countries, the 500th request was filed by Pakistan and targeted a measure imposed by South Africa.

I took this opportunity to undertake a small and very simple (some might say crude) quantitative exercise: who are currently the main WTO litigators? If we go back to 1995, the US and the EU will clearly dominate (the WTO helpfully provides a map of disputes). However, China only joined the WTO in 2001, and Russia in 2012. Thus, a more helpful exercise is to look at the last few disputes. Read the rest of this entry…


A Bacon Dispute at the WTO? International Trade Regulation and the WHO Decision on Red Meat and Processed Meat

Published on October 28, 2015        Author: 

To the chagrin of meat-eaters worldwide, the International Agency for Research of Cancer (IARC) – the cancer agency of the World Health Organization – has just published a summary of over 800 studies, some of which decades-long, on the link between consumption of red meat and processed meat and cancer. The summary concludes that consumption of red meat is probably linked to cancer, and that consumption of processed meat is demonstrably linked to bowel cancer. Specifically, every 50 gram portion of processed meat consumed daily increases the risk of bowel cancer by a significant 18%. An average sausage weighs about 70-80 grams.

On the basis of this research, IARC experts decided to add red meat and processed meat to the list of potential cancer-inducing agents. Red meat, i.e. ‘all mammalian muscle meat, including, beef, veal, pork, lamb, mutton, horse, and goat’, was classified under Group 2A, as ‘probably carcinogenic to humans’. More worryingly, processed meat, including all red meat ‘that has been transformed through salting, curing, fermentation, smoking, or other processes to enhance flavour or improve preservation’, was classified as ‘carcinogenic to humans’ (Group 1).

With this decision, processed meat now ranks together cancer-wise not only with the usual suspects against which healthcare professionals advise us – alcoholic beverages, tobacco smoking, and solar radiation – but also with less pleasant substances such as mustard gas, arsenic, and plutonium. To leave no room for doubt, the Q&A clarifies that among the new known carcinogens are ‘hot dogs (frankfurters), ham, sausages, corned beef, and biltong or beef jerky as well as canned meat and meat-based preparations and sauces’. (Surprisingly, bacon was left out of this particular clarification.)

Few people, of course, were under the illusion that these products were good for your health. However, their classification as known carcinogens has significant public health implications, which may lead governments worldwide to consider adopting measures to prevent consumption, or at least excessive consumption, of processed red meat. As with regulatory measures aimed at lowering consumption of tobacco and alcohol, we can expect the new anti-bacon measures to become the subject of international litigation under trade and investment dispute settlement.

The question of how to give weight to health and other public interest concerns under investment law is still a tricky one. Under the law of the World Trade Organization (WTO), on the other hand, I believe the issue is essentially settled: once a decision of an internationally recognized scientific body such as the IARC exists to ground policies, WTO law will in principle pose no obstacle to even-handed measures aimed at reducing consumption or even removing the product from the market entirely. Read the rest of this entry…


EJIL: Live! Joseph Weiler and Anne Orford Discuss Intervention in Civil War

Published on October 25, 2015        Author: 

In the latest episode of EJIL:Talk!, Professor Joseph Weiler, Editor-in-Chief of the European Journal of International Law, and Professor Anne Orford of the University of Melbourne discuss the project she is undertaking on ‘Civil War, Intervention, and International Law’, for which she was recently awarded an Australian Research Council fellowship. In probing the question of whether or when it is lawful for foreign actors to intervene in a civil war, the discussion touches on the importance, and lack, of universal principles to address the problem and the related issue of the involvement of regional organizations in civil war situations.

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EJIL: Live! Interview with Professor Bernard Hoekman

Published on October 18, 2015        Author: 

The latest in the EJIL: Live! podcast series features an extended conversation between Professor Joseph Weiler, Editor-in-Chief of EJIL, and Professor Bernard Hoekman of the European University Institute, whose article, co-authored with Petros Mavroidis, “WTO ‘à la carte’ or ‘menu du jour’? Assessing the Case for More Plurilateral Agreements“, appears in Volume 26, Issue 2 and was discussed at EJIL:Talk! earlier this month. The conversation looks behind the scenes at the issues examined in the article, taking the discussion to deeper levels. The podcast is available in both video and audio formats.

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New EJIL:Live Extra! Joseph Weiler and Doreen Lustig Discuss the Transition from Doctoral Student to Academic Lecturer

Published on October 11, 2015        Author: 

The EJIL: Live Extras series comprises short video conversations with leading international law scholars. In our latest EJIL: Live Extra! our Editor-in-Chief Professor Joseph Weiler discusses with Dr Doreen Lustig, recently appointed lecturer at Tel Aviv University, the joys and challenges involved in making the transition from doctoral student to academic lecturer. The conversation also focuses on the significance of bibliometrics in today’s academic world. The interview was recorded at the European University Institute in June 2015.

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