EJIL Analysis

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Taking China to the International Court of Justice over COVID-19

Scholars have claimed that China’s conduct with respect to COVID-19 (and the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2) violated the International Health Regulations, in particular the obligations of timely notification and information-sharing in Articles 6 and 7 (see, for example, here and here). Had China complied with these obligations, there would arguably be exponentially fewer cases of COVID-19 today. This has led another scholar to state that China “can and should be sued for the enormous damages they caused to the world”, and to warn China that “the lawyers are coming”. Nevertheless, all of these scholars have one thing in common: they fail to identify a jurisdictional basis for an international court or tribunal to hold China responsible for these violations. At least two scholars have pointed to the dispute settlement mechanism in Article 56 of the International Health Regulations (see here and here), but that mechanism…

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Jam v IFC before the D.C. District Court: Forget the Floodgates, there won’t even be a Trickle

A year ago, the US Supreme Court in Jam v International Finance Corporation decided that the immunity granted to International Organizations (IOs) under the US International Organizations Immunities Act (IOIA), was the same “restrictive immunity” granted to states under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA). The latter Act denies immunity for claims that are inter alia…

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The Group of Experts under the Istanbul Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence and the ECtHR: Complementary or Contradictory Tools?

The Istanbul Convention is a blueprint document in handling violence against women as the first legally binding treaty in Europe specifically devoted to the problem of violence against women. One aspect of the Istanbul Convention that deserves particular attention is the Group of Experts on Action against Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (GREVIO), which was…

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When More is Less: The US Department of Defense’s Statement on Cyberspace

On 2 March 2020 Paul Ney, General Counsel to the US Department of Defense (DoD), gave a speech at the US Cyber Command Legal Conference setting out the DoD’s position on the application of national and international law to cyberspace. Robert Chesney (at Lawfare) and Michael Schmitt (at Just Security) have provided a panoramic assessment…

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COVID-19 as a Threat to International Peace and Security: What place for the UN Security Council?

  The rapid spread of COVID-19 and actions to contain the virus have understandably drawn parallels with previous outbreaks, in particular that of Ebola in West Africa in 2014 and of the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003 which also arose in China but affected Hong Kong more severely. While the SARS outbreak…

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