EJIL Analysis

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Iran’s Tryst With the Terrorism Exception and State Immunity

Introduction On June 27, 2023, Iran instituted proceedings against Canada before the International Court of Justice (“the Court/ICJ”), contending a violation of its jurisdictional immunity and immunity from measures of constraint. A detailed statement of the jurisdictional and substantive issues raised in the case can be found in a previous blog post on this forum. In summary, Canada amended its state immunity legislation, enabling it to designate a State as a supporter of terrorism, and lifted the jurisdictional and enforcement immunity of States designated as such. Consequently, Canadian courts granted pre-judgment measures of constraint, recognized and enforced several judgments issued by US courts, and exercised jurisdiction over claims brought against Iran (see Iran’s Application, paras 14-20). In an insightful blog post on Just Security, Prof. William S. Dodge argues that this “terrorism exception” does not violate customary international law for two reasons. First, States are only granted immunity for sovereign acts, and supporting terrorism cannot be classified as acta jure imperii.

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Small states, legal statecraft and opening submissions in the ITLOS climate change advisory proceedings

On Monday 11 September 2023 the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea began its historic hearing of oral statements in Request for an Advisory Opinion submitted by the Commission of Small Island States on Climate Change and International Law. The impassioned opening submissions given by the Prime Ministers of Antigua and Barbuda and Tuvalu, the founding…

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The Prosecutor’s New Policy on ‘Cyber Operations’ before the International Criminal Court (and its Implications for Ukraine): Some Preliminary Reflections

In late August, the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) chief prosecutor, Karim A. A. Khan, published a little-noticed op-ed with Foreign Policy Analytics discussing the potential for the ICC to prosecute ‘cyberattacks’ as international crimes pursuant to the Rome Statute (RS). A cyberattack, according to the Tallinn Manual 2.0, is a ‘cyber operation,…

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Cossacks, Pussy Riot, and the Attribution of Conduct: A Comment on Verzilov v. Russia

On 29 August, a Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights delivered its judgment in Verzilov and others v. Russia (no. 25276/15). This is the second case before the Court to concern the Russian feminist punk band Pussy Riot, after Mariya Alekhina and Others v. Russia (no. 38004/12). Verzilov concerned an incident during the…

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General Comment No.26 on Children and the Environment – A Milestone in International Human Rights Law?

22 August 2023 saw the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child publish its much-anticipated General Comment No.26 on Children’s Rights and the Environment, with a Special Focus on Climate Change (GC26). The General Comment sets out a framework for a child rights-based approach to environmental protection, addressing issues ranging from access to justice and remedies…

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