EJIL Analysis

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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 "based upon a commercial activity carried on in the United States by the foreign state”(28 U. S. C. §1605(a)(2)). The case concerned a claim by fishers and farmers based in Gujarat, India against the International Finance Corporation (IFC) for financing the construction of the coal-fired Tata Mundra Power Plant. The Petitioners claimed that pollution arising from the construction and operation of the plant rendered the IFC liable for property damage, environmental destruction, loss of livelihood, and threats to human health (for previous analysis of the case on this forum see here and here). On 14th February 2020, the District Court for the District of Columbia upheld the immunity of…

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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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Epidemic Sovereignty? Contesting investment treaty claims arising from coronavirus measures

  Though nothing can be immortall, which mortals make; yet, if men had the use of reason they pretend to, their Common-wealths might be secured, at least, from perishing by internall diseases. Hobbes, Leviathan (1651). My morning radio plays a hit parade of measures adopted by various States to combat the pandemic spread of…

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