Global Health

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Export restrictions under scrutiny – the legal dimensions of export restrictions on personal protective equipment

 “A crisis without borders cannot be resolved by putting barriers between us. And yet, this is exactly the first reflex that many European countries had. This simply makes no sense. Because there is not one single Member State that can meet its own needs when it comes to vital medical supplies and equipment. Not one.” President of the EU Commission Ursula von der Leyen expressed this warning in her speech before the (empty) European Parliament on March 26, 2020. Her upfront criticism was primarily addressed to states with important suppliers of personal protective equipment (PPE), namely France, Germany, the Czech Republic and Poland, and did not come by surprise. All three had introduced unilateral export restrictions vis-à-vis both EU Member States and third countries to secure access to PPEs in light of the emerging corona crisis in early March. Eventually, the European Commission intervened in mid-March by issuing implementing regulations (EU) 2020/402 and (EU) 2020/426 on EU export restrictions on PPEs. The EU’s export restrictions…

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Supervision of Derogations in the Wake of COVID-19: a litmus test for the Secretary General of the Council of Europe

The pandemic COVID-19 has triggered a record number of derogations from the European Convention on Human Rights (the ‘ECHR’ or the ‘Convention’). By now, Albania, Armenia, Estonia, Georgia, Latvia, Moldova, North Macedonia and Romania have notified the Secretary General of the Council of Europe (the ‘Secretary General’) of their derogations from the ECHR. More States may…

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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…

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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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