International Economic Law

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People from La Oroya vs Peru, Inter-American Court of Human Rights: How Effective is International Law to Protect the Environment in Extractive Contexts?

On March 22nd, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled a landmark decision on the protection of the right to a healthy environment in the context of mining activities. The Court declared the international responsibility of the Peruvian State for breaching the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights, specifically for violations of the right to a healthy environment (Article 26), the right to life (Article 4.1.), the right to personal integrity (Article 5), the rights of children (Article 19), and others. By evaluating environmental and medical evidence from decades ago to the present, the Court found that there is no doubt about the presence of high levels of environmental contamination in La Oroya, including lead, cadmium, arsenic, sulphur dioxide and other metals in air, soil and water. Importantly, it indicated that the principal cause was the activity of the La Oroya Metallurgical Center operating from 1922 (par. 263). Given the difficulty of establishing scientific causality, the Court also noted that it is not necessary to demonstrate that health diseases are directly caused…

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How a documentary film can help UNCITRAL Working Group III think through ISDS reform

As states explore options to reform investment treaties and investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS), they can draw on a growing body of grounded perspectives about how the system works in practice and how it is experienced by those involved in or affected by investment disputes. The Tribunal, a documentary film directed by Malcolm Rogge in collaboration…

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Attributing commercial acts of public pension funds to the sovereign: A comment on Elliott Associates v. Korea  

Public pension funds (PPFs), which may be defined as large pool of capital owned and managed directly or indirectly by governments to finance public pension systems (see OECD), are recently named “the most influential capital on the planet” – a November 2023 study by Thinking Ahead Institute reported that PPFs make up 52.8% of the world’s…

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ECOWAS Withdrawal and the law of treaty withdrawal

On 28 January 2024, the governments of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger issued a coordinated joint communiqué on national television in their respective countries announcing their withdrawal from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). All three countries had been under political and economic sanctions from ECOWAS following coup d’états and unconstitutional changes of government.  …

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Have WTO Members Successfully Circumvented the US’ Blockade of the Appellate Body? (and How Would We Know?)

On January 26th, in what has become a repeat performance of global governance kabuki, Guatemala put forth a proposal on behalf of 130 World Trade Organization members to relaunch the selection process for Appellate Body adjudicators. It was the 73rd time it was doing so, and for the 73rd time, the US exercised its right to block the…

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