International Law and Domestic Law

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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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Corporate civil liability for breaches of customary international law: Supreme Court of Canada opens door to common law claims in Nevsun v Araya

In a landmark judgment for transnational human rights litigation, the Supreme Court of Canada in Nevsun Resources Ltd v Araya, 2020 SCC 5 has opened the door for litigants seeking redress for human rights violations in Canadian courts. Significantly, the Supreme Court held that customary international law can give rise to a direct claim in Canada with…

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Public Interest Litigation Before Domestic Courts in The Netherlands on the Basis of International Law: Article 3:305a Dutch Civil Code

In recent years, the domestic courts in The Hague (Netherlands) have produced a series of judgments on matters of global concern, adjudicated on the basis of international law. All of these judgments have immediately been heralded as “a new classic” or “the most important court decision […] in the world…

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Human Rights in the Era of Automation and Artificial Intelligence

  Editor's Note: Following is a Keynote Lecture delivered at the 2nd KU Leuven AI Law & Ethics Conference (LAILEC 2020), held on 18 February 2020.  The author is grateful for the exchanges with Professors Joanna Bryson, Peggy Valcke, Nathalie Smuha, AI policy practitioners and EU Commission representatives.  The lecture was delivered one day before the European…

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The Amendments to the Russian Constitution: Putin’s Attempt to Reinforce Russia’s Isolationist Views on International Law?

On 15 January 2020, in his state-of-the-union address, President Putin proposed a number of amendments to the 1993 Constitution of the Russian Federation, including the ones prescribing to redistribute the president’s power in favour of the parliament and a vaguely defined but powerful body called the State Council. The speech has made international headlines (see…

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