International Organisations

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COVID-19 and the WHO’s Political Moment

In its Preamble, the Constitution of the World Health Organization (WHO) states that “[t]he achievement of any State in the promotion and protection of health is of value to all. [….] The health of all peoples is […] dependent upon the fullest co-operation of individuals and States.”. It would be difficult to find better terms to express the principle of solidarity most people are longing for in today’s pandemic context, but also the corresponding proposition that health is a common concern and responsibility. Those principles are not the only features that single out the WHO amidst the United Nations’ specialised agencies. At the time of the organisation’s creation in 1946, the World Health Assembly (WHA)’s law-making powers, to adopt both binding “regulations” (like the International Health Regulation [IHR]) and “treaties” (like the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control), were unprecedented in the multilateral institutional landscape. Furthermore, the WHO’s Constitution was the first international law treaty to guarantee the human right to health and, more generally, the human right to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress.

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The Monetary Gold Doctrine and the ICC: Can the ICC determine the Territorial Boundaries of Israel and Palestine?

The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has been engaged in a Preliminary Examination of the situation in Palestine since January 2015. By December 2019, the Prosecutor had come to the conclusion that there is a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes have been, or are being, committed on territory of Palestine, and that the other…

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Justified Border Closures do not violate the International Health Regulations 2005

Rapidly developing pandemics require governments to use their best endeavours to protect their populations.  International law permits them to do this provided they observe certain conditions, but limits on the reach of the World Health Organization (WHO) International Health Regulations 2005 (IHR) have previously been insufficiently appreciated. In mid-February 2020 The Lancet published a piece by…

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Defining military activities in outer space: the launching of the Iranian satellite Nour 1

The Iranian satellite, Nour 1, operated by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) was launched on 22 April 2020. The US Space Force (USSF) tracked Nour 1 and its final stage in orbit and added orbital tracking data and orbital parameters for two objects from the launch, the satellite and the rocket third stage, independently confirming the result…

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‘Oops, we misplaced the keys…too bad!’: The International Criminal Court and the fiasco of Mr Jean-Pierre Bemba’s compensation claim

Background On 18 May 2020, over a year after Mr Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo filed a claim at the International Criminal Court (the Court) seeking compensation for alleged miscarriage of justice and for alleged destruction and damage caused to his property, the Pre-Trial Chamber dismissed the application. Mr Bemba was charged in 2008 with…

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