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Still Losing: A Short History of Women in Elections (and By-Elections) for the UN International Law Commission

On 12 November 2021, the UN General Assembly held the sixteenth regular election for the International Law Commission (ILC). As the Assembly extended the mandate of the current members until the end of 2022, in response to the exceptional situation created by the pandemic, the newcomers, numbering 18, will have over a year to taste victory. Of these, three are women. This result will seem modest – and it is, by any standard, but not if set against the background of the ILC’s history. In terms of gender balance, the ILC has been lagging even further behind than the International Court of Justice (Philip Alston recently wrote about it). At the Court, women make up just over a quarter of the membership. They will be slightly more than a seventh at the ILC on 1 January 2023 and under an eighth until then. This post brings together documentary and statistical evidence that should deepen the sense of injustice in the face of such dismal a record. It also…

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UN Security Council Referrals to the ICC and the Principle of Legality

Introduction On 1 November 2021, the Appeals Chamber (AC) of the International Criminal Court (ICC) rendered an interesting judgment relating to a jurisdictional challenge brought by the Defence in the case of Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-Al-Rhaman (“Ali Kushayb”). The challenge is noteworthy because it confronted the Court with novel issues of law relating to the…

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The Disputes Between Armenia and Azerbaijan: The CERD Compromissory Clause as a One-way Ticket to Hague

Introduction In September 2021, Armenia and Azerbaijan lodged each against the other an application before the International Court of Justice (Court) (ArA and AzA). Both applications refer to alleged breaches of the 1966 UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD), using its compromissory clause (Article 22) to establish the…

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The UN HRC recognizes the right to a healthy environment and appoints a new Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Climate Change. What does it all mean?

On Friday 8 October, the UN Human Rights Council adopted Resolution 48/13, recognising for first time that having a clean, healthy and sustainable environment is a human right and calling on UN Member States to cooperate to implement this right. On the same day, the Council adopted Resolution 48/14, establishing a Special Rapporteur on…

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Credentials and the Politics of Representation: What’s in it for the UN?

The UN General Assembly 76th session raised political controversy already before all the opening speeches have been made, as the credentials of at least two states, not completely unexpectedly, have become subject to debate. In the case of Myanmar and Afghanistan new regimes have recently surged to power, whereas the previous governments still hold UN accreditation. Afghanistan´s…

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