International Court of Justice

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Is the Dispute between Germany and Italy over State Immunities Coming to an End (Despite Being Back at the ICJ)?

For nearly two decades Germany and Italy have been embroiled in a dispute over the scope of State immunities under international law. The dispute which relates to the question of compensation for victims of crimes committed by Nazi forces in Italy or against Italian citizens, has recently been resubmitted by Germany to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Germany initially requested that the Court grant provisional measures but as explained below, due to developments over the past few days, Germany withdrew that request and the oral hearings scheduled for this week were cancelled. Three key judgments defined the evolution of the dispute. In 2004, the Italian Supreme Court of Cassation boldly read international law to mean that a State’s immunity from the jurisdiction of another State is not available when the action seeks compensation for harm suffered by victims of international crimes. In 2012, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) famously ruled that no such exception exist in customary international law. The Italian legislator fully complied with the ICJ’s…

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ICJ Indicates Provisional Measures Against Russia, in a Near Total Win for Ukraine; Russia Expelled from the Council of Europe

This afternoon the International Court of Justice, by 13 votes to 2, issued its order on provisional measures in the case brought by Ukraine against Russia under the Genocide Convention. The Court essentially accepted all of the arguments made by Ukraine for the purposes of the provisional measures stage of the proceeding, and rejected those…

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Ukraine v Russia: A “Reverse Compliance” case on Genocide

Disputes before international courts and tribunals typically arise out of an allegation by one State that another State has violated international law. The State making the allegation takes the initiative to bring the dispute before an adjudicator. The new dispute initiated by Ukraine against Russia is novel in this respect, since Ukraine invokes the International Court of…

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Russia’s Non-Appearance Before the ICJ Against Ukraine: Of Not So Vanishing Vanishing Acts and their Vanishingly Thin Justification

On 9th March 2022, Russia announced through it Foreign Ministry that “in light of the apparent absurdity of the lawsuit” launched against it by Ukraine before the ICJ, it would not “attend the hearing” on provisional measures. One can certainly have reservations about the Ukrainian strategy of invoking the Genocide Convention even if one is…

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Russia’s Submission to the ICJ in the Genocide Case; Russia’s Withdrawal from the Council of Europe

A quick update on two important developments. First, the ICJ has put up on its website a submission it received from the Russian Federation in the Ukraine v. Russia genocide case, in which the Court’s provisional measures decision is pending. Because Russia has declined to participate in the proceedings – at least for now –…

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