International Tribunals

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A Reference to the ICJ for an Advisory Opinion over COVID-19 Pandemic

Much has been said about the ICJ’s contentious jurisdiction in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, stressing in this respect the problem of the State’s acceptance of jurisdiction and establishing the existence of a dispute (see e.g. here, here, here , here and listen). However, while the focus has been on the Court’s contentious proceedings, advisory jurisdiction has taken an unfortunate backseat. Under Article 65 of the ICJ Statute, the ICJ may give an advisory opinion, the purpose of which is to “offer legal advice to the organs and institutions requesting the opinion.” This post first considers whether the Court would have advisory jurisdiction and, if so, whether there is any reason why it should exercise its discretion not to give an advisory opinion. Jurisdiction Article 65 of the ICJ Statute provides: “the Court may give an advisory opinion on any legal question at the request of whatever body may be authorised by or in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations…

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Another One Bites the Dust: Côte d’Ivoire to End Individual and NGO Access to the African Court

On 29 April 2020, the government of Côte d’Ivoire issued a press statement announcing its decision to withdraw the right of individuals and NGOs to submit complaints directly to the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (‘the Court’). This right was granted in 2013, when it deposited a special declaration with the Court in accordance…

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Justiciability of ‘implicit’ rights: Developments on the right to a healthy environment at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights

On 6 February 2020, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR) issued a landmark judgment on the protection of environmental rights as directly justiciable (original in Spanish). For the first time, the IACtHR found state responsibility for violations of the right to a healthy environment, adequate food, water and cultural identity. Such responsibility was based on article…

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A “Schrödinger’s Cat” Moment for Co-Perpetration Liability? The Yekatom and Ngaïssona Decision on the Confirmation of Charges

On 11 December 2019, Pre-Trial Chamber (PTC) I of the International Criminal Court (ICC) confirmed, in part, the charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity in the case against Alfred Yekatom and Patrice-Edouard Ngaïssona. The (highly) redacted version of the Decision was published on 20 December 2019. So far, it has received little attention in scholarly…

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Territory as a Victim of Colombia’s War

In two recent resolutions, Colombia’s peace jurisdiction (Jurisdicción Especial para la Paz, SJP) resolved that the Katsa Su and the Cxhab Wala Kile, the territories of the indigenous Awá and Nasa peoples respectively, are victims of Colombia’s 50-year civil war. The two territories thus have the same rights that accrue to all accredited victims under the…

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