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A new variety of rights-based climate litigation: a challenge against the Energy Charter Treaty before the European Court of Human Rights

In the last couple of years, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has become a hotspot for rights-based climate change litigation. At the time of writing, seven cases are pending before the Court, with applicants seeking to challenge various aspects of domestic climate change laws and policies in the various respondent states, arguing that they violate their human rights protected by the Convention. On the 21st of June 2022, news broke that yet another case would be lodged before the Court. The case, however, is distinct from the others, in the sense that it targets state membership in an international agreement, namely the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT), on the grounds that it unjustly protects fossil fuel investors. The case (the ‘ECT case’) is the first before the Court to draw links between human rights, investment law, and climate change. This post seeks to situate such a claim in the context of cases currently pending before the ECtHR and highlights the challenges that applicants may come to face in their efforts.

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Update on ECtHR Interim Measures Concerning Russia and Ukraine

This afternoon the European Court interpreted and reinforced the Rule 39 interim measures it had previously issued against Russia regarding the war in Ukraine, in response to additional requests made by Ukraine. Here’s the press release, with the title ‘Expansion of interim measures in relation to Russian military action in Ukraine,’ which bears…

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The International Law of Intelligence Sharing in Multinational Military Operations: A Primer

The massive airlift by the United States and its allies that followed the Taliban’s victory in the Afghan war had a remarkable feature: the Taliban not only did not interfere with it, but actively assisted it. After two decades of fighting the Taliban, the United States found in them unlikely partners willing to provide, for a limited time,…

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EJIL: The Podcast! Episode 12 – “No Licence to Kill”

In this episode, Marko Milanovic, Philippa Webb and I discuss the legal issues that arise from targeted killings conducted by states outside their territory. We begin with a discussion of the recent blockbuster judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the case concerning Alexander Litvinenko (Carter v. Russia, no. 20914/07, 21 September 2021). In that…

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The Law and Tech of Two Targeted Killings

The New York Times recently published two fascinating pieces on two separate instances of targeted killings. The first is on the tragic denouement of the 20 years of US presence in Afghanistan – a drone strike conducted on 29 August by the US military in Kabul, purportedly against terrorists planning a second deadly attack against…

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