State Immunity

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Unilateral Economic Sanctions to Deter and Punish Cyber-Attacks: Are They Here to Stay?

In June 2021 during the Biden-Putin summit, President Biden stated that critical infrastructure should be “off-limits” to cyber-attacks and handed over a list of 16 areas of critical infrastructure that under no circumstance should be targeted by cyber-attacks. This took place after the SolarWinds cyber-attack that was described by SolarWinds Vice-President as “your worst nightmare”. The attack was followed by tough US unilateral sanctions – precisely, sovereign debt sanctions against Russia and sanctions targeting six Russian technology firms for their support of the Russian Intelligence Services’ cyber program. This attack as well as many others (e.g., NotPetya or WannaCry) illustrate the current problem in international law: a lack of binding norms regulating conduct in cyberspace. As a result, states are left with only a few options of how to respond and prevent cyber-enabled malicious conduct. Among the available alternatives, unilateral cyber sanctions are gaining momentum. The relevant sanctions frameworks have already been introduced by the United States, the European Union, and the United Kingdom. On 2 December 2021, the…

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The Immunity Saga Reaches Latin America. The Changri-la Case

In September 2021, a new episode in the saga of jurisdictional immunities of States unfolded. The Brazilian Supreme Court (Supremo Tribunal Federal, STF) ruled that immunity from jurisdiction ceases when faced with unlawful acts connected to human rights violations (decision in Brazilian Portuguese here). The case concerns the Changri-La fishing boat, sunk in 1943 by a…

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Editorial: Germany v Italy: Jurisdictional Immunities – Redux (and Redux and Redux)

Will we ever see closure to this saga at the center of which one finds the somewhat controversial decision of the ICJ of 2012 and the very controversial decision of the Italian Constitutional Court of 2014 rebuffing that decision? There is no need to recap fully the endless ‘puntatas’ in this story which have been followed…

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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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‘Yet, it moves…’: The Dynamic Evolution of State immunity in the ‘Comfort Women’ case

Introduction                            On 8 January 2021, the Central District Court of Seoul, Republic of Korea (South Korea), ordered the Japanese government to compensate 12 South Korean victims in respect of sexual slavery perpetrated by members of the Imperial Japanese Army during the Japanese occupation of parts of Asia until the end of WWII (case n.

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