State Responsibility

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Deep Seabed Mining in the Area: is international investment law relevant?

The last decade has seen a renewed interest in the commercial exploitation of deep seabed minerals located beyond national jurisdiction. However, the respective responsibilities of deep sea miners and of their sponsoring states in this process have not been clarified fully. This short piece argues that international investment law is part of the legal framework applicable to the relationship between the deep sea miner and the state sponsoring it. More specifically, it attempts to demonstrate that deep sea mining operations can constitute a foreign-owned investment within the territory of a host state. Thus, when accepting to sponsor deep sea mining activities, states need to be mindful of the additional disciplines imposed by international investment law.  The seabed beyond national jurisdiction (named as the “Area” by UNCLOS) is known to contain valuable mineral resources including copper, nickel, zinc and rare earth metals which have become particularly valuable because of recent technological innovations. The International Seabed Authority has awarded twenty-nine exploration contracts to a variety of state and private corporate bodies for…

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Attribution of Naval Mine Strikes in International Law

On Thursday, June 13, two ships were damaged within forty-five minutes by (current evidence suggests) limpet mines, while transiting the Gulf of Oman at the mouth of the Strait of Hormuz. The Japanese product tanker, Kokuka Courageous sustained damage from either a limpet mine or a projectile, just as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met with Iranian Supreme Leader…

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Russian Agents Charged with Downing of MH17; MH17 Cases in Strasbourg

Yesterday international investigators charged three Russian nationals and one Ukrainian national before Dutch criminal courts for the 2014 downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine. According to a report in the Guardian: The suspects were named as Igor Girkin, a former colonel of Russia’s FSB spy service; Sergey Dubinskiy, employed by Russia’s GRU…

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Is Canada Internationally Responsible for Genocide?

Commissioned by the Canadian government in 2016, the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls delivered its final 1,200-page report last week. The report contains many important recommendations to end endemic levels of violence directed at Indigenous women, but it is also noteworthy at the international level for its conclusion that Canada is internationally…

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Appealing the High Court’s Judgment in the Public Law Challenge against UK Arms Export Licenses to Saudi Arabia

In May of this year, the Court of Appeal granted leave to appeal the 2017 High Court ruling in Campaign Against the Arms Trade v Secretary of State for International Trade. The case and the High Court’s 2017 judgment have already received some commentary (see here). Simply put, the case concerns a public law challenge…

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