Universal Jurisdiction

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Public Interest Litigation Before Domestic Courts in The Netherlands on the Basis of International Law: Article 3:305a Dutch Civil Code

In recent years, the domestic courts in The Hague (Netherlands) have produced a series of judgments on matters of global concern, adjudicated on the basis of international law. All of these judgments have immediately been heralded as “a new classic” or “the most important court decision […] in the world so far” by scholars and practitioners of international law. This raises the question: Why does one domestic court produce so many of these landmark rulings on fundamental issues of international law? Is it because The Hague takes its nickname ‘legal capital of the world’ (too) seriously? Or is it because the domestic courts in The Hague have been inspired by that other court in their city -  the International Court of Justice? I believe it has more to do with a particular provision in the Dutch Civil Code: Article 305a of Book 3. Article 3:305a Civil Code allows anyone to establish a foundation, mandated to protect a public…

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Misunderstanding of International Aviation Law May be Behind Iran’s Shootdown of the U.S. Global Hawk Drone

On Thursday, June 20, the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) shot down an unarmed U.S. surveillance drone, nearly igniting open conflict between the United States and Iran. The $180 million U.S. Navy RQ-4A Global Hawk was struck by an Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGCN) surface-to-air missile launched from near Goruk, Iran. With strained relations…

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Callamard Report on the Murder of Jamal Khashoggi: Part II

In my second post on the report on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi by the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, I will discuss some of its most interesting legal findings. The key finding, obviously, is that Saudi Arabia is responsible for committing an extrajudicial execution in violation of Mr Khashoggi’s right to life. The Special Rapporteur notes…

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Ruling of the Spanish Constitutional Court Legitimising Restrictions on Universal Criminal Jurisdiction

A short history of universal jurisdiction in Spain Last 20 December, the Spanish Constitutional Court (hereinafter, TC) issued a ruling rejecting an application made by more than fifty Socialist Members of Parliament to strike out a bill introduced by the Conservative Party in 2014. In practice, the aforementioned bill put an end to…

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The Road Less Traveled: How Corporate Directors Could be Held Individually Liable in Sweden for Corporate Atrocity Crimes Abroad

On 18 October 2018, the Swedish Government authorized the Swedish Prosecution Authority to proceed to prosecution in a case regarding activities of two corporate directors within Swedish oil company Lundin Oil, and later within Lundin Petroleum, in Sudan (now South Sudan) between 1998 and 2003. The company’s chief executive and chairman could be charged with aiding and…

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