Two Weeks in Review, 13 February – 26 February

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New Issue of EJIL (Vol. 33 (2022) No. 4)

The latest issue of the European Journal of International Law  (Vol. 33 (2022) No. 4) is now out. EJIL subscribers have full access to the latest issue of the journal at EJIL’s Oxford University Press site. Apart from articles published in the last 12 months, EJIL articles are freely available on the EJIL website.

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Rebecca Barber argues there is no legal barrier to providing cross-border humanitarian assistance in northwest Syria. Barber contends that Security Council Resolution 2165, authorizing the UN and its partners to use four specified border crossings to provide humanitarian aid, was an important one. The resolution was passed in response to the refusal of the Syrian government to authorize sufficient aid deliveries from Damascus into opposition-held areas in Syria’s north and northwest. Nevertheless, in many ways, it and others to follow were understood as a narrow interpretation of international law that holds that in the absence of such authorization, the provision of humanitarian aid in these situations is illegal. In light of the recent earthquake in Southern Türkiye, Barber calls to re-interpret international law to assist the Syrian people. 

Read her full analysis here.  

In her post, ‘Explosive case, cautious ruling: The CJEU prudently favours cooperation in the Puig case‘, Sibel Top examines the CJEU’s ruling on the surrender of Catalan exile Lluís Puig Gordi, former Catalan minister of Culture in Belgium since October 2017, that bore serious implications for other Catalan exiles targeted by international and European Arrest Warrant (EAW). In its ruling, the court aligned itself with the opinion of the Advocate General on the need to cooperate, although in a more cautious fashion. While it recalled the importance of mutual trust that underpins the EAW scheme, and the need to apply the EAW in a unified manner, it also underlined the necessity to respect fundamental rights in the application of the EAW. Top concludes that

‘With this ruling, the Court essentially performed a balancing act slightly softening its traditionally strong pro-cooperation approach in this particularly politically volatile case. Although the CJEU made no reference to the decisions made by other national courts on the case of Catalan exiles (as it should be), one cannot help but wonder whether general reluctance of national courts to surrender Catalan exiles to Spain motivated a more cautious approach on this case (some argue that it did). Indeed, overall, the ruling favoured cooperation, but did so very prudently. Although the Court stated that refusals to cooperate should be exceptional and carefully justified (in line with the abovementioned two-step approach), it still left the door open for the Belgian Court to refuse future EAWs it will most probably receive from the Spanish Supreme Court by following the Court’s guidelines. It also noticeably avoided the question of deciding for itself whether the claimed systemic deficiencies were in fact observable in the case at hand; and left that thorny question to be resolved by national courts in future EAWs.’

Read the full post here

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