Two Weeks in Review, 8 May – 21 May 2023

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Pedro A. Villarreal explores the recent WHO declaration on COVID-19 no longer constituting a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC). Villarreal addresses the legal consequences brought upon by the end of a PHEIC and sheds light on the lack of concrete and clear criteria for doing so.  The author notes that input from medicine and public health is essential and a degree of interpretive discretion is inevitable. Nevertheless, he argues that a lack of clarity can be problematic for properly preparing for future health similar threats.

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In their post, ‘“Failure to Act” of Mr Putin: Liability by Omission,’ Ana Srovin Coralli and Chiara Gabriele discuss modes of liability in the context of the ICC arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin. As one may recall, in addition to direct perpetration, the Pre-Trial Chamber found reasonable grounds to believe that Mr. Putin is responsible for the alleged crimes under the so-called responsibility of “other superiors” (Article 28(b) of the Rome Statute). The two conclude that

We praise the ICC efforts to send a strong signal to Russia and indirectly to the rest of the heads of States who engage in perpetration of international crimes. At the same time, we hope that the Court will consider in the following phases of the procedure the degree of Putin’s concrete influence over the concerned crimes and opt for a mode of liability which best corresponds to his actual involvement.

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Waad Abualrob, Marco Longobardo and Ruth Mackenzie discuss the applicability of multilateral environmental agreements in occupied territory, focusing on the Azerbaijan v. Armenia Case under the Bern Convention. While noting the lack of explicit rules on the protection of the environment in occupied territory as a starting point, they explore whether environmental treaties such as the Bern Convention are applicable to occupied territory, and their potential to enhance the protection of the environment in occupied areas. Further, they discuss the conditions under which the specific inter-state mechanisms of the Bern Convention can be activated.

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Lan Ngoc Nguyen, Danae Georgoula and Alex Oude Elferink explore the dispute settlement system under the BBNJ agreement. The three provide an assessment of how dispute settlement under the BBNJ Agreement differs from UNCLOS and the implications of these differences. The authors conclude that

The additional provisions of the BBNJ can be seen as an attempt to tinker with the compromise on the availability of compulsory dispute settlement contained in the Convention and the judiciary’s practice that has operationalised this compromise. At the same time, the dispute settlement clauses of the BBNJ Agreement itself also indicate that it seeks to reconcile opposing views on the scope of compulsory dispute settlement. But, most importantly, compulsory dispute settlement will be available under the BBNJ Agreement and thus, it will remain the responsibility of courts and tribunals to delineate the scope of their jurisdiction under the Agreement.

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In their post, ‘The Moscow Mechanism Expert Report on the Forcible Transfer and Deportation of Ukrainian Children,’ Veronika Bilkova, Cecilie Hellestveit and Elīna Šteinerte introduce the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) third report on the situation in Ukraine. The report focuses on the forcible transfer of children within parts of Ukraine’s territory temporarily controlled or occupied by Russia and their deportation to Russia. The report’s recommendations to the Russian federation include ceasing the practice of forcible transfer and deportation of Ukrainian children, ceasing the adoption of Ukrainian children, their re-education and the expedited change of their citizenship and promote the reunification of these children with their families. To Ukraine, the Mission recommended to increase the efforts to collect and verify data on displaced children, seek assistance and good offices of a third country, to continue providing medical, psychological, social and other support to children who have been returned and their families. 

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All recent Events and Announcements can be found here.

The European Journal of International Law has new advanced articles and advanced reviews available to read online.

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