International Law in Brief


International Law in Brief (ILIB) is forum that provides updates on current developments in international law from the editors of ASIL's International Legal Materials.
| By: Emma Schoenberger : May 29, 2020 |

On May 22, 2020, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued its opinion in Cooper v. Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), upholding the district court’s decision to dismiss the claims against GE and TEPCO. The case was “brought in California by United States servicemembers … [who] alleg[e] they were exposed to radiation from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant” when responding to the disaster. In reviewing the district court’s decision, the Court of Appeals evaluated whether a choice of law analysis between Japanese and California law was appropriate in...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : May 28, 2020 |

On Wednesday, May 27, 2020, U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, declared to Congress that the State Department no longer considers that Hong Kong is sufficiently autonomous from China. As a result, he stated that “Hong Kong does not continue to warrant treatment under United States laws in the same manner as U.S. laws were applied to Hong Kong before July 1997.” As reported by the Washington Post, Pompeo’s declaration “could have far-reaching ramifications in its trading relationship with the United States.” A move by American diplomats to discuss the situation in Hong Kong in a virtual...


| By: Emma Schoenberger : May 26, 2020 |

On May 22, 2020, Eliot L. Engel (Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs) and Adam Smith (Chairman of the House Committee on Armed Services) published their letter to Mike Pompeo and Mark T. Esper (Secretaries of the Department of State and Department of Defense, respectively) opposing the Trump administration’s “plans to withdraw . . . from the Treaty on Open Skies.” They noted that withdrawing from a treaty “without consultation with or notification to Congress . . . is in direct violation of Section 1234 of the Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act.” The authors...


| By: Emma Schoenberger : May 22, 2020 |

The Iran-United States Claims Tribunal released a partial award in case A15 (II:A), concerning “the transfer of Iranian properties” from the United States back to Iran as required by the Algiers Declaration. Before evaluating each of the individual claims pertaining to specific pieces of property, the Court decided on the definition of property, when ownership transfers from one party to the other, when the US obligation began, and the extent of both the US and Iranian obligations under the Declaration. It then evaluated each claim individually and decided on reparations on a case-by-case...


| By: Emma Schoenberger : May 18, 2020 |

In May 2020, the Department for the Execution of Judgments of the European Court of Human Rights published a Thematic Factsheet entitled “Constitutional matters.” The factsheet summarizes ways that rulings by the ECtHR have affected countries’ implementation of their domestic law, the structure of their court systems, human rights’ policies, and processes available to citizens and non-citizens to pursue the protection of those rights. It covers both “Reforms in Constitutional Matters” and “Changes in Constitutional Courts’ Case-Law”; under those sub-headings it covers categories like “...


| By: Emma Schoenberger : May 15, 2020 |

On May 14, 2020, the Court of Justice of the European Union delivered its judgment in Joined Cases C-924/19 PPU and C-925/19 PPU FMS and Others [currently in French and Hungarian only]. A press release from the Court explains that the case concerns “Afghan . . . and Iranian nationals . . . who arrived in Hungary via Serbia, [and] lodged applications for asylum.” Hungarian courts “dismissed [their asylum applications] as inadmissible” and ordered that they “return to Serbia”; when they were refused re-entry in Serbia, “Hungarian authorities . . .  amended the country of destination…...


| By: Emma Schoenberger : May 12, 2020 |
On May 11, 2020, the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights released its views on a submission by Rizvan Taysumov et al. against the Russian Federation. Taysumov and five others were all captured by Chechen forces, detained, and interrogated; in 2006, they were tried and found guilty by the Supreme Court of the Chechen Republic. Before bringing their case to this committee, they appealed to the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation and then to the European Court of Human Rights; the latter “decided that the application was...

| By: Emma Schoenberger : May 11, 2020 |

On May 7, 2020, The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) delivered its judgment in Chefette Restaurants Limited v. Orlando Harris. In 2014, Mr. Harris was fired by Chefette Restaurants Limited. As stated in a summary of its decision, the case was originally decided in Barbados’ Employment Rights Tribunal (ERT); the appellant appealed first to the Court of Appeal of Barbados, which agreed with the ERT’s decision “that the Respondent . . . had been unfairly dismissed from his employment.” The appellant appealed this decision to the CCJ on the additional grounds that the ERT could not...


| By: Emma Schoenberger : May 08, 2020 |

On April 29, 2020, the United Kingdom Supreme Court (UKSC) released its judgment in the case of AM (Zimbabwe) v. Secretary of State for the Home Department. AM, the appellant, “is a citizen of Zimbabwe” who, “while lawfully resident [in the UK] . . . committed a string of serious crimes.” Additionally, he “is HIV positive.” AM is appealing a deportation order issued by the Secretary of State in 2007, stating “that, if deported to Zimbabwe, he would be unable to access the medication which, here in the UK, prevents his relapse into full-blown AIDS.” Early on in the process of his...


| By: Justine N. Stefanelli : May 07, 2020 |

The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea has published its 2019 Annual Report. The Report discusses the three cases upon which it rendered judgments in 2019 (M/V "Norstar" (Panama v. Italy), Case concerning the detention of three Ukranian naval vessels (Ukraine v. Russian Federation) provisional measures, and M/T "San Padre Pio" (Switzerland v. Nigeria), provisional measures) and provides information concerning two pending disputes (Dispute concerning delimitation of the maritime boundary between Mauritius and Maldives in...