Summaries of ICJ Cases Relating to Violations of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law

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Summaries of ICJ Cases Relating to Self Defense and Use of Force

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Summaries of ICJ Cases on Treaty Interpretation

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Summaries of ICJ Cases Relating to Sovereignty, Non-Interference, and Consular and Diplomatic Relations

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Summaries of ICJ Cases Relating to the Law of the Sea, including Maritime and Territorial Boundary Disputes and Freedom of Navigation

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Summaries of ICJ Cases where Parties Resolved the Dispute before the Issuance of an ICJ Judgement on Merits

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Summaries of ICJ Cases where the ICJ Refused to Proceed to the Merits of the Case or to Provide an Advisory Opinion

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Nuclear Weapons Advisory Opinion (General Assembly Request)

Summary of the ICJ’s advisory opinion on whether the threat or use of nuclear weapons in any circumstances is permitted under international law. The General Assembly requested this advisory opinion.

Content attribution policy of ‘Public International Law’

Some websites have copied and pasted content in this blog as a whole without express or written permission. I cannot guarantee the accuracy of the material contained in those websites. Read more here >>

Anglo Norwegian Fisheries Case (UK vs Norway)

The United Kingdom requested the court to decide if Norway had used a legally acceptable method in drawing the baseline from which it measured its territorial sea. The United Kingdom argued that customary international law did not allow the length of a baseline drawn across abay to be longer than ten miles. Read more here >>

Who is a persistent objector? (updated)

If we work on the premise that states can consent to be bound by customary law, either in expressed or tacit manner, then we should also discuss the possibility of a state withholding consent. Read more here >>

Simma on the Lotus Dictum: An Outdated Principle

Bruno Simma in his separate opinion on the Kosovo Advisory Opinion questioned the wisdom of the ICJ’s continued reliance of the dictum of the Lotus case... Simma argued that this strict binary approach of ‘what is not prohibited is permitted’ stems from an out dated, 19th century positivist approach that is excessively differential towards State consent. Read more here >>

Nicaragua vs United States: An Analysis of ICJ’s Jurisprudence on Customary International Law

The Nicaragua case developed significant jurisprudence on clarifying customary international law on the use of force and non-intervention, elements necessary to form customary international law and the relationship between the latter and treaty law. Read more here >>

ILC issues its first report on formation and evidence of customary international law

During its sixty-fourth session, in 2012, the International Law Commission (ILC) decided to place the topic “Formation and evidence of customary international law” on its current programme of work, and appointed Michael Wood as Special Rapporteur. Read more here >>

Asylum Case (Colombia vs Peru), 1950

Colombia granted asylum to a Peruvian, accused of taking part in a military rebellion in Peru. Was Colombia entitled to make a unilateral and definitive qualification of the offence (as a political offence) in a manner binding on Peru and was Peru was under a legal obligation to provide safe passage for the Peruvian to leave Peru? Read more here >>

North Sea Continental Shelf Cases: Focusing on the Formation of Customary International Law

The case involved the delimitation of the continental shelf areas in the North Sea between Germany and Denmark and Germany and Netherlands beyond the partial boundaries previously agreed upon by these States. The parties disagreed on the applicable principles or rules of delimitation. Read more here >>

Summary: Lotus Case (France v Turkey), PCIJ, 1927 

A collision occurred on the high seas between a French vessel and a Turkish vessel. Victims were Turkish nationals and the alleged offender was French. Could Turkey exercise its jurisdiction over the French national under international law? Read more here >>

Nicaragua vs United States: An Inquiry into the Legality of Use of Force in International Relations

The case involved military and paramilitary activities conducted by the US against Nicaragua from 1981 to 1984.  Nicaragua asked the Court to find that these activities violated international law. This blog post will discuss only those matters relating to the use of force and self-defence, which were discussed in the Nicaragua decision. Read more here >>

Arrest warrant case (Democratic Republic of Congo vs Belgium): Immunities of Foreign Ministers

A Belgium Judge issued and circulated, internationally, an arrest warrant against the incumbent Foreign Minister of Congo based on universal jurisdiction. Congo asked the Court to decide that Belgium violated international law because it did not respect the inviolability and immunities of the foreign minister from criminal process before Belgian courts. Read more here >>

Separate opinion of Judge Higgins, Kooijmans and Buergenthal in the Arrest Warrant Case

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Jurisdictional immunities of the State (Germany vs Italy): immunities of the State, ICJ, 2012

Italian Courts allowed civil claims to be brought against Germany based on violations of international humanitarian law committed by Germany from 1943 – 1945 against Italian citizens. Did  Italy’s actions violate the customary international law right of jurisdictional immunity of Germany?  Read more here >>

Extract: Pinochet case, House of Lords, 1999

A former head of state only has immunity with regard to his acts as a head of state but not with regard to acts which fall outside his role as head of state. International law recognizes crimes against humanity and the Torture Convention says that no circumstances can be invoked as justification for torture. Therefore it cannot be a part of the function of a head of state under international law to commit those crimes. Read more here >>

Rendition to Libya an act of State and therefore non-justiciable, EWHC, 2013 

The UK High Court struck out a claim against British defendants for unlawful rendition. The act of state doctrine operated as a bar to claims of damages and declarations of illegality based on unlawful rendition carried out allegedly by US officials. Read more here >>

Resources: Syria and international law

The Oxford Public International Law Platform has an index of discussions on the international law aspects relating to Syria, covering debates in blogs and newspaper articles. Click here for a quick preview of the topics as of 15/10/2013>>

The history behind a declaration of independence: Kosovo and its impact on the world (first published in 2008)

On 17 February 2008, Kosovo, the seventh nation to declare independence from the former Yugoslavia, geared itself to become the youngest sovereign entity of the world.  The fears pervading societies, nations and their leaders are grounded on the belief, that acceptance of Kosovo’s independence may undermine the stability and territorial integrity of other high-risk nations worldwide. Read more here>>

Law of treaties 1: What is a treaty? 

The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties of 1969 (VCLT) does not aim to create specific substantive rights or obligations for parties – this is left to the specific treaty (i.e. the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations creates rights and obligations for States in their diplomatic relations). VCLT is a “treaty on treaties”. Read more here>>


© Ruwanthika Gunaratne and Public International Law at https://ruwanthikagunaratne.wordpress.com, 2008 – 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ruwanthika Gunaratne and Public International Law with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.



  1. Dr, please help me by listing the sources of law in the hierarchy if possible used in the Nicaragua case.

  2. Thank you, I’m a student taking H2 History in Singapore and I really appreciate this. Please keep this blog going 🙂

  3. Hi, I’m having my final exams for the UOL LLB, and finding this (even though a week before the exam) was the best thing that happened to me for PIL. Thank you soo much. There is hardly a good blog to find and I can easily tell that this one runs in the top.

  4. Dr. Dakshinie, I’m a Phd candidate at Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto, and found your narrative very useful. with your permission I will use it for my thesis.

    Sani Salisu Esq.

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