CASES

© Ruwanthika Gunaratne and Public International Law at https://ruwanthikagunaratne.wordpress.com, 2008 – present. 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.

ICJ cases

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 >>

Simma on the Lotus Dictum: An Outdated Principle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 >>

Summary: Asylum Case (Colombia vs Peru), 1950

Columbia granted asylum to a Peruvian, accused of taking part in a military rebellion in Peru. Was Columbia 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 >>

Summary: North Sea Continental Shelf Cases, (Netherlands/Germany and Denmark/Germany), ICJ, 1961

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 >>

Summary: Nicaragua vs United States, ICJ, 1986

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 on the use of force and self-defence, which were discussed in the Nicaragua decision. Read more here >>

Summary: Arrest warrant case (Democratic Republic of Congo vs Belgium), ICJ, 2000

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.

Read more here >>

Summary: Jurisdictional immunities of the State (Germany vs Italy), 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. Italian courts also permitted the enforcement of a judgement of the Greek courts in Italy against Germany and took measures of constraint against a German property in Italy. Did  Italy’s actions violate the customary international law right of jurisdictional immunity of Germany?  Read more here >>

 

Other cases

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. A head of state may be treated as the state itself and entitled to the same immunities. A former head of state cannot have immunity for acts of murder committed outside his own territory. 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 Court held that state immunity is an absolute and preliminary bar precluding the Court from examining the merits of a case. This claim, the Court held, depended on it having to decide if the conduct of US officials acting outside the US was unlawful. The Court held that an “act of state” (one that applies to the subject matter of the act itself, for example, unlawful rendition) is intrinsically covered within the doctrine of state immunity (one that is linked to the actor, for example, US officials). The Court concluded that the claims were non-justiciable. 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 >>

© Ruwanthika Gunaratne and Public International Law at https://ruwanthikagunaratne.wordpress.com, 2008 – present. 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.

 

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