International Law

International Law

UN Orders Russia to Cease Operations in Ukraine

April 4, 2022 Jacob Margolis 0

The invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces on February 24th shook the world, as well as international affairs organizations such as the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at the United Nations (UN). Just three days after these events transpired, Ukraine filed a suit to the ICJ calling out Russian military forces for having manipulated “the concept of genocide” in order to justify their invasive actions. On March 16th, the ICJ responded with a ruling that Russia must “immediately suspend the military operations that it commenced on 24 February.” More specifically, Russia has been asked to not only suspend current military operations and retract their deployments, but to also make sure that any Russian-backed units, whether they be paramilitary or “irregular units,” cease their respective activities immediately. The Court came to their verdict on a 13-2 vote, with Russian ICJ Vice-President Kirill Gevorgian and Judge Xue Hanqin of China dissenting.  The […]

International Law

The Gambia v. Myanmar Reaches Second Round of Hearings

March 28, 2022 Polyna Uzun 0

On Nov. 11th, 2019, The Gambia brought charges against Myanmar before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) citing that the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya people in the Rakhine State of Myanmar was in violation of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. There have been two rounds of hearings, the first in Dec. 2019 and the second round concluding on Feb. 28th. The Gambia’s charges stem from events dating back to 1977 when Myanmar launched Operation King Dragon which was the military’s first crackdown on the Rohingya, the country’s Indo-Aryan ethnic group. The native minority population was then deprived of their citizenship and declared illegitimate. What followed were massacres, gang rape, torture, apartheid, torture, starvation, destruction, and displacement. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called the Rohingya, “one of, if not the, most discriminated people in the world.” After the military crackdown, the escalation of violence […]

International Law

UN Orders Uganda to Pay War Reparations

March 16, 2022 Jacob Margolis 0

On Wednesday, Feb. 9th, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at the United Nations (UN) ordered that Uganda pay $325 million in war reparations to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The dispute was first brought to the UN in 1999, and this new ruling comes 17 years after the UN had initially found Uganda to have breached international law by violating the principle of non-intervention in the DRC. This charge entails infringing on the right of a sovereign state to conduct its internal affairs without outside intervention. Additionally, they allegedly breached human rights law through the brutalities committed by their army on the people of the DRC. The conflict, which officially lasted from 1998-2003 and involved both rebel incursions and outsider attacks, was believed to have brought about a devastating hundreds of thousands of deaths, though there is no official confirmation on the exact amount, as well as […]

International Law

Russo-Ukrainian Crisis and Rising Oil Prices Threaten Climate Change

February 18, 2022 Erin Yu 0

Global tensions, as well as oil prices, have soared to new heights following recent threats of a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine. While discussion surrounding the conflict has thus far been centered on implications to national security and foreign relations, the issue is also set to have major effects on climate change efforts that countries around the globe have been developing for years.  The histories of Russia and Ukraine are deeply intertwined, and conflict between the two countries has existed for generations, from Ukraine’s entrance into the Soviet Union in 1922 to its independence in 1991. Since 1991, Russia has persistently refused to acknowledge Ukraine’s independence, as demonstrated by Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea in 2014 and a series of Russian cyber attacks between 2016 and 2017. Russia also continues to maintain a military presence near Ukraine, currently stationing nearly 130,000 troops at the Ukrainian border. In December 2021, […]

International Law

Number of Climate Litigation Suits Heats Up

February 1, 2022 Erin Yu 0

As the climate crisis rapidly accelerates, legislative bodies around the globe have been under fire for their inaction. A growing multitude of frustrated individuals have turned their attention to the court system in search of new avenues for climate action. In the past three years alone, climate litigation suits doubled from 884 cases in 24 countries to 1,550 cases in 38 countries, revealing an exponential increase in public concerns for the environment as well as a rising dependence on the courts to kickstart government action on climate change. This influx of cases has pushed courts to confront and even rethink their judicial powers and duties in relation to climate action. Large-scale court decisions on climate change have long been unprecedented because issues as vast as climate change typically warrant broad policy changes that are beyond the power of the courts. However, two recent climate suits in Europe have seen remarkable […]

International Law

New Ban on Imports from Xinjiang; U.S. Reaffirms their Stance on Uyghur Forced Labor

January 27, 2022 Jacob Margolis 0

In recent years, many reports have emerged that accuse China of repressing Uyghurs, a predominantly Muslim ethnic minority. Earlier in 2021, the U.S. State Department estimated that possibly up to 2 million Uyghurs were being held in detainment centers in the country’s western region of Xinjiang. Former detainees have reported that while in the camps, they were “subjected to intense political indoctrination, forced labor, torture, and even sexual abuse.” Subsequently, in March of 2021, the U.S. put pressure on China through sanctions on various officials over human rights violations, a move that was followed by the European Union, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Now, almost a year later, U.S. legislation has been passed that will, effective immediately, ban imports from the Xinjiang region, citing the many previously mentioned human rights abuses.  The Act serves four main functions: An enforcement strategy that will generate lists of products and materials from Xinjiang […]

International Law

Is The French Secularist Tradition Compatible With A Globalized France?

January 11, 2022 Belen Bricchi 0

The French Republic is built according to three major values: liberté, égalité, fraternité—liberty, equality, fraternity—that inform the commitments of the state codified in the French Constitution. Among these commitments is the French secularist tradition termed laïcité. However, recent legal developments have called into question whether France’s secularist tradition remains effective in promoting liberty, equality, and fraternity in a country that has become increasingly globalized. On Aug. 24, 2021, France’s Constitutional Council passed the law “reinforcing the respect of the principles of the republic,” more popularly known as the law against separatism—referring to the rise of identity groups separate from the French state, commonly associated with “religious, territorial, or racial minorities in France.” This bill, first introduced after various Islamist-drivent attacks in October 2020, grants the state more power over independent organization, including greater fiscal and administrative control over cultural associations. It ultimately extends the state’s enforcement of its Republican values […]

International Law

H.R.4686: US Sanctions on Cambodian Military Officials

November 29, 2021 Jacob Margolis 0

On Sept. 28, 2021, the United States House of Representatives passed H.R.4686, The Cambodia Democracy Act of 2021. This bill requires that the president impose sanctions on Cambodian individuals who commit acts that directly undermine democracy. While the bill has yet to be passed by the Senate, the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control were able to impose the sanctions under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, which gives the department the right to sanction individuals and entities accused of human rights violations which would include, as in this case, corruption. Such violations that the legislation describes are in reference to attempts at collusion by members of the Cambodian Ministry of National Defense, Chau Phirun and Tea Vinh. These military officials, who have most recently been stationed at the Chinese-Cambodian Ream Naval Base, allegedly inflated the costs for new construction on facilities at the base and then […]

International Law

COP26 Recap: Renewed Urgency, But Will It Be Enough?

November 19, 2021 Erin Yu 0

The COP26 UN Climate Summit that was scheduled from Oct. 31 to Nov. 12 ran into overtime and officially ended on Nov. 13 with approximately 200 countries agreeing to an 11-page Glasgow Climate Pact that has been met with both celebration and criticism from around the world. Some of the most highly-praised commitments to come out of the summit were led by ambitious agreements on deforestation, methane, and carbon markets. More than 100 countries, notably the U.S. Brazil, China, and Russia, agreed to end deforestation by 2030. A similar commitment was made for methane emissions with more than 100 countries vowing to cut methane emissions by 30% in the next 10 years. New rules for the carbon market struck a particularly positive note for climate activists internationally. These rules aim to close loopholes in the carbon market by eliminating double counting of carbon emissions and thus keeping countries more strictly […]

International Law

Lithuania and Belarus: New Policy Surrounding Iraqi Immigrant Crisis

November 9, 2021 Jacob Margolis 0

Lithuania has seen a recent influx of Iraqi immigrants. Just south of the country lies Belarus where many of these migrants have been coming from. In normal years, Lithuania catches about 70 “unlawful” migrants in total from this country. Due to recent tension between the European Union (EU) and Belarus, however, those numbers have increased to over 470 people in June of this year and 2,600 in July. On May 23, 2021, Belarus “sparked uproar” as they forced an EU passenger jet to land in Minsk, the country’s capital, where they then proceeded to abduct a “high-profile dissident passenger.” In response to this act of air piracy, the EU imposed sanctions on the country, attempting to prevent future crises from arising. Belarus President Alyaksandr Lukashenko has retaliated by facilitating illegal migration which Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda has called a “state-sponsored weapon.” Allegedly, Lukashenko threatened to allow human traffickers and drug […]