International Law Reflections

10.04.2017 | Veronika Bílková
Do Two Wrongs Make a Right?
The Use of Chemical Weapons in Syria and the US attack. On Thursday 6 April 2017, the US carried out a missile strike in Syria. It did so in response to the chemical attack which had taken place two days earlier in the town of Khan Sheikhoun, in the rebel-controlled part of the Idlib province, killing 80 and seriously injuring more than 200 civilians.
06.04.2017 | Miroslav Tůma
The nuclear weapons ban convention and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization
This year, there will be an international conference (March 27th – 31st and June 15th – July 7th) in the headquarters of the UN in New York. The conference will have a mandate to negotiate an agreement to ban nuclear weapons. Besides being attended by member states of the UN, the conference will be attended by representatives of some non-specified international organizations and civic society representatives. The conference will be held on the basis of a resolution „Taking Forward Nuclear Disarmament Negotiations" which calls on the world to achieve progress in just that area.
04.04.2017 | Veronika Bílková
Where Two Are Fighting, the Third Has to Adjudicate – Ukraine and the Russian Federation at the International Court of Justice
The first hearing in the dispute between Ukraine and the Russian Federation was held at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague on 6th-9th March 2017. The hearing did not relate to the substance of the dispute, but to the request by Ukraine for provisional measures under Article 41 of the ICJ. Despite this, it might be useful to briefly summarize the case and consider Ukraine´s chances to succeed in it.
07.03.2017 | Tamás Lattmann
All’s wrong that starts wrong – withdrawals from the International Criminal Court
The Hague-based International Criminal Court, the world’s first temporary judicial forum, created in 1998 by the adoption of the Rome Statute, has been living difficult times during the past months. After years of struggle since its operations have started in 2002, the second half of 2016 has brought withdrawals, threats for withdrawals, and even a visibly collective strategy for a mass withdrawal of African states from the system. What keeps states in a similar structure, what makes them seriously consider a withdrawal, and what is the possible future of the International Criminal Court (ICC)?
08.12.2016 | Miroslav Tůma
Can the Necessary International Legal Framework to Achieve a Nuclear-WeaponFree World Be Reached?
The answer to this question can, to a certain extent, be found in the significant resolution of the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security Committee), which was approved within the framework of the 71st Session of the UN General Assembly at the end of October this year. The title of Resolution A/C.1/71/L.41 calls for progress in multilateral negotiations (Taking Forward Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament Negotiations). Its significance, and we could also say its historically unprecedented character, lies in Article 8 of the operative part, which contains the decision …to convene in 2017 a United Nations conference to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination. The conference should take place in New York during two time periods (from 27 to 31 March and from 15 June to July 7) with the participation of UN member states, unspecified international organizations and civil society representatives. The mentioned article was added to the resolution based on a recommendation of the conclusion report of the Open-ended Working Group (OEWG), which held talks in Geneva during the first half of 2016 on the evaluation of new legal measures and necessary norms to attain a nuclear-weapon-free world. To demonstrate their disagreement with the OEWG mandate, none of the nuclear-weapon states participated in the negotiations. Any disagreements were thus presented by representatives of allied or partner countries of the nuclear-weapon states (as the nuclear-weapon states provided the allied or partner countries with a so-called nuclear umbrella) which were taking part in the talks.
11.10.2016 | Veronika Bílková
No Revolution Has Taken Place: The Post-2015 Human Rights Foreign Policy of the Czech Republic
In 2015, two new conceptual documents were adopted in the Czech Republic, under the Government of Bohuslav Sobotka – the general Concept of the Czech Republic´s Foreign Policy (available in English here) and a more specific Concept of Human Rights Promotion and Transition Cooperation (available in Czech here). The former document replaced an older text entitled Conceptual Basis of the Foreign Policy of the Czech Republic (available in English here) which had been adopted in 2011 by the Government of Petr Nečas. The latter document builds on the 2010 Concept of Transition Policy but it is broader in scope, covering not only transition policy/cooperation but also human rights promotion.
05.10.2016 | Tamás Lattmann
Referendum on the refugee quotas in Hungary – protection of sovereignty or much ado about nothing?
The migration crisis has stirred up political debates within the EU and its member states regarding not only possible solutions, but also about the future of the organisation. The first shock has come in the form of the Brexit referendum, the second one could have been the referendum in Hungary “against the quota system”, as the initiating government has calculated. The current analysis gives information about the referendum, and examines its possible effects in the near future.
22.07.2016 | Veronika Bílková
When the Gloves Go Off? Turkey Intends to Suspend the European Convention on Human Rights
Could the state of emergency and the suspension of the ECHR justify the measures which have been adopted in Turkey in the past days (removal of public servants and teachers, purge in the judiciary, ban on academic travel, etc.)? With the ECHR suspended, are the (legal) gloves off in Turkey? Can the government use just any means it finds appropriate to suppress those segments of society in which it sees a threat? This reflection shows that all these questions have to be answered in the negative. It gives more details on the topic discussed in ILR#5.
22.07.2016 | Tamás Lattmann
Derogation from the European Convention on Human Rights by Turkey after the attempted coup
After the unsuccessful coup attempt in Turkey, high-level officials,including the president have constantly talked about the necessity of the introduction of a state of emergency, which has been declared on 20th July. At the same time, the president has also mentioned the “suspension” of the European Convention on Human Rights. What does this exactly mean, what are the effects and consequences of this step?
20.07.2016 | Tamás Lattmann
Reinstating the death penalty in Turkey after the attempted coup?
After the unsuccessful coup attempt in Turkey, both high-level officials and the pro-government public suggest the reinstatement of the death penalty. Unfortunately the question tends to re-surface from time to time in other states as well, but rarely with such political weight. It is important to evaluate the possibility of this step.


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