Iraq Blackwater: US jury convicts four of 2007 killings
A US federal jury has found four Blackwater security guards guilty of killing 14 Iraqis in a square in Baghdad in 2007.
Repeal of Human Rights Act causing concern
British PM David Cameron determined to repeal Human Rights Act which protects civil liberties for all.
Iranian woman Reyhaneh Jabbari hanged despite campaign
Iran has gone ahead with an execution of a woman despite an international campaign urging a reprieve.
UN: Spain may be in breach of International Refugee Law
The U.N. refugee agency is urging Spain not to legalize automatic returns of people trying to cross into its enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla located in North Africa. The UNHCR said stripping people of their right to request asylum could put Spain in breech of the 1951 Refugee Convention.
Human rights committee clarifies limits on detention
The United Nations Human Rights Committee has issued an authoritative new commentary on one of the most important issues in international human rights law – when and how is it justified to deprive a person of their liberty, and what obligations do States have to avoid people being unlawfully or arbitrarily detained.
EU prolongs Belarus sanctions due to alleged human rights violations
The EU announced the prolongation of its sanctions against Belarus until October 31, 2015 due to concerns about human rights violations in the country, NewEurope reported Wednesday.
Human Rights Subcommittee
MEPs met on 13 October 2014 to discuss the humanitarian situation in Iraq and Syria with representatives of refugee and international aid organisations.
Gaza reconstruction facing obstacles despite aid
Money is desperately needed to improve the water supply, sewage disposal and road system among many other infrastructure issues. And of course there is a continuing problem with funding the Hamas-run ministries of Gaza. Public-sector salaries are hugely important in a place where the private-sector economy has had the life squeezed out of it by an Egyptian and (mainly) Israeli economic blockade.
Australia asylum: Why is it controversial?
The government says the journey the asylum seekers make is dangerous and controlled by criminal gangs and they have a duty to stop it. Critics say opposition to asylum is often racially motivated and is damaging Australia’s reputation.
Australia suspends visas for people travelling from Ebola-hit countries
Australia temporarily stops issuing visas to people from countries affected by Ebola, in a bid to stop the virus from entering the country.
UK government to match £5m of public’s Ebola donations
It is the first time the DEC has sought funds over a disease outbreak. The DEC – a group of 13 UK aid charities – said the public appeal for money is “a sign of how serious the situation has become”.
International Commercial Law (WTO)
Canada files dispute against China over anti-dumping measures on cellulose pulp
Canada notified the WTO Secretariat on 15 October of a request for consultations with China with respect to Chinese anti-dumping duties levied on imports of cellulose pulp from Canada.
Brazil files dispute against Indonesia over import restrictions on chicken
Brazil notified the WTO Secretariat on 16 October of a request for consultations with Indonesia regarding certain measures imposed by Indonesia on imports of chicken meat and chicken products.
Seychelles’ membership terms agreed — next stop: General Council
WTO members negotiating Seychelles’ accession agreed on the terms of the country’s WTO membership on 17 October 2014, concluding 18 years of negotiation. This decision still requires the formal approval of all 160 WTO members in the General Council in December.
Montenegro and New Zealand to join the WTO’s Agreement on Government Procurement
Montenegro and New Zealand will become the newest members of the WTO’s Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) after their accession bids received the green light on 29 October 2014, a move which will help the two countries gain access to procurement markets currently valued at up to $1.7 trillion annually.
Intellectual property: formal council meeting
Tobacco packaging returns to intellectual property council, along with innovation
WTO members meeting as the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Council on 28–29 October 2014 responded to the latest developments on plain packaging for tobacco products, exchanged views on innovation, and heard about plans to make it easier to make sense of the huge amount of information they have shared with each other in the WTO.
EU files dispute against Russia over tariffs on agricultural and manufactured goods
The European Union notified the WTO Secretariat on 31 October 2014 of a request for consultations with the Russian Federation regarding the tariff treatment Russia accords to certain goods in both agricultural and manufacturing sectors, measures that according to the EU “adversely affect exports of these goods from the European Union to Russia”.
International Maritime Law
Russia’s Submission to Expand Continental Shelf in Arctic Likely to Be Approved: Experts
MOSCOW, October 29 (RIA Novosti), Daria Chernyshova – Russia’s submission to the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) to expand its territories in the Arctic Ocean will most likely get the approval, and may be fast-tracked, experts in international, ocean and maritime law told RIA Novosti Thursday.
Greece accuses Turkey of violating laws of the sea
Greece accused Turkey on Monday of breaching international sea law by sending a resource exploration ship to the eastern Mediterranean.
Law of the Sea authorizes animal tagging research without nations’ consent
In a new paper in the journal Marine Policy, Duke University Marine Lab researchers argue that coastal nations along these migratory routes do not have precedent under the law of the sea to require scientists to seek advance permission to remotely track tagged animals in territorial waters.
Lithuania accuses Russia over fishing boat seizure
Russia has been accused by Lithuania of violating international maritime laws after seizing a Lithuanian fishing boat with a crew of 30.
China’s island building and international law
International media have reported that China is undertaking large-scale reclamation works on several of the seven reefs it occupies in the Spratly Islands. The 2002 Asean-China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea states that the parties undertake to exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities that would complicate or escalate the disputes in the area. Although reclamation works and the construction of installations and structures on occupied features would seem to be inconsistent with this provision, China, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam have all undertaken such activities on the features they occupy and control in the Spratly Islands
International Environmental Law
UN Meeting Agrees on Decisions to Advance the Implementation of the International Agreement on the Safe Use of Living Modified Organisms
Governments attending a United Nations meeting on the safe use of living modified organisms have agreed on various actions to advance the implementation of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity as a global tool contributing to the safe transfer, handling and use of living modified organisms (LMO) that may have negative effects on biodiversity.
World Marches to Demand an End to Illegal Trade in Wildlife
The recent move by many countries to destroy their ivory stockpiles, the landmark 2014 London Declaration, and a recently adopted UN resolution has put the illegal trade in wildlife under a renewed spotlight and high on the agenda of the international community.
Governments Meet In Republic of Korea to Assess Progress in Implementing Global Strategy Plan for Biodiversity
The collections of decisions to be taken at COP 12 is already being referred to as the “Pyeongchang Road Map” and is expected to include a resource mobilization strategy expected to substantially increase the resources available for biodiversity conservation and sustainable use.
Mercury: The World Cannot Wait Any Longer to Control A Major Pollutant Threatening Human Rights
The new United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights and toxic waste, Baskut Tuncak, has urged Governments around the world to expedite the ratification process of the Minamata Convention on Mercury, a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from its adverse effects
IPCC preparing ‘most important’ document on climate change
The IPCC Synthesis Report will summarise the causes and impacts of – and solutions to – rising temperatures. It will be the bedrock of talks on a new global climate deal.
But there are concerns that political battles could neuter the final summary. The UN hopes to deliver a new global treaty on climate change at a meeting in the French capital at the end of 2015. The IPCC Synthesis Report will, in the eyes of many, play a critical role in that.
International Intellectual Property Law
Domain Dispute Seems To Show Plight Of The ‘Little Guy’ In A Corporate System
A recent cybersquatting case processed under the World Intellectual Property Organization internet domain dispute procedures offers a possible glimpse of the plight of ordinary internet users in a global system dominated by large companies and their legal teams.
IT Innovation Supporting Home-Grown Solutions In Uganda
With the world’s youngest population, fast-rising access to internet and rapid spread of the use of mobile phones, Ugandans are starting to embrace information and communication technology innovations. This is confirmed by the increasing number of mobile and web applications with working prototypes developed in the country.
First Innovation Fair Hosted At WTO, Draws Diverse Projects With IP In Mind
The World Trade Organization hosted an Innovation Fair on 28 October, gathering inventors, supporting agencies, and patent offices. A number of inventions were displayed and explained, from concrete walls to motorisation for bicycles.
Geographical Indications At WIPO: Members Dissent On Participation In Treaty Talks
Members of a World Intellectual Property Organization treaty protecting appellations of origins who are seeking to revise that treaty to include geographical indications were opposed this week by several WIPO member states seeking to have a say in the adoption of the revision. The issue has raised a question for WIPO about participation in treaties and agreements.
TRIPS Council Debates: Tobacco Packaging, Non-Violation Disputes, Innovation, Health Waiver, UNCTAD
This week’s meeting of the World Trade Organization body governing intellectual property issues addressed a long agenda, reflecting continued divergence on regular items, such as complaints that do not involve breach of a WTO agreement, a health waiver, and sustained discussions on plain packaging for tobacco products.