International Legal News
Updated: Dec 30, 2019
Weekly update: 17-23 December 2019
The following media round up of international legal and foreign policy issues from around the world for the period 17-23 December 2019.
The Guernica Group will provide weekly media updates from the International Criminal Court, European Court of Human Rights, United Nations, European Union and other sources. Should you wish to contribute or submit a media summary, opinion piece or blog, please send to Nenad Vucijak for consideration.
European Court of Human Rights: 17 December 2019
In the cases of A.S v Norway (Application no.60371/15) and Abdi Ibrahim v Norway (application no.15379/16), the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been in both cases; a violation of Article 8(right to respect for private and family life). The cases concerned decisions by the Norwegian authorities and courts to take the applicants’ children into care at a young age and then in the first case to refuse to terminate long-term foster care for the child and in the second to allow adoption by the foster family, both against the applicants’ wishes. The applicants were refused any contact rights with their children.
Philippines: 19 December 2019
101 people- including members of the powerful Ampatuan clan- were the subject of the decision promulgated on 19 December 2019, including 54 police officers. On 23 November 2009, 58 people- including 32 journalists and other media workers- were killed when a convoy came under attack by more than 100 armed men, allegedly including members of the police and the military. This tragedy occurred ahead of the 2010 elections. The conviction of the principal accused and several others is a critical step towards justice for victims of one of the worst killings of journalists in history.
Sudan: 19 December 2019
One year after protests broke out in Sudan leading to the ouster of President Omar al Bashir on 11 April 2019, the new transitional authorities are being called upon to live up to the hopes and expectations of the Sudanese people. In a positive step, the government repealed the public order laws in November and brought an end to the era of egregious violations particularly targeting women’s rights and freedoms. The responsibility on Prime Minister Hamdok’s shoulders is as large as the aspirations of the Sudanese people who have suffered decades of serious human rights violations, and crimes under international law, including genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Afghanistan: 22 December 2019
Welcoming the preliminary results for Afghanistan’s presidential election, the head of the United Nations mission in the country urged the authorities and all actors to “protect the integrity of the final stage of the process”. According to the preliminary results, President Ashraf Ghani won a slim majority of votes after a poll marred by allegations of fraud plunged the country into a political crisis.
United States of America: 23 December 2019
US Customs and Border Protection agents have denied entry to the United States to MExian asylum seekers, exposing thousands, including families and children, to danger in Mexican border cities, which is in violation of international refugee law. All countries, whether or not they have signed the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, are obligated to respect the customary international law principle of non-refoulement- the obligation of governments not to return a person to a country where they are at risk of being subjected to persecution, torture, or other cruel of inhuman treatment.
United Nations: 23 December 2019
As the teenage years of the Twenty-First Century come to a close, the United Nations has decided to take a look back at the some of the stories that have unfolded between 2010 and 2019 welcoming in their three-part Decade in Review. In part one, focusing on the period between 2010-2013, they focus on the devastating Haiti earthquake, the beginning of the ongoing Syrian conflict, the inspiring work of Malala Yousafzai in favour of girls’ education, and the creation of what has now become “the world’s most dangerous UN mission”, in Mali.
India: 23 December 2019
Authorities in the Indian States of Assam and West Bengal have promised to protect the land rights of indigenous people and refugees amid protests against a new citizenship law that critics say discriminates against Muslims. The protests against the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act passed earliest this month, first erupted in Assam, which has historically witnessed a movement against any undocumented migrant from neighbouring Bangladesh, irrespective of religion, to settle in the state. Many Indians believe that the law discriminates against Muslims and violates the country’s secular constitution by making religion a test for citizenship.
Saudi Arabia: 23 December 2019
Responding to a Saudi Arabian court’s sentencing of five people to death and three others to prison for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Amnesty International Middle East Research Director states that it is a “whitewash which brings neither justice nor truth for Jamal Khashoggi and his loved ones. The trial has been closed to the public and to independent monitors, with no information available as to how the investigation was carried out”. The trial involved 31 individuals, 11 of whom were charged and 8 were convicted.