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International Legal News

Updated: Jun 21, 2021

Weekly update: 7 June 2021 – 13 June 2021

The following media round up on international and foreign policy issues from around the world for the period of 7 June 2021 to 13 June 2021.

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 Ned Vucijak for consideration.

Amnesty International – 7 June 2021

Amnesty International said that the world’s richest governments are effectively condemning millions of people to starvation, drought and displacement through their continued support of the fossil fuel industry. The organisation’s new policy briefing offers a damning assessment of global failures to protect human rights from climate change, and outlines how human rights law can help hold governments and companies accountable. Human Rights and Environment Policy Advisor, Chiara Liguori, stated that “the unambitious climate plans submitted by G7 members represent a violation of the human rights of billions of people”.

Africa – 7 June 2021

The death of the leader of the Nigerian militant Islamist group Boko Haram has been confirmed by a rival extremist faction that said it carried out the killing on the direct orders of Islamic State’s leadership thousands of miles away in the Middle East. Abubakar Shekau, one of the most infamous leaders of Islamic militant groups anywhere in the world, died last month after detonating an explosive device while being pursued by fighters from the Islamic State West African Province (Iswap). The operation against Shekau was launched on the direct orders of the leadership of Isis in the Middle East, which is concerned by Boko Haram’s indiscriminate targeting of “believers”. This underlines the continuing global reach of the group through its affiliates and the possibility of further expansion in Africa.

Bosnia and Herzegovina – 8 June 2021

Former Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladić has lost his appeal against a 2017 conviction for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. The UN court upheld the life sentence for his role in the killing of around 8,000 Bosnian Muslim (Bosniak) men and boys in Srebrenica in 1995. The five-person appeals panel found Mladić had failed to provide evidence to invalidate the previous convictions against him, although the presiding judge dissented on almost all counts.

United Kingdom (UK) – 8 June 2021

A Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office command paper sets out the Extradition Treaty between the UK Government and the Government of the State of Kuwait relating to extradition policy between the two nations.

European Union (EU) / United Kingdom (UK) – 8 June 2021

In early May, the European Commission recommended that the EU should block the UK’s accession to the 2007 Lugano Convention, an agreement setting out which country’s courts may hear cross-border disputes and which decisions can be enforced. However, in order for a final decision to be made, the commission must make a formal proposal to be voted on by the European Council. There are concerns among stakeholders that the UK will remain excluded from the Lugano Convention without a formal decision being made. Pressure is currently being put on EU member states and the European Parliament to convince the commission to make a move.

United States (US) – 9 June 2021

The progressive New York representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has criticised Vice-President Kamala Harris for saying undocumented migrants from Guatemala should not come to the US. She also had a clear message that undocumented Guatemalan migrants would not find solace at the US border under the Biden administration. She stated that, “I want to be clear to folks in the region who are thinking about making that dangerous trek to the United States-Mexico border. Do not come. Do not come.” Ocasio-Cortez criticised Harris on Twitter, calling her comments “disappointing to see”. Several human rights groups also spoke out.

The European Commission launched a legal action against Germany, after determining that last year's controversial ruling on bond-buying by the country's Constitutional Court "constitutes a serious precedent" that puts at risk the EU's legal order. In May 2020, Germany's most senior court, based in Karlsruhe, ruled that the European Central Bank (ECB) had gone beyond its competence with bond purchases. However, the ECJ had already given the green light for the ECB purchases, saying that the ECB bond-buying programme was aligned with EU law. The landmark German ruling put into question not only the verdict of ECJ, but also the so-called "principle of primacy of EU law".

Poland – 10 June 2021

Five Polish citizens are taking their government to Court over its failure to protect them from the impacts of the climate crisis. They say the State has breached their rights to life, health and family life by delaying action to cut national carbon emissions and propping up the coal industry. The claimants are being represented by the international environmental law charity ClientEarth and the Polish law firm Gessel. It will be the first time national climate policy has been directly challenged in a Polish court.

Russia – 10 June 2021

A Court in Moscow has banned political organisations linked to Alexei Navalny, classifying them as "extremist". Activists will risk prison sentences if they continue their work and anyone who publicly supports Mr. Navalny's political network can now be barred from running for public office. Writing on social media, Mr. Navalny promised he would "not retreat". His lawyers said they would appeal against the ruling.

European Union (EU) – 10 June 2021

MEPs have backed legal proceedings by the European parliament against the European Commission over a failure to trigger financial sanctions against Poland and Hungary for undermining the rule of law. The parliament’s legal service is now expected to prepare a case to be lodged at the ECJ later this year.

United Kingdom (UK) – 11 June 2021

A Ministry of Justice report sets out the Government's response to the recommendations made by the UN's Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (SPT) for places of detention across the UK. In September 2019, the UN’s SPT visited the UK. Their subsequent report, which the UK received in October 2020, provides recommendations for places of detention across the UK.

United Nations (UN) – 11 June 2021

Albania, Brazil, Gabon, Ghana and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) were elected by the 75th session of the General Assembly to serve as non-permanent members of the UN Security Council for the 2022-2023 term. According to the final tally, Ghana received 185 votes, Gabon 183, UAE 179, Albania 175 and Brazil 181 votes.

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