Business and Human Rights: Challenges in International Law

By Stuti Subbaiah Kokkalera*

International human rights standards have traditionally been the responsibility of governments, aimed at regulating relations between the State and individuals and groups. phpThumb_generated_thumbnailBut with the increased role of corporate actors, nationally and internationally, the issue of businesses’ impacts on the enjoyment of human rights has been placed on the agenda of the United Nations. Over the past decade, the United Nations human rights machinery has been considering the scope of businesses’ human rights responsibilities and exploring
ways for corporate actors to be accountable for the impact of their activities on human rights. As a result of this process, there is now greater clarity about the respective roles and responsibilities of governments and business Read More »

Advertisements

Redrafting Genocidal Norms: Requirement versus Ramifications

By Shriya Maini*

(This post is third in the series by where she writes on contemporary issues of international criminal law and human rights. Read the other posts here)

“More case law on genocide established in the last twenty years than in the previous fifty-five illustrate that this is not a Convention in decline, but rather one in renaissance.”

The crime of genocide was described as the “crime of crimes” by William Schabas, denoting the degree of gravity and outrage to human dignity that is incomparable by other international crimes. The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, 1948 (“Convention”) is an iconic, foundational legal treaty that created a powerful word which is more than mere political rhetoric. By its very nature, the Convention is indispensable, since it (at least in spirit and most parts as norms of jus cogens now) plays an integral role in maintaining civility in international law and progressiveness of the society. However, due to its many shortcomings, I believeRead More »

Some teachings from Colombia: transitional justice and victims

By Federico Isaza Piedrahita*

On January 25th the 2261 Resolution of the United Nations Security Council was approved farcunanimously, which expresses full support and blessing of the international community to the peace process that is underway between the Colombian Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army (FARC-EP).

This resolution allows the international community to serve as guarantor of a tripartite mechanism, seeking, in this first step a “political mission of unarmed international observers” (para. 2), which will be established Read More »

The Philip Morris Case and the Right to Regulate (Legislate)

By Olga S. Shaposhnikova, PhD Candidate, International Arbitration*

Introduction

TOBACCO-2-articleLargeOn December 17, 2015, the arbitral tribunal of Prof. Gabrielle Kaufmann-Kohler, Prof. Don McRae and Prof. Karl-Heinz Boeckstiegel dismissed the claim filed in 2011 by Philip Morris Asia Limited (“PM Asia”) against the Commonwealth of Australia (“Australia”) under the Agreement between the Government of Australia and the Government of Hong Kong for the Promotion and Protection of Investments, 1993 (the “BIT”)[1]. This dispute – the first investor-state dispute brought against Australia – was caused by Australia’s introduction of the Tobacco Plain Packaging Act 2011, legislation developed in line with the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, 2003, adopted by 180 States. However, Philip Morris argued in this case[2] that Read More »

Corruption as a defense in International Investment Arbitration

By Shivansh Jolly*

The Issue

The developing jurisprudence in international investment arbitration has lately been confronted with the question of whether claims arising from contracts tainted with a blot of corruption in the international fora can be validly upheld. A classic example to describe such an instance would be where a private party in one country obtains a contract for infrastructural development in another country while illegally colluding with a minister of the host State which would prove decisive in the said contract being awarded to the concerned private party. With the contract being awarded and necessary investments being made in the host State, relationship between the parties reach a roadblock due to a possible reluctance of a new government regime to honour the terms of the tainted agreement in existence.

Read More »