[This article is a critical analysis of the Fifth Report of the Special Rapporteur, Ms Concepción Escobar Hernández, on Immunity of State Officials from Criminal Jurisdiction, discussed during the 68th session of the International Law Commission. It was written as a part of an internship at the International Law Commission, Geneva during its 68th session in 2016]
The Report A/CN.4/701 can be accessed here. Since it is a lengthy report, a summary of the Report in the form of a conclusion drawn by the Special Rapporteur that there must be exceptions and limitations to the immunity of State Officials can be read onwards page 92 of the Report. This article is not a comprehensive critique of the Special Rapporteur’s report but a mere critique of the methods employed by the Rapporteur and the line of reasoning the Rapporteur tries to establish to make a case for exceptions to immunity of State officials in certain cases. Since diplomatic protection of State Officials is a customary norm, there is a prevailing trend of immunity in its favour, both in terms of Rationae Materie and Rationae Personae. The following analysis must be read in light of this established fact.Read More »
India took military action at eight terrorist launch-pads across the LOC in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK). India chose to tag the attack as a ‘surgical strike’, thus, implying the remedial nature of its action. It is to be noted that India in its official announcement did not deem it to be an act in retaliation to the Uri attacks but a military measure against the increasing incursions by non-state actors in the territory of India.
To look at the act from a layman’s point of view in light of prevalent international notions of territorial sovereignty, war, and military action, it seems to be a deliberate attempt of entering the territory of another state and carrying out targeted killings. Now that Pakistan has not owned up to it, that is, it has blatantly denied that any such measure was taken by the Indian army, it has reduced the measure to a general ceasefire violation, which is not uncommon in the region. Also, it means that the repercussions bilaterally will not be unforeseeable or grave. But, since top Indian officials have endorsed the act it comes under the purview of state practice under international law from India’s end. This calls for a pertinent question, whether India’s surgical strike was legal under international law?Read More »
Unlike the process of law making in domestic legal regimes, the process of law making in international law is decentralized and horizontal. There is no legislature in the international legal system. The General Assembly of the United Nations serves as a forum for deliberations by the entire membership of the United Nations and some of the activities there do contribute towards creation of a law. Yet its roles, functions and powers are not entirely comparable with a legislature at the domestic law level. Absence of a centralized legislature or a vertical system does not imply that there is no process of law making. The process of law making – unconventional as compared to domestic system is set out in Article 38 (1) of the Statute of the International Court of Justice. The sources of law specified therein: custom, treaty, general principles and subsidiary sources (judicial decisions and writings of publicists) specify the sources but do not discuss the legislative process in international law.
The arbitral tribunal of Prof. Piero Bernardini (President), Mr. Gary Born, Judge Prof. James Crawford in Philip Morris v. Oriental Republic of Uruguay (ICSID Case No. Arb/10/7) has finally ruled on merits, dismissing the claims presented by Philip Morris (“PM”) and awarding costs to the tune of US$ 7 million to Uruguay. This award will have huge implications on the tobacco industry and countries like India who are seeking to regulate tobacco consumption through plain packaging measures as it was reportedly the first time a tobacco group had taken on a country for its anti-tobacco laws. Many are characterising Uruguay’s victory as something that will change the world. In this post, I will only focus on the claim of expropriation and the other claims of denial of justice, fair and equitable treatment and impairment of use and enjoyment of investments will be discussed in subsequent posts. Read More »
(Legal) Multipolarity Revisited: What Lies Beyond Westphalia?
This brief introduction to such an ambitious thematic must undoubtedly commence by positing its adherence to the (non-legal) core concept of ‘grand strategy’ and its realist avatars in international economic law. More precisely, it shall be argued that – at a certain level – the normative sphere is instrumentalised by competing nomothetic actors in order to enhance their power position and joint economic security, in a troubled multipolar world.Read More »
A key area of exposition both in Public International Law and Investment Arbitration is what constitutes an ‘act of state’.( ‘State Responsibility and Attribution’ in Schreuer,. and Dolzer, Principles of international investment law (2008), 195-205) The Draft Articles on State Responsibility has been a ground-breaking work in codifying the rules of attribution of responsibility to the states. A related issue in this regard is the attribution of liability to a State in cases of breach of its treaty obligations by its political sub-divisions.Read More »
As the time for South China Sea arbitration ruling comes closer, the foreign policy circles, including those of countries like the United States of America, are witnessing increasing discussions on the issue of China using a negative ruling as a pretext to declare an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) in the South China Sea. Interestingly, the United States was the first country to set up an ADIZ in 1950 during the Cold War era.