October 01, 2018 ILN Fall 2018

International Updates

By Renee Dopplick

ICSID Invites Public Comments on Updates to Investment Dispute Settlement Rules

The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) is seeking input from governments, the private sector, and other interested stakeholders on proposed changes to modernize its rules for resolving disputes between foreign investors and states. The proposed changes include increased reliance on e-filings, expedited proceedings, greater flexibility for bifurcation, and enhanced disclosures of potential conflicts of interest by arbitrators. To help avoid inadvertent conflicts of interest, parties would need to disclose third-party funding throughout the proceeding. A procedural change would promote enhanced transparency through public access to awards, decisions, and orders if the parties do not object within sixty days. The deadline for comments is December 28, 2018. Read the synopsis, the proposed amendments, working papers, and submissions on Proposals for Amendment of the ICSID Rules.

International Court of Justice Order on Iran Sanctions Prompts U.S. Withdrawal from 1955 Treaty with Iran

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) on October 3 unanimously ordered the United States to meet its obligations under the bilateral 1955 Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations, and Consular Rights with Iran and ensure that any sanctions against Iran not impede humanitarian-related exports and parts and services needed for civil aviation safety. The United States in May announced it would re-impose sanctions against Iran for its alleged violations of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). In response to the ICJ order, the United States immediately reiterated its commitment to upholding existing exceptions for humanitarian-related transactions and flight safety. The United States also announced its withdrawal from the 1955 Treaty of Amity. The ICJ has set April 10, 2019, as the deadline for Iran’s filing and October 10, 2019, as the deadline for the U.S. filing. Read the Case Documents for Alleged Violations of the 1955 Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations, and Consular Rights (Islamic Republic of Iran v. United States of America).

International Court of Justice Rules in Favor of Chile over Bolivia in Maritime Dispute

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled twelve to three that Chile did not have a legal obligation to negotiate Bolivia’s access to the Pacific Ocean. The court considered whether the bilateral agreements invoked by Bolivia established an obligation and how to interpret non-treaty actions, such as political interactions. Among the findings, the ICJ found that a legal obligation arises neither as a general principle of international law nor from the provisions of the UN Charter and the Organization of American States (OAS) Charter invoked by Bolivia in its arguments. Bolivia brought the case in 2013. Read the Case Documents for Obligation to Negotiate Access to the Pacific Ocean (Bolivia v. Chile).

International Criminal Court Acquits Former Congolese Vice President Bemba of War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity

The International Criminal Court (ICC) in June acquitted Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, the former commander of a rebel group and former Vice President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), of charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity related to militia intervention in the Central African Republic. His initial conviction in 2016 marked two milestones for the ICC. He had been the first commander to be held criminally responsible for the actions of subordinates and the first defendant to be convicted for the use of rape as a war crime and a crime against humanity. Although the ICC acquitted him of those criminal charges, the Trial Chamber in September re-sentenced him to one year in prison and imposed a fine for corruptly influencing witnesses’ testimonies in his war crimes trial. The ICC considered the time he already spent in detention as satisfying the sentence. On October 18, 2018, Bemba filed an appeal requesting the Appeals Chamber to reverse the sentence. Read the Court Records.

UNODC Global Judicial Integrity Network Offers Judicial Ethics Training Tools

The Global Judicial Integrity Network, launched this year by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), offers online resources to help judges and judicial professionals understand the international standards for judicial integrity, as consistent with Article 11 of the UN Convention Against Corruption. The online tools include videos, podcasts, and other resources on applying the Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct, judges’ uses of social media, gender-related issues in the judiciary, and tips for effective training programs for judges. Additional tools, practice guidance manuals, and capacity-building support are planned. Explore the online resources of the UNODC Global Judicial Integrity Network.

UNISPACE+50 Results in Call to Action for a Space 2030 Agenda

The legal regime of outer space was a thematic priority of the fiftieth anniversary of the first UN Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNISPACE+50) held in June in Vienna. Among the discussions was whether the current five space treaties are sufficient for future space governance, including the expansion and diversification of government and commercial activities in outer space. To address these global challenges and the long-term sustainability of space activities, the outcome document adopted the recommendation by the Legal Subcommittee of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space that a working group should be established to develop a “Space2030” agenda and implementation plan. The newly formed working group will meet this fall and will be supported by the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs. The working group is to present its final draft to the Committee in 2020 for its consideration and, if approved, for consideration and adoption by the UN General Assembly at its seventy-fifth session. Read the UNISPACE+50 Thematic Priority Report on Legal Regime of Outer Space and Global Space Governance: Current and Future Perspectives. Learn more about the Working Group on the “Space2030” Agenda and Its Implementation Plan.

25th Anniversary of the Convention on Biological Diversity

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the entry into force of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), also known as the UN Biodiversity Convention. The treaty opened for signatures at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit and entered into force the following year. With 196 Parties, it is one of the most-ratified international treaties. It is dedicated to the conservation of biodiversity, the sustainable management of natural resources and ecosystems, and the equitable sharing of benefits of genetic resources. Its two protocols address biosafety, reducing environmental risks of modern biotechnology, and technology transfer. The fourteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 14) will be held November 17─29, 2018, in Sharm El‑Sheikh, Egypt. Among the agenda items are the long-term strategic directions for the post-2020 global diversity framework, enhancing cooperation with other treaties, synthetic biology, climate change, and liability and redress. Learn more about the Convention on Biological Diversity.