International Maritime Organization Establishes Task Force on Autonomous Ships
International Maritime Organization (IMO) Secretary-General Kitack Lim announced the formation of an interdivisional task force within the Secretariat, with the participation of the Legal Affairs Office, to look at the future of maritime autonomous surface ships (MASS). A particular focus will be the legal framework across multiple treaties and the related regulatory frameworks. The topics span safety, security, port operations, routine maintenance operations, communications, prevention of collisions at sea, emergency procedures, search and rescue, liability in cases of accidents, insurance, and environmental protections. The IMO is undertaking a regulatory scoping exercise to determine how the operation of autonomous ships might be taken into account within IMO legal instruments. The IMO Maritime Safety Committee in May endorsed a framework for its regulatory scoping exercise, including preliminary definitions, and invites Member States and international organizations to submit proposals on how to allow the testing of autonomous ships in international waters. The input will help inform the work of the Committee at its 100th session on December 3–7, 2018. Read the IMO Press Briefing, IMO Takes First Steps to Address Autonomous Ships, May 25, 2018.
U.S. Steel and Aluminum Duties Spark Multiple Dispute Complaints at World Trade Organization
On March 8, the United States imposed 25 percent duties on imported steel and 10 percent duties on imported aluminum, pursuant to Section 232 of the U.S. Trade Expansion Act. The United States initially exempted some countries and the European Union, but not China, one of the world’s largest producers of steel and aluminum. The United States subsequently ended the exemptions for Canada, Mexico, and the European Union. Several countries reacted by filing dispute complaints with the WTO alleging that such additional duties by the United States are inconsistent with the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and by imposing additional duties on certain U.S. products. The United States has requested WTO dispute consultations with China, Canada, Mexico, Turkey, and the European Union. See Request for Consultations by the United States on Additional Duties on Certain Products from the United States, WTO (July 19, 2018).
European Union 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive Enters into Force
The European Union’s Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive was published on June 19, 2018, and entered into force on July 9, 2018. The Directive strengthens safeguards against money laundering, tax evasion, and tax avoidance. The tightened measures include establishing publicly accessible beneficial ownership registers for legal entities, such as companies, and extending anti-money laundering and counterterrorism financing rules to virtual currencies, tax-related services, and persons trading in works of art. Further, individuals will no longer be guaranteed anonymity for prepaid and other electronic money products, with two narrow exceptions. Member States also will be required to establish centralized bank account registries and apply enhanced safeguards for financial transactions to and from high-risk third countries. The Directive also establishes measures to enhance cooperation of financial supervisory authorities and provide EU Financial Intelligence Units with better access to bank account information. Member States have until January 10, 2020, to amend their legislation to comply with the new Directive. Read EU Directive 2018/843.
20th Anniversary of the Adoption of the International Criminal Court Rome Statute
The International Criminal Court (ICC) held commemorative events on July 16–17, 2018, in honor of the 20th anniversary of the adoption of its founding treaty, the Rome Statute. The treaty was adopted at a United Nations Diplomatic Conference on July 17, 1998, and entered into force on July 1, 2002. Former Secretary-General Kori Annan described the adoption of the Rome Statute and its establishment of the ICC as a “gift of hope to future generations, and a giant step forward in the march towards universal human rights and the rule of law.” Under the Rome Statute, the ICC has jurisdiction to hold leaders individually criminally responsible for war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, and crimes of aggression. Learn more, download the Rome Statute, watch videos from the events, read the speeches, and browse the online photo exhibit on the ICC’s website: “The ICC Rome Statute is 20”
Crime of Aggression Enters Into Force at the International Criminal Court
As of July 17, 2018, the International Criminal Court (ICC) will have jurisdiction over the crime of aggression for those Member States that have ratified or accepted an amendment to the Rome Statute adopted by the Assembly of State Parties to the Rome Statute. This jurisdictional limitation applies in cases referred by states and cases initiated by the ICC Prosecutor. The jurisdictional limitation does not apply to referrals from the UN Security Council. The crime of aggression was one of the four core crimes in the Rome Statute, but its activation was postponed pending future agreement on the definition and the ICC’s jurisdiction over the crime. Read the amendment adopted as Resolution RC/Res.6 of the Review Conference of the Rome Statute. Explore which countries are State Parties to the Crime of Aggression.
40th Anniversary of the Entry into Force of the American Convention on Human Rights
The American Convention on Human Rights entered into force on July 18, 1978. The regional treaty, adopted by the Organization of the American States (OAS) Member States, establishes the responsibilities of states to uphold, protect, and promote human rights, in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and consistent with the rights protected in the treaty. It also provided for enhancements to strengthen the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the establishment of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. Additional protocols reinforce, complement, and expand on certain rights, including an individual’s right to life free from discrimination, sexual and gender-based violence, enforced disappearance, and punishment by the death penalty. Read the American Convention on Human Rights.