Five things we learned from Cameron’s human rights announcement

UK Human Rights Blog

9e422861-3131-40b3-a703-62426b2d1c9a-620x372There was some surprise at the lack of detail over human rights in Justice Secretary Chris Grayling and Home Secretary Theresa May’s speeches yesterday. Now, David Cameron has revealed all. Or at least, he has revealed some. Here is what we learned.

1. The Conservative Party will not be leaving the European Convention on Human Rights if it obtains a majority in 2015-2020.

This is the really important bit, as everyone knew the longstanding Tory policy of repealing the Human Rights Act and replacing it with a Bill of Rights (see below) would be maintained. There has been plenty of noise from the Eurosceptic right of the party in relation to the ECHR – both Grayling and May have consistently said leaving was a possibility. But surely now it is not. Or at least, if it intends to do so it would be very odd for that major policy…

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9th Annual Minerva/ICRC Conference on International Humanitarian Law on Access for Humanitarian Action on 3-4 November 2014

Armed Groups and International Law

In a couple of weeks, I have the pleasure to speak at a conference organised by the ICRC and the Minerva Center for Human Rights on “Access for Humanitarian Action: Legal and Operational Challenges in Assisting and Protecting People Affected by Armed Conflict”. This 9th Annual Minerva/ICRC Conference on International Humanitarian Law will take place on 3 and 4 November 2014 in Jerusalem. These IHL conferences always have a great combination of the academics and practitioners and benefit from the excellent local experts (take Yuval Shany or David Kretzmer) and an outspoken crowd of attendees. The organisers have a very good eye for selecting truly contemporary topics. With the recent fighting in Gaza fresh in mind, and the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Syria and Iraq, this year’s topic is once again highly relevant.

The conference consists of six sessions. The first day starts with an opening session with two of…

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International vs Australian Rules: The PJCHR and the Government are playing in different codes

Good read!


Adam FletcherHuman Rights Scrutiny Blog is pleased to welcome this guest post by Adam Fletcher. Adam Fletcher is currently a PhD student at Monash University. The work of the PJCHR is one of the subjects of his thesis. He has previously worked as a legal adviser to the Australian Government and various human rights organisations. He tweets about human rights and law @ad_fletch.

‘Bringing Rights Home’ was the slogan adopted by the UK Government when it introduced its Human Rights Act in 1998. The decision to incorporate rights into domestic legislation, said the Government, reflected a growing awareness that the common law (along with, by inference, the Westminster system) was not protecting sufficiently Britons’ rights and freedoms as set out in international human rights treaties.

So much is ancient history in political terms, but I bring up the point because the slogan captured brilliantly the need to combat the…

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Palestine and the International Criminal Court

The {New} International Law

The Prosecutor of the International Court recently issued a statement on the Court’s jurisdiction over crimes committed in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. I have copied it below, but the official version can be found here.

Recent media reports and commentaries have erroneously suggested that the International Criminal Court (ICC) has persistently avoided opening an investigation into alleged war crimes in Gaza due to political pressure. As Prosecutor of the ICC, I reject this baseless allegation in the strongest terms. It is devoid of any merit.

When an objective observer navigates clear of the hype surrounding this issue, the simple truth is  that the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC has never been in a position to open such an investigation for lack of jurisdiction. We have always, clearly and publicly, stated the reasons why this is so.

The Rome Statute, the ICC’s founding treaty, is open to participation…

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Questioning Sweden’s ‘Bold’ Diplomatic Initiative

Global Justice in the 21st Century


It was a welcome move, but only in some respects. The new center-left Swedish Prime Minister, Stefan Lofven, in his inaugural speech to Parliament indicated on October 3rd the intention of the Swedish government to recognize Palestinian statehood. He explained that such a move mentioned in the platform of his party is in accord with promoting a two-state solution, and more significantly, that is to be “negotiated in accordance with international law.” The call for adherence to international law in future diplomacy is actually more of a step forward than is the announced intention of future recognition, which has so far received all the media attention and incurred the wrath of Tel Aviv. To bring international law into future negotiations would amount to a radical modication of the ‘peace process’ that came into being with the Oslo Declaration of Principles in 1993. The Israel/United States view was to…

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Anglo Norwegian Fisheries Case (Summary on Customary International Law)

Public International law

Case: Anglo Norwegian Fisheries Case (UK vs Norway)

Year of Decision: 1951. Court: ICJ.

The Court was asked to decide, inter-alia, the validity, under international law, of the methods used to delimit Norway’s territorial sea/ fisheries zone. We would not discuss the technical aspects of the judgment. The judgment contained declarations on customary international law. However, the value of the jurisprudence was diminished because these declarations lacked in-depth discussion.

Background to the case

The United Kingdom requested the court to decide if Norway had used a legally acceptable method in drawing the baseline from which it measured its territorial sea. The United Kingdom argued that customary international law did not allow the length of a baseline drawn across abay to be longer than ten miles. Norway argued that its delimitation method was consistent with general principles of international law.

Formation of customary law

The court consistently referred to positive (1) state practice and (2) lack of…

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President Kenyatta Will Become the 1st Sitting Head of State to Appear Before the ICC.

Kenya's fourth president, Uhuru Kenyatta  


This article was originally published by International Justice Monitor by Tom Maliti on October 4, 2014.  To read that article, click here

When Kenya’s President Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta shows up at The Hague he will become the first sitting head of state to appear before the International Criminal Court (ICC) as an accused person (Kenyatta attended his pretrial hearing at the ICC in September, 2011, but at that time he was still deputy prime minister).

Kenyatta has been called to The Hague for a status conference—a private meeting between the judges, the prosecution and the defense to consider the state of the case. In deciding to postpone the trial opening originally scheduled for October 7, and to schedule the status conference instead, Trial Chamber V(b) noted that the case had reached a “critical juncture.” This is also one of the reasons the chamber gave in itsSeptember 30 decision for insisting on Kenyatta’s presence, despite a defense request that he be excused from attending court.

The gravity of the moment is reflected in the central question that will be before the judges on Tuesday and Wednesday: should the chamber indefinitely adjourn the trial, as requested by the prosecution, or terminate it, as Kenyatta’s lawyers have asked? Continue reading