Blogposts by André Nollkaemper
André Nollkaemper is Dean and Professor of Public International Law at the University of Amsterdam. He is the initiator and director of the SHARES project. He obtained an Advanced Investigator Grant of the European Research Council for this project.
3 May 2013
On 3 May, the Procurator General of the Supreme Court of the Netherlands (mr. P. Vlas) concluded in his so-called ‘advisory opinion’ that the appeal against the Judgment of the Court of Appeal of the Hague, which found that the Netherlands was liable for evicting Bosnian nationals from the compound of Dutchbat in Srebrenica on 12 July 1995, should be rejected. The main task of the Procurator General of the Supreme Court of the Netherlands is to provide independent advice (known as ‘advisory opinion’) to the members of the Supreme Court on how to rule in the cassation proceedings that are before the Court.
The advisory opinion is very rich in legal analysis of questions of shared responsibility. It cites no less than four papers written as part of the SHARES Project, and will be commented upon more fully at a later stage. A few quick points that stand out will be identified below. (more…)
25 April 2013
On 24 April, the District Court of the Hague in the Netherlands ordered Frans van Anraat, a Dutch national, to pay compensation to 17 victims of chemical weapon attacks by the regime of Saddam Hussein in 1988. The judgment raises interesting questions from a shared responsibility perspective, as Van Anraat obviously only was one of many contributors to the eventual injuries.
The case was brought by 17 survivors of the 1988 attack on the Kurdish city of Halabja in Iraq, in which an estimated 5,600 civilians were killed. Saddam Hussein ordered the Halabja attack as part of a crackdown on a Kurdish rebellion in the north, during the final months of the war with Iraq.
In the 2007 judgment in the criminal trial, the Court had found that Van Anraat was Iraq’s sole supplier of a chemical substance used in the production of mustard gas. He had claimed that he believed the chemical was to be used in the Iraqi textile industry. The Court rejected that argument in the criminal trial, saying that he knew the chemicals might well be used for war crimes. Van Anraat is now serving a prison sentence in the Netherlands. (more…)
12 March 2013
There is a wide diversity of actions by which states can aid or assist other states in the commission of an internationally wrongful act. Well known examples, listed in the Commentary to the ILC Articles on Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts, include providing arms, funding or training, or other material support to foreign states that use such recourses in the commission of a wrong. The Independent reports a policy that hitherto has not been widely documented; stripping people of their nationality. Also Lawfare has blogged on the policy.
The reported facts suggest that since 2010, the United Kingdom (UK) Home Secretary has revoked the passports of 16 individuals, many of whom were alleged of having links to terrorist or militant groups. The legal basis for this was a 2002 law, enabling the Home Secretary to remove the citizenship of any dual nationals, if doing so would be in the public interest. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism has been able to establish that some of these people were subsequently killed by American drone attacks. (more…)
7 March 2013
In 1990 Michael Glennon wrote a groundbreaking piece in the American Journal of International Law with the title ‘Has International Law Failed the Elephant?’ The question mark hinted at the possibility that international law had not failed the elephant. And perhaps in 1990 there was reason for hope. African elephants had just been included in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), meaning the sale of their tusks was outlawed. There was reason for hope that this would limit or even reverse the downward spiral in populations. (more…)
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24 December 2012
Cross-posted from EJIL: Talk!
On 13 December 2012, the European Court of Human Rights (‘the Court’) found that the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (‘Macedonia’) was responsible in connection with the ill-treatment and torture of Khaled El-Masri. The judgment adds a further chapter to the Court’s rich case law on situations where a state party is held responsible in connection with the (wrongful) acts of another state.