4 December 2013
In the aftermath of a disaster, affected States need to address its material consequences. For this purpose, aid is normally forthcoming from other States, international organizations and Non-Governmental Organizations. In practice, however, this foreign aid is not always accepted. And even if external assistance is agreed to, as the Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) put it in 2000: ‘There is no definitive, broadly accepted source of international law which spells out legal standards, procedures, rights and duties pertaining to disaster response and assistance. No systematic attempt has been made to put together the disparate threads of existing law, to formalize customary law or to expand and develop the law in new ways.’
In this ‘yawning gap’, as the IFRC labeled it, stepped the International Law Commission (ILC or Commision) in 2006 when, in fulfillment of its Charter and Statute mandate and on the proposal of the United Nations (UN) Secretariat it included the topic ‘Protection of persons in the event of disasters’ in its program of work. (more…)
15 November 2013
This is our News Items Overview of 16 October-15 November 2013, a summary of recent news relating to shared responsibility. (more…)
3 November 2013
In this blogpost I reflect, from a shared responsibility perspective, on two issues arising under the draft EU-ECHR Accession Agreement: (1) the question of to whom EU member states’ acts implementing EU law are attributed, and why; (2) the intervening role reserved for the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) in proceedings brought before the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). The relevant provisions in the draft Accession Agreement are Art. 1(3), respectively Art. 3(6).
1. Issues of attribution
The draft Accession Agreement makes it clear that the attribution of responsibility may be a function of the relevant primary norms of international law, and their scope (the ECHR norms in the case) rather than of secondary rules that are applicable across-the-board. Questions of shared/exclusive responsibility are then conceived of differently with respect to the ECHR than, say, the World Trade Organization (WTO). In the former case, acts of EU member states implementing EU law are attributed to the member state rather than to the EU, whereas in the latter, such acts are attributed to the EU, the member states being mere agents or organs. (more…)
1 November 2013
The International Law Commission (ILC), in its sixty-fifth session (2013) decided to include in its programme a topic entitled ‘Protection of the Atmosphere’ (see here para. 168). The ILC appointed as a Special Rapporteur Mr. Shinya Murase.
The inclusion of the topic is a very interesting development. It is the second topic pertaining to environmental law (the other being ‘Protection of the Environment in Relation to Armed Conflicts’) currently under consideration by the ILC. It is also a very difficult topic, given the number of conventions, both successful and unsuccessful ones, that have been so far concluded, the body of academic output on issues of atmospheric pollution and the strong political pull on the issue. (more…)
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30 October 2013
Singapore covered in haze (20 June 2013), compared to a clear day (13 April 2012). © AFP
Last summer, hazardous levels of air pollution affected the health and lives of many people, the economy (e.g. disruptions of air traffic due to reduced visibility, decreased tourism and business activities) and the environment of multiple states. In both Singapore and Malaysia, record breaking levels of atmospheric pollution were measured. Large parts of Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia were covered in smog, and the smoke haze even spread to Thailand and Brunei. (more…)