Recent months have continued to see major new developments in public international law. Below, Volterra Fietta highlights a number of developments in the United Nations and disputes before the International Court of Justice. Volterra Fietta continues to be actively engaged in many of these developments on behalf of our clients around the world.
The UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space adopted its report on peaceful uses of outer space. While the final report has not yet been published, the draft report indicates that the committee has dealt with four major areas of discussion such as space and sustainable development, space and water, space and climate change and the ‘Space2030’ Agenda. This report represents the growing consensus amongst the States in the field of outer space as the Committee considered the representations of 102 Member States.
Iran has filed an application with the ICJ alleging violation of its immunities by Canada with the enactment of Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act by the Canadian Parliament. Canada also retroactively amended its State Immunity Act and added an exception to immunities conferred to foreign States. Iran, in its application, requests the ICJ to declare that Canada violated its international obligations towards Iran under customary international law by failing to respect its immunities.
Canada and the Netherlands have instituted proceedings against Syria before the ICJ to hold Syria accountable for its alleged systematic use of torture to silence dissent. The application alleges violation of provisions of the Convention against Torture and requests the ICJ to declare that Syria violated peremptory norms of international law. Canada and the Netherlands have sought the ICJ to indicate provisional measures to cease all acts of cruelty and inhuman treatment, and to preserve all relevant evidence and information, which will be heard on 10 – 11 October 2023.
Article 41(1) of the ICJ Statute confers the power to ‘indicate’ provisional measures. However, the lack of enforcement mechanisms for a failure to comply has led a number of observers to argue that the word ‘indicate’ should be interpreted as if it meant ‘order’ or ‘compel’. The ICJ may bridge this divide by monitoring the implementation of provisional measures under Article 78 and by adopting certain practices such as publishing the replies of relevant parties, publishing a list of States not in compliance and dedicating a section in its annual report to the UN General Assembly on this issue.
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