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10 Landmark Cases of International Law

case study in international law

International Law includes rules, treaties & agreements binding upon their nation. The foremost reason why countries sign treaties is that they believe it will be beneficial for their citizens. International law governs several global matters like the environment, world trade, wars, diplomatic relations, etc. So, dealing with the landmark case laws based on such matters is important for your better understanding. Hence, we have wrapped up detailed versions of ten landmark cases on international law. Let's get started.

Landmark Cases on International Law

1. corfu channel case .

(Heard before the International Court of Justice between 1947 and 1949)

Subject matter: state liability for maritime damages, as well as the theory of innocent passage

Facts: 

This lawsuit considered Albanian culpability for mining the Corfu waterway and the following damage to two British naval vessels caused by the hitting mines. 

In October 1946, two British warships collided with mines in Albanian seas. Both destroyers were severely damaged, 45 British officers and men were killed, and 42 others were injured.

Following that, in November 1946, the British Navy searched for mines in Albanian seas in the Corfu Channel without Albanian approval. The United Kingdom applied to initiate proceedings against the People's Republic of Albania, seeking a determination that the Albanian Government was globally accountable for the incident's repercussions and must make reparation. 

Albania, for its part, has filed a counter-claim against the UK for violating Albanian territorial seas. The British government alleged that the minefield that caused the explosions was laid by or with the agreement or knowledge of the Albanian government between May 15th and October 22nd, 1946. 

As a result, Albania had to reimburse the UK government for the blasts and deaths. The second question in the Special Agreement, along with the issue of  passage of the British warships on October 22nd, 1946, relates to the actions of the British Navy in Albanian waters on 12th and 13th November, 1946, when the UK government conducted a minesweeping operation called 'Operation Retail' without the approval of Albania.

1) Should the North Corfu Channel be included in international highways?

2) Is Albania liable under the international law regime for the events that happened in Albanian seas on October 22, 1946, as well as the damage and loss of life that came from them, and is there any need to pay compensation?

Holding of the court

The majority opinion held that Albania was liable for the blasts for the resultant devastation and loss of human life that the United Kingdom had experienced. Albania was made liable by majority as it had continuous surveillance over the Channel and, therefore, ought to have known about Corfu Channel. 

2. SS Lotus case  

Subject matter: lays down the foundation of international law, says that sovereign states may act in any way they wish so long as they do not contravene an explicit prohibition

The Lotus case is about a criminal trial resulting from a crash between the S.S. Lotus, a French steamship, and the S.S. Bozkourt, a Turkish vessel, on August 2, 1926, in an area just north of Mytilene (Greece). 

Eight Turkish people on the boat the Bozkourt drowned because of the catastrophe when the Lotus ripped the vessel apart. 

The question was whether Turkey had the authority to trial Monsieur Demons, the French officer on duty at the time of the crash. France asserted that because the incident happened on the high seas, the nation whose flag the vessel flew should have the  exclusive jurisdiction over the case.

France presented case law to demonstrate at least state practice supporting its argument. Those situations, however, included ships flying the same state's flag. As a result, the Court rejected France's claim by a narrow majority, declaring that there was no norm in international law to that effect.

The first principle that emerges of the Lotus Case is that a nation cannot exert its jurisdiction outside its borders unless authorised by an international treaty or customary law.

The second important principle that emerges out of the Lotus Case is that a Nation may exert its jurisdiction in any subject inside its territory, even if no express rule of international law allows it to do so. Governments have broad latitude in these cases, which is only restricted by the prohibitive standards of international law.

case study in international law

To know more about such international topics, enrol on our course of International Law 

3. Anglo-Norway Fisheries case

Subject: Elements of international custom

Norwegian decree of 1935, which claimed territorial waters of more than 4 nautical miles, which was contested by UK.. The point from which the territorial waters was to be determined thus became an important factor, and the ICJ gave judicial recognition to Norway (which is an archipelagic State under the UNCLOS, as it is a collection of islands). The islands are connected to the mainland, and Norway employed straight baseline, wherein the outermost point of the archipelagic islands was taken and a straight line was drawn to the mainland, thus including a good chunk of the sea would fall within Norway’s territorial waters, which disturbed UK’s fishing rights in the same waters. UK argued that the normal method for calculation is as is provided under UNCLOS Article 5, which States “the normal baseline for measuring the breadth of the territorial sea is the low-water line along the coast as marked on large-scale charts officially recognized by the coastal State.” 

Issue: 

When both parties placed the dispute before the ICJ, the issue which arose was whether the Norwegian decree of 1935 was in conformity with the then existing customary international law

Holding of the court:

The Court observed that the historic title that Norway had over the waters contributed to treating them as an exception in the method chosen for determining their baseline. The court thus held that in exceptional circumstances like the Anglo-Norway fisheries case, a State may be justified in moving away from the normal baseline rule to determine its territorial waters, which is also heeded to in Article 7 of the 1982 UNCLOS, pertaining to straight baselines.

4. Hungary vs Slovakia, Gabjikovo Nagymaros Project Case

Subject matter: Termination/suspension of treaties 

In 1977, Hungary and Czechoslovakia signed a Treaty for the construction of dams along the Danube River that bordered both nations (‘1977 Bilateral Treaty’). The construction work was to be undertaken by the two governments as a joint operation. There were provisions for which State was to operate on which part of the project, but there was no scope for unilateral engagement on the project by only one State. If investments were to be made in establishing the hydroelectric dam, both the States had to contribute. 

Hungary stopped working on the project in 1989, and negotiations could not resolve the matter, which led to Hungary abandoning its side of the treaty obligations. During negotiations, the Hungary government paid no attention to the request made by the Czechoslovakia government, and the latter started investigating alternative solutions. One of the solutions entailed a unilateral diversion of the Danube by Czechoslovakia on its territory (plan ‘Variant C’). In 1991, Czechoslovakia started the unilateral hydroelectric dam construction on its side. A bypass canal was dug, and then the water from the river was diverted into the bypass canal. 

Hungary brought its case before the ICJ and based its action on the fact that the damming of the river had been agreed to only on the ground of a joint operation and sharing of benefits associated with the project, to which Czechoslovakia had unlawfully unilaterally assumed control of a shared resource. It claimed that Czechoslovakia, which put into operation plan ‘Variant C’ after the project was halted, was a material breach of the 1977 Bilateral Treaty.

Hungary claimed that suspending the 1977 Bilateral Treaty and abandoning its side of the treaty obligation conformed with the well-established customary international law rules concerning termination of international treaties. These rules were squarely brought into effect in Articles 60, 61 and 62 of VCLT. 

Arguments by Hungary: There was a three-prong argument advanced by the Hungarian government in support of the suspension and abandoning of its treaty obligations:

Article 60: Termination or suspension of the operation of a treaty as a consequence of its breach  

Article 60(3) states: 

“A material breach of a treaty, for the purposes of this article, consists in:

(a) A repudiation of the treaty not sanctioned by the present Convention; or 

(b) The violation of a provision essential to the accomplishment of the object or purpose of the treaty.”

Holding of the court 

The Court had to make two sets of facts on the part of the Czechoslovakia government: One, the diversion of water of river Danube into the bypass canal on this side of the Czechoslovakia state. Two, construction of the works in general, which would have led to putting into application Variant C. By distinguishing these two sets of apps on the part of the Czechoslovakia state, ICJ observed that the Czechoslovakia government violated the 1977 Treaty only as far as the first act is concerned. On the second act of construction, which led to putting into practice Variant C, ICJ observed that there was no violation on the basis of the evidence produced.  

5. Iran US Hostage Crisis 

Subject matter: diplomatic immunity and state responsibility 

For 444 days, more than 60 Americans feared for their lives during the Iran Hostage Crisis. This was a siege lasting from November 1979 to January 1981, which began when angry Iranians stormed the U.S. Embassy in Iran and took hostages. The United States filed an application with the Court following Iranian radicals' seizure of its Embassy in Tehran on  4th November, 1979, and the abduction and detention of its diplomatic and consular employees as hostages.

Was the Iranian government in any way responsible for the actions of the militias, and was it complacent to the extent of the responsibility and obligations it owed as the host state to the diplomats?

On the United States request for provisional measures, the Court held that there had been no more fundamental prerequisite for State relations than the immunity of diplomats and the embassies, and it suggested provisional measures to ensure the immediate return of the Embassy premises to the United States and the release of the hostages.

In its judgement on the  Court,t , remarked that Iran had breached and was still contravening obligations owed by it to the United States under the existing conventions between the 2 nations and rules of general international law, that the violation engaged its obligation, and that the Iranian state was obligated to secure the immediate release. The Court emphasised the fundamental relevance of international law rules regulating diplomatic and consular interactionsIt stated that, while the actions of militants could not be attributed directly to the Iranian Nation, due to a lack of sufficient information, the Iranian State had done nothing to prevent the attack, stop it before it was completed, or compel the insurgents to disengage from the facilities and release the hostages. 

The Court recognised that, after November 4, 1979, some organs of the Iranian State supported and determined to perpetuate the acts complained of, transforming them into acts of the Iranian State... Despite the absence of the Iranian Government, the Court issued its decision, rejecting the grounds advanced by Tehran in two communications addressed to the Court in support of its contention that the Court could not and should not hear the matter. Since the matter was removed from the List upon cessation by Order of 12 May 1981, the Court was not called upon to give a further decision on the restitution for the harm caused to the Government ofUnited States 

6. Luther v. Sagor Case (KB, CoA 1921)

Subject matter  — Conclusiveness of Statements by Executive — Recognition of Foreign Governments and States.

Luther was a British Citizen who used to run a Timber industry in Soviet Russia. On 1917 the Russian Government nationalized his factory and thereafter Mr Luther left Russia and went to the UK. In 1920 Mr. Sagor came to an agreement with Russian Nationalized business company to buy some timber, the company sent timbers accordingly but when timers reached in UK Mr. Luther claimed that those timbers were his timbers, he pointed that as UK never recognized the government of Russia, as well as Russia, wrongfully took over his factory. Therefore, the civilized court of UK cannot validate the rule of Russian law.

The question of whether Russia is recognised by Britain was brought before the King's Bench Division. And how lawful or genuine was the nationalisation?

The court held that the recognition of the state was retroactive in effect, thus the change of govt and the delay in recognising the new govt would have no impact before the English courts. t was held that the British Government recognized the Government of Russia and the retrospective effect will be applicable for that recognition. So the Nationalization by Russia was legal and valid. Kings Bench Division considered the following matters: That the British Government provided de-facto recognition of the present government of Russia. That the recognition of Russia had retrospective effect, therefore, the time in question is not a concern. That, in the matter of effective relationships and in the question of law De-facto or De-jury recognition does not create any real difference

7. Nuclear Tests Case – 1974 ICJ 

Subject matter: Unilateral declarations as a source of International-law

Facts:   

On May 9, 1973, Australia and New Zealand separately started actions against France about nuclear weapons tests that France planned to conduct in the South Pacific region's atmosphere. France indicated that it believed the Court lacked jurisdiction and did not present at the public sessions or file any pleas.

At the request of the tow pacific nations, the Court issued two orders on June 22, 1973, indicating, among other things, that France should refrain from conducting nuclear tests that would result in radioactive fallout over Australian or New Zealand territory while the case was being heard. By two Judgments given on 20 December 1974, the Court determined that the Applications of New Zealand and Australia no longer had any aim and that it was thus not required to rule on them. In doing so, the Court relied on the finding that Australia and New Zealand's goal had been met, because France had indicated in different public declarations its determination to conduct no additional atmospheric nuclear tests following the end of the 1974 series.

May a unilateral proclamation have the effect of generating legal obligations?

Declaration made through unilateral acts may have the effect of creating legal obligations.

French Minister has made a statement before the UNGA. Prez and PM had also made public statements. The defence minister also made a statement on TV.

ICJ took the first 3 statements together, to mean that France had given an undertaking, not only to Australia and New Zealand, to not conduct an atmospheric nuclear test.

The statements were made publicly, which applies to the international community. It was identified as state policy. It was not made in response specifically to Australia and New Zealand.

8. Asylum Case- between Columbia and Peru

Subject matter : Customs as a source of International-law

The dispute was regarding diplomatic asylum to a Peruvian national accused of actions intended to topple the Peruvian government. Columbia, where he had sought asylum, refused to hand him over to Peru for trial. This case is an example of regional custom. Columbia argued that the Latin American countries had adopted a convention whereby asylum could be provided to such people and that this was regional custom. Peru said this state practice was however inconsistent. 

Peru was the receiving state (read as who sent ambassador), Colombia was the sending state. The sovereign rights of the receiving state can be limited in foreign offices. - principle of inviolability of foreign embassies

Peru wanted colombia to hand him over -  matter when to ICJ. Peru said that there was a state practise in a latin america, that any person taking refuge in a foreign embassy will be allowed to move to the respective sending country. Both countries were signatories to the Montevido (Havana) convention which talked of political asylum - but Peru had not ratified it.

Issue 

Can the Colombian government provide refuge in accordance with local custom?

The ICJ made the following observations- the states falling within the concerned region must have observed the practice in a constant and uniform way; but on the facts of the case, it is not possible to conclude that the practice was constant (the court does not use the word consistent); further, there is no uniformity in the sense that not all states in the region has ratified the convention.

9. Arrest Warrant of 11 April 2000 (Democratic Republic of the Congo v. Belgium)

Subject matter: Diplomatic Immunity 

Belgium had enacted 2 legislations (criminal statutes) – one before the present case arose (1993) and one after (to address the negative fallout of the case by broadening the exercise of criminal jurisdiction by Belgian courts – prescriptive as well as enforcement jurisdiction)

Around the 2000s, a Belgian investigating judge issued an international arrest warrant in absentia for a Mr. Yerodia, a national of the DRC. He was charged with war crimes amounting to grave breaches of the Genocide Convention of 1949, and crimes against humanity. Belgium claimed that Mr. Yerodia was responsible for mass killings because his speeches around 1998 incited racial hatred, leading to mass murders and lynching by some groups. When the arrest warrant was issued, he was not in Belgium, and thus not under the territorial control of Belgian authorities. The arrest warrant was sent to the DRC government and to Interpol. Interpol in turn circulated the warrant to other states.

Under the former Belgian law, Belgium had criminal jurisdiction over offences irrespective of where they had been committed – ‘sweeping jurisdiction’. Alleged offenders could be booked under the Belgian law no matter where in the world they were. The law did not specify how they were to be brought back to Belgian. But, one of the procedures followed here was that copies of the arrest warrant were transmitted to DRC and Interpol.

Did Belgium break customary international law standards governing an incumbent Foreign Minister's full inviolability and immunity from criminal prosecution when it issued and publicly distributed the arrest warrant?

If so, did it breach the concept of sovereign equality among states?

Does this claimed illegality bar the States who got the warrant from using it?

Should the Court seek reparations?

Should Belgium recall and rescind its arrest warrant?

Diplomatic Immunity: The accused was a Minister for Foreign Affairs. (discussed later while dealing with diplomatic immunity). This case did not directly deal with the exercise of protective principle as basis for criminal jurisdiction and universal jurisdiction. DRC argued that Mr. Yerodia was entitled for immunity, which was accepted by the ICJ. It held that the immunity claim was legitimate, and did not examine the question of Belgian jurisdiction. 

3 judges dissented (Rosalyn Higgins, Kooijmans and Buergenthal, JJ) and made some observations with respect to the nature of the Belgian criminal statutes in 

10. The Schooner Exchange v M’Fadden (1812)

Subject matter: Absolute state immunity 

The case involved an admiralty suit (action in rem*) brought by the claimant before an American court. The suit was related to a naval vessel that entered Philadelphia for repair purposes. The claimant (who sought possession of the vessel) argued that they owned the vessel but that the French government had seized the vessel by means of a Napoleonic decree. The Attorney General filed a suggestion that the SC should refuse jurisdiction on the ground of SI since it was a French naval vessel.

Are national ships of war considered exempted if the power of the friendly jurisdiction whose port the ship enters consents?

Supreme Court – Courts of one country do not investigate into the law of other countries by the application of which properties are acquired. So, the court applied the doctrine of SI and decided in favour of the French government. The principle of par in parem non habet imperium was invoked. The court combined two doctrines - that the absolute jurisdiction of the territorial sovereign by assuming the latter’s implied consent to immunity from its courts’ jurisdiction. The distinction between commercial and administrative acts of the state was not made in this case. Here are some more blogs related to landmark cases, you can click on the link and know more about that-

1.  Top 10 Landmark Cases of Constitution 2.  Top 10 Landmark Supreme Court Judgments of 2022 3.  Famous Landmark Cases of India

case study in international law

Kakoli Nath is a legal Content Manager at Finology Legal who pursued BBA.LL.B (5 years integrated course). She is a patent analyst & had also done advanced certification in Forensics Psychology and Criminal Profiling from IFS, Pune.

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The Permanent Court of International Justice was the precursor to the International Court of Justice.  Established in 1922, it was associated with, though not a part of, the League of Nations.  It was dissolved in 1946.

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Landmark Cases in Private International Law

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Landmark Cases in Private International Law

This collection of essays contains in-depth analyses of eighteen landmark cases in private international law, from Penn v Lord Baltimore in 1750 to Brownlie v FS Cairo (Nile Plaza) LLC in 2021. The contributors are experts drawn from academia and practice as well as from the bench, including other members of the Faculty.

This book sheds new light on the past and future evolution of private international law by focusing on the landmark cases which have fundamentally shaped the way that we think about this subject. The focus is on the English common law, but landmarks in Scotland, Australia and Canada are covered as well. Many of them concern disputes between commercial parties; others deal with issues such as marriage and domicile; and some arise from controversies in political, constitutional and international affairs.

The landmark cases tackled in this collection address significant issues in civil jurisdiction, governing law, foreign judgments, and public policy. The essays place those landmarks in their historical context, explain their contemporary importance, and consider their future relevance.

For more information about this book, please refer to the Bloomsbury website . Current University of Cambridge staff and student members can access the ebook via Bloomsbury Collections .

For information about other publications by Mr Day and Professor Merrett please refer to their Faculty profiles .

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Team-Building Strategies: Building a Winning Team for Your Organization

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Discover how to build a winning team and boost your business negotiation results in this free special report, Team Building Strategies for Your Organization, from Harvard Law School.

Top 10 International Business Negotiation Case Studies

International business negotiation case studies offer insights to business negotiators who face challenges in the realm of cross-cultural business negotiation..

By PON Staff — on August 8th, 2023 / International Negotiation

case study in international law

If you engage in international negotiation , you can improve your odds of success by learning from these 10 well-known international business negotiation case studies:

International Negotiations

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Claim your copy of International Negotiations: Cross-Cultural Communication Skills for International Business Executives from
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  • Apple’s Apology in China

When Apple CEO Timothy D. Cook apologized to Apple customers in China for problems arising from Apple’s warranty policy, he promised to rectify the issue. In a negotiation research study, Professor William W. Maddux of INSEAD and his colleagues compared reactions to apologies in the United States and in Japan. They discovered that in “collectivist cultures” such as China and Japan, apologies can be particularly effective in repairing broken trust, regardless of whether the person apologizing is to blame. This may be especially true in a cross-cultural business negotiation such as this one.

  • Bangladesh Factory-Safety Agreements

In this negotiation case study, an eight-story factory collapsed in Bangladesh, killing an estimated 1,129 people, most of whom were low-wage garment workers manufacturing goods for foreign retailers. Following the tragedy, companies that outsourced their garment production faced public pressure to improve conditions for foreign workers. Labor unions focused their efforts on persuading Swedish “cheap chic” giant H&M to take the lead on safety improvements. This negotiation case study highlights the pros and cons of all-inclusive, diffuse agreements versus targeted, specific agreements.

  • The Microsoft-Nokia Deal

Microsoft made the surprising announcement that it was purchasing Finnish mobile handset maker Nokia for $7.2 billion, a merger aimed at building Microsoft’s mobile and smartphone offerings. The merger faced even more complexity after the ink dried on the contract—namely, the challenges of integrating employees from different cultures. International business negotiation case studies such as this one underscore the difficulties that companies face when attempting to negotiate two different identities.

  • The Cyprus Crisis

With the economy of the tiny Mediterranean island nation Cyprus near collapse, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), European Central Bank (ECB), and the European Commission teamed up to offer a 10-billion-euro bailout package contingent on Cyprus provisioning a substantial amount of the money through a one-time tax on ordinary Cypriot bank depositors. The move proved extremely unpopular in Cyprus and protests resulted. The nation’s president was left scrambling for a backup plan. The lesson from international business negotiation case studies such as this? Sometimes the best deal you can get may be better than no deal at all.

  • Dissent in the European Union

The European Union (EU) held a summit to address the coordination of economic activities and policies among EU member states. German resistance to such a global deal was strong, and pessimism about a unified EU banking system ran high as a result of the EU financial crisis. The conflict reflects the difficulty of forging  multiparty agreements  during times of stress and crisis.

  • North and South Korea Talks Collapse

Negotiations between North Korea and South Korea were supposed to begin in Seoul aimed at lessening tensions between the divided nations. It would have been the highest government dialogue between the two nations in years. Just before negotiations were due to start, however, North Korea complained that it was insulted that the lead negotiator from the South wasn’t higher in status. The conflict escalated, and North Korea ultimately withdrew from the talks. The case highlights the importance of pride and power perceptions in international negotiations.

  • Canceled Talks for the U.S. and Russia

Then-U.S. president Barack Obama canceled a scheduled summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, citing a lack of progress on a variety of negotiations. The announcement came on the heels of Russia’s decision to grant temporary asylum to former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, who made confidential data on American surveillance programs public. From international business negotiation case studies such as this, we can learn strategic reasons for  breaking off ties , if only temporarily, with a counterpart.

  • The East China Sea Dispute

In recent years, several nations, including China and Japan, have laid claim to a chain of islands in the East China Sea. China’s creation of an “air defense” zone over the islands led to an international dispute with Japan. International negotiators seeking to resolve complex disputes may gain valuable advice from this negotiation case study, which involves issues of international law as well as perceptions of relative strength or weakness in negotiations.

  • An International Deal with Syria

When then-U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, announced a deal to prevent the United States from entering the Syrian War, it was contingent on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s promise to dismantle his nation’s chemical weapons. Like other real-life negotiation case studies, this one highlights the value of expanding our focus in negotiation.

  • A Nuclear Deal with Iran

When the United States and five other world powers announced an interim agreement to temporarily freeze Iran’s nuclear program, the six-month accord, which eventually led to a full-scale agreement in 2015, was designed to give international negotiators time to negotiate a more comprehensive pact that would remove the threat of Iran producing nuclear weapons. As Iranian President Hassan Rouhani insisted that Iran had a sovereign right to enrich uranium, the United States rejected Iran’s claim to having a “right to enrich” but agreed to allow Iran to continue to enrich at a low level, a concession that allowed a deal to emerge.

What international business negotiation case studies in the news have you learned from in recent years?

Related Posts

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  • Negotiation Case Studies: The Bangladesh Factory-Safety Agreements

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International Environmental Law: A Case Study Analysis

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  • 10.4324/9781315150291

T1 - International Environmental Law

T2 - A Case Study Analysis

AU - Nagtzaam, Gerry

AU - van Hook, Evan

AU - Guilfoyle, Douglas

N2 - This book seeks to better understand how International Environmental Law regimes evolve. The authors address throughout the major environmental, economic, and political tensions that have both shaped and constrained the evolution of international environmental policy within regimes, and its expression in international legal rule and norm development.Readers will gain an increased understanding of the growing role played by non-state actors in global environmental governance, including environmental non-government organisations, scientists, the United Nations, and corporations. The authors also look ahead to the future of International Environmental Law, evaluating key challenges and decisions that the discipline will face.The text is clear, concise, and accessible. It is ideally suited to students and professionals interested in International Environmental Law, and individuals who are intrigued by this dynamic area of law.

AB - This book seeks to better understand how International Environmental Law regimes evolve. The authors address throughout the major environmental, economic, and political tensions that have both shaped and constrained the evolution of international environmental policy within regimes, and its expression in international legal rule and norm development.Readers will gain an increased understanding of the growing role played by non-state actors in global environmental governance, including environmental non-government organisations, scientists, the United Nations, and corporations. The authors also look ahead to the future of International Environmental Law, evaluating key challenges and decisions that the discipline will face.The text is clear, concise, and accessible. It is ideally suited to students and professionals interested in International Environmental Law, and individuals who are intrigued by this dynamic area of law.

U2 - 10.4324/9781315150291

DO - 10.4324/9781315150291

SN - 9781138556737

SN - 9781138556768

BT - International Environmental Law

PB - Routledge

CY - Abingdon UK

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Majority of countries argue Israel violated international law in last historic hearing at UN court

A Palestinian flag flies outside the United Nations' highest court, rear, during historic hearings in The Hague, Netherlands, Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024, into the legality of Israel's 57-year occupation of the West Bank and east Jerusalem, plunging the 15 international judges back into the heart of the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Six days of hearings at the International Court of Justice, during which an unprecedented number of countries will participate in proceedings, are scheduled as Israel continues its devastating assault on Gaza. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

A Palestinian flag flies outside the United Nations’ highest court, rear, during historic hearings in The Hague, Netherlands, Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024, into the legality of Israel’s 57-year occupation of the West Bank and east Jerusalem, plunging the 15 international judges back into the heart of the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Six days of hearings at the International Court of Justice, during which an unprecedented number of countries will participate in proceedings, are scheduled as Israel continues its devastating assault on Gaza. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

A pro-Palestinian demonstrator holds a sign outside the United Nations’ highest court, rear, during historic hearings in The Hague, Netherlands, Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024, into the legality of Israel’s 57-year occupation of the West Bank and east Jerusalem, plunging the 15 international judges back into the heart of the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Six days of hearings at the International Court of Justice, during which an unprecedented number of countries will participate in proceedings, are scheduled as Israel continues its devastating assault on Gaza. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

Judges enter the United Nations’ highest court during historic hearings in The Hague, Netherlands, Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024, into the legality of Israel’s 57-year occupation of the West Bank and east Jerusalem, plunging the 15 international judges back into the heart of the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Six days of hearings at the International Court of Justice, during which an unprecedented number of countries will participate in proceedings, are scheduled as Israel continues its devastating assault on Gaza. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

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THE HAGUE (AP) — The United Nations’ highest court on Monday wrapped up historic proceedings into the legality of Israel’s 57-year occupation of lands sought by Palestinians for a future state, with most voices at the hearing arguing against the Israeli government.

Over six days, the International Court of Justice heard from an unprecedented number of countries and the majority argued Israel was violating international law and called for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.

“The real obstacle to peace is obvious — the deepening occupation by Israel of the Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, and failure to implement the two-state vision, Israel and Palestine living side by side,” Turkey’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmet Yildiz said.

The hearings addressed a request by the U.N. General Assembly for a non-binding opinion on the legality of Israel’s policies. The court says it will issue its opinion in “due course.” On average, advisory opinions are released six months after oral proceedings.

This handout image from the state-run Saudi Press Agency shows Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, left, meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024. Zelenskyy arrived in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday and met the kingdom's powerful crown prince to push for a peace plan and the return of prisoners of war from Russia. (Saudi Press Agency via AP)

Fiji was one of a handful of countries to argue that the court should refuse the request and directly mentioned the Hamas attacks that set off the war in Gaza and left about 1,200 people dead while Hamas militants also took nearly 250 others hostage.

“The events of 7 October 2023 have shown us what could happen if there were a complete and unconditional withdrawal without the necessary arrangements in place to guarantee the security of Israel,” Filipo Tarakinikini said on behalf of the South Pacific Island nation.

The United States also cautioned the court against issuing an opinion, calling for an immediate withdrawal from the territories. Acting State Department legal adviser Richard Visek said last week the judges should not seek to resolve the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict “through an advisory opinion addressed to questions focusing on the acts of only one party.”

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki had previously urged the 15-judge panel to uphold the Palestinian right to self-determination and to declare “that the Israeli occupation is illegal and must end immediately, totally and unconditionally.”

Though the hearings were held against the backdrop of the Israel-Hamas war , which has killed more than 29,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry, it pre-dated this round of conflict and focused instead on Israel’s open-ended occupation of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem.

Late last month, the court ordered Israel to do all it can to prevent death, destruction and any acts of genocide in its military offensive in Gaza. South Africa also filed a separate case accusing Israel of genocide because of its actions in the Strip, a charge that Israel denied.

Israel rejects accusations that its treatment of Palestinians amounts to apartheid and has accused U.N. bodies and international tribunals of bias.

It did not participate in the oral proceedings but, in a five-page written submission, Israel said the questions put to the court are prejudiced and “fail to recognize Israel’s right and duty to protect its citizens.”

Israel captured the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip in the 1967 Mideast war. The Palestinians seek all three areas for an independent state. Israel considers the West Bank to be a disputed territory, whose future should be decided in negotiations.

The peace process has repeatedly stalled because of Palestinian attacks, Israel’s expansion of settlements in occupied territory and the inability of the two sides to agree on issues like final borders, the status of Jerusalem and the fate of Palestinian refugees.

In 2004, the court said that a separation barrier Israel built through east Jerusalem and parts of the West Bank was “contrary to international law.” It also called on Israel to immediately halt construction. Israel has ignored the ruling.

case study in international law

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  1. 10 Landmark Cases of International Law

    1. Corfu Channel case (Heard before the International Court of Justice between 1947 and 1949) Subject matter: state liability for maritime damages, as well as the theory of innocent passage Facts:

  2. How to Select and Develop International Law Case Studies: Lessons

    11 See Forteau, Mathias, Comparative International Law Within, Not Against, International Law: Lessons from the International Law Commission, 109 AJIL 498 (2015)CrossRef Google Scholar. 12 12 See Levy , Jack S. , Case Studies: Types, Designs, and Logics of Inference , 25 Conflict Mgmt. & Peace Sci. 1 , 6-7 ( 2008 ) CrossRef Google Scholar .

  3. List of All Cases

    2024. Application of the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism and of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Ukraine v. Russian Federation) 2017. 2024. Contentious. Title. Introduction.

  4. Cases

    Cases The Court has a twofold role: to settle, in accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by States (contentious cases) and to give advisory opinions (advisory procedures) on legal questions referred to it by duly authorized United Nations organs and specialized agencies.

  5. Research Guides: International Law: International Cases

    European Union Court of Justice. Inter-American Court of Human Rights. International Criminal Court (ICC) International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. UN's Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia. UN's International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda Cases (1994-2015) UN's International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY)

  6. The use of force in international law: a case-based approach

    See, e.g. W Michael Reisman, 'International Incidents: Introduction to a New Genre in the Study of International Law' (1984) 10 Yale Journal of International Law 1; Ruth Wedgwood, 'The ICJ Advisory Opinion on the Israeli Security Fence and the Limits of Self-Defense' (2005) 99 American Journal of International Law 52, 52; James A Green ...

  7. Case Studies

    In collaboration with the HLS Case Studies Program, the HLS Program on International Law and Armed Conflict (HLS PILAC) develops real-world-inspired case studies.

  8. International Materials

    The four case studies in the Great Negotiator Collection feature international diplomacy in Afghanistan, Northern Ireland, China, and post-WWII Europe. Foreign Translations Mandarin: Managing the Client Portfolio Mandarin Translation The Demise of Howrey Mandarin Translation Spanish: Diego Primadonna Spanish Language Version

  9. Public International Law

    American Courts and the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees: A Need for Harmony in the Face of a Refugee Crisis. Vol. 131 No. 5 March 2018 Introduction The international refugee regime is one of the most frequently applied bodies of international law in domestic settings worldwide. The 1951 Convention Relating... Political Question Doctrine ...

  10. International and Comparative Law

    International legal studies encompass legal disciplines such as finance and criminal law, legal history and antitrust, among many others, even as they accentuate questions regarding both relations across national boundaries between states, entities and citizens and the transnational transmission of ideas about law. Sort By:

  11. Harvard Law School

    Case Studies and Other Experiential Learning Tools from Harvard Law School. Toggle menu. 617-496-1316 Login or Sign Up; 0. Search. ... Program on International Law and Armed Conflict; Program on Negotiation; About Us. About Harvard Law Case Studies; The Case Study Teaching Method; Blog;

  12. LibGuides: Public International Law: International Case Law

    The "Case Law" database contains full-text of cases from all EU courts (1954 onwards), as well as Advocate's General's opinions. Westlaw: EU-CS-ALL database Contains full-text of English-language Court of Justice cases since 1954 and Court of First Instance cases since 1989.

  13. International Law Commission, Articles on State Responsibility

    A. International Law Commission Report, A/56/10 August 2001. N.B. As per the disclaimer, neither the ICRC nor the authors can be identified with the opinions expressed in the Cases and Documents. Some cases even come to solutions that clearly violate IHL. They are nevertheless worthy of discussion, if only to raise a challenge to display more humanity in armed conflicts.

  14. Syria: A Case Study in International Law

    Abstract. The geographic scope of the conflict in Syria, the number and nature of the parties involved, and the brutality of the violence have combined to create a situation that implicates an extraordinary range of international law issues. The conflict is not an aberration. Rather, it is likely a prototype for the future: conflicts driven by ...

  15. PDF Compendium of Case Studies of International Humanitarian Law

    case studies of International Humanitarian Law (IHL), a collection of some 60 cases in which IHL is applicable, taken from a work entitled Es begann in Solferino by Mr. Horst Seibt, IHL expert, of the German Red Cross. With his kind permission, the ICRC has translated it and adapted it to the general plan of one of its recent publica-

  16. Landmark Cases in Private International Law

    This collection of essays contains in-depth analyses of eighteen landmark cases in private international law, from Penn v Lord Baltimore in 1750 to Brownlie v FS Cairo (Nile Plaza) LLC in 2021. The contributors are experts drawn from academia and practice as well as from the bench, including other members of the Faculty.

  17. Top 10 International Business Negotiation Case Studies

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  18. International Environmental Law: A Case Study Analysis

    Abstract. This book seeks to better understand how International Environmental Law regimes evolve. The authors address throughout the major environmental, economic, and political tensions that have both shaped and constrained the evolution of international environmental policy within regimes, and its expression in international legal rule and ...

  19. PDF Landmark Cases in Public International Law

    International Law Reports and the Max Planck Encyclopedia of ... 515 ( 1832 ) . Further: JC Burke , ' The Cherokee Cases : A Study in Law, Politics, and Morality ' ( 1969 ) 21 Stanford LR 500 . 5 (1876) 2 Ex D 63. It is irresponsible to suggest that this case stands for any concrete proposition: see CA Miles , ' The ...

  20. PDF Significant International Environmental Law Cases: 2017-18

    Significant International Environmental Law Cases: 2017-18 James Harrison* 1. INTRODUCTION This review of significant international environmental law cases covers the period from May 2017 to June 2018. This year has seen a number of novel issues being addressed by international courts and tribunals.

  21. PUBLIC INTERNATIONAL LAW CASE LAW SUMMARIES

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  22. Exercises and Case-Study

    Content. CT, Sanctions and IHL "Myth busting". Fictitious Case-Study : War in the Gama Region. Exercise on the Classification of Armed Conflicts.

  23. International Law

    Take a Deep Dive Our 34 international law professors teach 31 international law courses, from international trade to international environmental law, from international business law to human rights law and from international arbitration to international criminal law. We offer international law as a 1L elective.

  24. Majority of countries argue Israel violated international law in last

    A Palestinian flag flies outside the United Nations' highest court, rear, during historic hearings in The Hague, Netherlands, Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024, into the legality of Israel's 57-year occupation of the West Bank and east Jerusalem, plunging the 15 international judges back into the heart of the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

  25. SGS Gains GS Mark Approval for Juvenile Product Testing at

    Get insights on international developments, new regulations, case studies and updates on SGS activities. Follow us on LinkedIn. Sign up to Consumer Compact. ... Office of Compliance and Field Operations has sent a reminder that the regulations issued under Reese's Law are scheduled to be enforced in March 2024. News & Insights. View all. View ...