International Law in 2011

While, there probably has never been a year that has not been ‘interesting’ for modern international law,  the past twelve months has seen several developments which were entirely unpredicted this time last year. This post aims to give a general overview of the various developments in international law over the past year. While significant events such as Libya and the Durban environmental conference, particularly Canada’s decision to leave the Kyoto Protocol to reduce carbon emissions, have dominated the news, a number of other significant events have also contributed to an absorbing year for international law. The events chosen here are mainly picked based on their impact on the development of international law at a general level, more specific developments in particular human rights fields are left for those more expert in their fields to discuss.

At the United Nations the suspension of Libya from the Human Rights Council, the attempts of Palestine to become a member as well as its successful application to join UNESCO, the establishment of a Special Rapporteur for Transitional Justice, as well as the annual General Assembly speeches and the usual Security Council wranglings regarding sanctions on Iran were dominant.

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Fair Hearings for Requests to be Removed from Sanctions List?

The 1267 Committee, named for the UN Security Council Resolution which set the parameters for its creation, has been controversal since it was established in 1999. The regime established under Resolution 1267 and subsequent resolutions was aimed at individuals and groups associated with Al Qaeda, the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden. Since 2001 the reach and effect of the Committee has expanded greatly. The resolutions, adopted under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, requires member states to implement legislation or other statutory steps to ensure uniformity of measures against those listed by the Committee as associated with Al Qaeda or the Taliban. Even prior to the increase in the number and severity of  measures subsequent to September 11th, 2001, the actions undertaken under the resolutions were criticised by the Council of Europe for their arbitrariness.

Under the various resolutions the Committee is mandated to keep a consolidated list of persons and organisations associated with Al Qaeda and the Taliban and it is this list which has courted much of the controversy. The list is available here. There are currently 495 entries on it. Since a de-listing procedure was established in 2006, 33 individuals and 37 groups have been removed from the list though only since March 2010 are these names also removed from the Committee’s website. These de-listings include 6 Taliban Individuals, 9 Taliban Entities, 27 Al-Qaeda Individuals and 28 Al-Qaeda Entities. The measures taken against these individuals have included: assets freeze, travel bans and arms embargos. Continue reading