Corporate Liability for Extraterritorial Human Rights Violations – the US in Retreat?

Last week, in Jesner v. Arab Bank, the United States Supreme Court decided that foreign corporations cannot be sued in federal court for human rights violations that occurred outside the US and have no substantial link to the US. The decision is the latest piece of an ongoing debate around the question: just how far can the US meddle in affairs of other countries? More pragmatically, it makes international human rights litigation – a successful counterpart to diplomatic intervention in the past – much more difficult today.

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Something Rotten in the State of Denmark?

The final version of the Copenhagen Declaration has turned out to be a lot less dramatic than the original draft led many observers to believe. This leaves several questions of why. Why did Denmark, traditionally a frontrunner country, create a draft declaration so regressive it gave rise to harsh critiques from the Council of Europe Assembly, from academia and from civil society? Why was the Danish Minister of Justice glossing over the content of the declaration? Why has the Danish Institute of Human Rights been so relatively quiet throughout the whole debacle?

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Konzernmacht und Verantwortung für Menschenrechte und Umwelt: Neue Wege in der Schweiz

In der Schweiz könnten Unternehmen schon bald durch die Verfassung in die Pflicht genommen werden, weltweit für Menschenrechte und Umwelt Verantwortung zu übernehmen. Das ist das Ziel einer Volksinitiative mit dem Titel „Für verantwortungsvolle Unternehmen – zum Schutz von Mensch und Umwelt“, die die schweizerische Bundesverfassung um eine neue Verfassungsbestimmung zur „Verantwortung von Unternehmen” ergänzen soll.

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The French Antiterrorist Bill: A Permanent State of Emergency

In July, a government bill against terrorism was adopted to replace the French state of emergency, which is in force since the terrorist attacks of November 2015. Critics have long complained about the lasting of the etat d’urgence. An analysis of the new bill however reveals that it is still a threat for human rights and in that matter rather a softened version of the state of emergency.

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South Africa’s Withdrawal from the ICC: The High Court Judgment and its Limits

Domestic legal challenges to the South Africa government’s decision to withdraw from the ICC are underway, and while the first instalment has a distinctly Brexit flavor, it also foreshadows more substantive constitutional arguments to come.

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"A Terrible Signal that International Law can be Flaunted without Consequence"

If refugees are detained or turned away for reasons of religion or country of origin, that is a case of discrimination clearly prohibited by international refugee law. In theory any other state party to the Refugee Protocol can take the US to the International Court of Justice. Will Chancellor Merkel or perhaps Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau – each of whom has spoken up for refugees in the current context – have the courage to make that referral?

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Toward Hominid and Other Humanoid Rights: Are We Witnessing a Legal Revolution?

On 3 November 2016, an Argentinian judge granted habeas corpus relief to Cecilia, a person held captive in a small cage. Nothing out of the ordinary – except for the fact that Cecilia is not a battered woman or abused girl, but a chimpanzee kept at Mendoza zoo. This 1 % genetic difference turns this into a landmark judgment of potentially revolutionary proportions. For the first time in legal history, a court explicitly declared an animal other than human a legal person who possesses inherent fundamental rights. This judgment marks a radical breach with the deeply entrenched legal tradition of categorizing animals as rightless things (the person’s antithesis), and demonstrates that the previously impenetrable legal wall between humans and animals can be surmounted. The question seems no longer if, but when.

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Warum ein Opt-out aus der EMRK für britische Streitkräfte eher unwahrscheinlich ist

Die britische Premierministerin Theresa May will die Streitkräfte von den Verpflichtungen der Europäischen Menschenrechtskonvention befreien. Folgt daraus, dass Schadensersatzklagen von Opfern demnächst als unzulässig abgewiesen werden? Oder dass das Vereinigte Königreich nicht mehr an die EMRK gebunden ist, wenn es seine Streitkräfte in den Einsatz schickt? Wohl kaum.

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