A Matter of Faith

The purpose of Brexit, we have been told, is to “take back control”. It should hardly come as a surprise therefore that this involves the reassertion by Parliament of its prerogative to determine the domestic effects (if any) of international agreements within the UK legal system. Wresting this power away from Brussels goes to the very root of Brexit’s raison d’être. Moreover, why have this power if you’re not going to use it? It is in this context that the furore concerning the Internal Market Bill, presented last Wednesday by the Johnson government, should be viewed.

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One day (Vandaag) …

Yes I do … have a migration background. Yet, due to mere genetic randomness, my “Germanness” has hardly ever been challenged – at least until the moment when it comes to the correct spelling of my family name: “KHan” not “KaHn” – Dschinghis, not Oliver – please! Occasionally, I still get carried away with coquetting in my lectures: “I would be inclined to say – I am a case of successful integration.” Some students may then be slightly embarrassed, in particular after a controversial discussion about immigration policy. But that’s it basically, my personal home story about “racism”! But to be very clear and unambiguous: my father’s story is a much longer and a much more painful one! But that’s another story.

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VB Live: “Universally respected but temporarily neglected?” – COVID-19 as a crisis for human rights and multilateralism

Today on Verfassungsblog: Session III of our discussion series on the COVID-19 crisis from a German, European and International Perspective, jointly organized by IFHV and Verfassungsblog – streamed live, Tuesday, 19 May 2020, from 4:00 – 5:45 pm. Don’t miss it!

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The Law of the WHO, COVID-19 and the Multilateral World Order

A new virus, SARS-CoV-2, emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of 2019. Infected persons developed an atypical form of pneumonia, later known as COVID-19. The pathogen created a pandemic, with fatalities throughout the world, and also led to the adoption of restrictive measures which were, until recently, unthinkable, as well as fostering new political conflicts. Even the path of the multilateral order in its current form is at stake. For a take on these issues under international law, the legal regime of the World Health Organization (WHO) and its response to the pandemic provides an insightful access.

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When Violations of International and EU Law Overlap

On 11 December 2019, Advocate General Pikamäe issued his Opinion rejecting jurisdiction of the ECJ in an infringement procedure between Slovenia and Croatia (C-457/18). The case raises the question whether the ECJ may engage with asserted violations of EU law which result from Croatia’s non-recognition of the final and binding Arbitral Award determining the border dispute between both Members. The opinion of the Advocate General appears to be fuelled by political rather than legal considerations and the ECJ should not follow it in order to make clear that the EU is able to protect its autonomous legal system and that it stands on its foundational and common legal principles.

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A Pyrrhic Victory? Iran obtains Provisional Measures against the United States

Last week Iran scored what has widely been reported to be an important legal victory over the United States. The International Court of Justice ordered provisional measures that prohibit key elements of the new administration’s efforts to wage economic warfare against Iran. The ruling is noteworthy for the clarity and stringency of its argument, but also because nobody expects it to alter the existing dispute between the parties in the slightest.

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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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Einer raus, einer rein: vielleicht keine Lösung, aber immerhin Völkerrecht

Für jeden syrischen Flüchtling, den die Türkei aus Chios, Lesbos und Kos zurücknimmt, lässt die EU einen anderen syrischen Flüchtling aus der Türkei legal einreisen. Ein bewegliches Kontingent soll es geben, das den Syrern in der Türkei als legale, sichere und preiswerte Alternative zum Schlauchboot offen steht und dessen Größe schrumpft und wächst mit der Zahl der irregulär eingereisten Flüchtlinge, die die Türkei aus Griechenland wieder zurücknimmt. Das ist der Plan nach dem gestrigen EU-Gipfel in Brüssel. Pro Asyl findet ihn ganz fürchterlich. Ich bin da ehrlich gesagt nicht so sicher.

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Völkerrechtsfreundlich heißt nicht unbedingt völkerrechtstreu

Unsere britischen Freunde werden verständig mit dem Kopf nicken bei dieser Nachricht: Dass Deutschland sich irgendwann mal völkerrechtlich zu etwas verpflichtet hat, so der Zweite Senat des Bundesverfassungsgerichts in einem heute veröffentlichten Beschluss, heißt mitnichten, dass Deutschland kraft Verfassung diese Pflicht dann auch einhalten muss. Wenn der demokratische Gesetzgeber nach Abschluss eines völkerrechtlichen Vertrags, so die Senatsmehrheit, es sich zu irgendeinem späteren Zeitpunkt anders überlegt, dann gibt es nichts und niemanden, das ihn verfassungsrechtlich daran hindern könnte. “Demokratie ist Herrschaft auf Zeit”, schreibt die Senatsmehrheit mit majestätischer Kürze, und den Gesetzgeber über die Dauer einer Legislaturperiode zu binden, würde dem Demokratieprinzip widersprechen. Der Gesetzgeber müsse frei bleiben, das einfache Recht so zu gestalten, wie er es für richtig hält.

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“We are not in a Seminar”: Some Thoughts on the Legislative’s and Executive’s Prerogative in Determining International Law

“We are not in a seminar but in parliament”: With these words the German Minister of Foreign Affairs has tried to brush aside international law arguments against the deployment of German soldiers within the fight against ISIS. To put these propositions in a nutshell: France feels that it has been attacked and this is sufficient for invoking self-defense. In any case it does not matter what international law precisely says. Both of these suggestions are more than dubious.

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