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The Consequence of the UN Resolution on Israeli Settlements for the EU:  Stop Trade with Settlements

EJIL:Talk! - Tue, 04/04/2017 - 08:00

The recent UN Security Council Resolution 2334 (2016) reaffirmed that the establishment of Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory has no legal validity and that Israel’s settlement enterprise is a flagrant violation of international law. The resolution also calls upon all States “to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967”. This part of the resolution is of great significance with regard to the question of trading with settlements.

While the content of the resolution might seem novel, Secretary of State John Kerry was right to remind us in his landmark speech on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at the end of 2016 that:

this resolution simply reaffirms statements made by the Security Council on the legality of settlements over several decades. It does not break new ground”. In 1980 UN Security Council Resolution 465 had called upon all States “not to provide Israel with any assistance to be used specifically in connection with settlements in occupied territories.

Trading with settlements offers an economic lifeline that allows the settlement enterprise to survive and develop. This reality and the aforementioned UN Security Council Resolutions make a good case not to trade with settlements. But is the withholding of such settlement trade truly an obligation under international law?

In an earlier piece I argued that there is indeed such an obligation, and the lack of state compliance does not seriously shake the legal foundations of this argument. Just last year in an open letter, 40 legal experts (myself included) called upon the European Parliament, and the office of the High Representative and the Trade Commissioner to stop trade with settlements in compliance with the EU’s international legal obligations. Signatories included two former UN rapporteurs, a former President of the International Law Commission, a former judge on the ICTY, and dozens of professors in international law.

Our main argument was that the EU has the obligation to end trade with Israeli settlements based on the duties of non-recognition and non-assistance. This post will describe the legal argumentation underlying these duties. As this obligation is mainly triggered by a violation of jus cogens norms, I will assess whether Israel’s settlement enterprise violates any peremptory norms. I will then assess what the duties of non-recognition and non-assistance entail specifically.

Israel’s violation of jus cogens and the duty of non-recognition

According to the International Law Commission’s Articles on State Responsibility (Art 41.2), the duty not to recognize a situation as lawful nor aid or assist in maintaining that situation arises for third states when there is a jus cogens violation. In its Advisory Opinion on the Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, the International Court of Justice concluded (Para. 159) that third states had the duties of non-recognition and non-assistance:

Given the character and the importance of the rights and obligations involved, the Court is of the view that all States are under an obligation not to recognize the illegal situation resulting from the construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem. They are also under an obligation not to render aid or assistance in maintaining the situation created by such construction.

This was only the second time in its history that the ICJ explicitly concluded that states had the duty not to recognize and not aid or assist in maintaining a situation. Whereas the ICJ did not go as far as calling specific violations jus cogens violations, its conclusion that the duties of non-recognition and non-assistance apply to third states seems to ipso facto confirm that either individual violations or their cumulative impact indeed constituted a violation of jus cogens.

Another interpretation can be that the duties of non-recognition and non-assistance can apply to non-jus cogens breaches as well. In his Separate Opinion in the Wall Advisory Opinion, Judge Kooijmans argued that the consequences of the breach are identical – whether or not violations are of a jus cogens nature. In its Wall Opinion, the Court emphasized the erga omnes character of the obligation involved (Para. 155-157), the intransgressible (a term not used lightly) principles of international customary law (Para. 157) and the nature of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a threat to international peace and security (Para. 161). It might be that this together is sufficient for the Court to affirm the existence of the duties of non-recognition and non-assistance. However, this combination of findings suggests that it is politically and legally relevant to assess whether Israeli violations in Palestine are jus cogens violations or not. That the ICJ did not draw this conclusion explicitly was probably for reasons of judicial economy (read: political carefulness).

Israeli settlements and specific jus cogens violations?

Three key considerations are of significance in arguing for the existence of Israeli jus cogens violations. The first two are considerations developed by the ICJ in its Wall Opinion, prior to affirming the duty of non-recognition. First, there is the obstruction of Palestinians’ right to self-determination, among others by the de facto acquisition of territory by the use of force (emphasized again in the recent UNSC Resolution on settlements). The peremptory character of these norms was suggested by some states in the International Law Commission’s development of the ILC Articles on the Law of Treaties (p248) and affirmed by the ILC when drafting the Articles on State Responsibility (P85, 112, 113, 114, 115). In its discussion, the Commission emphasized the essence (p115) of this principle for contemporary international law, a similar assessment provided by Judge Elaraby in his separate Wall opinion (Para. 31).

Second, the ILC Articles on State Responsibility also refer to fundamental norms of international humanitarian law as potential jus cogens. To do so, they rely on the ICJ’s use of the term ‘intransgressible’ (p113), which some scholars believe is a way to avoid using jus cogens. Fundamental norms are argued (among others by Judge Nieto-Navia (P24) and Hannikainen (P605-606)) to include the Fourth Geneva Convention. The applicability of the Convention to Israel’s occupation and its settlements – including the transfer of population to occupied territories as a flagrant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention – is referred to in numerous UNSC Resolutions (including UNSC Resolutions 446, 465, 469, 471, and the recent 2334) by the ICRC and in the ICJ Wall Opinion (Para. 75, 120, 126, 135).

On several occasions, including in the Wall Opinion, the ICJ confirmed that fundamental humanitarian norms had an erga omnes character and were to “be observed by all States” because “they constitute intransgressible principles of international customary law”, and are “fundamental to the respect of humanity” and “elementary considerations of humanity”. Like the ILC, many legal scholars including Cassese and Chetail, as well as ICJ judges such as Judge Bedjaoui, Judge Weeramantry and Judge Koroma have explicitly concluded these norms are either jus cogens in statu nascendi or jus cogens.

Third, in the European Journal of International Law, Dugard and Reynolds scrupulously set forward the argumentation and legal evidence that the situation in the West Bank, including Israel’s settlement enterprise, constitutes Apartheid. Again, the draft ILC Articles on State Responsibility have noted the widespread agreement that the prohibition of Apartheid constitutes a jus cogens norm (p112). Recently, Professors Falk and Tilley also concluded that Israeli practices constitute Apartheid in a report commissioned by the UN Economic and Social Commission for West Asia (ESCWA). Upon release, however, Israel and the U.S. pushed for its censorship, which ultimately lead to the resignation of the head of ESCWA and the subsequent withdrawal of the report, all without any discussion of its substantial content.

The three violations taken individually (1. right to self determination and prohibition on the acquisition of territory by force; 2. the violation of core humanitarian norms; 3. the prohibition on apartheid) seem to constitute jus cogens violations in the case of Israel’s settlement enterprise in Palestine, even if this remains untested. However, that in itself is not of primary importance here. The key consideration, however, is that the combined violations represented a sufficient breach that the ICJ concluded on the applicability of the duties of non-recognition and non-assistance.

Trade as part of the Duties of Non-Recognition and Non-Assistance

The duties of non-recognition and non-assistance (laid out in Art. 41(2) of the ILC Article on State Responsibility) require that states shall neither recognize as lawful a situation created by a serious breach of a peremptory norm of international law, nor render aid or assistance in maintaining the situation created by the breach. What exactly the duties entail is widely debated, but it is generally understood that it does not require positive obligations on third states. Stopping trade with settlements, however, should not be considered a positive obligation (for example a sanction), but a negative one: states should withhold from trading with settlements, as this type of trade should have not existed in the first place and represents, in a consistent reading of international public law, an error in international economic relations.

Trading with settlements is a violation of both duties, which complement each other despite having different substance. On the side of non-assistance, the agreement establishing the World Trade Organization explicitly refers to the economic benefits of liberalized trade: “raising standards of living, ensuring full employment and a large and steadily growing volume of real income and effective demand, and expanding the production of and trade in goods and services”. Trading with legally invalid settlements gives those settlements economic support. This seems to constitute concrete help to the maintenance of the unlawful situation, as discussed by Aust (p339). Indicative of the fact that trade helps to maintain Israeli violations is for example UN Office of the High Commission for Human Rights’ recognition of the encouragement of economic activity in settlements as a reason for settlement expansion (p3). This was also confirmed in the Human Right Council (Para. 20), which even decided to gather a list of companies operating in settlements. More detailed assessments of how settlement businesses and trade assist the maintaining and developing of settlements are provided by NGOs such as ‘Who Profits’ and Human Rights Watch.

Trading with settlements also breaches the duty of non-recognition. The only legal text directly addressing the content of the duty of non-recognition is the ICJ Advisory Opinion on Namibia in which the ICJ indicates that non-recognition “should not result in depriving the people of Namibia of any advantages derived from international co-operation” (Para. 125). This, however, is no ground to exclude settlement trade from the duties of non-recognition and non-assistance.

The Hague Convention and the Fourth Geneva Convention confirm that the fundamental prohibition of the transfer of civilian population ipso facto implies an equally strong prohibition on the economic activity of transferred civilians for the benefit of the occupying state. This prohibition is not only recognized in international law, but also in Israeli domestic law. In the Beth El Case, the Israeli Supreme Court argued that Settlements were acceptable if they were temporary and served the military and security needs of the Israeli State. In the Elon Moreh and Cooperative Society Case, the Supreme Court ruled that the security needs of the army in occupation (the main legitimization for the existence of settlements) could never include national, economic or social interests.

The ICJ Namibia Opinion (Para. 124) also addresses economic relations, when it argues that:

the restraints which are implicit in the non-recognition of South Africa’s presence in Namibia […] impose upon member States the obligation to abstain from entering into economic and other forms of relationship or dealings with South Africa on behalf of or concerning Namibia which may entrench its authority over the Territory?

Can trade between two private parties of which one is a settlement enterprise be considered as an economic dealing between the third party and Israel? From one side, economic activity and enterprises in settlements are regulated by Israeli economic law.  Exportation of products represents a claim of Israel on the territory of Palestine. From another side, the custom authorities of a third party validate trade entries. Even if no preferential access is given, the act of importation remains a legal act, which requires the stamp of approval from the importing state, which holds a sovereign power over its trade policy. Having the knowledge that settlements, among others through trade, make a claim on the territory of Palestine, makes such an act of importation implicit recognition.

Conclusion

The EU’s settlement trade policy is inconsistent. The EU explicitly does not grant preferential access to settlement produce because “it does not consider them to be part of Israel’s territory, irrespective of their status under domestic Israeli law”. It recognizes that settlements, in their trading activity, are regulated by domestic Israeli law, and it does not give them preferential access because they do not agree with this unlawful claim. This is exactly what constitutes implicit recognition.

The duty of non-recognition is a customary obligation, which does not require UN action to trigger it. Moreover, if the EU violates international law by not complying with its duty of non-recognition, it is the international obligation of EU Member States to make sure they do comply as individual, sovereign states.

In another context, the EU has acted on its obligations of non-recognition. In June 2014, the European Union formally decided to prohibit imports from Crimea or Sevastopol. The Council Decision and Regulation formally stated that an import ban is an integral part of the EU’s non-recognition policy. In this case, non-recognition was related to the illegal annexation of these territories by Russia. The legal basis for this import ban was the European Council Conclusions of 20/21 March, which explicitly condemned the illegal annexation and confirmed the EU’s obligation of non-recognition.

Banning trade with Israeli settlements is simply too controversial, hence the EU’s non-compliance. Trade measures were an important tool in bringing down Apartheid South Africa. Like the Apartheid regime, Israel realizes the potential of trade measures and tries to undermine them before they materialize. As such, they have enacted a controversial law blocking freedom of speech to call for boycotts. Just a few weeks ago, about 200 legal experts confirmed that there was no question of the legality of settlement boycott calls.  The EU has also confirmed the inalienable right to freedom of expression with regards to boycotts.

Arms Exports to Saudi Arabia in the High Court: what is a “serious violation of international humanitarian law”?

EJIL:Talk! - Mon, 04/03/2017 - 08:00

As readers will be aware, the UK High Court is presently considering a high-profile case challenging UK arms exports to Saudi Arabia. Arguments in the judicial review proceedings brought by Campaign Against Arms Trade were heard in February and judgment is awaited.

Although brought under English law, the case potentially implicates various international law questions. This post focuses on the interpretation of the expression “serious violation of international humanitarian law” (“IHL”) which the government appears to be advancing in the case. By narrowing the concept to include only war crimes, its position has significant implications for the international law regulation of the arms trade in general. This post will argue that the proposed definition should be rejected.

For further information on this and other international law issues arising in the case, the claimant has posted much of the open documentation produced by both sides on its website. This post draws heavily on those documents, and on the author’s notes of the open hearings.

The Issue Before the Court

The claimant challenges the government’s decisions to continue granting licences (and not to suspend existing licences) for arms exports to Saudi Arabia. That challenge is based primarily on alleged breaches of IHL by Saudi forces involved in the ongoing armed conflict in Yemen. Criterion 2(c) of the UK statutory guidance applicable to arms exports (the “Consolidated Criteria”) prohibits granting a licence “if there is a clear risk that the items might be used in the commission of a serious violation of international humanitarian law”. The claimants argue that given the evidence of previous breaches, the government should have concluded that such a clear risk existed.

Much of the analysis depends upon English administrative law rules for assessing government decisions. However, the nature of the risk to be considered – a serious violation of IHL – necessitates at least some engagement with international law. Not only does the expression directly refer to IHL, but it is identical to that used at Article 7 of the UN Arms Trade Treaty (“ATT”) of 2013, which also requires states to assess the risk of such violations when considering arms export licences.

The focus of this post is the effect of the qualifier “serious”, in both the Consolidated Criteria and the ATT. Since the Consolidated Criteria are supposed to be sufficient to ensure the UK’s compliance with the ATT, it appears that the government’s interpretation of the expression in the former would of necessity apply equally to the latter. This post will proceed on that basis.

Violations of IHL

IHL obligations arise under both treaty and customary law. Of particular relevance here are those obligations to be observed by states in launching an attack. They include prohibitions on targeting civilians, obligations to take all feasible precautions to minimise civilian losses, and a prohibition on launching an attack where such losses may be expected to be excessive in relation to the anticipated military advantage. Failure by a state or organised armed group to comply with these obligations will amount to a violation of IHL, giving rise to its responsibility under international law.

Certain specified violations of IHL are in addition capable of giving rise to criminal responsibility on the part of their individual perpetrators. These include violations described as “grave breaches” in the relevant IHL treaties, and other violations established as crimes under customary law. The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court includes a list of war crimes over which that court has jurisdiction, comprising both grave breaches and some (but not all) of the customary crimes. In this post “war crimes” will be used to describe all of these categories of criminal breach.

In keeping with their criminal law nature, war crimes generally require not only that one of the specified IHL rules be breached, but that the individual perpetrator have a particular mental attitude in relation to their conduct. For the obligations of interest here, this requires at least knowledge of the probable consequences of the attack (see Ryan Goodman’s helpful summary of the difference in this respect between war crimes and other IHL breaches here). As Ryan’s summary makes clear, an attack which lacks the required intent or knowledge, but the consequences of which for civilians should have been known to be excessive or could have been reduced with further precautions, can violate IHL (giving rise to State responsibility) without amounting to a war crime (to which individual criminal responsibility attaches).

The Government’s Position

In its Skeleton Argument (p 38), the government claims that:

the term ‘serious violation’ has a particular meaning as a matter of IHL and is synonymous with ‘war crimes’ and ‘grave breaches’ as defined, in particular, in the four Geneva Conventions, Additional Protocol 1 and in Article 8 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

This is followed by citation of a guide connected with the European Union’s Council Common Position on military exports, which includes a Criterion 2(c) identical to that in the Consolidated Criteria. The guide states that serious violations of IHL “include” grave breaches, and adds that the Rome Statute “includes other serious violations […] which it defines as war crimes”. It therefore mentions the same violations as the government, although its list is not stated to be exhaustive.

That the violations included in these definitions would amount to serious violations is uncontroversial. The issue is what is omitted. On its face, this formulation excludes all violations of IHL which do not amount to war crimes from constituting serious violations for these purposes.

The government’s wording could also raise a question as to whether war crimes established under customary law but not defined in the relevant treaties are included. This would be particularly relevant in a non-international armed conflict, where the treaty-defined war crimes are less extensive. However, this post will argue against limiting the definition to war crimes at all, whether or not those arising under customary law are included.

Implications of the Proposed Definition

On the government’s definition of a “serious violation”, however high the probability that the arms will be used for violations which are not war crimes, it would seemingly not require denial of a licence under Consolidated Criterion 2(c) or Article 7 of the ATT. Since not all IHL rules give rise to criminal liability, this narrows the range of conduct which can give rise to a violation. But most significantly, the use of mental elements devised for criminal liability appears inherently ill-suited to the assessment required in the arms exports context. Adding a need to predict the mental state of the relevant decision-makers (as the government has done) significantly increases the inherent difficulty associated with assessing the future probability of another state’s armed forces using certain equipment for IHL violations. Even when considering past violations as potential evidence of future risk, unless the state receiving the arms is prepared to share detailed and probably sensitive information about specific incidents, such a requirement will frequently make it difficult to conclude whether such violations were in fact serious. It also raises questions, not clearly answered in the government’s submissions, as to whose mental state must be considered: that of individual military personnel carrying out the attack, or their commanders, or some form of imputed intent of the recipient state as a whole?

It should be noted that, from the documents provided, it is unclear whether the government is in fact taking quite such a narrow approach to applying the test in practice. The first witness statement of Neil Crompton of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (see paragraphs 30(c), 58 and 59) cites government documents which focus heavily on “deliberate” breaches. They do however seem to suggest that a “consistent pattern of non-deliberate incidents (with the same cause and without remedial actions being taken to address that cause)” would be considered. The statement also refers at one point to looking at the “actus reus” (and so perhaps by implication not the relevant mental state requirements) for war crimes under the Rome Statute. This statement might therefore suggest a somewhat less restrictive approach to the question of what amounts to a serious violation.

Nonetheless, the government’s oral arguments explicitly referred to the expression as importing the same elements as war crimes, including the attitude or intention of the perpetrator. Even if its application of the test involves a more nuanced interpretation than its legal argument suggests, that legal argument requires a clear response. The following sections will consider the grounds for assessing that argument. They will focus on the ATT, as the international instrument, rather than the Consolidated Criteria: however since Criterion 2(c) was introduced to the Consolidated Criteria as part of an update responding to the UK’s entry into the ATT, its use of the same expression should be interpreted consistently. Readers with an interest in further detail on the specific topic addressed here will find helpful discussion in Stuart Casey-Maslen’s chapter on Article 7 of the ATT in “The Arms Trade Treaty: A Commentary”.

“Serious Violation” as an IHL Term of Art?

The government’s suggestion that the expression “serious violation” has a “particular meaning as a matter of IHL” will be considered first.

Some of the documents issued by the International Committee of the Red Cross (“ICRC”) in connection with the ATT could be read as supportive of the government’s view in this regard. An explanatory note commences by remarking that “Serious violations of [IHL] are war crimes. The two terms are today interchangeable.” A separate ICRC leaflet comments that “’serious violation of IHL’ is another term for ‘war crime’”. A suggested list of “serious violations” in the ICRC’s “Practical Guide” on Arms Transfer Decisions only lists war crimes (although it does at least explicitly include customary war crimes as well as treaty ones).

None of these documents however specifically proposes importing the required mental elements of war crimes into the assessment, and two of the three include general descriptions of its meaning which focus on the effects of the breach or the values at stake without mentioning such an element. For instance the explanatory note mentioned above goes on to say that violations “are serious, and are war crimes, if they endanger protected persons (e.g. civilians, prisoners of war, the wounded and sick) or objects (e.g. civilian objects or infrastructure) or if they breach important values.”

Other sources might suggest a broader definition. Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions refers at Article 90 to “facts alleged to be a grave breach […] [as defined in the relevant IHL treaties] or other serious violation [of those treaties]” (emphasis added), demonstrating that the concepts are not in that context synonymous. The ICRC commentary on that treaty (Articles 89 and 90) discusses possible categories of serious violation not amounting to grave breaches, including breaches which occur frequently or are systematically repeated.

In a similar vein, the claimant referred in oral argument to the ICTY Appeals Chamber’s highly influential jurisdiction ruling in Prosecutor v Tadić, which held that to be “serious” a violation of IHL “must constitute a breach of a rule protecting important values, and the breach must involve grave consequences for the victim”. The ruling did not describe the concept of a “serious” violation as co-extensive or synonymous with criminal liability, but rather as one specific condition of such liability. The same reasoning appears to underlie the formulation adopted by Philippe Sands and Andrew Clapham in a 2015 legal opinion which addressed the point.

The Tadić ruling and Additional Protocol I are of course not addressed to the interpretation of the ATT. However if as the government suggests the serious violation expression does indeed carry a particular meaning in IHL, its discussion in the context of a widely ratified IHL treaty and a landmark ruling of an international court presumably deserve some consideration.

By contrast, while certain treaties might appear to tie the concept of “serious violations” to war crimes (see here, at Article 8, here, at Article 15, here at Article 1 and here at Article 1), they only do so for the purpose of defining or labelling war crimes. They do not provide any support for the proposition that only war crimes can be serious violations.

“Serious Violation” as used in the ATT

The broader definition which some of the above sources suggest is supported by consideration of the ATT’s text and its object and purpose.

The ATT’s object as stated in Article 1 is “to […] establish the highest possible common international standards for regulating or improving the regulation of international trade in conventional arms” (as well as tackling the illicit arms trade and the risk of diversion). As its model for regulation focuses on the transferring state’s assessment of the risk of future breaches by the recipient, adopting an interpretation which as noted materially increases the difficulty of accurately carrying out such an assessment appears dubious. The purpose of the treaty, which includes “Reducing human suffering”, also supports interpreting “serious” by reference to the scale and impact of the breach on its victims rather than the mental state of the perpetrator.

The ordinary meaning of the word “serious” (“Weighty, grave; important, significant, of great consequence” under the most relevant definition in the Oxford English Dictionary) provides no support for a more limited view either. In this respect, it can usefully be compared with another provision of the ATT. Article 6, which sets out a separate restriction on exports which would be used for certain purposes, explicitly mentions “grave breaches […] or other war crimes […]”, instead of “serious violations”. Had the intention been to limit the conduct referred to in Article 7 in this way one would expect similarly explicit language to have been used instead of the more general formulation which was employed.

Failures to take all feasible precautions in attack, or to adhere to the principle of proportionality, breach IHL rules of fundamental importance. Where they involve grave consequences for their victims, they should be considered serious violations under the ATT regardless of the attacker’s intent. Accordingly, whatever the High Court may decide as to the process of risk assessment and the probability of violations required to prohibit exports, the narrow definition of a serious violation which appears to be advanced by the government should be clearly rejected.

Announcements: International Disaster Law Course; Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition; CfC – A Year in Elections; Groningen Summer Schools; UCALL Conference on Accountability and International Business Operations

EJIL:Talk! - Sun, 04/02/2017 - 10:30

1. International Disaster Law Course. The 4th Edition of the International Disaster Law Course is now open for applications (Sanremo, Italy, 12-16 June 2017). More information is available here. The Course is organized jointly by the IFRC, the IIHL Sanremo, the IDL Project in cooperation with the Roma Tre IEUDL Jean Monnet Module and the IRC. Confirmed speakers will include Eduardo Valencia-Ospina (former ILC SR on the Protection of Persons in the Event of Disasters) and Walter Kälin, along with academics and representatives of relevant organisations such as OCHA, WHO, IOM, IFRC.

2. 9th Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition. All universities in the world are invited to participate in the 2017 Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition, due to be held 18 – 21 July in Room XX in the Palais de Nations, Geneva – the room where the UN Human Rights Council meets. The Moot is organised by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria. The first phase of the Competition is a written preliminary round: teams are evaluated on the basis of their heads of argument. The top five teams from each UN region are invited to Geneva to take part in the pre-final and final rounds, which involve oral arguments. Submissions received during the first phase (written) are evaluated by human rights experts. The judges in the final round of the Competition are eminent judges from international courts and tribunals as well as other experts. This year Justice Albie Sachs, from the Constitutional Court of South Africa, will be one of the judges. The Competition also entail a one-day conference that will expose participants to current developments in the UN human rights system. The deadline for submitting heads of arguments is 12 June 2017. See the competition website for the rules of procedure, the hypothetical case, and registration details. For further information, please contact eduardo.kapapelo {at} up.ac(.)za var mailNode = document.getElementById('emob-rqhneqb.xncncryb@hc.np.mn-13'); var linkNode = document.createElement('a'); linkNode.setAttribute('href', "mailto:%65%64%75%61%72%64%6F%2E%6B%61%70%61%70%65%6C%6F%40%75%70%2E%61%63%2E%7A%61"); tNode = document.createTextNode("eduardo.kapapelo {at} up.ac(.)za"); linkNode.appendChild(tNode); linkNode.setAttribute('id', "emob-rqhneqb.xncncryb@hc.np.mn-13"); mailNode.parentNode.replaceChild(linkNode, mailNode); .

3. Rights! Call for Contributions: 2017 – A Year in Elections. Throughout 2017, Rights! is welcoming contributions in all sections of Rights! on elections conducted (or to be conducted) worldwide, but also their preparation and follow up. Attention can be paid to technical, political, legal and human rights aspects of electoral processes. Assessment can focus on, although it is not limited to, electoral integrity, especially its political dimension, fraud and mitigation measures, electoral violence, legal frameworks, electoral procedures and the work of EMBs, use of technology, inclusive participation, voter awareness and the role of civil society. Comparative perspective and electoral cycle approach will be particularly welcome. Contributions can also include analysis of electoral reform processes, democratic and political approaches to elections. Contributions are welcome throughout the year and should be sent to contact {at} rightsblog(.)net var mailNode = document.getElementById('emob-pbagnpg@evtugfoybt.arg-51'); var linkNode = document.createElement('a'); linkNode.setAttribute('href', "mailto:%63%6F%6E%74%61%63%74%40%72%69%67%68%74%73%62%6C%6F%67%2E%6E%65%74"); tNode = document.createTextNode("contact {at} rightsblog(.)net"); linkNode.appendChild(tNode); linkNode.setAttribute('id', "emob-pbagnpg@evtugfoybt.arg-51"); mailNode.parentNode.replaceChild(linkNode, mailNode);  along with a short professional bio. Please follow the blog’s style and references and specific guidelines for the section you are contributing to. Please find more information on the blog.

4. Groningen Summer Schools in law 2017. The Department of International Law, University of Groningen, together with partners, is organising two summer schools International Law for Sustainable Societies, The Sustainable Development Goals and Law and Lifestyle, A human rights approach to chronic diseases. The first summer school, International Law for Sustainable Societies, aims to explore the contribution of international law to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. The provisional programme of the summer school may be accessed here. This summer school takes place in Groningen from Monday 3 July to Friday 7 July 2017. The second summer school, Law and Lifestyle, proceeds from the basic fact that most deaths that occur globally are the result of chronic or ‘non-communicable’ diseases. Taking a human rights approach, key focus areas include securing equitable access to essential medicines, as well as assessing the possibilities to regulate behavioural risk factors such as smoking, excess alcohol consumption, unhealthy eating and a lack of physical exercise. The provisional programme of the summer school may be accessed here. This summer school takes place in Groningen from Monday 10 July to Friday 14 July 2017. Deadline for applications is 1 May 2017.

5. UCALL Conference on Accountability and International Business Operations. A research institution of Utrecht University specialised on issues of corporate liability and accountability (UCALL) is hosting a Conference on Accountability and International Business Operations. This conference inquires how regulatory tools stemming from international law, public law, and private law may or may not be used for transnational corporate accountability purposes. Attention will be devoted to applicable standards of liability, institutional and jurisdictional issues, and practical challenges, with a focus on ways to improve the existing legal status quo. In addition, there will be consideration of the extent to which non-legal regulatory instruments may complement or provide (more viable) alternatives to these legal mechanisms. The conference combines legal-doctrinal approaches with interdisciplinary and policy insights. For further information, see here.

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