Investor-State Dispute Settlement: Controversial, but Constitutionally Valid? – Lisa Burton Crawford, Patrick Emerton and Emmanuel Laryea

Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) clauses are a prominent feature of many modern International Investment Agreements (IIAs). They are included in nearly all the IIAs to which Australia is a party. Typically, an ISDS clause allows a foreign investor (often a corporation) to challenge a government decision before a panel of private arbitrators who have the power to make decisions and make awards that are binding and enforceable.

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New Issue of the Martin Place Papers

The Martin Place Papers are an occasional series published by the International Law Association (Australian Branch) to provide wider access to the proceedings and outcomes of ILA sponsored seminars and conferences. No 7 in this series has now been published. Martin Place Paper No 7,The International Law Context of Recent Developments in Indigenous Policy contains the proceedings of a seminar convened jointly by the ILA and the National Centre for Indigenous Studies (NCIS) at the ANU in late 2015.

The paper by ILA member Greg Marks, ‘Lifestyle choices? Closing down Aboriginal communities and international law’ examines the relevance of Australia’s obligations under the UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) to policies aimed at closing down remote small Aboriginal communities. Such policies and their concomitant funding arrangements have been problematic to Aboriginal groups endeavouring to achieve their aspirations to live on and manage their traditional lands and waters. The analysis by Greg Marks indicates that the policies are also problematic in terms of Australia’s international legal obligations.

The second paper, by Dr Sean Kerins, ‘Indigenous Development in the Southwest Gulf of Carpentaria region of the Northern Territory: Opportunities and Challenges’ examines policies and developments in the Region from the viewpoint of international norms and expectations contained in instruments such as the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). This analysis is particularly relevant to the current controversy about the proposal to expand the huge McArthur River mine near Borroloola (see media coverage here).

To obtain a copy of Martin Place Paper No 7, contact the Secretary, ILA (Australian Branch) atsecretary@ila.org.au. Cost is $20 per copy.

The Multiple Roles of Women in the Bosnian War: Victims, Ex-Combatants, Peace Builders, and Perpetrators – Dr Olivera Simic

War generally affects the entire population, male and female. Yet within the portrayal of war, men are usually portrayed as the aggressors and perpetrators, and women as the helpless victims. Most of the literature on women and warfare, or women and genocide, analyses the role of women from a victim-centred perspective.

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Interview with Professor Gillian Triggs: A Truly International Lawyer

For our fourth profile of Women in International Law Month, Editor-in-Chief Jennifer Tridgell sat down with the President of the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), Professor Gillian Triggs. She is a highly accomplished international lawyer and academic, with experience on matters from commercial law to Indigenous rights.

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Defending the Right to Life: International Law and Death Penalty in the Philippines

On 24 June 2006, the Philippines abolished the death penalty for all crimes within Philippine jurisdiction when Republic Act No. 9346 was enacted. A year later, the Philippines ratified the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (“ICCPR). In doing so, the Philippines decided to absolutely and permanently abolish the death penalty.

Yet on 30 June 2016, Deputy Speaker Fredenil Castro introduced House Bill No. 4272 into the House of Representatives. The proposed Bill reimposes the death penalty for drug-related offenses, including, amongst other acts, the importation, sale, trading, delivery, or distribution of dangerous drugs, and authorises hanging, firing squad, and lethal injections as modes of execution. On 7 March 2017, the House of Representatives passed the Bill by 217 votes to 54.

This paper, authored by Dr Christopher Ward in collaboration with the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines, argues that, in light of the Philippines’ obligations under customary international law and other international treaties, notably the ICCPR and its Second Optional Protocol, the Senate should not pass this Bill.

The report is published here with the permission of Dr Christopher Ward (President of ILA Australian Branch).

Call for Expressions of Interest – ACT Chapter Committee of the ILA (Australian Branch)

The ACT Chapter of the International Law Association (Australian Branch) is seeking nominations for the following positions:

  • Treasurer
  • Publications Editor
  • Events Coordinator
  • Communications and Sponsorship Coordinator, and
  • General Committee members.

For descriptions of these positions and further information on the ACT Chapter of the ILA, please click the link below. To nominate for a position, please send a short (max 1/2 page) statement on what you can bring to the ACT Chapter and the particular position to act@ila.org.au by 31 March 2017.

ACT Chapter Committee positions – call for EOI

Interview with Professor Christine Chinkin: Find Your Own Path in International Law

For our third profile for Women in International Law Month, we were honoured to interview Professor Christine Chinkin of the London School of Economics. She is a renowned Feminist scholar, particularly for her ground-breaking work on women, peace and security, in addition to her collaboration with Hilary Charlesworth and Shelley Wright on the gendered boundaries of international law.

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Interview with Dr Sarah Nouwen: In Search of Peace and Justice

For our second interview of Women in International Law Month, we are joined by Dr Sarah Nouwen. She is a leading expert on international law of peacemaking and justice in Africa, and Co-Deputy Director of the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law at the University of Cambridge.

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Interview with Professor Natalie Klein: Life and Law of the Sea

To celebrate International Women’s Day and the swearing in of Chief Justice Kiefel as the first female Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia, the ILA Reporter will profile prominent Women in International Law throughout March 2017. Our first interview is with Professor Natalie Klein, current Dean at Macquarie University Law School and a leading expert in international law of the sea.

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Event Summary – The Impact of Donald Trump on International Law

On 8 February 2017, President Chris Ward of the ILA (Australian Branch) joined an esteemed panel of speakers for an event hosted by the NSW Bar Association. The topic was the impact of Donald Trump on international law, whether in present or future.

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