The Rights of Indigenous Peoples in International Law: Strategic Lessons from Latin America – A/Prof. Lucas Lixinski

It is well-known that when the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) was being voted on in the United Nations General Assembly in 2007, only four states voted against it: the infamous CANZUS countries (Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States). They have all since changed their position and shown varying degrees of support for the UNDRIP and what it contains.

It is noteworthy, however, that these are four developed countries with histories of English colonization and common law systems. The reluctance of these states to engage with the UNDRIP would suggest that other countries, more supportive of that process, would offer better lessons for strategic engagement. And yet, in Anglophone circles we tend to neglect the experiences of other parts of the world, particularly Latin America.

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Philosophy, Priorities and Provisional Measures: The ICJ’s Order on the United States’ Sanctions against Iran – Molly Thomas

On 3 October 2018, the International Court of Justice (“the Court”) handed down its decision on provisional measures in the Islamic Republic of Iran’s (“Iran”) case against the United States of America (“United States”) for alleged violations of the 1955 Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations and Consular Rights (“Treaty of Amity”).

The case arose out of the issuing by United States President Donald Trump of a National Security Presidential Memorandum ending the United States’ participation in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (“JCPOA”), a multilateral plan designed to monitor and manage Iran’s compliance with its nuclear disarmament by lifting sanctions imposed on Iran by major world powers, including the United States.  The President ordered that sanctions lifted under the Obama Presidency be reimposed.

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A Tad on the Intersection between Climate Change and Free Trade Agreements – Dr Jadranka Petrovic

Climate change is considered to be one of the most serious (‘the most serious’?) of all the threats that our planet is facing currently.  Research shows that in its potential impact, climate change poses a graver problem than weapons of mass destruction, cyber war, terrorism, armed conflict and every other peril. One of the main reasons that climate change figures strongly is due to its interrelatedness with other problems, including the adverse effects of international trade on the environment. It has been argued that although beneficial and indispensable economically, trade can exacerbate pollution and other forms of environmental degradation, particularly carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions.  An unprecedented expansion of international trade since the 1950s has significantly impacted upon the environment.  Trade is predicted to continue to be one of the major factors driving economic growth in the future.  In parallel, it is expected that carbon dioxide emissions will continue to accelerate with growth indefinitely and that the very fact of increased trade, in and of itself, will lead directly to more global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  As free trade agreements (FTAs) are being increasingly negotiated throughout the world,[1]the questions of whether and how these agreements can be used to support a successful transition to a low emission and resilient economy is becoming more and more significant.  By considering the effects of climate change on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia as an example, this article pinpoints (albeit tangentially) some of the trade-climate-change-related concerns in the context of the recently signed Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Transpacific Partnership (CPTPP).

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The Supreme Court of the Philippines’ Review of Duterte’s Exit from the International Criminal Court: The Role of Domestic Courts in the Treaty Withdrawal Debate – Keilin Anderson

The questions of how, when and why States can withdraw from international agreements and with what consequences have long been overlooked in international law. The topic is even likened to mentioning divorce on a wedding day. However, the recent spate of withdrawals has bought the issue to the forefront of the international legal dialogue.

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The Nuclear Weapon Prohibition Treaty – Prof. Ramesh Thakur

For half a century, the normative anchor of the global nuclear order has been the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). On 27 October 2016, the First Committee of the United Nations General Assembly adopted, by a landslide 123-38 vote (with 16 abstentions), Resolution A/C.1/71/L.41 that called for negotiations on a ‘legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination’. This was followed by a vote in the full General Assembly on 23 December passed by an equally solid 113-35 majority. The resolution fulfilled the 127-nation humanitarian pledge ‘to stigmatise, prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons’. The UN-mandated conference met in New York on 27–31 March and 15 June–7 July 2017. On 7 July, 122 states voted to adopt a new Nuclear-Weapon Prohibition Treaty (NWPT). It was opened for signature in the UN General Assembly on 20 September 2017. The treaty will come into effect 90 days after fifty states have ratified it. As of 30 September 2018, 19 countries had ratified the treaty and 60 had signed it.

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The Prosecution of Bernard Collaery and Witness K: International and Regional Implications – Greg Barns

Bernard Collaery was once the Attorney-General of the Australian Capital Territory but he now finds himself seated in the dock in that jurisdiction along with his client, a former officer of the Australian Security Intelligence Service (ASIS), known as Witness K. Mr Collaery and Witness K have been charged with allegedly breaching section 39 of the Federal Intelligence Services Act 2001, which makes it an offence to  communicate “any information or matter that was acquired or prepared by or on behalf of ASIS in connection with its functions or relates to the performance by ASIS of its functions.” The matter is being dealt with in the ACT Magistrates Court and carries a maximum penalty of 2 years.

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Aboriginal Treaties: for the Past, Present and Future – Prof. Irene Watson

This article is part of a series posted by the ILA Reporter to mark International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.

‘Treaty’ is a loaded word and concept. This is particularly the case when it is viewed through the lens of western jurisprudence which is applied to the politico-legal relationships between First Nations and colonial settler states.

In colonial relationships, the question of power is central to the view and version of how a treaty is privileged. Historically, the treaties entered into between colonial states and First Nations have favoured one treaty party – the colonial state, in every instance.

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The Reluctant Reformer? Australia’s Role in the Fight Against International Bribery and Corruption – Anita Clifford

Close to twenty years after the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials entered into force, significant reform of Australia’s anti-bribery architecture is underway. Parliamentary debate over the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Combatting Corporate Crime) Bill 2017 (Cth) (the Bill) is anticipated during the next half of 2018. With an anti-bribery focus, the Bill presents an opportunity for Australia to play a greater role in the global fight against corruption and its pernicious effect on fair business and basic human rights. Sentiments expressed by Kofi Annan on the adoption of the 2003 UN Convention against Corruption are no less pertinent today. Imploring all nations, prosperous and less prosperous, to cooperate against corruption, the then Secretary-General noted that it ‘hurts the poor disproportionately by diverting funds intended for development, undermining a government’s ability to provide basic services, feeding inequality and injustice, and discouraging foreign investment and aid’. Relatedly, bribery and corruption stagnates the rule of law and breeds distrust in government institutions.

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