April 2017 – News Snippets

April 1, 2017

Hague Securities Convention enters into force

Hague Convention of 5 July 2006 on the Law Applicable to Certain Rights in Respect of Securities held with an Intermediary (Hague Securities Convention) entered into force on 1st April 2017. The Convention provides legal certainty and predictability as to the law governing issues that are of crucial practical importance for cross-border holdings and transfers of intermediated securities. As a result, it markedly improves transactional efficiencies in global securities markets, reduces systemic risk, and facilitates cross-border access to capital.

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April 4, 2017

Ukraine relaxes foreign exchange restrictions.

Ukraine advanced its liberalization policy by lowering its threshold for mandatory sale of company’s foreign exchange in Ukraine. The minimum requirement has been reduced from 65% to 50% of the earnings. The Amendments to NBU Board Resolution No. 410 of 13 December 2016 were approved by the NBU Board today and shall take effect from 5th April 2017.

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France requests emergency UN Security Council meeting over Chemical Attack in Syria

On 4th April, French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, Jean-Marc Ayrault, issued a Statement against the use of Chemical Weapons stating that it was an unacceptable violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and further evidence of the barbarity suffered by the Syrian people for many years.

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European Court of Justice upholds visa ban for Iranian student

The ECJ upheld a visa ban for Iranian student named Sahar Fahimian who had applied to study sensitive security topics at a University in Germany, but was subsequently denied the visa by the German government, citing various security issues that could be used once the degree was obtained. The Court held that “it was for the national authorities to determine whether an applicant for a visa represents a threat, if only potential, to public security.” The Court also added that judicial review was limited to the absence of manifest error.

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The Secretary General condemns the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria, OPCW to investigate

The Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres condemned the alleged use of chemical weapons in an airstrike in in the Khan Shaykhun area of southern Idlib, Syria. The statement expressed condolences to the victims and the families injured by the incident. The Organisation for the Protection of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has also decided to investigate and gather information regarding the use of the weapons.

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April 6, 2017

United States retaliates Syrian use of chemical weapons with missile attack

The United States initiated a cruise missile attack on a Syrian airfield in order to retaliate against the alleged use of chemical weapons. The attack was also said to be in national interest to deter the spread and usage of chemical weapons. The support over the attacks have been polarized with UK, Japan, Turkey, EU showing support while Russia and Iran vigorously condemned it.

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UN Security Council condemns North Korea’s ballistic missile launch

Members of the UNSC strongly criticised North Korea’s ballistic missile launch conducted on April 4th, 2017, stating that it was in grave violation of its international obligations. The Members further noted that such activities were contributing to increasing tension in the Korean peninsula and beyond.

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Thailand King signs new Constitution

Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn signed a military-backed constitution into law on April 6th. It shall give the generals a powerful say over Thailand’s politics for years, if not decades.

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President Trump on Syrian Attacks

President Donald Trump of the United States of America released a statement on April 6th 2017 which informed the world that he had ordered a targeted military strike on the airfield in Syria. His reasons for ordering such an attack was that the Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad launched a horrible chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians, using banned chemical weapons. Trump found it absolutely necessary as previous attempts at changing Assad’s behaviour have all failed, he also calls on all civilised nations to join his endeavour.

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April 7, 2017

The UN High Commission for Human Rights condemns the execution of three men in Gaza

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights condemned the execution of three men in Gaza despite their appeal to halt the executions. The Office called for Palestine’s compliance with their obligations under International Law and urged the authorities to halt all further executions. The three men has been convicted of treason under the PLO Revolutionary Penal Code on the basis of proof stating their “collaboration with the occupier”.

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President Trump signs executive order for an “Omnibus Report on Significant Trade Deficits”

The Executive Order requires the Secretary of Commerce and the United States Trade Representative (USTR), in consultation with other experts or executive departments to submit an Omnibus Report on Significant Trade Deficits. The Report shall identify those foreign trading partners with which the United States had a significant trade deficit in goods in 2016 and assess the causes of deficit as well as any unfair conduct or practices of such partners.

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New Canada Free Trade Agreement Introduced

Every province and territory, as well as the federal government of Canada, has signed on to the CFTA, to co-ordinate trade across interprovincial borders and replace the limited rules put in place two decades ago through the Canadian Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT). A major improvement is an increase in coverage under the CFTA such that individuals and companies can bring cases themselves which required a ‘screening’ under the earlier AIT and thus cases were earlier brought only by provinces.

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UNHCR expresses deep concern over deteriorating conditions in Sudan

Over 6,000 Sudanese have fled into Uganda due to a recent attack on the town of Pajok in South Sudan. UNHCR spokesperson Babar Baloch expressed his concern over the indiscriminating violence meted out by the South Sudanese armed forces and implored the international community for urgent and massive support for the refugees in Uganda.

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U.S. Launches Missiles at Syrian Base Over Chemical Weapons Attack creating a humanitarian crisis

The United States fired 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at Syria overnight in response to what it believes was a chemical weapons attack that killed more than 100 people. At least six people were killed, Syria claimed, but the Pentagon said civilians were not targeted and the strike was aimed at a military airfield in Homs. The strike completed a policy reversal for President Donald Trump — who once warned America to stay out of the conflict — and drew angry responses from Damascus and its main ally, Russia.

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April 10, 2017

UNHCR urges EU for temporary suspension of refugees to Hungary

The UNHCR has called for all transfers of asylum-seekers from other EU states to Hungary to be suspended under the Dublin Regulation until Hungary brings their actions and policies in accordance with European and International laws. Some of these policies include detaining asylum-seekers, including children, in “shipping containers” at the Hungarian border.

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Pakistan Military Court sentences Indian Naval Officer to death

A Pakistani military court on Monday sentenced Kulbushan Jadhav, an Indian naval officer who was detained in Pakistan for the past year, to death. The court handed down the death sentence after finding Jadhav guilty of espionage and sabotage. The sentence was subsequently approved by Pakistan’s army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa.

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The UNFPA gathers financial support to provide humanitarian aid to women in Iraq conflict areas

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in collaboration with the EU has decided to increase its humanitarian response in Iraq in order to meet the needs of more than 700,000 women and girls in the situations of conflict. The European Commission Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) has also contributed an additional five million euros, the UNFPA has decided to provide lifesaving reproductive health services, delivery to first assistance kits and emergency medical services to pregnant and displaced women.

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April 11, 2017

UK special forces and MI6 involved in Yemen bombing

Britain’s MI6 and special forces have played a crucial and sustained role in covert US-led counter terrorism operations in Yemen. Their role has included identifying targets for drone strikes, according to a detailed, in-depth, investigation. Drone strikes are particularly controversial because they have been responsible for civilian deaths in Yemen. The disclosures are not entirely surprising. Britain has had a long and close diplomatic and intelligence relationship with Yemen, which borders on Britain’s chief ally in the region, Saudi Arabia.

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Hungary comes up with new law to codify its Private International norms

The Hungarian Parliament adopted the Hungarian Private International Law Act (Act XXVIII of 2017) on April 11, 2017. The new act will fully replace the decree law of 1979 that currently regulates Private International Law in the country. The new Act was drafted keeping in mind various economic and social changes that have occurred over the years and recent developments in EU Private International Law.

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April 12, 2017

Russia blocks UN condemnation of Syria gas attack

Russia vetoed UNSC’s resolution that would have condemned Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s use of neurologic gas against the Syrian town Khan Sheikhoun on April 4th. The proposed measure – drafted by France, the United Kingdom and the United States, the Council’s other permanent members – would have strongly condemned “the reported use of chemical weapons in Syria, and in particular the attack on Khan Shaykhun.”

Click Here: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=56554#.WUgOm2iGPIV

April 13, 2017

The European Court of Human Rights declares verdict in the case of Tagayeva and others v. Russia

The European Court of Human Rights released its findings and verdict in the case of Tagayeva and others v. Russia and unanimously held that the Russian state had violated Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The failure to take preventive measures, violation of the procedural obligations and serious shortcomings in the planning and control of security obligations were stated as reasons. The case had been brought in by 409 Russian Nationals who had been injured/taken hostage during the September 2004 terrorist attack in Beslan, North Ossetia.

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Strasbourg Judgment on the Beslan Hostage Crisis

The European Court issued a landmark right to life judgment in Tagayeva and Others v. Russia, dealing with the hostage crisis in the school in Beslan in 2004, in which hundreds of hostages lost their lives. The exceptionally detailed (and for the most part unanimous) judgment does the Court great credit, as does the nuance it shows in much of its factual assessment. (Kudos are also due to Kirill Koroteyev and the EHRAC/Memorial team representing some of the applicants). Together with the Finogenov v. Russia judgment, on the Dubrovka theatre hostage crisis, this will be a leading case on the right to life in extraordinary situations.

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UNSC votes to end 13 year-old-long Peacekeeping mission in Haiti

The UNSC has decided to end its 13 year-old-long Peacekeeping Operations, the UN Stabilization Mission, which would gradually draw down its military component during the next six months, finally withdrawing from Haiti by 15th October 2017. Following the recommendations of Secretary-General Antonio Guterres the Council also agreed to establish the new United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti : an operation dedicated predominantly to aiding the Haitian government in strengthening its own legal institutions.

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April 17, 2017

The Supreme Court of the United States denies the petition for a writ of certiorari in Castro v. Department of Homeland Security

The Supreme Court of the United States denied the petition for a writ of certiorari in the case of Castro v. Department of Homeland Security. The petitioners – families who fled Cuba to seek asylum in the US – had challenged denial of asylum on statutory, regulatory and constitutional grounds. The petition challenged the order of the Third Circuit Court which stated that they were not entitled to judicial review of their claims, even by habeas corpus, as they were unlawful entrants.

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April 18, 2017

Trump Executive Order on ‘Buy American, Hire American’

President Donald Trump has passed an executive order ushering in a protectionist regime for American trade in an order which makes it a policy of the executive to buy American goods and hire American services. The order also seeks immediate enforcement and assessment of domestic preferences according to ‘Buy American’ laws and has given executive agencies 150 days for the same.

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April 19, 2017

ICJ rejects Ukraine’s request to identify rebel supports

The ICJ rejected Ukraine’s request for measures to prevent rebels in the country from receiving supplies over its Russian boarder. The court granted measures designed to protect ethnic discrimination in the disputed Crimean peninsula, currently under Russian rule, but did not grant Ukraine’s request to prevent the funding of terrorism by implementing a number of regulations.

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The ICJ delivers Order in the matter of Ukraine v. Russian Federation, in favour of Ukraine

The International Court of Justice at The Hague delivered its Order on the request for the indication of provisional measures submitted by Ukraine in the case concerning Application of the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism and of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Ukraine v. Russian Federation). The Order directed Russia to refrain from imposing limitations on the ability of the Crimean Tatar community to conserve its representative institutions, including the Mejlis, and ensure the availability of education in the Ukrainian language.

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Complaint against France in European Comission due over-liberal divorce legislation

Under the new law, the divorce agreement can be made as a private contract, signed by the spouses and their respective lawyers. Such agreement is subsequently registered by a French notaire, which allows the divorce agreement to be an enforceable document under French law not necessitating any intervention of the judge. The complainants claim this law as a violation of several obligations arising from the European Rome III and Brussels IIbis Regulations.

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April 21, 2017

Over 11,000 refugees from Democratic Republic of Congo migrated to Angola

UNHCR Spokesperson Babar Baloch has reported that over 11,000 refugees have been forced to flee the Kasai province of Democratic Republic of Congo. Refugees reported fleeing attacks from militia groups, who are targeting police, military officials, and civilians who they believe are supporting or representing the Government. Refugees are arriving in desperate conditions, without access to clean water, food or shelter.

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April 22, 2017

India signs MOU with South Korea for shipbuilding

India entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with South Korea to build warships. A press release by the Ministry of Defence stated that the MOU was part of the ‘Special Strategic Partnership’ between both nations. India has nominated state-owned Hindustan Shipyard Limited from its side which along with a South Korean nominated shipyard would undertake the objectives of the MOU.

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April 24, 2017

The Dutch Court of Appeals declares the accused as accessory to war crimes

The Dutch Court of Appeals in ‘s-Hertogenbosch declared a verdict declaring Mr. Guus Kouwenhoven as an aider and abettor to war crimes like murder, rape, pillage in committed in Liberia and parts of Guinea from August 2000 to December 2002. Mr Kouwenhoven as the President of Oriental Timber Company and the Director of Royal Timber Company had been accused of supplying weapons, resources to former President of Liberia Charles Taylor. These supplies had been used to fuel and aid the armed forces to fight against the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy – a rebel group.

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Canada increased thresholds under the Investment Canada Act

Canada has come up with an increased threshold for review of direct acquisitions to Canadian businesses from $600 million to $800 million. It has also been stated that the threshold will be $1 billion by 2019. It is applicable on WTO investors and non-WTO investors that are not state-owned enterprises. This change is will be operable from 24th April 2017 onwards.

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UN launches lifesaving vaccination campaign for children facing measles threat

Almost 30,000 young Somali children, many of them displaced by a searing drought, are being vaccinated against measles this week in a United Nations-backed emergency campaign in one of the country’s hardest-hit towns. “Among vaccine-preventable diseases, none is more deadly than measles,” said UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Country Representative Steven Lauwerier.

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April 262017

Andorra joins Hague Service and Evidence Convention

On 26 April 2017, the Principality of Andorra deposited its instrument of accession to the Convention of 15 November 1965 on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters (Service Convention), and the Convention of 18 March 1970 on the Taking of Evidence Abroad in Civil or Commercial Matters (Evidence Convention). Andorra thus becomes the 72nd and 61st Contracting State to the Service and Evidence Conventions, respectively.

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April 27, 2017

Kazakhstan is the newest member of The Hague Conference on Private International Law

In order to enhance legal protection of its citizens abroad, Kazakhstan has adopted the Law “On ratification of the Charter of The Hague Conference on Private International Law”. The organization has 81 member states along with European Union making Kazakhstan its 83rd member. The Hague Conference aims at unification of private international law across borders and has concluded 39 Conventions till date.

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April 28, 2017

India entered into four bilateral agreements with Cyprus

India inked four agreements with Cyprus in consequence of the President of Cyprus visiting India. These include agreements on merchant shipping, civil air services, agricultural, educational, scientific and cultural cooperation. Cyprus also supported India’s demand for a permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council. President Pranab Mukherjee will be awarded the Grand Collar of the Order of Makarios III i.e. the highest civilian honour of Cyprus.

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April 29, 2017

Donald Trump issues Executive Order Addressing Trade Agreement Violations and Abuses

The White House issued an Executive Order whereby all trade relations should be aimed at enhancing economic growth, strengthening the balance of trade and promoting the national manufacturing base. The order focused on creating benefits for the American worker and promoting opportunities at the domestic front. It also stresses on protecting intellectual property and promoting research and development activities.

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Special European Council Meeting on Brexit to discuss Negotiation Guidelines

On 29th April a Special European Council was called to discuss the negotiation guidelines for Brexit. The core principles of the negotiations were highlighted as interest of citizens, transparency and an intention to maintain friendly relations with UK. It was also emphasised that there will be no individual negotiations between the UK and member states of the European Union.

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April 30, 2017

UN agency airlifts aid to newly-arrived refugees from DR Congo

Relief has been accorded to 11,000 people in Angola who fled a recent surge violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The brutal conflict in DRC’s previously peaceful Kasai region has already displaced more than one million civilians within the country since it began in mid-2016. Angola is currently hosting some 56,700 refugees and asylum-seekers, of whom close to 25,000 are from the DRC.

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Compiled by Ayushi Singh, Ankit Handa, Shambhavi Kala, Nitya Jain (IIIrd Year), Pooja Ravikrishnan and Divyakshi Jain (IInd Year)

 

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