03 December, 2017

ICTY Final Judgments - Prosecutor v Jadranko Prlić and others

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia has delivered its final judgment prior to the Tribunal closing on 31st December.

On 29th November, the Appeals Chamber pronounced its judgement in Prosecutor v. Jadranko Prlić et al., in what was the Tribunal’s most voluminous appeal as well as its final case.  Read the Tribunal's announcement.

The Appeals Chamber affirmed

22 November, 2017

Mladić convicted at ICTY

The Guardian 22nd November 2017.

Ratko Mladić, the former commander of the Bosnian Serb army, has been sentenced to life imprisonment after being convicted of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY) at The Hague.

The one-time fugitive from international justice faced 11 charges, two of genocide, five of crimes against humanity and four of violations of the laws or customs of war. He was cleared of one count of genocide, but found guilty of all other charges. The separate counts related to “ethnic cleansing” operations in Bosnia, sniping and shelling attacks on besieged civilians in Sarajevo, the massacre of Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica and taking UN personnel hostage in an attempt to deter Nato airstrikes.

Delivering the verdicts, Judge Alphons Orie said Mladić’s crimes “rank among the most heinous known to humankind and include genocide and extermination."

21 November, 2017

International Court of Justice - UK loses seat

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations - UN Charter Chapter XIV.  The court operates according to its Statute and Judges serve for 9 year terms and they may be re-elected by the United Nations. 

Judge Christopher Greenwood was elected to the court in November 2008 and was willing to be re-elected.  However, it became clear that he was not securing sufficient support within the UN General Assembly and his candidacy was withdrawn - The Guardian 20th November  and  BBC 21st November - How UK lost ICJ place to India

The result

14 September, 2017

Poland and the EU ~ Notes

Against the background of the road to Brexit adopted by the UK it seems worth looking at the relationship between the EU and the Republic of Poland. The following is in note form only .....

A new Constitution for Poland came into force on 17th October 1997 - Constitution of the Republic of Poland   - for Polish constitutional history see HERE.

2004 - Poland acceded to the EU

In 2014, the EU adopted a Rule of Law Framework - see: Europa - Justice - Rule of Law  and Speech by Viviane Reding 18th March 2014.    The framework is discussed at Verfassungsblog 28th February 2016 - EU Law and Politics: the Rule of Law Framework

26 June, 2017

Supreme Court of the USA ~ Donald J Trump v International Refugee Assistance Project

Updated October 2017:

President Trump's Executive Order 13780 Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry to the United States has been considered by the Supreme Court of the USA which has allowed a limited version of the Order to take effect pending a full hearing in the Supreme Court this October - Washington Post 26th June 2017

The ban on people entering the U.S. from six mostly Muslim countries can apply for now to everyone except people who have a "credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States."

The court indicated in the ruling that things may change by October. It asked the parties to address whether the case would be moot by the time it hears it.

Update October 2017:

On October 10, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court ended one of the lawsuits challenging the Trump Administration’s travel ban. The Court vacated the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal’s judgment in Trump v International Refugee Assistance Project and remanded the case back to the federal appeals court with instructions to dismiss the suit as moot - Constitutional Law Reporter

On September 24, 2017, the President signed a new Proclamation limiting the entry of certain foreign nationals to the United States. This new proclamation effectively replaces Executive Order 13780, which expired on that same day. The US Department for Homeland Security published further details - HERE.   There is on-going litigation regarding the September Proclamation and this may yet reach the Supreme Court.

16 April, 2017

Supreme Court of the USA ~ Associate Justice Neil M. Gorsuch

With effect from 10th April 2017, Judge Neil M Gorsuch is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the USA.  Mr Gorsuch's biography is available via the Supreme Court's website.  The court has a Chief Justice - John G Roberts - and 8 Associate Justices.  Mr Gorsuch was appointed to fill the vacancy left by the death in February 2016 of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia.

Following a "Confirmation Hearing", Mr Gorsuch was confirmed by the United States Senate 54 votes to 45 - see this article where the process is described.

Justices of the Supreme Court of the USA do not have fixed retirement ages.  The longest serving member of the court at this time is Anthony Kennedy appointed in February 1988.

The longest serving justice in the history of the court is William O Douglas who sat from April 1939 to November 1975.

16 March, 2017

State of Hawai'i and Ismail Elshikh v Donald J Trump and others (2)

Update - 29th March - the Temporary Restraining Order was converted to a Preliminary Injunction - Court's Judgment.


The United States District Court for the District of Hawai'i has imposed a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) in respect of sections 2 and 6 of President Donald J Trump's Executive Order 13780 (6th March 2017).

See the Order issued by Judge Derrick K Watson

Section 2 of the EO sought to impose a 90 day ban on entry to the United States of certain nationals of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.  (NB: Not Iraq).

Section 6 of the EO sought to suspend for 120 days the US Refugee Admissions Program.  Exceptions on a case-by-case basis were to be possible).

The court will set an expedited hearing to decide whether the Order is to be extended.

09 March, 2017

State of Hawai'i and Ismail Elshikh v Donald J Trump and others (1)

Legal action has been commenced against the Executive Order issued on 6th March by President Donald J Trump - Executive Order 13780.  The action is State of Hawai'i and Ismail Elshikh v Donald J Trump and others.  Mr Elshikh is Imam of the Muslim Association of Hawai'i.

See CNN News 9th March - Judge to hear Hawai'i lawsuit against new Trump travel ban and The Telegraph 9th March - Hawai'i becomes first State to take legal action against Donald Trump over new travel order

The new Executive Order may be read via the US Federal Register - Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry to the United States.  The new Order will replace EO 13769 on 16th March.

Here is the document commencing the case which will be heard in the United States District Court for the District of Hawai'i. The document commencing the case lists 8 grounds of challenge against the new Executive Order.

Update - the hearing is listed for 0930 hrs HAST on 15th March before Judge Derrick K Watson

[Hawai'i is the local spelling of the State's name].

HAST = Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time ..... 10 hours behind London time.

07 March, 2017

President Trump issues new Executive Order to replace EO 13769 of 27th January 2017

President Donald J Trump has issued a new Executive Order dated 6th March.  The Order may be read via the US Federal Register - Executive Order 13780 Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry to the United States.  The new Order will replace EO 13769 on 16th March.

Sec. 13.  Revocation.  Executive Order 13769 of January 27, 2017, is revoked as of the effective date of this order.

Sec. 14.  Effective Date.  This order is effective at 12:01 a.m., eastern daylight time on March 16, 2017.

20 February, 2017

Internment in World War 2 and later

Over the years, democratic nations have introduced powers to detain those whose presence is considered to be inimical to public safety.  The use of such powers has, at times, been without adequate legal safeguards.  Considerable injustice and tragedy has arisen particularly when the powers have been directed at a whole section of the population such as those of Japanese descent living in the USA in the 1940s.

7th December 1941 was a "Date which will Live in infamy."  Those were the words of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in his famous speech to Congress following the attack by Japanese forces on the United States naval base at Pearl Harbour, Hawaii.   One consequence of this was that President Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 - dated 19th February 1942.   The Order authorised the Secretary for War to prescribe "Military Areas" in such places and of such extent as he or the appropriate Military Commander may determine, from which any or all persons may be excluded, and with respect to which, the right of any person to enter, remain in, or leave shall be subject to whatever restrictions the Secretary of War or the appropriate Military Commander may impose in his discretion."  This exercise of Presidential power was justified in the Executive Order on the basis that "the successful prosecution of the war requires every possible protection against espionage and against sabotage to national-defense material, national-defense premises, and national-defense utilities."  A further Executive Order was issued in 1942 creating a "War Relocation Authority.

States of Washington and Minnesota v Donald J Trump (3)

The Appeals Court for the Ninth Circuit was going to hold an en banc hearing of the appeal against the Temporary Restraining Order issued by Judge James L. Robart on 3rd February 2017.  The en banc procedure is explained here.  In the event, it seems that the President has decided (or been advised) to issue a new Executive Order.  Consequently, the en banc hearing was stayed and did not proceed - read the court's announcement.  On 15th March 2017, the appeals court issued an Order indicating some disagreement within the judiciary as to whether the order staying the pending appeal should have been considered en banc.

Executive Order No. 13769 of 27th January 2017 - "Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States".

Documents etc filed in the case may be seen via - State of Washington and State of Minnesota v Trump

Executive Orders issued by various Presidents may be seen via the Federal Register.

A useful explanation of Executive Orders is available at CNBC - Executive Orders: what they are and how they work

8th March 2017 - given that President Trump issued a new Executive Order replacing EO 13769, the case of States of Washington and Minnesota v Donald J Trump ended - see the court's announcement