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Cases

Chapter Two: A World of Actors

  • 1928 Danzig Railway Case
  • 1948 Reparations for Injuries Suffered in the Service of the UN
  • 1970 Barcelona Traction Case
  • 2008 Unilateral Declaration of Independence by the Provisional Government of Kosovo

 

1928 Danzig Railway Case

 

Advisory Opinion of the PCIJ

http://www.worldcourts.com/pcij/eng/decisions/1928.03.03_danzig

Author’s Note: The Free City of Danzig’s railway employees sued their Polish employers over pay and pensions.  The PCIJ ruled a treaty between Danzig and Poland did exist but, in keeping with times, this treaty could not prescribe duties and rights for individual persons such as the Danzig railway employees.  The PCIJ said the issue over pay and pensions would have to be settled in a national court regarding the duties and rights for individuals.

1948 Reparations for Injuries Suffered in the Service of the UN

Advisory Opinion of the ICJ

http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/index.php?p1=3&p2=4&code=isun&case=4&k=41

Author’s Note: The ICJ ruled the UN has legal standing as an IGO to ask for reparations for injuries to a person in the service of the UN from the de facto state of Israel. 

1970 Barcelona Traction Case

A Contentious Case between Belgium and Spain before the ICJ

http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/index.php?p1=3&code=bt&case=41&k=4e

Author’s Note: Belgium citizens, with stock in the electric company known as Barcelona Traction, sought relief from Spain where the company was located.  The ICJ ruled the “citizenship” of Barcelona Traction was not determined by the citizenship of Belgium investors but the country where the corporation is registered.  In this case, Barcelona Traction was Canadian.

2008 Unilateral Declaration of Independence by the Provisional Government of Kosovo

 

Advisory Opinion of the ICJ

http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/index.php?p1=3&p2=4&code=kos&case=141&k=21

Author’s Note: A unilateral declaration of independence in February 2008 by the provisional government of Kosovo set in motion questions about whether Kosovo could proceed this way to become an independent state from Serbia (of the former Yugoslavia).  Kosovo, populated mostly by people of Albanian descent, had previously suffered many widespread, inhumane acts from the Slavic controlled government of Serbia.

Chapter Three: Sources of International Law

  • 1967/69 North Sea Continental Shelf Case between Germany and Denmark/Netherlands
  • 1972 Fisheries Case

 

1967/69 North Sea Continental Shelf Case between Germany and Denmark/Netherlands

 

A Contentious Case before the ICJ

http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/index.php?p1=3&p2=3&code=cs2&case=52&k=cc

and

http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/index.php?p1=3&p2=3&code=cs&case=51&k=e2

Author’s Note:  Germany had signed but not ratified the 1958 Geneva Convention on the Continental Shelf, the rules of which would award more of an adjacent continental shelf to Denmark and the Netherlands than to Germany.  The ICJ ruled enough countries had not ratified the convention to create customary law for non-parties to the convention.  The ICJ used an equity principle of fairness that provided Germany with a larger share of the shelf than this state would otherwise receive. 

1972 Fisheries Case

A Contentious Case between Iceland and Great Britain (UK) and also Germany

http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/index.php?p1=3&p2=3&code=ai&case=55&k=9d

Author’s Note: Based on an exchange of diplomatic notes, Britain agreed to Iceland extending its fishing waters from three to 12 miles.  Britain, however, wanted an agreement to refer any dispute to the ICJ.  When Iceland extended the limit to 50 miles, claiming substantial change in rebus sic stantibus regarding fishing conditions, Britain took the case to the ICJ and won.  Later in 1982, the LOS gave each coastal state a 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zone.

Chapter Four: The Efficacy of International Law

1920 Missouri v. Holland

1924 Asakura v. City of Seattle

1920 Missouri v. Holland

A Case before the U.S. Supreme Court

http://supreme.justia.com/us/252/416/

Author’s Note:  A treaty by the U.S. with another country trumps policy of a component state within the U.S. federal system.  The U.S. agreement with Canada on migratory birds was applicable to the whole of the U.S., and not just those federal states willing to agree.

1924 Asakura v. City of Seattle

A Case before the U.S. Supreme Court

http://supreme.justia.com/us/265/332/

Author’s Note: A treaty between the U.S. and Japan was used to override discriminatory policies by the City of Seattle toward Japanese persons.

Chapter Five: Jurisdiction

  • 1812 The Schooner Exchange v. McFadden
  • 1933 Legal Status of the Southeastern Coast of Greenland
  • 1951 Anglo-Norwegian Fisheries Case
  • 1961 The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
  • 1964 Banco Nacional de Cuba v. Sabbatino

 

1812 The Schooner Exchange v. McFadden

A Case before the U.S. Supreme Court

http://supreme.justia.com/us/11/116/

Author’s Note:  A solid version of sovereign immunity of a state was recognized in this case.  A private ship taken from a U.S. citizen by France during hostilities with Britain was left under the French flag by the U.S. Supreme Court.

1933 Legal Status of the Southeastern Coast of Greenland

A set of judgments, orders, and advisory opinions that began in 1932 in a case between Norway and Denmark

http://www.worldcourts.com/pcij/eng/decisions/1933.05.11_greenland/option_ii/1933.05.11_greenland.pdf  

Author’s Note: The PCIJ Court decided in favor of Denmark because this country had conducted various policies there and, thus, established its sovereignty over a period of time.

1951 Anglo-Norwegian Fisheries Case

A Contentious Case between Great Britain (UK) and Norway

http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/index.php?p1=3&p2=3&code=ukn&case=5&k=a6

Author’s Note: This case began in 1949 and arose over Norway’s demarcation of its national boundary outside the chain of islands following its coastline.  Great Britain objected because this demarcation extended Norway’s fisheries further than a boundary marked, strictly speaking, on the coast.  The court ruled that Norway’s boundary following the fringe of islands was not contrary to international law.

1961 The Trial of Adolf Eichmann

A Case before the District Court of Israel

http://www.nizkor.org/hweb/people/e/eichmann-adolf/transcripts/

Author’s Note: Eichmann was abducted from Argentina and carried to Israel for trial.  The manner of securing his person did not elicit much concern at the time because of his heinous crimes.  More recently, some legal scholars argue there is a customary due process law at the international level that forbids illegally entering a country and seizing a person without extradition proceedings.

1964 Banco Nacional de Cuba v. Sabbatino

A Case before the U.S. Supreme Court

http://supreme.justia.com/us/376/398/

Author’s Note:  The act of state doctrine accepts the acts of a foreign government on its own soil as legitimate.  When the U.S. Supreme Court accepted the sale of sugar, however, from an American company seized by the communist government of Cuba, the U.S. Congress was so upset that it passed a law prohibiting applying the act of state doctrine when an American company has been illegally seized.

Chapter Six:  Diplomacy

  • 1979 United States Diplomatic and Consular Staff in Tehran (U.S. v. Iran)
  • 1999 La Grand (Germany v. U.S.)

 

1979 United States Diplomatic and Consular Staff in Tehran (U.S. v. Iran)

A Contentious Case before the ICJ

http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/index.php?p1=3&code=usir&case=64&k=c9

Author’s Note: The ICJ rules that Iran violated obligations to the U.S. for allowing the U.S. Embassy to be seized in 1979 and then tolerating the holding of embassy and consular personnel as hostages.  Iran owes the U.S. reparations.  The case began in 1979 and was on the court docket until 1981 when the case was carried into arbitration arranged by Algeria. 

1999 La Grand (Germany v. U.S.)

A Contentious Case before the ICJ

http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/index.php?p1=3&p2=3&code=gus&case=104&k=04

Author’s Note:  Two brothers of German nationality, Karl and Walter LaGrand, robbed and murdered in Arizona in 1982 and were sentenced to die.  When realizing that they had a right, based on a consular treaty, to acquire the services of the German consul, they sought to delay their execution.  Despite a provisional delay ordered by the ICJ, the governor of Arizona ordered the executions in 1999.  In 2001, the ICJ rejected the arguments of the U.S. based on the nature of the federal system and ruled in favor of Germany.  Mexico has also sought to use the ICJ to stop the execution of its citizens convicted of capital crimes in the U.S. At bottom to all of this is strong objection to the death penalty as well as the procedural aspects of the cases.