The Application of other public international laws in WTO dispute settlement

 

Abstract

While WTO laws are international treaties and hence part of international law, they were not as such regarded as they are found in that corpus. As a result, the role of other public international law within the WTO dispute settlement is not yet clear.  In that whether, the dispute settlement body of the WTO in deciding cases would consult the rules and principles of other public international laws is not well articulated. The paper will examine the applicability of other international laws in the WTO dispute settlement on the basis of the WTO frame work and jurisprudence of international law. Finally, I argue that other international laws can be applied in the settlement of disputes under the WTO in case where they are relevant and proper for the theme.      

Introduction

As provided under art 38(1) of the ICJ statute international treaties are part of international law (As per Art 38(1) of ICJ, sources of international laws are international treaties, CIL, the general principles of law, judicial decisions and the teachings of the most highly qualified publicists of the various nations). Since the WTO laws are multi-lateral treaties between states, they are part of the corpus of international laws. Hence, in areas that the WTO do not address; as usually made in other international cases, other public international laws can be used by the dispute settlement body (DSB) of the WTO. However, mostly, we thought that WTO is an isolated from other public international laws. The applicability or otherwise of parts of international law other than customary international law is not clearly addressed by WTO laws. Besides, if they are to be applied in the dispute settlement, their role in the proceeding is not clear. Are they for mere interpretation or can be served as a proper law in the determination of subject matter is not clear.  In this paper, the applicability of other public international laws which are recognized by WTO laws and other not recognized will be discussed. Accordingly, the Avenues whereby the other public international laws will be applied and their role in WTO proceedings will be discussed. Moreover, the interaction between WTO laws and such other public international laws will be examined. Finally, concluding and suggestion remark are given.          

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ዓለም አቀፍ ስምምነቶች በኢትዮጵያ የሕግ ሥርዓት ያላቸው ደረጃ

 

1.    ስለዓለም አቀፍ ሕግ በአጭሩ

ዓለም አቀፍ ሕግ በሉዓላዊ አገሮች መካከል ያለን ግንኙነት ወይም በአገሮችና እንደተባበሩት መንግሥታት ያሉ ዓለም አቀፍ ድርጅቶች መካከል ያለን ግንኙነት የሚገዛ የሁሉ አቀፍ ደንቦች እና መርሆዎች ሥርዓት ነው። በሌላ አነጋገር «International law is the universal system of rules and principles concerning the relations between sovereign States, and relations between States and international organizations such as the United Nations» የሚል ትርጉም ተሰጥቶት እናገኘዋለን። ቀደም ባሉት ጊዜያት በዓለም አቀፍ ሕግ እና በየሐገሩ በሚገኙ ዜጎች፣ ሉአላዊ ባለሆኑ አካላት (Transnational Corporations) እና መንግሥታዊ ባለሆኑ ዓለም አቀፍ ድርጅቶች (International Non-Governmental Organization) ቀጥተኛ ግንኙነት ያለነበረ ቢሆንም አሁን አሁን ግን ይህ የታሰበው ቀጥተኛ ግንኙነት በስፋት እየታየ መሆኑን ዓለም አቀፍ ምሁራንን እያስማማ ነው።

ይሁን እንጂ ዓለም አቀፋዊ የሆነ ማዕከላዊ ሕግ አውጭ ባለመኖሩ፣ አለፎ አልፎ ከሚታዩት በስተቀር ዓለም አቀፍ ሕግን ውጤታማና ቀጣይነት ባለው መልኩ እንዲከበር የሚያደርጉ የእርምጃ ዘዴዎች ባለመጎልበታቸው፣ እራሱን የቻለ የተጠናከረ ማዕከላዊ አስፈጻሚ አካል ጎልቶ አለመታየቱ (የተባበሩት መንግሥታት የፀጥታው ምክር ቤት ሳይዘነጋ መሆኑ ይታወቃል) ፣ ክርክሮችን ተቀብሎ እልባት የሚሰጠው ዓለም አቀፍ ፍርድ ቤትም ስራውን የሚያከናውነው እና ችሎት የሚቀመጠው አለመግባባት የታየባቸው አገሮች በራሳቸው ፍቃደኝነት ጉዳያቸውን ሲያቀርቡለት እንጂ አስገድዶ የማስቀረብ ሥልጣኑም ሆነ ተቋማዊ አደረጃጀት የሌሉት መሆኑ እና ዓለም አቀፍ ሕግ በዓለም ላይ ተጽዕኖ ፈጣሪ በሆኑ አገሮች ጥቅምና አምሳል የተፈጠረ በመሆኑ እና አፈፃፀሙም በእነሱ ተጽዕኖ ሥር በመውደቁ ፍትሃዊነቱ አጠያያቂ ነው፣ የደሃ ሐገሮችን ጥቅም አያስጠብቅም የሚሉ ትችቶችን ወ.ዘ.ተ. ግንዛቤ ውስጥ በማስገባት ዓለም አቀፍ ሕግ የሚባል ነገር እንደ ሕግ የመቆም ብቃት የለውም የሚሉ ወገኖች እየበረከቱ መጥተዋል። በተለይ የሕግ መሠረታዊ ባህሪ ነው ተብሎ የሚታሰበውን የአስገዳጅነት ተፈጥሮ አልተላበሰም በሚል የሕግ ዋጋ የለውም እያሉ ክፉኛ ያብጠለጥሉታል።  ሌሎች ደግሞ እንደ ሕግ ባለመከበሩና በመጣሱ ምክንያት ብቻ ሕግ ከመሆን የሚያግደው ነገር የለም ባይ ናቸው። እንደዚያም ከሆነ ብሄራዊ ሕጎችስ በተደጋጋሚ ሲጣሱ ይታዩ የለምን? ሲሉ በአጽእኖት ይጠይቃሉ፣ እናም የዓለማችን ግንኙነት እየሰፋ በመጣበት በአሁኑ ወቅት የዓለም አቀፍ ሕግን አሳንሶ መመልከትም ይሁን ጭራሽ እልውናውን መፈታተን እውነታን ያላገናዘበ ድምዳሜ ነው ሲሉም ትችት ያቀርባሉ።   

ዓለም አቀፍ ሕጎች በሁለት ዋና ዋና ክፍሎች ልንመድባቸው እንችላለን። እነሱም ዓለም አቀፋዊ የመንግሥት ሕግ (Public International Law) እና ዓለም አቀፋዊ የግል ሕግ (Private International Law) በማለት ሲሆን ዓለም አቀፋዊ የመንግሥት ሕግ በሁለት ወይም ከዚያ በላይ በሆኑ ራሳቸውን በቻሉ ነፃ እና ሉአላዊ አገሮች መካከል የሚፈጠረውን የሁለትዩሽ ወይም ከዚያ በላይ ግንኙነቶች የሚገዛና የሚቆጣጠር ሕግ ነው። በሌላ በኩል ዓለም አቀፋዊ የግል ሕግ በፍትሐብሄር ጉዳዩች ዙሪያ የሚፈጠሩ ግንኙነቶች እና አለመግባባቶች በሁለት ወይም ከዚያ በላይ የሆኑ አገሮች ዜጎችን በተፎካካሪነት ያሳተፈ ሲሆን አልያም የሌሎች አገር ተወላጆች ንብረት በአንዲት አገር የሚገኝ ከሆነ እንዲሁም የውጭ አገር ዜጎች አንዳንድ የፍትሐብሄር ድርጌቶችን ለምሳሌ ውርስ፣ ውል፣ ከውል ውጭ የሚያስጠየቁ ኩነቶችን የፈፀሙ እንደሆነ አለመግባባቱ መፍትሄ የሚያገኘው በዓለም አቀፍ የግል ሕግ አማካኝነት ነው።   

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The Ethio-Eritrea Rapprochement - a Catalyst to Hone Human Rights Profile?

The human rights profile of Ethiopia and Eritrea have been infamous. Both countries have criticised by the leading UN human rights bodies, regional and NGOs. Now, these countries are making history by torn down the wall of resentment built after bloody boarder war. Would this new chapter of rapprochement enable them to revamp their human rights profile?

Before examining the role of rapprochement for the improvement of human rights, it is worth to glance a laconic view of major events held in the past few years. Ethiopia and Eritrea have been rancorous rivals in the political economy of the Horn of Africa. (See here, here, and here).Even one accuses the other for sheltering rebels and assisting armed groups, and they were also engaging in proxy-war held in Somalia in 2006. Initially, two countries went to battlefield for an iota piece of land called Badme though the casus belli was mainly economic and other political factors. The conflict between two brotherly States reached its peak in the year 1998-2000, in turn, costed both of them inter alia, it claimed the lives of more than 70,000 people, displaced civilians, pummeled their economy, brought serious violation of international humanitarian law and waned the human rights situations.

This blog post did not delve into the cause-effect analysis the rapprochements nor specific case studies of human rights  rather it aimed at discussing few musings on the role of the rapprochement for the betterment of human rights in both States.

      Picture credit: Eritrean MoI

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Active Participation of Children in Hostilities

Despite the fact that there is no any particular armed conflict and civil unrest in Ethiopia, it’s becoming common to see persons under the age of 15 carrying a gun in different parts of the country. Although these pictures has been looked as fun by so many people, it becomes more serious when the children carrying the gun used some flags and have some connection with organized groups and parties in the country. Based on this assessment, there is a worry that in any case of an armed struggle or any kind of hostilities there would be some kind of resentment to use those children under the age of 15 to actively participate in situations of conflicts. Thus, the following short legal analysis is made to inform any concerned party about the legal ramification of their activity in using children under the age of 15 to execute their military or any hostility related missions.

  1. Protection of a Child under International law

Children have an ultimate protection under international law. Particularly, International humanitarian law provides broad protection for children. Given the particular vulnerability of children, the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols of 1977 (API and APII) lay down a series of rules according them special protection. The Additional Protocols, the 1989 Convention on the rights of the child and its recent Optional Protocol, in particular, also set limits on children's participation in hostilities.

The 1989 Convention on the rights of the child, which has been almost universally ratified, covers all the fundamental rights of the child. Article 38 extends the field of application of Art. 77 API to non-international armed conflict. Article 38 urges States Parties to take all feasible measures to ensure that those aged of less than 15 years do not take a direct part in hostilities (para. 2) and that priority be given in recruitment to the oldest of those aged between 15 and 18 (para. 3).

In addition to this, the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict, adopted on 25 May 2000 extends the following basic protections for children under the age of 15.

  • the States Parties must take all feasible measures to ensure that members of their armed forces who have not reached the age of 18 years do not take direct part in hostilities (Art. 1);
  • Compulsory recruitment into the armed forces of persons under 18 years of age is prohibited (Art. 2);
  • The States Parties shall rise the minimum age for voluntary recruitment from 15 years.
  • Armed groups distinct from the national armed forces should not, under any circumstances, recruit (whether on a compulsory or voluntary basis) or use in hostilities persons under the age of 18 years, and the States Parties must take legal measures to prohibit and criminalize such practices (Art. 4).

Particularly, the fourth point has a direct concern in the case at hand. If there is any armed group in the country different from the national armed forces this armed group is prohibited in any circumstances from using persons under the age of 18 in hostilities. In addition, the government is obliged to take measures to prohibit and criminalize such practices.

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Is US action under the Ambit of International Law? Human Right and International Peace and Security at Risk?

“Whoever ill-treats a citizen indirectly injures the State, which must protect that citizen.” Vattel, on ‘The Law of Nations’

The corpus of international law is the most controversial area of law opened for legal battles, when different actors interpret it to favor their interest while taking actions. This regime of law has faced criticism for not having enforcement mechanisms which can be consider as an area of law like a lion without having a teeth. Leaving this behind, this piece assess the US drone strike of Iranian commander which took place in 3 January 2020 in light of international law through doctrinal analysis of different sources.  

The world has learn from the atrocities of the two world wars and promised among other things to maintain international peace and security as well as to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war under the preamble of the UN charter. The charter under article 2(4) urge all member states to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state. This system of territorial integrity is a matter of sovereignty which is attributable to the Westphalia system of 1648. However, states have an inherent right in exceptional circumstances to resort to use of force under the ambit of art. 51 of the UN charter in situations of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to maintain international peace and security. It’s only in these two scenarios that the charter allowed use of force by states against another state. In this vein, unsettled issues are evolving which are controversial to employ force by states such as, use of force for humanitarian intervention, protection of nationals abroad and national liberation movements.

The US action: Where it falls? Is it under the ambit of International Law?

In the first days of 2020 the Trump administration employed the bush doctrine of anticipatory self-defense in assassinating the Iranian Commander Soleimani in Baghdad. The action of US is not only limited in affecting one UN member state’s sovereignty (Iran) rather it is also unwarranted interference against the territorial integrity of a third UN member state which is Iraq without its knowledge. This shows how power affects the international system and how it gives unfettered freedom for the superpowers in disregarding international law.

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የኢትዮጵያና የግብፅ ውጥረት በናይል ወንዝ፡ ከዓለም አቀፍ ሕግ አንጻር

 

 

1)  መግብያ

ኢትዮጵያ በተፈጥሮ ፀጋ የተከበበች ውብ ሀገር ብትሆንም በድህነት አዘቅት ውስጥ ተዘፍቃ የምትኖር፤ባደጉ ሀገራት ተረፈ ምርትና የአየር ብክለት ገፈት ቀማሽነት፤በሚጠጣ ንጹህ ውኃ እጥረት ተጠቂነት የምትነሳ ሀገር ነች፡፡ ኢትዮጵያ በመአድን፣ በለም መሬት፣ በእንስሳት፣ በውኃ ኃብት እንዲሁም በሌሎች አላቂና አላቂ ያልሆኑ የተፈጥሮ ሀብቶች ባለፀጋ መሆኗን የሚካድ ባይሆንም በተፈጥሮ የታደለችውን ኃብት ጥቅም ላይ ከማዋል ረገድ ግን እምብዛም አይደለችም፡፡ ሜዳዋንና ተራሯን የሚሸፍን የተፈጥሮ ዝናብ እየተቀበለች ይህ ዝናብ አፈሯንና ወርቋን ጠራርጎ በመውሰድ ለጎረቤት ሀገራት ነፃ ስጦታና ችሮታ እንዲሆን ከመፍቀድ ውጪ የልማት መንገዱን አልተገለጠላትም፡፡ ወንዞች በደራሽ ውኃ ተጥለቅልቀው የገበሬ ማሳ የጎርፍ ሲሳይ ሲያደርጉ ማየት ክረምት በመጣ ቁጥር የምንገነዘበው መራራ እውነት ነው፡፡ አባይን የሚያክል ግዙፍ የውሀ ኃብት ከጉሮሮዋ እየፈለቀቁ የራሳቸው ከርሰ ምድር ሲሞሉ ኢትዮጵያ  የበይ ተመልካች ሆና መኖሯን ግርምት ይፈጥራል፡፡

ናይል የሚባለው የአለም ረዥሙ ወንዝ ላይ ያለው ውኃ 85%ቱ የኢትዮጵያ ነው፡፡ ይሁንና ከ50% በላይ የኢትዮጵያ ህዝብ ኑሮውን በኩራዝ መብራት ይመራል፡፡ ይህ ክስተት ወገብን ይቆርጣል፡፡ ”ከሞኝ ደጃፍ ሞፈር ይቆረጣል” እንዲሉ ግብፅ በናይል ወንዝ ላይ 5% እንኳን አስተዋፅኦ ሳታደርግ በምስራቅም በምእራብም የዚሁ ወንዝ ብቸኛ አለቃ ነኝ በማለት በሌሎች የናይል ተፋሰስ ሀገራት ላይ የምትሰነዝረው ዛቻና ማስፈራርያ የሚያስገርም ነው፡፡ የናይል ወንዝ ብቸኛ ባለቤት እንደሆነች በመግለፅ አሁናዊ ተጠቃሚነቷን የሚነካ ማንኛውም አይነት እንቅስቃሴ የደም መስዋእትነት ለመክፈል ዝግጁ እንደሆነች በተለያዩ አጋጣሚዎች ስትገልፅ መስማት የተለመደ ሆኗል፡፡ ሆኖም ኢትዮጵያ የግብፅ ሽለላና ቀረርቶ ጆሮ ዳባ ልበስ በማለት በግዛታዊ ክልሏ ውስጥ በሚገኝ በጥቁር አባይ ላይ ታላቁ የህዳሴ ግድብ ግንባታ ጀምራ ከ70% በላይ ማድረሷን ይታወቃል፡፡ በሌላ በኩል ይህ ግድብ ለግብፅ ራስ ምታት እንደሆነባት፤ኢትዮጵያ የያዘቸውን የልማት መንገድ ለማደናቀፍም ያልፈነቀለችው ድንጋይ እንደሌለ፤በቀጣይም የማትቆፍረው ጉድጓድ እንደማይኖር ኢትዮጵያውያን የምንገነዘበው እውነት ነው፡፡ የናይል ወንዝ በግብፅና በኢትዮጵያ መካከል የፈጠረውን ውጥረት በተለያዩ ወቅቶች የውጭና የሀገር ውስጥ ሚድያዎች ርእሰ ዜና በመሆን የአለም አቀፉ ማህበረሰብ ቀልብ መሳብ የቻለ፤አሁንም ውጥረቱ በስምምነት ያልተቋጨ ክስተት ሆኖ ቀጥሏል፡፡

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Snapshot Review of Imperative Necessity and challenges for Implementation IHL: Part One

 

 

Synopsis

The implementation of the International Humanitarian Law (hereinafter referred to as IHL) mainly rests upon the effort of the state parties. The international humanitarian law is currently accepted by every country in the world but the absence of a comprehensive and meticulous mechanism to enforce the rules embodied in IHL, is an Achilles’ heel fuelled by the very nature of IHL which is meant to regulate the issues that arise out of armed conflict.

Where there is an existing issue that causes harm, once recognized a law is set in that specific area to govern or to address that issue. This could be so as to minimize the damage that the issue causes, to prohibit that act from being committed or it could also be just to manage or set a guideline as to how those acts should be committed. Armed conflict or war is a commonly known phenomenon that causes great destruction.

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Snapshot Review of Imperative Necessity and challenges for Implementation IHL: Part Two

 

 

1. Problems of Implementation in International Humanitarian Law

 

Failure to implement IHL is conceived as a central problem in contemporary armed conflict laws in general and Ethiopia in particular. However, it must be noted that difficulties regarding securing compliance is not something that is unique to the law of armed conflict, but also an issue in international law. This problem by large is related to the lack of a central enforceable organ that looks after the implementation of those laws.

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Legal Orientalism

I will try to make this short essay as perceptive as possible and I will try to avoid legal jargon. Legal jargon is thought to make a writer’s essay water-tight, however, I think this is a misperception, and such language should only be used when it is necessary to describe something accurately- with the right context, meaning and empirical reference. I do this because I do not want my reader to feel alienated by merely looking at the title. I think it is better to address the question: why am I tempted to write about ‘Legal Orientalism’?

Since colonization the West has convinced us of thinking that cultures which do not resemble “the West” are obsolete; and hence, do not deserve equal treatment. Consciously or unconsciously, we submit ourselves to the appeal of movies, media outlets, and literature, which share one thing: the identity and strength of the West. At the end of the day, we end up comparing one thing with the West and, perhaps, hastily generalize. Thus, we should be skeptical in what we see, read, listen and compare.

Orientalism came with colonization. During that era, the colonizer made itself so powerful that it deemed the colonized as illiterate, living in the dark and backward. For the colonizer, the only way to escape from this trap was to accept that the colonized was backward and for the colonized to submit to its autonomy. The colonizer used many techniques to this effect.

For example, they took one social dispute and compared their ways with the ways of the colonized to resolve it. They presented the dispute settlement mechanisms of the colonized as non-sense, which needs immediate rectification. In the mean time, text books were written to paint the picture of the colonizers’ power. They were distributed in schools; children were forced to learn it. Hence, the colonizer confined the way the colonized thinks culminating in Orientalism, i.e, a pre-established system that doesn’t correspond to the colonizer is uncivilized.

The above two paragraphs might give the reader a vantage point to understand Orientalism. Nevertheless, before discussing Legal Orientalism, it would be simpler to explain about Orientalism itself. In short, the renowned scholar in this field of study, Edward Said stated that “Orientalism is a discourse: a manifestation of power and knowledge.” The need to emphasize knowledge is because knowledge is always a matter of representation, and in turn, representation is a process of giving concrete form to ideological concepts, making certain signifiers stand for the signified.

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International Criminal Court and African Union: Selective Justice?

Before I embarked upon the merit of the issue, some preliminary issues should be discussed to see whether International Criminal Court (hereinafter called ICC) is targeting Africans or not. In order to arrive at a fair and balanced conclusion, there is a need to discuss how the ICC exercise jurisdiction over the most heinous crimes by taking ICC Statute (Rome Statute). Here, issues of membership, complementarity, referral and treaty obligations should first be addressed in order to ascertain on the claim that ICC is selective and targeting Africans. Most, if not all, cases filed in the ICC in the year 2008 were cases from African soil; the issues whether it was deliberate and targetfull is going to be determined case by case and issue by issue bases later on.

International law should not be wielded as the big stick by strong nations used to pummel the weak ones. We are against selective justice. If we have to be fair, the Georgian president, who is being accused byRussia of genocide, must face similar justice.                                                  

The then AU Chairperson, Jean Ping

 

1.   Antecedents of Exclusion and Selectivity of International Criminal Law Enforcement

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