PIL/IEL updates

(these updates were taken from various sources)

> Last 20 February 2009, Belgium instituted proceedings against Senegal at the International Court of Justice. In its application, Belgium requests a declaration that Senegal has a customary international law obligation to prosecute the former President of Chad, Hissène Habré, or, failing that, to extradite him to Belgium to face criminal proceedings for acts of torture and crimes against humanity. Belgium founds the Court's jurisdiction on the unilateral declarations of both countries (here and here) pursuant to Article 36(2) of the Court's Statute, as well as under Article 30 of the Convention Against Torture. Belgium also requests that the Court indicate provisional measures that would require Senegal to take "all the steps within its power to keep Mr. H. Habré under the control and surveillance of the judicial authorities of Senegal so that the rules of international law with which Belgium requests compliance may be correctly applied."

> ASEAN is seemingly ready, “in principle,” to sign a free trade agreement (FTA) with India by resolving “a last-minute procedural matter” through “consultations.” The ASEAN-India summit, at which the pact was to have been signed, got postponed from last December because of a political crisis in the host country. This was a factor behind the new “procedural issue.” Another factor, according to the ASEAN, was its own modality of “sequencing” the tariff reductions, something that was already applied to the 10-nation bloc’s earlier FTAs with its other trading partners. In that context, India expressed its disinclination to extend two packages of tariff cuts to the ASEAN in the same fiscal year, one in June this year and the other in January next year.

> In the WTO's most recent Trade Policy Review on Japan, the latter was found to continue to promote structural reforms, including regulatory reforms and strengthening competition policy , as well as further liberalization of trade and investment despite the ongoing financial crisis. For a copy of the Report, click here. Trade Policy Reviews are an exercise, mandated in the WTO agreements, in which member countries’ trade and related policies are examined and evaluated at regular intervals. Interestingly, the release of the said TPR Report triggered a complaint made by India against Japan at the WTO regarding restrictions by the latter on Indian generic drugs, fruits and vegetables, marine products,and short-term movement of professional services’ providers. India is now asking that the same be removed.

> The EU seems intent to file a complaint with the WTO next month over the US' enforcement of the UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006), specifically as it involves the U.S. allegedly targeting European companies while protecting US companies. The European Commission, acting on behalf of EU industry officials, has been investigating for nearly a year whether or not the U.S. has unfairly sought to enforce restrictions against non-U.S. based online gambling companies. The UIGEA has certainly already had a significantly negative effect on European online gambling companies, particularly those publicly-traded companies like PartyGaming and 888.com who left the U.S. following the UIGEA being signed into law in October 2006.