15.3.09

PIL/IEL updates

(these updates were taken from various sources)

> Last week, while the rest of the world was transfixed with the warrant of arrest against Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir, an important decision was released by the ICC Pre-trial Chamber III to adjourn the confirmation of charges hearing in the case of The Prosecutor v. Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo and to ask the Prosecutor to consider submitting an amended document containing the charges. Mr Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo is charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes ‘jointly with Ange-Felix Patass√© (former president of Central African Republic) through Mouvement de Lib√©ration du Congo troops’ under article 25(3)(a) of the Statute, ‘[wjithout excluding any other applicable mode of liability’. The Pre-Trial decision has been delivered on the basis of Article 61(7)(c)(ii) of the Rome Statute. For copy of the decision, click here.

> The London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) issued its award two weeks ago in in a dispute filed by the U.S. against Canada under the 2006 Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA). It is a state-to-state dispute adjudicated under the auspices of the LCIA, more commonly used for commercial arbitration. This is in part a result of the SLA’s genesis as a “mutually agreed solution” under Article 3.6 of the WTO DSU, attempting to settle six disputes in the WTO (and some more under NAFTA). Although the WTO context of the SLA is clear and the parties’ notification to the WTO Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) of the mutually agreed solution included the full text of the SLA, under conventional wisdom, “mutually agreed solutions” in the WTO cannot be enforced by the WTO’s own dispute settlement system. Hence the need, according to some commentators, for outside arbitration. For copy of the award, click here.

> The 23-24 March 2009 Appellate Body hearing for the dispute “United States - Laws, Regulations and Methodology for Calculating Dumping Margins (“Zeroing”) - Recourse to Article 21.5 of the DSU by the European Communities" will be open for public viewing at the WTO Headquarters in Geneva. Upon the request of the participants (the European Communities and the United States), the Division hearing the appeal decided to open the oral hearing to public observation by WTO Members and the general public via simultaneous closed-circuit broadcast to a separate viewing room. As there is a limited seating capacity, the places reserved for the public will be allocated on a first come, first served basis upon receipt of the completed application form. Completed forms should be sent by e-mail only to the following address: zeroingabhearing@wto.org. Applications will be accepted until 5 p.m., Geneva time, on 16 March 2009.