MJIL Online

MJIL Online brings you timely short-form articles that represent a wide range of views on contemporary issues in international law. The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors only.


Erin Kwiatkowski
Vol. 43 Associate Editor
For decades, sport has been utilized for its ability to affect international change. Often, sport is inextricably linked to national identity and global politics. However, one aspect infrequently discussed is the influence sport may hold in recognizing statehood for emerging entities. I believe that international recognition of sporting federations in places like Catalonia can help fulfill the fourth factor of the Montevideo Convention and solidify statehood.

Sport as a tool for international relations and development

Sport has been a foundational part of modern society and continues to dominate the contemporary world. With sports like association football and cricket boasting over 3.5 billion and 2.5 billion fans respectively, it is no wonder that sport dominates popular culture.[1] Furthermore, it is not surprising that sports figures, events, and venues have been used as vehicles for political and diplomatic ambitions.[2] Sport has been a central tool for governments, organizations, and individuals to pursue diplomatic goals, demonstrate political protests, push propaganda, and even further goals of international development.

Sport diplomacy has come in many forms over the past century. One pertinent example is the 1971 World Table Tennis Championships in Japan which saw the first breakthrough of communication between the United States

Eric Gripp
Vol. 43 Associate Editor
Those most affected by climate change are being denied the right to have their voices heard. This is evident from how indigenous peoples are currently situated within the Arctic Council. The Arctic Council is an intergovernmental forum whose self-professed goal is “promoting cooperation in the Arctic.”[1] However, the very structure of the Arctic Council betrays this lofty goal in two key ways. First, the Arctic Council denies its indigenous members the right to vote on final proposals. Second, the Arctic Council’s legal mandate remains limited. These two burdens on indigenous voices are unacceptable. Indigenous peoples of the arctic are the ones facing the brunt of Arctic climate change. The legal barriers to indigenous voices must be addressed to refocus the Arctic dialogue where it is needed most, with the indigenous groups impacted by climate change.

I. The Unique Impact of Climate Change on Arctic Indigenous Groups

The debate regarding the Arctic Council must include the human element which is embodied by the people of Newtok, Alaska. This small village is one of many examples of how the indigenous peoples of the arctic are on the front lines of climate change. The largely indigenous inhabitants of this village became “some

Sara Khan
Vol. 43 Associate Editor
In 2004, Canada and the United States enacted the Canada–United States Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA), an agreement designed to manage refugee claims at the shared land border.[1] Per the terms of the agreement, a refugee who enters via a land border port of entry is required to claim asylum in whichever of the two countries they arrive in first, with some exceptions.[2] Should they try to make a claim in the nation in which they did not first arrive, that state is obligated to return the claimant to the arrival state for their claim to be adjudicated.[3] The STCA is built on the premise that both Canada and the United States are considered safe third countries for claim adjudication as defined by the 1951 Refugee Convention, to which they are both signatories.[4] In recent years, however, the asylum practices of the United States have drawn scrutiny and criticism, calling into question its status as a safe third country, the legality of the STCA, and more broadly, the United States’ compliance with the Refugee Convention[5]; in analyzing these practices and their effects on claimants against the United States’ signatory obligations, it is reasonable to conclude that

Frank Sunderland
Vol. 43 Associate Editor
In the world of professional soccer, Europe is the marquis destination for any aspiring player. It is home to the most prestigious leagues and teams, many of which are also the highest paying. However, as with many systems where there exists the possibility for massive profits, there are also several unsavory consequences to the success of European club soccer. While the talent drain of players from other regions into Europe remains controversial, an unacceptable offshoot of this has been the trafficking of thousands of players from developing countries each year. Estimates say around 15,000 players are trafficked into Europe annually, though due to the underworld nature of this problem the true extent of player trafficking is unknown and likely much greater.[1] While international law has mechanisms to address this problem, these possibilities are being underutilized.

The exact means by how these players arrive in Europe can vary, but certain trends arise. Many developing countries have prestigious youth soccer academies that give talented young players the training they need to develop into stars, greatly increasing their chances of ending up in a European league. However, these certified academies have limited space. If a player is unable to secure a spot, they may

Susanna Korkeakivi
Vol. 43 Associate Editor
In February 2021, Spotify announced its intention to launch its service into 85 new markets across Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean.[1] Although this is the company’s broadest expansion to date,[2] some may have been surprised to learn that there remained at least 85 markets in which Spotify hadn’t already launched. Indeed, streaming services are the widely accepted future of the music industry. Their market share grows rapidly every year, and in 2020, streaming accounted for 62.1% of global music revenue.[3] Spotify and other streaming services have changed how artists profit from their work. Instead of seeking to maximize sales, artists now seek to maximize streams.[4] In other words, rather than thinking about how many people buy their music, artists now focus on how many times people hear it. Naturally, this shift has far-reaching implications for artists and the music industry more broadly. International copyright law is the framework that makes Spotify’s expansion possible. Nonetheless, existing law does not adequately protect artists. Despite forming the basis of streaming platforms’ value, artists are at present being stripped of significant gains. As the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) recently confirmed in its 2021 report analyzing the

Nina Gerdes
Vol. 43 Associate Editor
Sex workers are one of the most marginalized and stigmatized communities internationally.[1] The precarious socioeconomic status of sex workers has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.[2] The pandemic has transformed the sex work industry internationally.[3] In-person sex work has become virtually impossible and many street-based sex workers have been forced to choose between risking their health and paying their bills.[4] Much of the industry, however, has made a big shift to the online format.[5] This shift has not come without complications, however. Both sex workers that had previous experience working in-person and those entering the industry for the first time are struggling to navigate an oversaturated market.[6] Furthermore, the criminalization of sex work in nearly every country and the conflation of sex work and human trafficking by policymakers and intergovernmental organizations like the U.N. have functioned as additional roadblocks for sex workers that use the internet to make their living and to keep themselves safe.[7] In addition to the difficulties in navigating the online market, sex workers have faced the obstacles of evictions, police raids, and exclusion from many government pandemic relief programs.[8] This post discusses the historical conflation of sex work and human trafficking, the

Chris Miller
Vol. 43 Associate Editor
International labor law scholars and commentators have largely praised the recent efforts of the Government of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam (hereinafter “Vietnam”) for its adoption of foundational labor standards promulgated by the International Labour Organization (“ILO”), particularly with respect to the freedoms to collectively bargain and freely associate with labor organizations.[1] Critics have rightfully questioned whether Vietnam intends to substantively effectuate labor reforms embodying the spirit of these international labor standards.[2] Some observers have even argued that the Government’s recent wave of cooperation with the ILO constitutes mere window dressing motivated by a desire to feign compliance, as opposed to a genuine motivation to institute reform.[3] An evaluation of current commentary on Vietnam’s commitment to adopting crucial association and collective bargaining rights demonstrates, however, that this cynicism neglects to consider the unprecedented nature of the country’s cooperation with the ILO. While judgment should be reserved until implementation of reforms is effectuated, the current state of affairs represents a great deal of hope for the future of labor relations in Vietnam.

Since its founding, the ILO has played a central role in promoting international labor rights, particularly with respect to the freedom of association and the

René Figueredo
Vol. 43 Associate Editor
I. Introduction

In 1948, at the Ninth International Conference of American States, held in Bogotá, Colombia, the American Treaty on Pacific Settlement (hereinafter “the Pact of Bogotá” or “the Pact”) was adopted and signed.[1] The Pact of Bogotá represents the consolidation of a framework of treaties adopted within the Inter-American system since 1923 that established several peaceful settlement mechanisms.[2] This blog post aims at, first, examining the general obligation of the peaceful settlement of disputes arising among state parties to the Pact and, second, analyzing the judicial system provided in the Pact, particularly the jurisdiction granted in article XXXI to the International Court of Justice (hereinafter “the ICJ” or “the World Court”) of the Pact and its relationship with the optional clause declaration under the Statute of the ICJ.

II. The General Obligation of the Peaceful Settlement of Disputes in the Pact of Bogotá

The principle of peaceful settlement of international disputes is encompassed in articles I, II and III of the Pact. Pursuant to article I, state parties to the Pact undertake to refrain from the threat or the use of force, or from any other means of coercion for the settlement of their disputes. Under article II,

Joshua Hasler
Vol. 43 Associate Editor
While the idea of a bustling commercial space sector once seemed like science fiction, it has become reality. Every year, more satellites are launched by national governments and private companies, and recreational flights to space are now offered by several major companies. The Outer Space Treaty[1] and its four successor treaties, the Agreement on the Rescue of Astronauts,[2] the Liability Convention,[3] the Registration Convention,[4] and the Moon Agreement,[5] established an international legal framework for space activities. However, the space activities of breakaway and autonomous regions, such as Catalonia, within internationally recognized States introduce legal uncertainty into the regime contemplated by the treaties.

The Outer Space Treaty, Liability Convention, and Registration Convention are the most relevant treaties to this problem, as they outline the process for establishing ownership and control of space objects and adjudicating liability and damages caused by accidents. The Outer Space Treaty provides that parties “bear international responsibility” for activities carried out in outer space by governmental or non-governmental entities, requiring parties “authoriz[e] and contin[ually] supervise[]” the activities of non-governmental agencies.[6] Further, it established that States are liable for the damages caused by their space objects to other States.[7] The Registration convention established the process

Kate Rogers
Vol. 43 Associate Editor
The lack of regulation concerning artificial intelligence (“AI”) poses a risk to international peace and security, requiring the United Nations (“U.N.”) to step in and provide a framework for oversight. Recent proposals of regulation by the European Union (“EU”) provide a structure for this regulation and should be adopted on an international scale to protect fundamental human rights. The U.N. should prioritize adopting regulation of its own suborganizations’ use of AI and should further explore passing a binding resolution or multilateral treaty to regulate state AI use.

1. Human Rights Problems Posed by AI

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet publicly acknowledged the threat AI poses to human rights this past September, recognizing that, while it can be a force for good, “AI technologies can have negative, even catastrophic, effects if they are used without sufficient regard to how they affect people’s human rights.”[1] The statement coincided with the publication of a report by the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights analyzing AI’s effect on human rights.[2] Findings of failures of due diligence, discriminatory data, increasing use of largely unregulated biometric technologies, and lack of transparency led Bachelet to call for a complete

Rachelle Linsenmayer
Vol. 43 Associate Editor
In recent months, Panama announced that, with the cooperation of Colombia, it plans to slow the number of migrants entering the country along its Colombian border. Although the influx of migrants in 2021 has put huge strains on Panama, limiting the flow of migrants begs the question of how this will be done humanely. Although the Vélez Loor IACHR case, decided in 2010, ordered Panama to comply with immigration protocols set out in the American Convention, Panama has continued to automatically detain migrants who come across the border, often much longer than necessary and sometimes indefinitely, even during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Part I of this post will provide an overview of the Vélez Loor case, part II will address how the Vélez Loor case influenced detention protocols in Panama during the COVID-19 pandemic, and part III will conclude with possible solutions to Panama’s migrant situation and what legal obligations Panama and other state actors have to address it.

I. Incarceration of Migrants in Panama - Overview of Vélez Loor Case

In 2004, Mr. Jesús Tranquilino Vélez Loor an Ecuadorian citizen, presented a petition to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR), complaining of maltreatment by the Panamanian government.[1] Because

Kushagr Bakshi
Vol. 43 Associate Editor
On October 13, Blue Origin, an aerospace company founded by Jeff Bezos, sent its second crewed mission to space,[1] which included sending actor William Shatner to boldly go[2] where no ninety-year old man had gone before (and perhaps never needed to).[3] This flight and the publicity surrounding it[4] reflect the increasing investment in commercial space enterprises, with the U.S. government investing around seven billion dollars in private space companies alone,[5] and the shift in focus from scientific research to commercial activities, including space tourism.

This renewed interest in space activities has not escaped the law, with eight nations signing the Artemis Accords on October 13, 2020 (now the number stands at eleven).[6] Legal analysis of the Artemis Accords has tended to divide the Accords into three roughly formed categories, namely, restatements of the Outer Space Treaty; further enumeration and operationalization of the Outer Space Treaty; and introduction of new concepts.[7] Within these new concepts rests what has been called the most important development in the commercialization of space – the right of private entities to extract space resources.[8] The aim of this blog post is to, first, discuss Sections 9, 10 and 11 of the Artemis Accords

Dihu Wu
Vol. 43 Associate Editor
As the world continues to grapple with the effects of COVID-19, the economic downturn caused by the global pandemic has been felt especially acutely in the developing world.[1] To make matters worse, the digital revolution threatens to leave behind many of the same countries which are still playing catchup due to inability to effectively deal with the pandemic.[2] In its Digital Economy Report 2021, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) identified data-related imbalances as a major issue that will exacerbate many of the same inequalities laid bare by the COVID-19 pandemic.[3] Compared to high-income nations which are the primary drivers of digital innovation, developing countries face greater challenges in accessing data and risk having their data exploited without the means to utilize it themselves.[4]

The value of open data to economic and social development cannot be understated; as digital networks become increasingly integrated into our daily lives, accessibility to data will be integral to solving complex problems and promoting growth.[5] However, to ensure that developing countries can be the beneficiaries of data-based economic and governance innovations, it is vital that the global community adopts a unified framework to regulate cross-border data flows.[6] The consequences

Paula P. Plaza
Vol. 43 Associate Editor
As global supply and demand chains expand, so do flashpoints for conflict in international business transactions.[1] One way to solve disagreements is through arbitration, which is a private form of dispute resolution decided by an impartial tribunal. By selecting this method, parties hope to wield greater power in naming the decision-makers, controlling the procedure, reducing time and expense, and increasing confidentiality.[2] Awards issued by private tribunals are recognized and enforced through an international treaty – the United Nations Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (the New York Convention).[3]

Arbitration is grounded on consent, and arbitration clauses can be included in any business contract.[4] Companies have a plethora of options in selecting the institution that will administer their arbitration in case a conflict arises,[5] but they must exercise care. Ultimately, the selection of an institution impacts the process and outcome of an arbitration, e.g., administrative and arbitrator fees can range in millions of dollars, relative reputation of an institution can undermine the enforcement of an award, and certain panels of arbitrators may be less knowledgeable in a technical field. [6]

To provide guidance in crafting effective arbitration clauses and wading through the dynamic world

Eugene Tseng
Vol. 43 Associate Editor
As the world economy is shifting towards a digital-oriented business, and human activities are moving online in a wider range, the cross-border data flow becomes the essential backbone for the global economy. COVID-19 has made clear that data flows are critical to the global economy, enabling both economic responses (e.g., the adoption of digital services for business continuity) and societal responses (e.g., family video calls, streaming content for entertainment).[1] While some countries allow data to flow easily around the world, many more have enacted new barriers to data transfers that make it more expensive and time-consuming, if not illegal, to transfer data overseas.[2]

Data Localization: Restrictive Measures to Trade

Government measures that restrict or prohibit the cross-border flow of data and require the local storage and processing of data have become known as “data localization measures.”[3] It may require personal data to be retained within their original jurisdiction, either through a direct legal restriction or through other prescriptive requirements (such as local business registration requirements) that have the same result.[4] More specifically, data localization measures are regulations requiring companies to store and process data on servers physically located within national borders.[5]

Data localization is closely linked to national sovereignty

Erica Paul
Vol. 43 Executive Editor
When a cable car crashed in a popular destination in Northern Italy, five-year-old Eitan Biran lost his parents, his younger brother, and his great-grandparents.[1] This horrific tragedy raised questions about the safety of Italian infrastructure, and the level of improvements necessary to ensure safety. However, the most pressing question continues to be the fate of Eitan Biran. After the accident, an Italian court named Eitan’s paternal aunt, Aya Biran-Nirko, as Eitan’s temporary legal guardian.[2] Eitan’s maternal aunt in Israel, Gali Peleg, has made known her intention to try and adopt Eitan and records show that she has started these proceedings. Eitan had lived in Italy since he was 18 months old. The situation became a matter of international law when Eitan’s maternal grandfather, Shmulik Peleg, visited and allegedly kidnapped Eitan using a private plane to Israel.[3] The Israeli police launched an investigation on the alleged kidnapping, and Peleg continues to assert that his actions were “legal and in Eitan’s best interest.”[4]

A bitter battle is now underway, prompting litigation in courts in both Italy and Israel. Lawyers have said that the manner in which Peleg took Eitan to Israel may be a violation of the Hague Convention

Ki Choi
Vol. 43 Associate Editor
In August 2021, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) published a report indicating that North Korea may have “restarted the operation of its main nuclear reactor used to produce weapons fuels.”[1] The IAEA report concludes that “since early July 2021, there have been indications, including the discharge of cooling water, consistent with the operation of the reactor.”[2] North Korea’s nuclear program and its controversies date back all the way back to 1993 – when the country declared its intention to withdraw from the 1968 Non-Proliferation Treaty as a result of the IAEA’s non-compliance concern.[3] The hermit kingdom would then go on to conduct six known nuclear tests.[4]

Recently, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) was adopted by the United Nations (UN) in January 2021, thereby finally prohibiting countries from “producing, testing, acquiring, possessing or stockpiling nuclear weapons,” and implementation of other transfer restrictions of such technologies under the international law.[5] The treaty is largely symbolic in that major nuclear powers and North Korea have not yet signed the treaty.[6] Regardless, North Korea’s recent nuclear activity deserves a new legal perspective. How must one address the North Korean problem in a world where nuclear weapons have

Ivan Levy
Columbia Law School LL.M.

In investment treaties, most favored nation (MFN) clauses commit contracting parties to treating each other’s investors no less favorably than investors of third states.[1] These clauses are directed at inappropriate distinctions between different foreign investors by the host state of the investment.[2]

In investment arbitration practice, tribunals have almost unanimously accepted that investors could ‘borrow’ standards of treatment from investment treaties concluded by the host state with third states through MFN clauses.  In some other cases, allegedly more favorable procedural treatment has also been claimed by investors, dividing tribunals with roughly equal numbers of decisions upholding and rejecting the application of the MFN clause to an arbitration provision.[3] In response to decisions subjecting procedural matters to MFN clauses, investment treaties begun to exclude the application of MFN clauses regarding dispute resolution. However, the latest trend in Europe is now to eliminate the application of MFN clauses to substantive treatment obligations assumed in other treaties.

Initial Restrictions on MFN Clauses: Procedural Matters

In investment treaty drafting, states have historically excluded the application of MFN clauses to treatment related to an agreement on taxation or a custom union. This practice can be traced back to the first Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs),

Daniel Liberman
Vol. 42 Associate Editor
The International Criminal Court (the “ICC” or the “Court”) was established by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court in 1998 as a court of last resort.[1] At the time of its inception, the Court was widely applauded as the beginning of an era where heinous crimes would no longer go unpunished. [2] Since, the Courthas been mired in accusations that it disproportionately targets African States and engages in actively perpetuating Western imperialism.[3]In the last decade, the Court has weathered vitriol from African states either exiting or threatening to exit the ICC.[4] With no police force of its own, these events have left the ICC particularly impotent and unable to “investigate, arrest and prosecute criminals.”[5] Moreover, as jurisdiction is voluntary, the refusal of certain states – including the United States, Russia, and China – to ratify the ICC has furthered the perception that the Court is deprived of legitimacy and power.[6]

One practical solution to combat these perceptions of illegitimacy, and to encourage either compliance with the ICC or to catalyze the domestic accountability process, is for the Court to open an investigation of arms exporters in connected with the crisis in Yemen. Recently, the European

Bridget Grier
Vol. 42 Executive Editor

International law, specifically the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials, prohibits discrimination by law enforcement officials and constrains their use of force.[1] Around the world, there are many examples of police brutality that violates the Code of Conduct; this post focuses on the widespread use of force by law enforcement officials throughout the United States, particularly against Black people, and use of force by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad in Nigeria. When violations of the Code of Conduct occur, the Code proposes reform. However, given the scale and persistence of violations, the reform envisioned by the Code is insufficient to prevent and systemically address violations. Instead, the #DefundthePolice and #EndSARS movements in the United States and in Nigeria may provide frameworks that better match the scale and persistence of violations, and therefore offer paths to greater compliance with the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials.

Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials

The United Nations General Assembly adopted the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials on December 17, 1979.[2] Article 2 of the Code instructs law enforcement officials to respect and uphold human rights and expressly forbids law enforcement officers from discriminating, including on the basis

Cira Danda
Vol. 42 Associate Editor
In 2016, Grigory Rodchenkov, the former head of Russia’s national anti-doping laboratory, exposed an extensive and systematic state-sponsored doping program.[1] The revelation and the uncovered extent of the conspiracy, fraud, and cover-up resulted in an international effort to sanction and penalize Russian athletics, spearheaded by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

Several years after the scandal erupted and after numerous prior proceedings, in January 2020 WADA filed a “Request for Arbitration” with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against RUSADA, Russia’s anti-doping agency, seeking significant sanctions for RUSADA’s non-compliance in procuring authentic data from the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory.[2]

The CAS released its findings nearly a year later in a 163-page long decision. The CAS Panel affirmed the facts of the case and harshly condemned Russia’s actions. The case facts describe “an institutional conspiracy...within the Ministry of Sport and its infrastructure...[including] RUSADA and the Moscow Laboratory.”[3] The CAS scathingly reproached the Russian authorities, affirming their participation in “deliberate” and “brazen” obfuscation of evidence, “egregious” misconduct, and in orchestrating “a contrived extortion scheme” among other misdeeds.[4]

Interestingly, despite disapproval of Russia’s behavior, the Panel effectively halved Russia’s penalties from those proposed by WADA. In its prayer for relief, WADA

Daniel Toubman
Vol. 42 Executive Editor
I. Introduction and Background

The American withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2018 raised numerous questions of international law, and a potential reentry into the accord by the Biden administration will implicate various new international law obligations and responsibilities. Two of the most pertinent questions as to the current status of the JCPOA are whether the United States violated international law through its withdrawal from the agreement, and whether the United States has the formal right to insist on “snapback” measures reinstituting sanctions on Iran despite its termination of the agreement.

After the JCPOA was negotiated between the parties in July 2015, it was formally incorporated into international law by the United Nations Security Council through Security Council Resolution 2231. Under domestic law, the United States government has labelled the JCPOA not a treaty, but rather a non-binding “political commitment,” meaning that it is not enforceable under domestic law.[1] However, whether or not the document gives rise to international law obligations is an entirely different matter. There are two possible avenues through which the United States may have violated international law through its termination of the JCPOA. One is by violating a binding treaty

Gregory Momjian
Vol. 42 Associate Editor
On November 9, 2020, Armenia and Azerbaijan signed a ceasefire agreement, brokered by Russia, ceasing all hostilities in the ethnic Armenian enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh.[1] The terms of the ceasefire ceded areas of Nagorno-Karabakh—controlled by Armenian forces since the mid-1990s—to Azerbaijan after a bloody, 44-day conflict.[2] The ceasefire agreement resulted in the deployment of nearly 2,000 Russian peacekeeping forces.[3]

The territory of Nagorno-Karabakh in question recently ceded to Azerbaijan includes dozens of historic Armenian churches and monuments.[4] These include the Amaras monastery dating from the fourth century, the Tsitsernavank monastery dating from the fifth century, and the Dadivank monastery dating from the ninth century.[5] Dadivank, said to have been founded by a disciple of the apostle Thaddeus,[6] is now guarded by Russian peacekeeping forces, which are needed for the safe passage for Armenians worshipping there.[7] But Armenians have good reason to fear the destruction of less prominent cultural monuments.[8] Between 1997 and 2006, the Azerbaijani government destroyed eighty-nine churches and thousands of khachkars (Armenian stone crosses) in Nakhichevan, an Azerbaijani enclave to the south of Armenia.[9] Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Culture has also systematically engaged in a campaign of cultural misattribution, falsely claiming that churches in Nagorno-Karabakh derive from

Michelle Mealer
Vol. 42 Associate Editor
Examples abound of US companies either directly or indirectly abetting human rights violations within their products' supply chains.[1] Despite these violations, regulating multinational corporations and their supply chains is challenging to the international legal frameworkbecause international law is premised on states' centrality. While international legal frameworks may have general goals and ideals, enforcement is usually placed primarily on the state. Since many developing countries are either unwilling or unable to enforce international legal norms like human rights, there is no enforcement mechanism to regulate US multinationals' behavior in a host country.[2] . Voluntary initiatives have, thus far, been the only way to encourage companies to respect human rights. As a result, companies are free to wash their hands of responsibility and create deniability of their involvement in human rights abuses down their supply chains;[3] they are rarely the ones who pull the trigger. With the international legal framework falling short of policing multinational companies' behavior, it falls on individual nations to provide legal recourse for international claimants. In the US, the Alien Tort Statute (ATS) gives survivors of human rights abuses, no matter where they occur, the right to sue the perpetrators in the US.[4]

The ATS provides

Abby Rose
Vol. 42 Associate Editor
Sitting on top of the Acropolis, the highest point in Athens, the Parthenon is a fixture of the Athenian skyline. Yet this icon of Greek history is incomplete. One of its most significant parts, the Elgin marbles, sits in a museum in Britain. Removed by a British ambassador while Greece was under Ottoman rule, the marbles were removed and later purchased by the British Museum. Though at the time, Elgin’s removal may technically have been legal, questions still remain as to whether Greece could recover the marbles. International treaties, such as the 1970 UNESCO Convention and the 1954 Hague Convention, have failed to retroactively protect looted art and facilitate discussions regarding their return.

The British government firmly holds that the marbles were obtained legally and has discouraged any talk of repatriation.[1] Parliament supported this stance, with acts such as the British Museum Act of 1963, which prevents the Board of Trustees at the British Museum from “disposing” of a work of art—that is, returning it to its original owner or country.[2] The return of the Elgin Marbles has so dramatically affected the mentality of the British government that it continues to shape its outlook on repatriation of

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