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.


 

Dr. Aleydis Nissen, Senior Researcher, Leiden University and Free Universities of Brussels 
My book ‘The European Union, Emerging Global Business and Human Rights’ has just been published by Cambridge University Press.[1] In the first part of this book. I answer the question of whether extraterritorial countries are permitted to regulate abuse by corporations beyond their territorial borders under international law. This question is not often posed, as most of the literature on ‘business and human rights’ has argued in which circumstances extraterritorial countries are obliged to do so. These discussions focus exclusively on situations in which ‘their’ corporate nationals are involved in human rights violations abroad. The approach in my book is broader. It considers other situations in which extraterritorial countries (in particular the European Union Member States) regulate ‘other’ corporations (in particular ‘competitors’ of European Union based-corporations that are born and bred in developing and emerging countries).

The answer to the question is that there are two conditions for extraterritorial countries to be permitted to regulate abuse abroad. Both conditions are discussed in turn.

1. Reasonable link

First, there needs to be a ‘reasonable link’ between the extraterritorial country and the regulated corporation.[2] When does such a reasonable link exist?

There is only one

Jennifer Peterson-Sharma
Vol. 44 Associate Editor
The need for international regulations on data privacy has never been greater. Data privacy is among the few and relatively new fields of law that were developed across national borders.[1] Without a global regulator, however, states are applying their own laws to this issue that clearly affects transborder activities,[2] complicating the ability of multi-jurisdictional companies to comply with potentially conflicting rules.[3] The practicalities of adhering to the plethora of guidelines is a substantial inefficiency and an “anchor on the health of international business.”[4] These fragmented data regimes also have political consequences, including the ability to hinder international relations. At the individual level, protection of citizens' data cannot be adequately addressed within a country’s own borders. Websites and social media platforms operate using a substantial amount of personal information, carrying it across the world within seconds. For these reasons and several others, data privacy is an international issue that requires harmonization and comprehensive solutions.

Nonetheless, while the necessity for an international regulatory framework is immense, the task of designing and implementing the policy is not an easy one. Part I of this article will begin by pinpointing the various difficulties that exist as a barrier to establishing comprehensive

Louis Steinkuehler
Vol. 44 Associate Editor
Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine has highlighted the tenuous nature of the United Nations’ ability to respond to crises.[1] However, the international community’s response to such acts of aggression within the international legal framework has not always been so impeded. The international response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1991, while not lacking in controversy, was a unique opportunity seized by the international community to show its ability to respond effectively to the invasion of one state against another.[2] This marked a watershed moment in the application of economic sanctions law.[3] Despite some political discussion of the similarities of that moment with later conflicts, there has not been a deep dive into how those lessons are directly relevant to the response to Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine. This blog will provide and apply that analysis. While the fact that Russia sits on the UN Security Council prevents some avenues of the international community’s response, as this blog will note, many lessons from Iraq are still applicable presently.

The first way in which the international response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait was unique was that it constituted the most comprehensive and universally enforced economic sanctions regime

Grace Bruce
Vol. 44 Associate Editor
Vladimir Putin’s close connection to billionaire Yevgeny Prigozhin and the Wagner Group is one of many factors chipping away at the illusion of Russian compliance with basic principles of international law.[1] The Wagner Group is a private military company that has been accused of committing war crimes in Ukraine.[2] Historically, the Russian government has employed proxy groups in international conflicts to distance themselves from any responsibility for violations of international law.[3] Under the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism (ICSFT), the Russian Federation cannot be held responsible for direct state financing of terrorist activities.[4] There is compelling evidence, however, that the Russian Federation has breached its obligations under the ICSFT by failing to prevent and suppress Prighozin’s funding of the Wagner Group.



Unlawful Conduct of Prigozhin and the Wagner Group Under the ICSFT

Under the ICSFT, an individual has committed the offense of financing terrorism if they, “by any means, directly or indirectly, unlawfully and wil[l]fully, provide[] or collect[] funds with the intention that they should be used or in the knowledge that they are to be used, in full or in part, in order to carry out [acts of terrorism].”[5] The definition of

Martin Greene
Vol. 44 Associate Editor
Since the end of the Cold War, authoritarian governments have used international organizations in a novel way. Where once governments would resist the influence of international organizations, they now seek to use them to advance their own political goals.[1] One illustrative example of this is the use of democratic processes and facially democratic institutions to comply with the procedural right to democracy required by several treaties.[2] For example, following its illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014, Russia used a referendum to ‘legitimize’ its control over the region.[3] It has followed this move with similar sham referendums in Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk, and Zaporizhzhia[4] – all areas Russia has occupied since starting its illegal war in Ukraine in February 2022.[5]

While these recent referendums have been widely rejected by the international community, these actions demonstrate a wider issue in international law – attempts by authoritarian states to manipulate procedural democratic rights ostensibly protected by treaty.[6] With the renewed Western focus on international law and on the protection of democratic legitimacy around the world, countries should seek to incorporate a substantive right to democracy into existing procedural democratic protections in order to prevent the abuse of democratic mechanisms by authoritarian

Javier Piñeiro
Vol. 44 Associate Editor
In the upcoming years, climate change will become a significant driver of migration, as entire countries face climate-induced land disappearance.[1] Due to climate change, sudden disasters are stronger and more frequent, causing floods and landslides that wipe out ecosystems.[2] Simultaneously, slower degradation processes, such as sea-level rise and droughts, threaten communities across the globe.[3] Just as climate effects are not isolated to one region of the planet, land disappearance poses a significant risk of mass migration due to either sudden or gradual events.[4] As the United Nations (UN) informed, a record high in refugees worldwide[5], people in areas prone to land disappearance are migrating seeking international protection[6] without qualifying for refugee status under International Human Rights Law (IHRL).[7]

Two major sources of IHRL lay out the framework to determine refugee status: the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)[8] and the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees along with its 1967 Protocol (the Refugee Convention)[9]. Under IHRL, Member States have the obligation to recognize refugee status, but only in specific situations.[10] The Refugee Convention’s definition of “refugee” consists of four elements. First, the refugee must have fled their country. Second, the refugee must be

Alexander Nye
Vol. 44 Associate Editor
On February 24, 2022, Russia announced a “special military operation” to “demilitarize” Ukraine.[1] Russia initially planned to capture Kyiv immediately and gain control over the country.[2] However, after this strategy failed, Moscow switched focus to annexing portions of Ukraine.[3]

If Russia had succeeded in controlling the entire country, what would have happened to the significant debts Ukraine incurred to fund its defense against Russian encroachment? An application of the War Debts doctrine, a long-held international law doctrine, would conclude that Russia could repudiate them.[4] Gulati and Weidemaier recently described the doctrine as antiquated and proposed a reform.[5] The goal of this blog is to more fully articulate an international law justification for their proposal. This blog post seeks to (i) explain the War Debts doctrine, (ii) describe the proposed reform, (iii) explain how the reformed should be justified in public international law using the unclean hands doctrine, and (iv) touch on some of the problems associated with this approach.



I. The current War Debts doctrine

Under the War Debts doctrine, a conquering state is not legally required to pay debts that the conquered state accrued to fund war against the conquering state.[6] The implication of the doctrine is that

Kelly Grugan
Vol. 44 Associate Editor
On August 31, 2022, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (“OHCHR”) released an assessment (the “Assessment”) detailing the Chinese government’s treatment of Uyghurs in China’s Xinjiang region.[1] It reports that Uyghurs were forcibly detained in camps where they were allegedly subject to torture, sexual violence, and denied the right to practice their religion or speak their native language.[2] The OHCHR concluded that the “arbitrary and discriminatory detention of members of Uyghur and other predominantly Muslim groups” may constitute crimes against humanity.[3]



In addition to denying the Assessment’s characterization of the camps in Xinjiang, China responded by claiming that its actions complied with international law, particularly its duty to combat terrorism.[4] China claims that terrorism is a threat to human rights and that it is bound by international law to eradicate it.[5] China’s response, however, bases its argument on the very international law instruments that its conduct violates.[6] This blog argues that such blatant misapplication of international law is in bad faith, indicating that China has no intention of complying with international law, and calls upon the international community to further resist and disavow China’s legal strategy.

China’s Response Misstates International Law and Its

Muhui Shi
Vol. 44 Associate Editor
Despite two years of transatlantic data privacy vacuums, a new hope seems to have materialized after the White House announced its latest collaboration with the European Commission.[1] However, after both previous attempts at building a transatlantic privacy framework–the Privacy Shield and the International Safe Harbor Privacy Principles—were struck down consecutively by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), whether the United States can assemble a new and lasting transatlantic data privacy framework has come into serious question.

The Safe Harbor, the Privacy Shield, and the impending new framework are all alternate paths specifically designed for the United States to substitute the rigorous “adequacy decision” hurdle as required by GDPR Article Forty-Five. Instead of changing the existing sectorial privacy regulations to prove  the privacy protection provided by the United States is “essentially equivalent” to the EU system, under these US-EU frameworks, businesses can transfer data so long as they voluntarily join and self-certify to comply with the Safe Harbor or Privacy Shield principles.[2] In practice, aside from the United States, countries that achieve free personal data transfer must all go through a rigorous adequacy examination by the EU.

The previous failure of the frameworks has been framed

Andrea Lofquist
Vol. 44 Associate Editor
Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) metrics benefit shareholders in the long-term through value-creation,[1] but ESG reporting has been likened to the Wild West and concern over the non-binding nature of sustainability reporting standards abounds.[2] Since its introduction at the UN Climate Change Conference in 2021, the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) has made waves in the ESG realm, and its ripple effects will be felt by businesses, investors, and society.[3] Announced by the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) Foundation, the ISSB combines the Climate Disclosure Standards Board (CDSB)[4] and the Value Reporting Foundation (VRF).[5] By consolidating and defining ESG reporting mechanisms and standards, [6] the ISSB seeks to create a “global baseline of sustainability-related disclosure standards”—both risks and opportunities—for investors and market participants.[7] Though it has no binding force of its own, the ISSB has nevertheless set the foundation for global sustainability standards and moved major regulators toward aligned mandatory disclosures.[8] To fully combat issues of implementation and transparency, more will be needed from international regulatory frameworks to harden these standards into international obligations for sustainability.

The Challenge of Creating Binding Corporation Obligations in the International Space

 The primary difficulty with corporations in the international legal context is

Ahan Gadkari & Tushar Rajput
Jindal Global Law School
On February 24, 2022, the Russian Federation (Russia) initiated a “special military operation” in Ukraine.[1] This was a transparent violation of the prohibition on the use of force within customary international law and codified within Article 2(4) of the United Nations (UN) Charter.[2] Further, it was also inconsistent with Clauses 1 and 2 of the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances which consisted of three political agreements which provided security assurances to Ukraine.[3] The operation went into motion after a speech[4] was delivered by Russian President Vladimir Putin.[5] The speech provides Russia’s justification for using force against Ukraine. From the speech, two significant points can be gathered. First, it is an intervention via invitation (IVI) for collective self-defense under Article 51 of the UN Charter within the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic” and the “Luhansk People’s Republic.” Second, it  aims to end a genocide that has been conducted by the Kyiv regime for the past six years. The second justification seems to be invoking the responsibility to protect (R2P), a principle that Russia has historically denied.[6]

The assertions put forth by the Russian President are like a whiteboard with erroneous written all over it. The purpose of

Tyler Loveall
Vol. 43 Executive Editor
Despite long-standing economic focus on water as a resource,[1] little work exists on the effects of potential fresh-water financial instruments. In 2018, Nasdaq became the first major financial institution to launch a fresh-water price index.[2] Although related derivative contracts are yet to materialize, such derivatives are likely to come and with them potential speculation and instability in the underlying commodity, as may have led to the global food crisis in the mid-2000s.[3] Water securities would be deeply connected to international agreements on fresh water and international harmonization of derivatives regulation. Fully regulated derivative markets do not pose an inherent risk and may not negatively affect water access,[4] but international securities and fresh-water law currently lack the mechanisms and scope of objectives necessary to regulate water-backed securities, risking water access.

Fresh-water commodities present unique challenges. Access to fresh water, unlike any other specific commodity, is a U.N. declared universal human right.[5] Yet the right is incredibly vulnerable. The human rights framework around water is often criticized as ill-defined, narrowly imposed,[6] and focused too heavily on economics and too little on water for sustenance and sanitation.[7] Therefore, fresh-water law and securities regulation need to fill the gap and protect

Henry Altman
Vol. 43 Associate Editor
Founded in 2016, the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy is a powerful example of the trend of cities organizing through quasi-legal ‘soft law’ agreements to confront global issues. The proliferation of the Covenant and other similar organizations has led to international law scholars questioning the traditional understanding of black letter State-based international law as dominant to international ordering. Despite the effectiveness of both hard law and soft law agreements being tied to the compliance of signatories with the agreements, academic discussions of soft law and cities minimally examine the actual compliance of cities.[1] In this post, I briefly survey the extent of compliance by signatories’ cities with the terms of the Global Covenant Agreement, finding that the Agreement has had limited success in inducing compliance. These shortfalls cannot be explained merely by the nonbinding nature of soft law. Instead, inadequate sanctions for noncompliance may explain ineffectiveness.

The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy

The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy is an international covenant of over 11,500 cities and local governments from 142 countries representing over one billion people that  “collaborates with city and regional networks, national government, and other partners

Mary Aertker
Vol. 43 Associate Editor
Historically, scholars have examined copyright as a purely legal doctrine, devoid of racial and post-colonial undertones.[1] Only recently have scholars begun to examine the shortcomings of international copyright frameworks and impacts on systemic inequalities.[2] This post will critically examine the current governing international copyright regime—the TRIPS Agreement—and explore the harmful effects of its incompatibility with systems in place in the Global South.[3]

Traditional knowledge, or local community knowledge and practices that are owned communally and transmitted orally in the Global South,[4] is often created by large and diffused communities; legal conceptions of Western knowledge, by contrast, hinge on traceability back to an identifiable individual.[5] Existing protections within the international copyright regime provide protection of limited duration, running counter to the necessary perennial component of an oral and collective amalgamation of knowledge.[6]

For example, U.S. copyright law favors song publishers over artists, an idea which has bled into the international landscape, as U.S. copyright laws have strong international implications.[7] Therefore, copyright law, in favoring the publisher over other contributors—or in favoring at all—is simply incompatible with collective ownership, where no single contributor can be said to own a piece of intellectual property more than another.[8] Additionally, many traditional forms

Becky Maz
Vol. 43 Associate Editor
Following its hostile takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021, the Taliban submitted a request to the U.N. General Assembly’s Credentials Committee (“Committee”) seeking approval for the appointment of its own delegation as a replacement for the country’s prior representation in the U.N. General Assembly.[1] In December of 2021, the Committee refused (for a second time) to make an accreditation decision on the Taliban’s proffered delegation. This decision leaves Ghulam Isaczai, Afghanistan’s formerly appointed Ambassador to the United Nations, in office.[2] The Committee’s decision is rooted in concerns about the delegation’s ability to authentically represent the citizens of Afghanistan, given its history of human rights abuses and attitudes towards women.[3]

The recent controversy is likely to reignite a longstanding debate over whether a decision by the Committee to deny accreditation is legally permissible under the U.N. Charter. Such decisions have the effect of barring unaccredited member states from participation in most aspects of the General Assembly’s work.[4] Hence, a rejection functions much like a suspension from the international organization in practice. The problem? The power to initiate suspension of a member state from the United Nations is exclusively reserved to the U.N. Security Council under the U.N. Charter.[5]

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

Page 1 of 16 12341516