Susan M. Akram is clinical professor at Boston University School of Law and teaches and writes on international refugee, human rights and immigration law. She also supervises students representing refugees and immigrants in the asylum and human rights program at BU law school.
Jurisdictional arguments: The ICJ is Unlikely to Decline to Render an Advisory Opinion
It is highly unlikely that the Court will decline jurisdiction to render the advisory opinion; in fact, it has never refused to render an advisory opinion requested by a UN body. Most recently, the Court has indicated that it has broad competence to issue advisory opinions.(1) The only precedent for declining an advisory request is the Status of Eastern Carelia case, in which the Permanent Court of International Justice (PCIJ)—the ICJ’s predecessor—found that the consent of the two states directly involved in the dispute was required before it could render the opinion.(2)
Co-authored by Yasmine Gado
In recent years, human rights lawyers and activists have significantly increased their efforts to hold perpetrators of egregious human rights abuses accountable in domestic courts around the world. Principally, lawyers have focused their efforts on laws incorporating concepts of universal jurisdiction to criminally prosecute perpetrators of such wrongs.1
In the United States, universal jurisdiction principles have a very thin foundation under domestic law, and have proved nonexistent in their application to Israeli human rights abusers. As alternatives, US lawyers have attempted to hold Israeli perpetrators accountable through the use of civil tort laws, or indirectly through manufacturers’ liability lawsuits. Despite the weakness of domestic laws on universal jurisdiction, as well as numerous barriers to successful recovery under civil statutes, US human rights lawyers have increased their efforts to litigate Palestinian and Arab victims’ claims for redress for egregious human rights violations.