An enthusiastic backer signs the Arms Trade Treaty in 2013, but the UK’s position is now under scrutiny. (Credit: Keith Bedford under Creative Commons)
This is the first in a series of regular posts highlighting resources relevant to business and human rights disputes. It aims to gather, highlight and link to recent things that I found interesting.
- If you, like me, are waiting for the UK Supreme Court’s judgment in the Belhaj and Rahmatullah cases (oral arguments were heard in November last year), here is a short but great summary of the issues and the judgments below.
- Last week the Australian High Court issued an important judgment on joint criminal enterprise liability. It declined to follow the UK Supreme Court’s judgment in Jogee.
- A UK Parliamentary Committee recently started an inquiry into business and human rights. The inquiry homepage is worth a look.
- At the end of June 2016, the UN Human Rights Council welcomed a big report on accountability and remedy for business related human rights abuses, prepared by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The report (available as A/HRC/32/19 from here) was the product of two years of work.
- Also at the UN, the not-so-catchily-titled “Open Ended Intergovernmental Working Group” on a treaty on business and human rights has scheduled its second session for 24-28 October 2016. There is a deadline of 1 September 2016 should you want to make submissions. It remains to be seen what, if any, progress will be made.
- At the end of June 2016, a court challenge to the UK government’s grant of licences to export arms to Saudi Arabia passed the permission stage (the test for which is an arguable case). The challenge focuses on the conduct of the conflict in Yemen. There will be a three-day hearing on the merits before February 2017. Here is an impressive looking legal opinion outlining some of the arguments.
- Staying on arms sales, the Second Conference of States Parties to the Arms Trade Treaty took place in Geneva last week. Oxfam and others argued that the UK’s weapons sales to Saudi Arabia mean that it has switched from being an “enthusiastic backer” of the Treaty to “one of its most significant violators”.
- I posted before about the Xstrata/Peru litigation in the English High Court and some of the disclosure issues in that case. There have been more developments, including this recent judgment. It does not look like there will be a full trial on the merits any time soon.
- At the end of July 2016, there was a rare example of a business and human rights civil claim proceeding to a full judgment in England. The Ocensa pipeline judgment is some 650 pages long. The claim failed. A good and much shorter summary of why the claim failed is here.
- Two films caught my eye recently. The first is about the infamous libel claim brought by David Irving against Deborah Lipstadt and Penguin Books Ltd for attacking his work in Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory. Have a look at the trailer. The second is a documentary based on Andrew Feinstein’s book, the Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade (which is unputdownable). Here is the trailer. Now just to find a cinema in Cambodia showing them.
More in a couple of weeks!