The #ICJ has named the four experts that it has commissioned to produce a report on #DRC’s damages claims in the #ArmedActivities case. I previously discussed the decision to seek this opinion. Now we have the list of names, which is very interesting. 1/14…
Recall that the expert opinion is supposed to address three heads of damages sought by the #DRC from #Uganda: (i) civilian deaths and compensation due; (ii) quantity and valuation of natural resources plundered; and (iii) scale and cost of property damage. 2/14
Questions have been raised within and beyond the Court about whether the task assigned to the experts amounts to derogation of the judicial function, unduly assists the DRC, or represents a prudent move on the Court's part to seek technical expertise in pursuit of justice. 3/14
My preliminary take is that this list of names suggests a reasonable & good faith effort by the Court to obtain relevant technical expertise, including in the fields of epidemiological modelling, financial accounting, and demography, in a complex case. Here are the experts: 4/14
Debarati Guha-Sapir brings expertise in epidemiology and the human impact of disasters and crisis events. She directs the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (@CREDUCL) at @UCLouvain_be.… 5/14
Geoffrey Senogles is a Geneva-based chartered accountant with considerable international experience regarding damages calculations in relation to human rights violations. He’s also been a damages expert at the UNCC and Iran-US Claims Tribunal.… 6/14
Henrik Urdal directs the Peace Research Institute Oslo (@PRIOUpdates) and his expertise includes the demographic consequences of armed conflict.… 7/14
Michael Nest brings expertise in conflict minerals and has written extensively about the role of natural resources in African conflicts, including in the #DRC. Here’s his website (…) and an interesting interview from 2016:… 8/14
#Uganda objected to the #ICJ's decision to seek an expert opinion in the first place, and Uganda then further objected to three of the above experts proposed by the Court, alleging either bias based on views expressed in prior publications or lack of relevant expertise. 9/14
In its Order, the ICJ explained that it considered and rejected Uganda’s objections. Uganda will be able to reiterate its concerns when commenting on the expert opinion, but the Court stated that it was within its discretion to choose its own experts. (This is correct.) 10/14
So where does this leave us? Ultimately, it is hard to evaluate the Court’s decision to seek an expert opinion, or its specific choice of experts, when the party pleadings remain confidential and the Court’s prior order did not explain precisely why expertise was required. 11/14
When more information becomes available, it may become clearer whether the experts have primarily been asked to analyse the DRC’s damages claims and Uganda’s responses, or instead have been asked to construct a damages case from the ground up. Or both. 12/14
On a related note, will the experts be primarily applying their expertise to the existing case file and evidence adduced by the parties, or will they, in effect, conduct additional fact-finding (from the public record) to come up with proposed damages figures? 13/14
Ultimately, the most prudent course may be for the expert panel to give the #ICJ a range of options, explaining the different methodological possibilities and the assumptions/values implicit in those choices. This may be how it could best serve the Court. We shall see. 14/14

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More from @mabecker17

23 Sep
A few points of note on the #ICJ’s order deciding to appoint experts on the question of #reparations in #DRC v #Uganda, which is available here:… 1/19
Recall that in its 2005(!) judgment, the Court found that Uganda bore responsibility for unlawful use of force, unlawful intervention, atrocities inflicted upon the Congolese that violated IHRL and IHL, and the unlawful exploitation of natural resources. #ArmedActivities 2/19
For its part, the DRC bore responsibility for attacks on Ugandan diplomatic premises and personnel and for other conduct in breach of #VCDR obligations (but this will not be the subject of the expert opinion). 3/19
Read 20 tweets
17 Sep
Today marks the first meeting of the @WHO-established Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness & Response. The inquiry has its own snazzy website ( and twitter account (@TheIndPanel). Panel is to agree on fact-finding methods & ways of working today.
The list of panel members is here ( Contrary to some earlier press reports, there is gender balance here (this is good). But absence of international law experience still jumps out to me given the many legal questions implicated by the #COVID19 pandemic.
@TheIndPanel has an ambitious schedule: interim reports due in November & January, a final report due in May. Is this enough time? The enormity of the task, depending on how mandate is construed, raises concerns. What kind of cooperation will they get from key actors (China, US)?
Read 4 tweets
5 Sep
UPDATE: In the ongoing litigation between #TheGambia and @Facebook in the US, The Gambia has submitted its response to FB’s surreply (meaning that the application for an order compelling discovery under §1782 has now been fully briefed). Here’s a rough summary: 1/12
Recall that Facebook’s position is that the Stored Communications Act, a US privacy law, would prevent it from being able to comply lawfully with the request for documents that #TheGambia seeks (including posts by #Myanmar officials & affiliated groups that FB removed). 2/12
#TheGambia takes a dim view of @Facebook’s arguments about the dangerous precedent this could set for privacy rights & argues that Facebook should want ‘genocidal conspirators who have abused Facebook’s platform’ to know their communications will not be protected. 3/12
Read 12 tweets
3 Sep
Update in #TheGambia v Facebook litigation in the US, where @Gambia_MOJ seeks a court order compelling Facebook to disclose various materials re #Myanmar. The Court has allowed another round of briefing, and @Facebook has filed a sur-reply. Here's what's happening. #Rohingya 1/11
Facebook argues that The Gambia’s application under §1782 asks for a subpoena with which Facebook could not lawfully comply. Recall that The Gambia seeks disclosure of posts by Myanmar officials & affiliated groups that FB has removed, plus drafts & private communications. 2/11
Facebook receives 1000s of requests from foreign gov'ts seeking user communications & it relies on the Stored Communications Act (SCA) to process them. FB says The Gambia’s approach would allow foreign gov'ts to obtain information about users w/out any legal process at all. 3/11
Read 11 tweets
2 Sep
Wow, this is a major development in #TheGambia v #Myanmar case at the #ICJ. The Netherlands and Canada have announced their joint intention to intervene in the case. #Rohingya #GenocideConvention…
The joint statement is thin on details, but Canada and The Netherlands will presumably seek to intervene as non-parties under Article 63 of the ICJ Statute (based on their status as parties to the #GenocideConvention).
I have previously raised doubts about the merits of intervention in this case. It can complicate the proceedings & may have limited (legal) benefit if states are simply expressing solidarity with #TheGambia. But it also creates opportunities to make complementary legal arguments.
Read 6 tweets
19 Aug
#TheGambia has filed its reply in US Federal Court to @Facebook’s arguments opposing discovery under §1782 in relation to the #genocide case against #Myanmar at the #ICJ. Here’s a thread summarizing The Gambia’s argument. For Facebook’s argument, see my prior thread (below). 1/17
#TheGambia argues that Facebook wrongly claims its hands are tied by US law, precluding its co-operation. The Gambia’s main argument is that the Stored Communications Act (SCA) (invoked by Facebook) doesn't cover the requests, or, if it does, that statutory exceptions apply. 2/17
First, The Gambia focuses on statutory text to argue that the SCA doesn't apply to foreign governments, its officials or its agents, or to anyone who has engaged in unauthorized use of @Facebook’s platform (i.e., in violation of its own terms). 3/17
Read 17 tweets

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