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Claims Against Corporate Defendant Founded on Customary International Law Can Proceed in Canada

By Stephen G.A. Pitel, Faculty of Law, Western University

Eritrean mine workers who fled from that country to British Columbia sued the mine’s owner, Nevsun Resources Ltd. They sought damages for various torts including battery, false imprisonment and negligence. They also sought damages for breaches of customary international law. Their core allegation was that as conscripted labourers in Eritrea’s National Service Program, they were forced to work in the mine in intolerable conditions and Nevsun was actively involved in this arrangement.

Nevsun moved to strike out all of the claims on the basis of the act of state doctrine. It also moved to strike out the proceedings based on violations of customary international law because they were bound to fail as a matter of law.

Jurisdictional Immunities of the State: the ICJ to Deliver its Judgment in the Germany v. Italy Case

According to a press release, on 3 February 2012 the International Court of Justice will deliver its judgment in the case concerning Jurisdictional Immunities of the State (Germany v. Italy: Greece intervening) (see our previous post here).

A public sitting will take place at the Peace Palace in The Hague, during which the President of the Court, Judge Hisashi Owada, will read the judgment. The public sitting will be broadcast live and in full on the Court’s website (see Multimedia, in the Press Room section), from 10 a.m. local time.

At the end of the sitting, a press release, the full text of the judgment and a summary of it will be distributed. All of these documents will be made available at the same time on the Court’s website, where all the documentation relating to the proceedings is accessible.