Blogposts by Christiane Ahlborn


Christiane Ahlborn

Christiane is a PhD candidate in the SHARES Project. She is writing her thesis on the topic of responsibility of member states for action in the framework of international organizations. Her research seeks to identify the legal bases to hold member … Read more

5 January 2013

Adjudicating Somali Piracy Cases – German Courts in a Double Bind

Cross-posted on the CJICL blog

On 19 October 2012, a court of first instance in Hamburg sentenced ten Somalis to prison in what was the first piracy case before German courts in over four hundred years (the decision has not yet been released but for a comprehensive press release of the court in German see: here). The acts of piracy took place on 5 April 2010 when the Somalis entered the German container ship “Taipan”, which was on its way from Haifa to Mombasa, with a distance of about 530 nautical miles from the Horn of Africa. The heavily armed Somalis intended to take the crew of the Taipan hostage and to hold them for ransom, but the crew fled into a hidden safe room and cut the ship’s energy supply. Shortly thereafter the Somalis were arrested by the Dutch frigate “Hr. Ms. Tromp”, brought to the Netherlands and handed over to Germany on 10 June 2010. The procedure began on 22 November 2010, and ended with prison sentences ranging from two to seven years for extortionate kidnapping (§ 239 (a) para. 1 of the German Criminal Code) and attacking sea transportation (§ 316 (c) para. 1 no. 1 of the German Criminal Code). (more…)

13 June 2012

‘Joint Responsibility in International Law: Revisiting the Oil Platforms Case’, A Comment on Bruno Simma’s SHARES Lecture

While the ICJ’s practice of individual opinions has been criticized in the past for sending signs of divided of authority, it is generally acknowledged that these opinions offer Judges a forum to voice views that could not be accommodated in the Court’s decision for different reasons. As such, many individual opinions have made invaluable contributions to the Court’s jurisprudence, especially when expressing a more progressive stance towards the state of the law in question. A particularly illustrative example in this regard is Judge Simma’s separate opinion (pdf) in the Oil Platforms case, which he revisited in a SHARES Lecture on 24 May 2012 at the University of Amsterdam. (more…)

8 November 2011

UNESCO Approves Palestinian Membership Bid: A Case for US Countermeasures Against the Organization?

Cross-posted from EJIL:Talk!

On 31 October 2011, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organizations (UNESCO) approved the bid of Palestine for full membership with the necessary two-thirds majority. Although 107 UNESCO States voted in favor of Palestinian membership, the approval also faced notable opposition by 14 States. The overall number of 173 votes cast included 52 abstentions. Among the States voting against the bid were the United States, Canada and several EU member States, including Germany and the Netherlands. While the diverging positions of EU member States thus reveals once again the lack of unanimity in EU external relations policy, the US disapproval of the Palestinian UNESCO membership may have more serious consequences at the level of US-UNESCO relations. For after the approval of Palestine’s membership bid, the US immediately announced that it would cut off its funds to UNESCO, which amount to 60 million USD annually. (more…)

7 July 2011

Expert Seminar on Shared Responsibility in International Refugee Law – In Search for a Legal Basis of Burden-Sharing

Do States – and other subjects of international law – have a collective obligation to protect refugees? And if this is the case, does a breach of this obligation lead to shared international responsibility? At a time when the burdens and responsibilities that flow from massive displacement of people have been distributed so unevenly among the world’s regions and countries (see UNHCR Global Trends 2010), these two questions have attracted growing interest and were discussed at the Expert Seminar on Shared Responsibility in International Refugee Law that the SHARES Project organized on 30 May 2011 (see Programme). (more…)