Thursday, January 1, 2009

Athbhliain fé mhaise dhaoibh!

Athbhliain fé mhaise dhaoibh [or, in English, Happy New Year to you all]. I just thought I’d take this opportunity to point out a few things coming up on this (European) side of the Atlantic in 2009 that’s likely to catch our attention here.
► First of all Ireland will, it appears, get another opportunity vote on the Lisbon Treaty. As many of our readers will know, the Irish electorate voted ‘no’ to the ratification and incorporation of the Treaty last summer. We were the only European Union state to have a referendum on the Treaty and for those who wonder why we did, it’s because EU Treaty Law has supremacy over Constitutional law and, in Ireland, that has been interpreted since the case of Crotty v An Taoiseach (1986) as requiring a constitutional referendum on EU Treaties. Ireland has previously voted twice on an EU Treaty (Treaty of Nice) and ‘Lisbon II’ will be one of the political and legal events of 2009 here. The referendum is expected in 2009.
► The European Court of Human Rights will hear cases relating to abortion rights in Ireland and female genital mutilation/non-refoulement both of which emanate from Ireland. We previously discussed these cases on the blog, and the ECtHR’s decisions are anxiously awaited.
► Thirdly, we expect to see discussions about the placement of released Guantánamo Bay detainees in European states gain even more momentum in the next few months. Strategies for closing the detention centre are quite a hot topic here on IntLawGrrls and the role that European states’ will play in this process will be watched with great interest, particularly given the alleged role some European states (incl. Ireland, I’m afraid) are said to have played in getting people to Guantánamo by collusion in extraordinary rendition.
This is just a taster of the international law stories like to come from Europe over the course of the next 12 months, but as always it seems likely that it will be the unexpected occurrences that will most grab our attention. We look forward to discussing all this and more here on IntLawGrrls.

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