State of Elbonia and a populist party


Background Facts:
Elections were held in the State of Elbonia and a populist party came to power. One of the party’s
promises during the election campaign was to work towards expulsion of foreigners originating in
neighbouring Voisinia. Voisinian authorities, who had followed the elections closely, responded to the
hostile tone towards persons originating in Voisinia by adopting a law stating that all persons living in
Elbonia who could document links to Voisinia were to be regarded as Voisinan citizens regardless of
whether they also were citizens of other States. The law entered into force immediately.
Following the elections, certain extremist groups seized the opportunity and organised
demonstrations in which property of Voisinian citizens was destroyed. The police did not interfere with
the demonstrations, and none of the demonstrators were brought to justice. The new Minister of the
Interior argued in the press that he feared serious riots if he had ordered the police to interfere with
the demonstrations.
The extremists seemed to be encouraged by the passivity of the government, and groups were
organised which attacked the homes of Voisinian citizens. Several persons were killed, tortured and
raped. In total 250 people had been attacked, of which 75 were killed. 20 out of the 75 were Voisinian
military troops on a tactical training exercise. The total number of Voisinians living in Elbonia was
200,000. Elbonian authorities condemned the attacks, and the Minister of the Interior called for the
guilty to be brought to justice. However, little was done in practice, and those arrested turned out to
be innocent. There was evidence that harassment of Voisinian citizens continued, but not as explicitly
as had previously been the case.
10 days after these traumatic events, Voisinia’s government, which felt that they could not passively
witness the misfortune of their citizens in Elbonia, secretly sent agents into Elbonia in order to
investigate the acts that had been committed. The agents managed to capture two leaders of the
extremist group that was considered responsible for the attacks against Voisinan citizens. They were
smuggled out of Elbonia and into Voisinia, where they were imprisoned.
Task:
You are working as a legal adviser at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Voisinia.
You are asked by your Minister to set out what claims Voisinia may possibly invoke before the
International Court of Justice, the arguments that can be brought forward in favour of and against the
claims, and the most likely results of such a case.
In addition, you are asked to describe the most likely claims that can possibly be invoked by Elbonia,
and the arguments that can be brought forward in favour of and against these claims.
You are also asked to give your opinion on the usefulness of bringing the case before the
International Court of Justice as compared to other ways to react vis-à-vis Elbonia.
In the essay that you prepare, ensure you discuss the legality and consequences of the
actions of Elbonia and Voisinia under the rules of use of force, state responsibility and
reparation in international law.
All discussions must be thoroughly referenced with relevant treaties, cases, journal articles,
books, etc.

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