Digest of United States Practice in International Law 2015

The Office of the Legal Adviser publishes the annual Digest of United States Practice in International Law to provide the public with a historical record of the views and practice of the Government of the United States in public and private international law. The complete 2015 Digest is available at the left in PDF format. Individual chapters are also available at the left. Documents excerpted in the 2015 Digest that are not readily available elsewhere can be accessed through the link at the left for the chapter in which the document is excerpted. The 2015 Digest provides a historical record of key legal developments in 2015. Legal Adviser Brian J. Egan summarized the contents of the 2015 Digest in the Introduction, stating in part:

As is true every year, in 2015 the United States negotiated and concluded a number of noteworthy treaties, other international agreements, and political arrangements. On July 14, 2015, the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States), the European Union, and Iran reached a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (“JCPOA”) to ensure that Iran’s nuclear program will be exclusively peaceful. U.S. leadership was also instrumental in the conclusion by over 190 countries of the Paris Agreement of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change on December 12, 2015. The Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development were concluded with U.S. involvement and support. The passage of Trade Promotion Authority (“TPA”) and Trade Adjustment Assistance (“TAA”) legislation in June 2015 paved the way for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (“TPP”), which was concluded in October 2015, and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (“T-TIP”), on which negotiations are ongoing. The United States also signed an extradition treaty with the Dominican Republic; a mutual legal assistance treaty with Kazakhstan; an agreement continuing the International Science and Technology Center in Kazakhstan; new air transport agreements with Togo, Barbados, Serbia, Ukraine, Seychelles, and Mexico; and a tax treaty with Vietnam. The Executive Branch transmitted a number of treaties to the Senate for ratification, including mutual legal assistance treaties with Algeria and Jordan, and a protocol to the U.S. tax treaty with Japan. The U.S. Congress adopted implementing legislation for several nuclear security treaties, including the Nuclear Terrorism Convention, leading to U.S. ratification of those treaties. …

The United States also undertook a number of significant steps in the area of diplomatic relations in 2015. On July 20, 2015, the United States and Cuba re-established diplomatic relations and permanent diplomatic missions in their respective countries. Also in 2015, the United States rescinded Cuba’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism, made further adjustments to sanctions on Cuba, and entered into claims settlement talks and an aviation arrangement with Cuba. U.S.-Nicaraguan relations also registered a milestone: the settlement of remaining property claims by U.S. nationals against Nicaragua in 2015 lifted the requirement of an annual waiver to allow U.S. government assistance and support. The United States suspended embassy operations in Sana’a, Yemen in February 2015 and responded to litigation regarding visas and evacuations. The U.S. Mission to Somalia commenced operations out of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya in September 2015. The United States also participated in and supported a UN-sponsored effort in 2015 to broker a political resolution in Libya to create a “Government of National Accord.”

The United States continued to lead a coalition of nations participating in the non-international armed conflict against ISIL in Iraq and Syria in 2015. The United States also continued to deploy a variety of resources to support efforts to resolve conflicts in the Middle East, Syria, Burundi, the Central African Republic, Mali, Sudan, South Sudan, Burma, Ukraine, and Yemen.

The United States actively engaged with a number of UN human rights treaty bodies in 2015. In March the United States submitted its one-year follow up response regarding the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (“ICCPR”) to the Human Rights Committee. The United States submitted its Universal Periodic Review (“UPR”) report to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in February, and made its UPR presentation in May. The United States also provided its one-year follow-up response to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and filed its one-year follow-up response to the Committee Against Torture.

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Complete 2015 Digest of United States Practice in International Law
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