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The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1948, is the first UN human rights document to include civil and political rights as well as economic, social and cultural rights. However, since that time a dichotomy between civil and political rights and economic, social and cultural rights has characterized UN human rights activities. In 1966 the General Assembly adopted two separate human rights documents: the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). Two separate covenants were drafted as a result of western pressure. Western countries stressed the alleged difference in character of both categories of rights: civil and political rights could be implemented immediately while most economic, social and cultural rights could be implemented only progressively. In the Vienna Declaration, adopted by the World Conference on Human Rights in 1993, the principle of the equality of all rights was, however, forcefully emphasized.
A controversial issue in international humanitarian law is whether violations of norms applicable in internal armed conflicts constitute criminal offences under international law and can be adjudicated as such. The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) recently faced this question in the context of a preliminary motion lodged by the Defence alleging lack of jurisdiction in the Tadić case. The indictment against Dusko Tadić charges the accused, inter alia, with violating the laws or customs of war, ‘recognised by Article 3 of the Statute of the Tribunal and Article 3(1 )(a) of the Geneva Conventions of 1949’ (Article 3 common to the Geneva Conventions enumerates prohibitions applicable in conflicts not of an international character).
On 23 September 1989 Presse Alliance, a company incorporated under French law whose registered office is in Paris, which publishes the newspaper France-Soir, published an article about an operation which drug squad officers of the French police had carried out at one of the bureaux de change operated in Paris by Chequepoint SARL. That article, based on information provided by the agency France Presse, mentioned the company ‘Chequepoint’ and a young woman by the name of ‘Fiona Shevill-Avril’. Chequepoint SARL, a company incorporated under French law whose registered office is in Paris, has operated bureaux de change in France since 1988. It is not alleged to carry on business in England or Wales. Fiona Shevill, a United Kingdom national residing in North Yorkshire (England), was temporarily employed for three months in the summer of 1989 by Chequepoint SARL in Paris. She returned to England on 26 September 1989. On 17 October 1989 the plaintiffs issued a writ in the High Court of England and Wales claiming damages for libel from Presse Alliance in respect of the copies of France-Soir distributed in France and the other European countries including those sold in England and Wales.
Netherlands Judicial Decisions Involving Questions of Private International Law