The recent upsurge of the COVID-19 pandemic and the gross escalation of death toll arising from it has raised certain issues regarding China’s culpability or liability under international law. Countries such as the United States of America and Italy have clamoured to instigate lawsuits against the People’s Republic of China. Likewise, intellectuals, scholars and social commentators have being engaged in heated debates concerning ways in which to seek reprisal against China.

One then begins to wonder whether or not China violated any international law/obligations with regards to the Coronavirus emanating from China? Can China be said to have committed any international wrongful act or in breach of any international legal duty? Do States/ individuals have any basis or locus standito sue for damages or compensation?  And if yes, which court has the jurisdictional competence to entertain the matter. These are some of the questions this article addresses.

First off, China is said to be in breach of Articles 6 and 7 of the International Health Regulations (2005) which provides for timely, accurate and sufficiently detailed dissemination of information to the World Health Organization (WHO) about potential public health emergencies.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the locus classicusCorfu Channel case (1949),   held that no state may “knowingly allow its territory to be used for acts contrary to the rights of other states.” China’s inability to curtail the virus to the detriment of other states, as… Click to continue reading