Thursday, March 26, 2015

WTO: The New Rules of Global Trade (Free Program in Washington DC on March 31)

The International Trade and Investment Law Society at the American University Washington College of Law, with co-sponsorship from the American Bar Association Young Lawyers' Division International Law Committee, presents a free program on "The World Trade Organization in the 21st century: How negotiations are shaping the new rules of global trade."

This panel will discuss recent negotiations at the World Trade Organization (WTO) with a particular emphasis on the Bali Package and the Trade Facilitation Agreement. Panelists will discuss new trade facilitation commitments and their impact upon the global trading system.


  • Gary Horlick, Esq, Law Offices of Gary Horlick
  • Michael Mullen, Esq, Executive Director, Express Association of America


  • Tania Garcia-Millan, Esq., Attorney, United Nations ECLAC
  • John Magnus, President Tradewins LLC (Invited)

Time and Location:

  • March 31st, 2015; 12-2pm
  • American University Washington College of Law, 4801 Massachusetts Ave NW, Room 602

Attendance is free but please RSVP<>.

Bring a brown-bag lunch if you like.

Hat tip to Cortney O'Toole Morgan at Husch Blackwell LLP in Washington DC


March 26, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Books We Think We Are Going to Like: The Assault on International Law

The Chronicle of Higher Education tells us that Oxford University Press has published a new book called "The Assault on International Law" by Jens David Ohlin.  We're told that the book "criticizes the arguments and influence of a handful of legal scholars, here termed the New Realists, who have challenged U.S. compliance with international law." The book is 289 pages and will sell for a very reasonable US$29.95.


March 25, 2015 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Human Rights Watch - Votes Count: Monitoring the UN Human Rights Council

Human Rights Watch (HRW) announced that it has updated its website that measures State action with respect to human rights issues.  Called "Votes Count: Monitoring the UNHRC", the website keeps track of how the Members States of the UN Human Rights Council voted on various human rights matters involving individual countries that came before the Council in 2014.

According to John Fisher, Geneva director at Human Rights Watch: “Countries often hide behind their regional groups or the political dynamics at the Human Rights Council, but each has a role in the council's successes and failures, . . . Each council member should be held accountable for its votes and for its leadership, which our VotesCount website makes easily accessible.”

Human Rights Watch provides the voting record, as well as a summary assessment, of each Member States and often does not mince words.  It describes Cuba, China, Russia and Venezuela as having the weakest voting records on human rights issues.  From the African group, HRW noted that South Africa abstained from voting on all resolutions, except for resolutions focusing on the human rights situation in Paletine and other occupied Arab territories. By constrast, Botswana received high praise from HRW for its human rights records. Japan is described as a strong supporter of the Councils's mandate, but HRW expressed disappointment with Japan's actions towards Sri Lanka.  From the Western European & Others region, HRW describes Ireland as a strong supporter of the Council's work and complements the United States' leadership on many issues, but regrets the United States' inaction on Palestine. 

This is just a sampling of the information that may be found on the website, so it's worth a look of your own.


March 25, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

International Day for the Right to the Truth Concerning Gross Human Rights Violations

Today, March 24, is the International Day for the  Right to the Truth Concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims.  The UN General Assembly proclaimed this Day in 2010 in order to:

  • Honour the memory of victims of gross and systematic human rights violations and promote the importance of the right to truth and justice;
  • Pay tribute to those who have devoted their lives to, and lost their lives in, the struggle to promote and protect human rights for all;
  • Recognize, in particular, the important work and values of Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero, of El Salvador, who was assasinated on 24 March 1980, after denouncing violations of the human rights of the most vulnerable populations and defending the principles of protecting lives, promoting human dignity and opposition to all forms of violence.

On this day, the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR) calls on the States of the Americas to respect the right to the truth. According to IACHR President Rose-Marie Antoine, "The region’s democracies have inherited the responsibility of investigating human rights violations that occurred in times of dictatorships and authoritarian governments, and to punish those responsible, . . . The path to truth and justice for these types of crimes of the past has been extremely long and difficult, but it is an outstanding obligation and a responsibility the States cannot avoid. It is impossible to build a democratic future without first shedding light on the grave violations of the past and achieving justice and reparation.”

Investigations in the Americas to identify and punish those responsible for serious human violations of the past have been seriously flawed. For example, some States continue to apply the military criminal justice system. In addition there are still various types of amnesty laws in effect which ensure that many of these crimes go unpunished. Access to information about what transpired continues to be a major obstacle. The IACHR has called on States to make appropriate legal reforms.

According to the IACHR, the right to truth has two dimensions. The first is that victims and their family members have the right to know the truth and the identity of those who played a role in the violations, which means that States must investigate the facts, prosecute and punish those responsible, and guarantee access to the information available in State facilities and files. Secondly, society as a whole has the right to know the truth about past events, as well as the motives and circumstances in which the crimes were committed, in order to prevent recurrence of such acts in the future.

For more information, read the August 2014 IACHR Report on the Right to the Truth in the Americas or visit the UN website for the International Day for the Right to the Truth Concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims.


March 24, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Call for Papers: General Issues in International and European Law

The Utrecht Journal of International and European Law is seeking submissions for its upcoming issue on "General Issues in International and European Law".  

The Board of Editors invites submissions addressing any aspect of International and European law; topics may include, but are not limited to, International and European Human Rights Law, International and European Criminal Law, Transnational Justice, Family Law, Health and Medical Law, Children’s Rights, Commercial Law, Media Law, Law of Democracy, Intellectual Property Law, Taxation, Comparative Law, Competition Law, Employment Law, Law of the Sea, Environmental Law, Indigenous Peoples, Land and Resources Law, Alternative Dispute
Resolution or any other relevant topic.

Submissions should be no more than 15,000 words in length and must be received by 30 April 2015.  

The Journal is an academic, peer-reviewed, student-led journal affiliated with Utrecht University in the Netherlands. For more information, please visit the Journal website.


March 24, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Hey, Japan, Who Wants to Smell Like a Hamburger?

We frankly are not sure what the international law implications are for this news, but fast-food giant Burger King will sell Whopper-scented cologne in Japan (and only Japan) starting April 1 (and despite the date, it's not an April Fool's joke according to the New York Times).  The cologne will be called "Flame Grilled," and yes, it also comes with a hamburger.

Burger King plans to sell only 1,000 of these bottles.  For that we thank you Burger King.  We hope this doesn't catch on.  The cost will be 5,000 yen (about $40).

Leave us your fragrance-free thoughts in the comment box.

Burger King to Offer Fragrance, Eau de Whopper, N.Y. Times, Mar. 21, 2015, at B2.


March 21, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

On a more serious note than yesterday's International Day of Happiness, today is the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.  The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed March 21 as the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in 1966. On that day, in 1960, police opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration in Sharpeville, South Africa, against the apartheid "pass laws".  Apartheid has, of course, been dismantled since that time.  But much more remains to be done to eliminate racism in all its forms.  In recognition of that ongoing need, this year's theme is “Learning from historical tragedies to combat racial discrimination today.” 

"The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is an opportunity to renew our commitment to building a world of justice and equality where xenophobia and bigotry do not exist. We must learn the lessons of history and acknowledge the profound damage caused by racial discrimination." ~ Secretary General Ban Ki Moon 

To read the Secretary General's full statement and for more information, visit the UN website.


March 21, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, March 20, 2015

Happy International Day of Happiness

The latest and greatest United Nations Day is today, March 20th -- the International Day of Happiness, a celebration declared by the U.N. General Assembly a couple of years ago.  The General Assembly adopted Resolution 66/281 in July 2012 to  proclaim March 20 as the International Day of Happiness, recognizing the relevance of happiness and well-being as universal goals and aspirations in the lives of human beings around the world and the importance of their recognition in public policy objectives.

Here's a video of Ban KiMoon celebrating the #HappySoundsLike Campaign.  And when you're done watching that, click here to visit the United Nations Page on the International Day of Happiness.



(mew and cgb)

March 20, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Perfect for Friday Fun - The International Day of Happiness

March 20 is the United Nations International Day of Happiness!  Don't worry, be happy.


March 20, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, March 19, 2015

IACHR Requests Venezuela Adopt Precautionary Measures for Human Rights Defenders

The following is taken from a March 18, 2015 communication from the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (IACHR):

"On March 17, 2015, IACHR decided to request that precautionary measures be adopted for Alfredo Romero and Luis Betancourt (members of the Foro Penal Venezolano, or Venezuelan Penal Forum) and Yoseth Comenares (sister of the Foro Penal Venezolano’s regional coordinator in the state of Táchira), in Venezuela. The request for precautionary measures alleges that the beneficiaries are at risk because of their activities as human rights defenders and a series of stigmatizing statements reportedly made by high-level State officials concerning the organization’s work. After analyzing the allegations of fact and law, the Commission believes that the information shows, prima facie, that the beneficiaries are in a serious and urgent situation, as their life and physical integrity are said to be at risk. Consequently, in accordance with Article 25 of its Rules of Procedure, the Commission asked the State of Venezuela to adopt the necessary measures to guarantee the life and physical integrity of Alfredo Romero, Luis Betancourt, and Yoseth Comenares, and to ensure that the members of the organization Foro Penal Venezolano can carry out their activities as human rights defenders without being subject to acts of violence and harassment as a result of doing their work. In addition, the Commission requested that the State come to an agreement with the beneficiaries and their representatives as to the measures to be adopted, and that it inform the Commission regarding the actions taken to investigate the alleged incidents that gave rise to the adoption of this precautionary measure, and thus avoid a recurrence of similar incidents."

Human Rights Watch has accused Venezuela of committing systematic human rights abuses against human rights defenders.  The United States has also expressed increasing concern about human rights in Venezuela.  The U.S. Congress passed a bill in December giving the president additional authority to impose sanctions on Venezuela.  U.S. President Barack Obama exercised that authority earlier this month when he issued an Executive Order declaring that Venezuela poses a threat to U.S. national security and imposing targeted sanctions on certain persons from Venezuela.


March 19, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, March 16, 2015

March 20 Deadline for Proposals for International Law Weekend

Deadline: March 20, 2015

The sponsors of International Law Weekend 2015 (ILW 2015) invite proposals for panels, roundtables, and lectures. ILW 2015 is scheduled to be held on November 5-7, 2015, in New York City.

ILW is sponsored and organized by the American Branch of the International Law Association (ABILA) – which welcomes new members from academia, the practicing bar, and the diplomatic world – and the International Law Students Association (ILSA). This annual conference attracts an audience of more than eight hundred academics, diplomats, members of the governmental and nongovernmental sectors, and foreign policy and law students.

Call for Proposals

The unifying theme for ILW 2015 is Global Problems, Legal Solutions: Challenges for Contemporary International Lawyers.

ILW 2015 will explore the many roles that international law plays in addressing global challenges. The aim is to provide an opportunity for discussion and debate about the ways in which international law provides fundamental tools and mechanisms to address emerging global issues. ILW 2015 will offer engaging panels on current problems and innovative solutions in both public and private international law.

The ILW Organizing Committee invites proposals to be submitted online on or before Friday, March 20, 2015 by clicking here to use the ILW Panel Proposal Submission Form.

Panel proposals may concern any aspect of contemporary international law and practice, including:

  • international arbitration,
  • international environmental law,
  • national security,
  • cyber law,
  • use of force,
  • human rights and humanitarian law,
  • international organizations,
  • international criminal law,
  • international intellectual property,
  • the law of the sea,
  • space law,and
  • transnational commercial and trade law.

When submitting your proposal, please identify the primary areas of international law that your proposed panel will address. We also ask that you provide a brief description of the topic, and the names, titles, and affiliations of the chair and likely speakers. One of the objectives of ILW 2015 is to promote new dialogues among scholars and practicing lawyers, so all panels should include presenters with diverse experiences and perspectives.

On the submission form, you will be asked to describe what you think would be the most engaging and exciting format for your proposed program. The organizers encourage suggestions of varied formats, such as debates, roundtables, lectures, and break-out groups, as well as the usual practice of panel presentations. Additionally, they encourage you to consider taking the necessary steps to qualify your panel for CLE credit. They hope to offer at least seven panels qualifying for CLE.

ILW 2015

ILW 2015 is scheduled to be held at 42 West 44th Street on Thursday evening, November 5, and at Fordham Law School at Lincoln Center on November 6-7, 2015. The ABILA Annual meeting will also be held during ILW 2015 at the same location.

The audience will include practitioners, academics, UN diplomats, business leaders, federal and state government officials, NGO leaders, writers, journalists, and interested citizens. We plan to have a broad array of both public international law and private international law topics in each program timeslot. For questions regarding ILW 2015, please contact

2015 ILW Program Committee Members

  • Chiara Giorgetti, Assistant Professor of Law Faculty Director, LLM Program Richmond School of Law
  • David P. Stewart, President, ABILA, Georgetown University Law Center
  • Santiago Villalpando, Acting Chief, Treaty Section, Office of Legal Affairs United Nations
  • Jeremy Sharpe, Chief of Investment Arbitration Office of the Legal Adviser, U.S. Department of State
  • Tessa Walker, Programs Director, ILSA

Hat tip to David Stewart


March 16, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Indonesia initiates dispute with US at WTO over paper products

On Friday, Indonesia formally requested consultations with the United States, the first step in the dispute resolution process at the World Trade Organization (WTO).  Indonesia believes the United States' imposition of antidumping and countervailing duties on certain coated paper products from Indonesia violates the Antidumping Agreement, the Subsidies and Countervailing Measures Agreement and GATT 1994.  If the parties are not able to reach a settlement of the matter within 60 days, Indonesia will be entitled to request the formation of a WTO dispute resolution panel. For more information, visit the WTO website.


March 16, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Elects New Board

On Friday, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) elected today its new board. The board of officers is composed of Rose Marie Antoine (Saint Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago), Chair; James Cavallaro (United States of America), First Vice-Chair; and José de Jesús Orozco Henríquez (Mexico), Second Vice-Chair. The election was held, in accordance with the IACHR rules of procedure, at the beginning of the Commission’s 154th regular Period of Sessions. The other members of the IACHR are Tracy Robinson (Jamaica), Felipe González (Chile), Rosa María Ortiz (Paraguay) and Paulo Vannuchi (Brazil). The Executive Secretary is Emilio Alvarez Icaza (Mexico).  For more information, visit the IACHR website.


March 16, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, March 14, 2015

2015 ILA-ASIL Asia-Pacific Research Forum (Taipei, Taiwan)

The Chinese (Taiwan) Society of International Law, in partnership with the American Society of International Law's Interest Group on the Pacific Rim Region, will hold the ILA-ASIL Asia-Pacific Research Forum on May 25-26, 2015 in Taipei, Taiwan, ROC.

The theme of the Research Forum is: “Integrating the Asia-Pacific: Why International Law Matters.” Confirmed speakers include Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou, ASIL President Lori Damrosch, Chief Justice of India H L Dattu, and Judge Helmut Tuerk of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.

Click here to see the tentative program and registration information. The registration deadline is May 1, 2015.


March 14, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Cyclone Hits Vanuatu

A cyclone expected to miss Vanuatu turned and hit the island nation.  Click here to read more and see a short video from the BBC.

Wishing you a speedy recovery, Vanuatu, and hoping that all of our readers there are safe.



March 14, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Last Call for the Early Bird Registration for the Spring Meeting of the ABA Section of International Law

The early bird deadline for the ABA Section of International Law Spring Meeting expires March 16, 2015.


The 2015 Spring Meeting will be held in the beautiful and historic city of Washington, DC from April 28 - May 2, 2015. Join over 1,200 leading attorneys, corporate counsel, government officials, academics and NGO lawyers for four days of networking and programming on the latest international legal and ethics issues. On Tuesday, you can also attend a special workshop at the Law Library of Congress.


The 2015 Spring Meeting will offer you:

  • Cutting edge programming and an entire year's worth of CLE including nearly 70 substantive concurrent panel sessions that will cover themes including: Business, Disputes, Energy/Environment, Intellectual Property, Law Practice and Human Rights.
  • Opportunities to learn from top legal experts and hear from world class speakers including:  Bill Browder, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Hermitage Capital Management; International Court of Justice Judge Joan Donoghue; and United States Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
  • Networking opportunities with thought leaders and experts, policy makers, key international enforcers, decision makers and international leaders in the law.

Save on your registration by taking advantage of early bird rates before March 16th! Registration rates are further discounted for young lawyers (35 years and under), full time government and NGO employees, academics, law students, corporate counsel, solo / small practice and retired attorneys, and members of the ABA Section of International Law and cooperating entities (like the American Branch of the International Law Association, for example).

Hat tip to Houston Putnam Lowry of the American Branch of the International Law Association (ABILA)


March 14, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, March 13, 2015

The U.S. Continues its National Emergency With Respect to Iran

On Friday March 13, 2015, President Obama  announced the continuation of the national emergency with respect to Iran. FR13469

(Hat tip to the ABA Governmental Affairs Office)



March 13, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

International Tax

The Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing on the U.S. international tax system on March 17, 2015 at 10 am in Room 215 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C.


March 13, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Iceland Drops Bid to Join EU

Iceland flagIceland formally announced yesterday that it will no longer pursue membership in the European Union (EU).  Iceland applied for EU membership in 2009 when it was in an economic crisis. However, the government of Iceland suspended talks in May 2013 after a center-right coalition took power.  At that time, 27 of the 35 legislative chapters in the accession talks had been opened and 11 had been concluded.  The biggest remaining disputes related to agriculture and fisheries.  Now that Iceland's economy is doing much better, Iceland's government has announced that it believes "Iceland's interests are best served outside the European Union."


March 13, 2015 in About This Blog | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, March 12, 2015

WTO Establishes Two Dispute Resolution Panels Involving Canada

The World Trade Organization (WTO) announced yesterday that it has established two new dispute resolution panels to address one dispute in which Canada is a respondent and one dispute in which Canada is a claimant. 

In DS482, Chinese Taipei asserts that Canada's anti-dumping measures on imports of Certain Carbon Steel Welded Pipes are inconsistent with Canada's WTO obligations. Canada contends that its measures are consistent with the WTO Agreements. As this was Chinese Taipei's second request, the DSB established a panel. China, EU, Korea, Norway, United Arab Emirates and the United States reserved their third-party rights to participate in the Panel’s proceedings.

In the second dispute, DS483, Canada alleges that China's anti-dumping measure on imports of Cellulose Pulp from Canada are inconsistent with China's obligations under the Anti-Dumping Agreement and the GATT 1994. China, of course, believes that the measure is consistent with its WTO obligations. The DSB established a panel and Chile, EU, Japan, Korea, Norway and the United States reserved their third-party rights to participate in the Panel’s proceedings.

For more information regarding these disputes and other dispute resolution activity at the WTO, see this WTO news item.


March 12, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)