Thursday, October 20, 2016

International Law Weekend in New York

International Law Weekend in New York City starts a week from today.  The conference is sponsored byt the American Branch of the International Law Association (ABILA) and the International Law Students Association. You can still register by clicking here.

Hat tip to Houston Putnam Lowry, Esq. of Polivy, Taschner, Lowry & Clayton, LLC of Hartford, Connecticut and the American Branch of the International Law Association (ABILA).


October 20, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Canadian Council on International Law Holds 45th Annual Conference

The Global Network for Societies of International Law announced that the Canadian Council of International Law Conference will be taking place on November 3-5, 2016 in Ottawa, Canada. Click here for more information.
I'm not sure what's on the agenda on those particular days, but I suspect they'll be discussing the election prognosis for their southern neighbor.
Hat tip to Houston Putnam Lowry, Esq. of Polivy, Taschner, Lowry & Clayton, LLC of Hartford, Connecticut.

October 20, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Job Opening at the University of Copenhagen

iCourts – Centre of Excellence for International Courts, University of Copenhagen, is currently looking for a new professor or associate professor of international law.

The Associate Professor’s or Professor’s primary duties include research and teaching, supervision of graduate - and PhD students, participation in examinations, and administrative tasks in relation to bachelor -, graduate - and PhD studies. The Associate Professor or Professor is expected to publish results of their in/with internationally highly recognised journals/publishers, exchange knowledge with relevant parts of the surrounding society, and contribute to the academic development of the research area and related study programmes for the benefit of society and the legal profession.

iCourts, the Danish National Research Foundation's Centre of Excellence for International Courts, is a research centre dedicated to the study of international courts, their role in a globalising legal order and their impact on politics and society.

If you are interested in the position, please feel free to read more and apply via the following link:

October 19, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Call for Nominations: The Penny Pether Law and Language Scholarship Award

A passionate advocate for interdisciplinary scholarship in law, literature, and language, Penelope J. Pether (1957-2013) was Professor of Law at Villanova University School of Law and former Professor of Law and Director of Legal Rhetoric at the American University Washington College of Law. Her own scholarship focused not only on law, literature, and language, but also on constitutional and comparative constitutional law; legal theory, including constitutional theory; common law legal institutions, judging practices, and professional subject formation.

Beginning in November 2013, the Penny Pether Award for Law & Language Scholarship has been given annually to an article or essay published during the preceding year (September 1 to September 1) that exemplifies Penny’s commitment to law and language scholarship and pedagogy.

The Committee selecting award recipients from among the articles and essays nominated will look for scholarship that not only embodies Penny’s passion and spirit but also has some or all of the following characteristics:

  • 1. “[S]cholarship concerning itself with the unique or distinctive insights that might emerge from interdisciplinary inquiries into ‘law’ grounded in the work of influential theorists of language and discourse.”
  • 2. Scholarship that “attempts to think through the relations among subject formation, language, and law."
  • 3. Scholarship that provides “accounts of—and linguistic interventions in—acute and yet abiding crises in law, its institutions and discourses.”
  • 4. Scholarship and pedagogy, including work addressing injustices in legal-academic institutions and practices, that is “[c]arefully theorized and situated, insisting on engaging politics and law, [and that] charts ways for law and its subjects to use power, do justice.”

More explanations and descriptions of these characteristics can be found in Penny’s chapter from which these quotations are drawn: Language, in Law and the Humanities: An Introduction (Austin Sarat et al. eds., Cambridge U. Press 2010).

Nominations should be sent by November 30, 2016 to J. Amy Dillard at You are free to nominate more than one work and to nominate work you’ve written. Please provide a citation for each work you nominate.

The Selection Committee includes Linda Berger, David Caudill, Amy Dillard, Bruce Hay, Ian Gallacher, Melissa Marlow, Jeremy Mullem, Nancy Modesitt, and Terry Pollman. Members of the Selection Committee are not eligible for the award.

Hat tip to Jeremy Mullem.



October 19, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immunities and Criminal Proceedings (Equatorial Guinea v. France) - ICJ to Consider Request for Indicaiton of Preliminary Measures

Public hearings concluded today at the International Court of Justice on the request by Equatorial Guinea for the indication of preliminary measures in the case it has brought against France, Immunities and Criminal Proceedings (Equatorial Guinea v. France).

The Republic of Equatorial Guinea has asked that France suspend all criminal proceedings against the Vice-President and refrain from launching any new criminal proceedings against him. It also asked that France ensure that the building located at 42 Avenue Foch in Paris be treated as the diplomatic mission in France and that those premises and its contents be protected from intrusion, search, or attachment. It further asked that France refrain from taking any other measures that might aggravate or extend the dispute submitted to the International Court of Justice.

For its part, France asked the International Court of Justice to remove the case from its docket or, failing that, to reject all requests from Equatorial Guinea for preliminary measures.

The case is now under consideration by the International Court of Justice.


October 19, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 17, 2016

Darby Dickerson Selected as Next Dean of The John Marshall Law School

Darby DickersonDean Darby Dickerson of the Texas Tech University School of Law will be the new dean of The John Marshall Law School, effective January 1, 2017.

Dickerson has been Dean at the Texas Tech University School of Law since 2011, where she also holds the W. Frank Newton Endowed Professorship. From 2003 until 2011, Dickerson served as the Interim Dean and Dean of Stetson University College of Law in Florida.

“We greatly look forward to working with Dean Dickerson to produce practice-ready lawyers, as she takes the reins of our historic, mission-driven institution,” said Leonard F. Amari, President of the law school’s Board of Trustees.

“We are delighted that Dean Darby Dickerson will be leading The John Marshall Law School at this pivotal point in our history. Her dynamic style and deep knowledge of skills-based learning stood out to all who met her during the process,” said Paula Hudson Holderman, a member of the law school’s Board of Trustees and chair of the decanal search committee.

A nationally known leader in legal education, Dickerson serves on the Executive Committee of the Association of American Law Schools and is also a Past Chair of several AALS sections, including the Section for the Law School Dean and the Section on Institutional Advancement. She is an elected member of the American Law Institute, a Sustaining Life Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation, and an inaugural member of The Texas Tech University School of Law American Inn of Court. She also serves on the Council of the Appellate Section of the State Bar of Texas and is the Immediate Past President of Scribes—The American Society of Legal Writers.

Dickerson received her B.A. and M.A. from the College of William & Mary and her J.D. from Vanderbilt University. Following law school, she clerked for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and then practiced commercial litigation with Locke Lord in Dallas. In 1995 she was named both Outstanding Young Lawyer in Dallas and Outstanding Director of the Texas Young Lawyers Association. In January 2013 she was the inaugural recipient of the Darby Dickerson Award for Revolutionary Change in Legal Writing, named by the Association of Legal Writing Directors to honor her contributions to legal writing.

“I am incredibly honored to lead John Marshall, which has such an inclusive and engaged community. I am committed to continuing the school’s legacy of innovation, opportunity and excellence. I am also looking forward to working with the school’s students, faculty, staff and alumni and to working with members of the Chicago and Illinois bars to help advance legal education and the legal profession,” said Dickerson.

Dickerson succeeds John E. Corkery, who is retiring after serving as Dean of John Marshall for nearly a decade.

“On behalf of The John Marshall Law School, I want to express our deep gratitude to Dean Corkery for his years of service to the law school,” said Amari. “He steered the law school through a difficult time in higher education and positioned it to meet the challenges of educating the next generation of lawyers.”


October 17, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Call for Presenters at the 12th Global Legal Skills Conference, in March 2017, in Monterrey Mexico

GLS-11 Closing PhotoThe 12th Global Legal Skills Conference will be held March 15-17, 2017 in Monterrey, Mexico, hosted by the Facultad Libre de Derecho de Monterrey, in cooperation with The John Marshall Law School-Chicago, the University of Texas at Austin School of Law, and the Instituto Tecnologico Autonomo de Mexico ITAM Law Department.

The first round of presentation proposals will be accepted through November 17, 2016. If you submit by that date, you will be notified by December 7, 2016 if your proposal has been accepted. Proposals submitted after November 17 may also be accepted on a space-available basis. You will find the Conference Proposal Form at

Please submit a proposal on any aspect of Global Legal Skills, including experiential learning, distance education, comparative law, international law, course design and materials, teaching methods, and opportunities for teaching abroad and in the United States. However, because the conference focuses on legal skills for a global audience, please tailor your proposal accordingly.

Proposals should be for a 25-minute presentation (for one or two people) or an interactive group panel presentation (no more than four panelists) of 75-minutes (including audience participation).

You may submit more than one proposal but because of high demand for speaking you will only be allowed to speak on one panel. If more than one proposal is selected, the program committee will contact you on how to proceed.

Most panel presentations will be in English. Spanish language presentations are welcome, encouraged and actively solicited. Where one of the panels is in Spanish, there will be at least one concurrent panel in English. A wide variety of proposals are invited.

As a special feature of the March 2017 conference, we're also planning a workshop on contract negotiation and drafting for law students. In this workshop, English and Spanish speaking law students will act in teams to negotiate and draft a simple business contract – for example, a franchise agreement for a hotel or restaurant. Negotiations will take place in English and Spanish, and the resulting document will be drafted in both languages.

The Global Legal Skills Conference focuses on international legal education and essential skills, including legal writing, legal research, legal reasoning, legal English, translations and advocacy skills. Additional topics include creating appropriate materials and assignments, cross-cultural and intercultural issues, classroom teaching, clinical legal education, academic support, international legal exchanges and related fields.

The conference audience will include legal writing professionals, international and comparative law professors, clinical professors and others involved in skills education, law school administrators, law librarians, and ESL/EFL professors. Also attending will be faculty members teaching general law subjects with a transnational or international component. Attendees have also included judges, lawyers, court translators, and others involved in international and transnational law. Attendees come from around the world, and as many as 35 countries have been represented in past conferences.

This is a self-funded academic conference, and as in past years, presenters will be asked to pay the Conference registration fee:

  • October 10, 2016-January 27, 2017: US$250
  • January 28-March 10, 2017: US$295
  • March 15, 2017 (subject to availability): US$350

The fee includes lunch on March 15, 16 and 17, as well as Mexican Fiesta on the evening of March 16. Additional tickets for the Mexican Fiesta are US$50.

As in past years, a limited number of scholarships covering the registration fee only will be available.

The Conference began in Chicago at The John Marshall Law School and has traveled to Mexico, Costa Rica, Italy, and Washington, D.C.

We invite participation from academics and practitioners from all disciplines and all continents to explore ways that law schools around the world can adjust their curricula to prepare students to engage in the global legal marketplace.


October 17, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Getting a New U.S. Passport or a U.S. Visa? Take Off Your Glasses!

StateDept_PassportNoGlassesPersons applying for a U.S. passport or U.S visa must remove glasses for their photo, starting November 1, 2016.
Existing passports with photos of you with glasses are still accepted and you don't need to renew your passport until it expires. Your photo then must be without glases.

October 17, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 13, 2016

António Guterres Appointed Next UN Secretary-General by Acclamation

The General Assembly today appointed by acclamation the former Prime Minister of Portugal, António Guterres, as the next United Nations Secretary-General, to succeed Ban Ki-moon when he steps down on 31 December.

Mr. Guterres, aged 67, was Prime Minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002, and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees from June 2005 to December 2015. He will become the world's top diplomat on 1 January 2017, and hold that post for the next five years.

UN Secretary General Guterres addresses General AssemblyAdopting a consensus resolution put forward by its President, Peter Thomson, the Assembly acted on the recommendation on the UN Security Council, which on 6 October forwarded Mr. Guterres' name to the 193-member body as its nominee for UN Secretary-General for a five-year period, ending 31 December 2021.

Ten years to the day after his own appointment as Secretary-General, Mr. Ban said: “Secretary-General-elect Guterres is well known to all of us in the hall. But he is perhaps best known where it counts most: on the frontlines of armed conflict and humanitarian suffering,” referring to his time as head of the UN refugee agency.

Noting that he has long valued his advice, and long admired his spirit of service, Mr. Ban declared: “He is a wonderful choice to steer this Organization as we build on the progress of the past decade, while addressing the insecurity and uncertainties of today's world.”

Frederick Musiiwa Makamure Shava, President of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), also congratulated Mr. Guterres on his election, saying that the Secretary-General-designate “is a strong humanitarian advocate and a successful leader,” and that he looks forward to working with him.

The Assembly's resolution also welcomed the historic process Member States set in motion late last year: the selection of a new United Nations Secretary-General, traditionally decided behind closed-doors by a few powerful countries, has for the first time in history, involved public discussions with each candidate campaigning for the world's top diplomatic post.

These so-called 'informal briefings' between the candidates, UN Member States and civil society representatives kicked off on 12 April, when the first three candidates presented their 'vision statements' and answered questions on how they would promote sustainable development, improve efforts to create peace, protect human rights, and deal with huge humanitarian catastrophes should they be selected to lead the Organization.

Mr. Ban also praised UN Member States for the selection process and emphasized that it “opened the [selection] process to the world.”

He further noted that the new steps taken this year established a new benchmark of openness and engagement.

The selection process included, for the first time in the history of the Organization, public hearings with the General Assembly where candidates presented their vision and responded to the questions fielded by the Member States. These informal hearings were also televised and webcast.

The process started off with a joint call from the Presidents of the General Assembly and the Security Council formally soliciting candidates and from the outset, acknowledged the importance of geographic and gender balance in senior posts.

For his part, Assembly President Thomson highlighted that the selection process underscored the principles of transparency and inclusivity.

“It was a process that specifically sought out candidates who embody a firm commitment to the purposes and principles of the [UN] Charter; who exemplify the highest standards of efficiency, competence, and integrity; and who have proven leadership and managerial abilities, extensive experience in international relations, and strong diplomatic, communication and multilingual skills,” said Mr. Thomson in his remarks.

“I am confident that Mr. Guterres will serve the global community with dedication, as a moral authority, and be the voice of our collective conscience and humanity, throughout his term,” he added.

Assuring the Secretary-General-designate of his full support throughout the present session of the General Assembly, the body’s President stressed that he would do everything within his power to facilitate a smooth transition.

In this context, Mr. Guterres will be participating in a meeting called by President Thomson, on 19 October, to discuss with the General Assembly the critical, priority and emerging issues for the global Organization.

(UN press release)

October 13, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

António Guterres, former Prime Minister of Portugal, expected to be named as the next Secretary General of the United Nations

UN Secretary GeneralThe General Assembly tomorrow is expected to act on the recommendation of the Security Council regarding the appointment of the next Secretary-General of the United Nations; last week, the Council forwarded to the 193-member body its nomination, António Guterres, former Prime Minister of Portugal, to be the next UN chief.

Mr. Guterres, aged 67, was Prime Minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002, and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees from June 2005 to December 2015.

If the Security Council’s recommendation is confirmed, Mr. Guterres will succeed current Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, of the Republic of Korea, who was appointed in 2006 and will leave the post at the end of this year.

On an official visit to Italy, last week when the Council forward its decision to the Assembly, Mr. Ban said in Rome that Mr. Guterres is “an excellent choice," noting that the two had worked closely during Mr. Guterres “long and outstanding tenure” as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

Under procedures for appointing the world body’s new chief, after the recommendation is transmitted from the Council to the Assembly, a draft resolution is issued for the Assembly to take action. After appropriate consultations with Member States, the Assembly President fixes a date for the draft to be taken up.

The last five Secretaries-General were appointed by the Assembly through a resolution adopted by consensus. A vote will take place only if a Member State requests it and a simple majority of those voting would be required for the Assembly to adopt the resolution. But the Assembly could decide that the decision requires a two-thirds majority. If a vote is taken, it will be by secret ballot.

The UN Charter, signed in 1945 as the foundation of the Organization, says relatively little about how a Secretary-General is to be selected, aside from Article 97, which notes that the candidate “shall be appointed by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council.”

At its first session in 1946, the General Assembly was much more active in the selection process. It created resolution A/RES/1/11 determining that the Council take the lead in the selection process, agree on a single name in a private meeting, and pass that name down to the General Assembly for a vote.

In addition to Mr. Guterres, 12 other candidates were in the running to succeed the current UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, who leaves office at the end of the year.

Action in the Assembly will culminate an historic process: the selection of a new United Nations Secretary-General, traditionally decided behind closed-doors by a few powerful countries, has for the first time in history, involved public discussions with each candidate campaigning for the world’s top diplomatic post.

These so-called ‘informal briefings’ between the candidates, UN Member States and civil society representatives kicked off on 12 April, when the first three candidates presented their ‘vision statements’ and answered questions on how they would promote sustainable development, improve efforts to create peace, protect human rights, and deal with huge humanitarian catastrophes should they be selected to lead the Organization.

In addition, this past July, the UN held its first-ever globally televised and webcast townhall-style debate in the General Assembly Hall, where the confirmed candidates at the time took questions from diplomats and the public at large.

(UN press release)

October 12, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Legal Writing Visitor Opening at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law

Position Opening for Visitor in Legal Analysis and Writing for 2017-18 Academic Year

The University of Pittsburgh School of Law invites applications for a Visiting Professor of Legal Analysis and Writing for the 2017-2018 Academic year. This is position is for a one-year term. The School of Law may conduct a search for a full-time permanent Legal Analysis and Writing faculty position to begin in the 2018-2019 academic year. The Visiting Professor will be welcome to apply for that position, but must compete with other candidates in a national search.

The Visiting Professor will teach two small sections of Legal Analysis and Writing in both the fall and spring. Each small section is 2 credits (for a total of 4 credits each semester). The Visiting Professor should be willing to collaborate closely with our other Legal Writing faculty and be eager to engage with students in and out of the classroom.

The successful applicant for the Visiting Professor position must have a J.D. from an ABA-accredited law school, excellent writing skills, an outstanding academic record, and experience teaching Legal Analysis and Writing. Law practice experience or a judicial clerkship is also preferred.

The University of Pittsburgh is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, veteran status, disability, national origin, creed, marital status, age, gender identity or sexual orientation in its hiring. In furtherance of our strong institutional commitment to a diverse faculty, we particularly welcome applications from minorities, women, and others who would add diversity to our faculty. Recruitment is subject to approval by the University’s Provost.

To apply, please send a letter of interest, resume, writing sample, and a list of three references to: Anthony C. Infanti, Chair, Faculty Appointments Committee, University of Pittsburgh School of Law, 3900 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15260. Email: Email submissions are preferred. The deadline for applications is November 1, 2016.

October 9, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 7, 2016

Nobel Peace Prize Goes to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos

Following the awarding of the 2016 Nobel Prize for Peace to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today that the award is a timely message to all who have strived hard for peace, and that it provides needed hope and encouragement to all Colombians.

“It tells them to keep working until they have brought the peace process to a successful conclusion,” said Mr. Ban in a statement issued by his office. “I commend the statements of all concerned that they are committed to peace, and I welcome the continuing commitment of the Parties to the cease-fire, if leaders conduct their dialogue with pragmatism, focused on the Colombian people's desire of for peace,” he added.

In today's statement, the UN chief also said that the results of the 2 October plebiscite should not divide the Colombian people who are working to build a peaceful country and that he hailed the dialogue that has started on the way forward. He further commended the statements of all concerned actors in the country that they are committed to peace, and hailed the continuing commitment of the Parties to the cease-fire, if leaders conduct their dialogue with pragmatism, focused on the Colombian people's desire of for peace. “This award says to them: you have come too far to turn back now. The peace process should inspire our world,” the Secretary-General said.

(UN Press Release)

October 7, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Treaties Help Fight Human Trafficking

With current armed conflicts and humanitarian crises driving massive population movements – and not just in Europe, though the continent has been heavily challenged – an upcoming United Nations report will confirm the troubling fact that human trafficking generally follows the overall migratory flows, a senior UN anti-crime official said, urging States to back the Trafficking in Persons Protocol and other international tools to address the evolving and complex situation.

John Brandolino, Director of the Division for Treaty Affairs at the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), spotlighted the importance of international treaties and agreements in tackling human trafficking in his address to a Headquarters event co-hosted with the European Union (EU) following up last week’s first-ever UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants.

“The forthcoming biennial 2016 UNODC Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, which will be released in November, confirms that human trafficking flows generally follow the overall migratory flows, he said, adding that the majority of trafficking victims detected globally by Member States (around 60 per cent) are foreigners in the country of detection, most of them migrants.

Likewise, information collected for the Global Report has shown an increasing detection of victims from conflict-affected countries such as Syria, Iraq and Somalia in countries in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

The continuing vulnerability of women and children as victims of trafficking in persons will also be revealed in the Global Report, comprising 79 per cent of the total victims detected. The EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator’s Progress Report from June of this year came to the same conclusion, highlighting the particular vulnerability of migrant children, he added.

Further, EU data confirms that child trafficking is exacerbated by the ongoing migration crisis, during which the number of children arriving in the EU has risen exponentially. A significant amount of these children are travelling unaccompanied, making them preferred targets for traffickers.

With these challenges in mind, Mr. Brandolino said that for him, two core messages stand out in the Summit’s outcome, the New York Declaration: first, a desire to protect and save lives in peril, born from a profound solidarity for the millions of persons around the world who are forced to flee their homes; and second, moving beyond moral compassion, to a call for action. In the Declaration, States reiterate in the strongest language their commitment to fight human trafficking and migrant smuggling.

He went on to reconfirm the centrality of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, known as the TIP Protocol, saying: “This treaty provides us with the first and only internationally agreed upon definition for trafficking in persons, and steers our common efforts with a clear framework for action – a framework which UNODC has been successfully delivering upon for the last 15 years, often with the generous support of partners like the EU and the United States.”

The New York Declaration actually reaffirms the importance of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, and the two Protocols – the Trafficking in Persons Protocol and the Smuggling of Migrants Protocol. Specifically the TIP is one of the most successful treaties in modern international law, enjoying one of the speediest ratification trajectories ever, and soon approaching universality, he said, noting that as of today, there are 170 ratifications, or nearly 90 per cent of all Member States, including most recently, the Republic of Korea, Singapore and the Maldives.

Mr. Brandolino noted that UNODC is also facilitating direct support to victims of trafficking in persons through the UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, and that around 2,000 victims a year are being provided critical assistance, such as safe shelter, legal support and advice on victims’ rights, appropriate treatment for physical and mental abuse, vocational training, establishing small businesses, schooling for children, and basic health services, among others.

“The Trust Fund has so far allocated nearly $3 million and stands ready to continue this work should more donations be made,” he added.

Wrapping up his presentation, he said “commitment yields results,” and “the Trafficking in Persons Protocol is the cornerstone of our response and should continue to be so. More than 15 years on, this hard-won instrument appeals to nearly all States while containing progressive, forward-looking provisions which promote the protection of victims.

(Adapted from a UN press release)

October 7, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Yahoo Helped U.S. National Security Agency by Searching Emails of Hundreds of Millions of its Customers

The top United Nations expert of free expression said today that reports that Yahoo complied with United States intelligence demands by searching the e-mails of hundreds of millions of customers “raise serious human rights concerns.”

According to reports, Yahoo customized software to scan all incoming e-mail traffic for information responsive to criteria provided by the US National Security Agency or the Federal Bureau of Investigation, said a news release issued by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

“Government monitoring of digital communications, when conducted as described in recent reports, could undermine the privacy that individuals depend on in order to seek, receive and impart information online,” the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, said, adding: “Based on the allegations reported, I have serious concerns that the alleged surveillance fails to meet the standards of necessity and proportionality for the protection of legitimate government interests.”

In a 2013 report to the UN Human Rights Council on communications surveillance, the previous special rapporteur, Frank La Rue, concluded that government “access to communications data held by domestic corporate actors should only be sought in circumstances where other available less invasive techniques have been exhausted.”

Mr. Kaye said that Yahoo’s apparent accession to government surveillance requests, without evident legal challenge, also raises concern about the involvement of technology companies in questionable government programs that impact freedom of expression, recalling his June 2016 report on the private sector and freedom of expression in the digital age.

“States place undeniable pressures on the private information and communication technology sector that often lead to serious restrictions on the freedom of expression,” the 2016 report stated. Mr. Kaye reiterated that companies in all areas of the industry “are capable of establishing and exercising varying degrees of leverage in their relationships with States to resist or mitigate the harm caused by abusive application of the law.”

His report also highlighted that private entities should be evaluated on the steps they take both to promote and undermine freedom of expression, even in hostile environments unfriendly to human rights.

(Adapted from a UN press release)

October 7, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 6, 2016

UNSC Reaches Consensus on Antonio Guterres as Next UN Secretary General

Guterres UNSGThe United Nations Security Council (UNSC) met yesterday and quickly reached consensus on their next choice for Secretary General: Antonio Guterres.  Mr. Guterres is the former prime minister of Portugal and a former UN High Commissioner for Refugees.  The formal vote of the UNSC will occur today and will need to be confirmed by a vote of the UN General Assembly next week.


October 6, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Dispute Resolution Works-in-Progress Conference and Student Writing Competition

The Center for the Study of Dispute Resolution at the University of Missouri School of Law and the American Society of International Law (ASIL) Dispute Resolution and Midwest Interest Groups, in association with Young ICSID and TDM, are pleased to announce two upcoming events:  (1) a works-in-progress conference and (2) student writing competition.  Both events focus on international dispute resolution, broadly defined.  More information on both events shows below and on the event website (home page).  

Works in Progress Conference

The works-in-progress conference will take place on February 2 and 3, 2017, at the University of Missouri School of Law. The purpose of the conference is to help authors develop draft articles for publication, so authors will be required to submit a working draft before the conference takes place. Papers will be circulated in advance of the session, and all participants will be expected to provide detailed feedback on a limited number of other papers.

The works-in-progress conference will also feature various networking opportunities as well as several substantive presentations on issues relating to international dispute resolution. Presentations will be live or by video and include:

  • Lady Justice Joyce Aluoch, Judge and First Vice-President of the International Criminal Court in the Hague, who will be speaking on matters of public international law;
  • Ryan Reetz and Pedro Martinez-Fraga of Bryan Cave, who will be speaking on their recent book, Public Purpose in International Law:  Rethinking Regulatory Sovereignty in the Global Era (Cambridge University Press 2015); and
  • Paul-Jean Le Cannu, Legal Counsel at ICSID, who will speak on the future of investor-state dispute settlement systems.

Papers presented at the works-in-progress conference will be eligible for expedited review by the University of Missouri’s highly regarded Journal of Dispute Resolution as well as for consideration by the ICSID Review-Foreign Investment Law Journal. While submissions will have to go through the normal publication process and an offer of publication is not guaranteed, the editors of both journals are very interested in reviewing submissions from works-in-progress participants.

This is expected to be a very international event, and submissions are sought from academics and practitioners around the world. Junior professionals, including aspiring and untenured academics, are encouraged to submit proposals. To be considered, potential participants must submit a one-page abstract of their work on or before October 15, 2016.  

Student Writing Competition

The University of Missouri is also sponsoring a student writing competition in conjunction with this event. The competition is open to current students at any institution in the world granting a degree in law. The competition carries a prize of $450 for first place and $125 for second place, and the winning paper is eligible to be considered for publication in the University of Missouri’s Journal of Dispute Resolution. The prize amounts may increase (funding is still being finalized), so be sure to check back for additional details. Students of all levels (J.D., LL.B., LL.M., S.J.D., and Ph.D.) are eligible to submit papers. Advanced degree students (LL.M., S.J.D. or Ph.D.) may submit the same paper for both the works-in-progress conference and the student writing competition. The deadline for the student writing competition is January 15, 2017.  

(CGB) (hap to to S.I. Strong, FCIArb)

October 6, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Happy International Day of Older Persons

The United Nations is marking the International Day of Older Persons by encouraging countries to draw attention to and challenge negative stereotypes and misconceptions about older persons and ageing, and to enable older persons to realize their potential to build a life of dignity and human rights.

“While older persons are often said to enjoy particular respect, the reality is that too many societies limit them […] The marginalization and devaluing of older persons takes a heavy toll,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his message on the International Day, marked annually on 1 October.

“Ending ageism and securing the human rights of older persons is an ethical and practical imperative,” said the UN chief, urging for measures to address this violation of human rights as well as calling for greater legal guarantees of equality for older persons to prevent ageism from resulting in discriminatory policies, laws and treatment.

People aged 60 and older accounted for 12.3 per cent of global population in 2015, and by 2050, that number will rise to almost 22 per cent, according to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA).

The agency notes that Most of the projected growth of the older population is expected to take place in developing countries. Asia is home to more than half of the world's 901 million older persons, with 508 million people aged 60 or over. Another 177 million older persons reside in Europe, 75 million in North America, 71 million in Latin America and the Caribbean, 64 million in Africa and six million in Oceania.

Therefore, “more efforts are needed to minimize lifelong inequalities and improve the life conditions of older people,” said Babatunde Osotimehin, UNFPA Executive Director, in a statement on the transformative force of population ageing.

Strongly agreeing with this year's theme – 'Take a Stand against Ageism'– Mr. Osotimehin said UNFPA believes that reducing lifelong inequalities and embracing the contributions of older people offer tremendous prospects for development.

“UNFPA continues to help countries respond to the opportunities and challenges of population ageing by promoting policy dialogue and supporting training, research and data collection disaggregated by age and sex,” he said.

Also to mark the Day, new analysis released by the World Health Organization (WHO) reveals a trend of widespread negative or ageist attitudes towards older people, which also negatively affect older people's physical and mental health.

“Most people are completely unaware of the subconscious stereotypes they hold about older people," said John Beard, WHO Director of Ageing and Life Course, in a news release stressing that “it is time to stop defining people by their age. It will result in more prosperous, equitable and healthier societies.”

Other newly published research indicated that negative attitudes about ageing and older people also have significant consequences for the physical and mental health of older adults.

“Society will benefit from this ageing population if we all age more healthily,” said Alana Officer, WHO Coordinator of Ageing and Life Course. “But to do that, we must stamp out ageist prejudices,” she underscored.

October 1, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 30, 2016

Hiring at Georgetown

Georgetown Law, and the Law Center's Language Center, are hiring another fellow. More information about that position and other legal writing jobs is available by clicking here.
Hat tip to Almas Khan.

September 30, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Destruction of Cultural Heritage is a War Crime

The International Criminal Court (ICC) this week found a Malian Islamist accused of destroying historical and religious monuments in the fabled city of Timbuktu guilty in a prosecution of the destruction of cultural heritage as a war crime. [An earlier version of this post said this was a first-ever prosecution of the destruction of cultural heritage as a war crime, but a thoughtful blog reader correctly reminded us that the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and some of the post WWII trials had also prosecuted such acts as war crimes. See the comments for more information]

The judges sentenced Ahmad Al-Faqi Al-Mahdi, a member of a jihadist group linked to Al Qaeda, to nine years in prison for committing a war crime by deliberately destructing in 2012 nine mausoleums and the secret gate of the Sidi Yahia mosque in the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage site of Timbuktu in Mali, the ICC said in a press release.

“The decision of the International Criminal Court is a landmark in gaining recognition for the importance of heritage for humanity as a whole and for the communities that have preserved it over the centuries. It also supports UNESCO’s conviction that heritage has a major role to play in reconstruction and peace building,” said Irina Bokova, the Director-General of UNESCO.

This past month, Mr. Al-Mahdi pleaded guilty to the charges, which consisted in attacking 10 historic and religious monuments in Timbuktu between around 30 June 2012 and 11 July 2012. All sites but one are on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The case comes amid growing concern about attacks by Islamists on cultural and religious monuments in the Middle East and North Africa, including, among others, in the ancient cities of Bosra and Palmyra in Syria, and in Nimrud and Nineveh in Iraq.

UNESCO highlighted today that the “historic” decision, a first under the ICC’s founding Rome Statute, is a “crucial step to end impunity for the destruction of cultural heritage.”

It confirms earlier decisions taken by international jurisdictions and it amplifies them in a judgment entirely devoted to the destruction of cultural heritage. This is a major step for the strengthening of international justice and towards peace and reconciliation in Mali,” UNESCO added.

The agency also pointed out that the case “reminds us all of how heritage protection has become a major security issue, which cannot be delinked from the protection of human lives.”

“Deliberate attacks on culture have become weapons of war in a global strategy of cultural cleansing seeking to destroy people as well as the monuments bearing their identities, institutions of knowledge and free thought,” UNESCO said.

According to Ms. Bokova, immediately after the destruction in 2012, UNESCO alerted the international community and seized the ICC to ensure that such crimes do not go unpunished.

“In the context of repeated violence against people and their heritage, this sentence of the International Criminal Court is a key element in the broader response to violent extremism,” the Director-General said.

UNESCO added that it takes the judgment as an encouragement to continue the work engaged over the past few years to protect and rehabilitate heritage in Mali, in close cooperation with the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), and to preserve cultural diversity and human rights as a “lasting foundation for peace, not only in Mali but also across the world.”

The Malian Government has been seeking to restore stability and rebuild following a series of setbacks since early 2012, including a military coup d'état, renewed fighting between Government forces and Tuareg rebels, and the seizure of its northern territory by radical extremists. The country has also been wracked by a series of humanitarian crises. MINUSMA was established in 2013 to support the political process and carry out a number of security-related stabilization tasks.

(Adapted from a UN press release)

September 28, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Palau Underscores Dangers of Climate Change, Global Conflict, Violent Extremism, and Nuclear Weapons

Caleb Otto Palau UNAddressing the General Assembly, Palau’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations underlined this week the urgency of addressing challenges such as threats from climate change, global conflict, issues of migrants and refugees, violent extremism, antimicrobial resistance and nuclear weapons.

Making particular reference to the impacts of climate change, Caleb Otto said the country participated actively at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process and was the second country in the world to have ratified the Paris Agreement.

“We are encouraged by the 127 other nations who have signed the Agreement and are confident that by the end of the year, the Agreement will being to work for all of us,” Mr. Otto said in his address.

Noting that 14 years, the time from now until 2030, is a short period within which to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), he stressed an urgent need implement the global development agenda to transform the world.

He also informed the General Assembly of steps taken at the national level to implement the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda, as well as underlined the importance of genuine and durable partnerships for their global success.

Mr. Otto further expressed particular appreciation for the leadership of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for his support of and focus towards the Pacific small island developing States and his stewardship of the Paris Agreement, the 2030 Agenda and other achievements of the UN.

(Adapted from a UN Press Release. Photo: Caleb Otto, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Palau to the United Nations, addresses the general debate of the General Assembly’s seventy-first session. UN Photo/Amanda Voisard)


September 28, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)