Wednesday, December 17, 2014
In an historic move, President Obama announced today that the United States will restore normal diplomatic relations with Cuba. According to press reports, secret negotiations have been taking place between the United States and Cuba for the past 18 months, which led to today's announcement. As part of the deal, the United States has agreed to release from prison and return to Cuba the remaining three of the original "Cuban Five", imprisoned in the U.S. for spying in the United States. In exchange, Cuba is releasing at least two American prisoners. President Obama also announced that he will ease travel and financial restrictions.
This announcement does not mean an end to the U.S. embargo on Cuba, however. Although the sanctions on Cuba were originally put in place by way of an Executive Order, Congress wrote many restrictions into legislation through the Helms-Burton Act, among other statutes. Accordingly, Congress must act in conjunction with the President to fully restore normal trade and other relations between the two countries.
Georgetown University Law Center's journal "Laws" is seeking papers for a Special Issue on Climate Change and International Economic Law. The following description is taken from the Guest Editor, Sonia Rolland:
"The relationship between international environmental regulation and global economic governance has long been seen as replete with conflicting discourses with missed opportunities for cooperation. However, the concerns surrounding climate change make a pressing case for a more coherent approach.
While international economic law and multilateral efforts to regulate climate change mutually acknowledge each other, neither is really designed to account for the other’s objectives. As a result, environmental measures often have to be justified as exceptions to trade disciplines, or come second to investor expectations of benefits in international investment law. At the same time, trade and investment help to disseminate clean energy technologies and make environmental goods and services more accessible to a greater number of consumers and businesses. International finance also acts as a vector to facilitate trade and investment transactions in products and technologies that might help mitigate or remedy our climate impact. In fact, the intent of trade and investment treaties is explicitly the promotion of sustainable development. This suggests that economic development and environmental sustainability, including as it relates to climate change, are actually meant to be complementary. An optimistic view, then, might construe the tensions between the two regimes as mostly the result of outdated path dependent interpretation and implementation shortcomings that should now evolve towards a more holistic approach.
Some prominent trade and environmental scholars have delved into these issues over the past 20 years. Yet, we are now facing additional challenges as the very fabric of international economic regulation is undergoing major transformations. Will the trends towards trade and investment regional agreements create opportunities for a better consideration of the climate impacts of economic activities? Will the increased voices from large emerging countries propose alternative models for managing the relationship between climate regulation and economic law? More generally, what will be the impact of the apparent retrenchment from multilateralism in trade and climate regulation, as both the WTO and the UNFCCC frameworks are unable to act as effective forums for implementing the next steps? In the face of deadlocks at the multilateral level both with respect to climate regulation and trade regulation, are states undertaking unilateral actions to protect the environment through economic law instruments? The EU’s attempt at regulating airline emissions is an example.
Meanwhile, political scientists have developed a substantial literature on governance dynamics in the face of scientific uncertainty and collective action problems such as those raised by international coordination in response to climate change. Can we draw lessons from this research to help devise a more effective approach to climate change domestically and internationally?
This Special Issue aims to bring together a broad range of perspectives, including law, economics, and political science, pertaining to the future avenues for a symbiotic relationship between climate regulation and international economic law. Submissions in two main areas are encouraged:
- Cross-cutting regulatory and governance tools for climate change that reflect the current shifts in state balance of power, public-private instruments, trade and investment instruments, and the renewed interest in the regulation of international finance.
- Subject-matter specific law and policy tools at the intersection of economic law and climate change including those that relate to energy; water; fisheries, forestry/timber and other natural resources threatened by climate change.
Collaborations between legal scholars and social scientists or STEM are encouraged. This Special Issue also particularly welcomes views form different regions of the globe."
If this invitation sparks your interest, contact the Guest Editor, Sonia Rolland, to discuss further the specific content and logistics (please note that the editing processing fee is waived until the deadline for this issue). Additional information may be found here.
Thursday, December 11, 2014
The General Council of the World Trade Organization (WTO) approved Seychelles' application to become a member at a meeting yesterday. Seychelles has until June 1, 2015 to ratify the Protocol of Accession. Its membership will be effective 30 days after it notifies the WTO of the ratification.
Seychelles originally applied for membership in 1995, but encountered difficulties as a small island developing state. If all goes as planned, Seychelles will become the 161st member of the WTO.
For more information, visit the WTO website.
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
A program on "CFIUS Insights from the CFIUS Staff Chairperson, Practitioners" will be held next Wednesday (December 17, 2014) from 12:30 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. at the offices of Hogan Lovells US LLP (555 13th Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20004). During this "off-the-record" program, the Staff Chairperson of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), seasoned practitioners, and in-house counsel will discuss recent developments involving CFIUS, including the controversial ruling issued earlier this year by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in Ralls Corp. v. CFIUS, No. 13-5315 (D.C. Cir. July 15, 2014).
In 1950, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed December 10 to be Human Rights Day in commemoration of the day in 1948 that the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The UN General Assembly proclaimed the Universal Declaration to set forth a “common standard of achievement for all peoples and nations” towards which individuals and societies should “strive by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance.” The Universal Declaration includes a broad range of rights, including civil, political, economic, social and cultural. While originally adopted as a non-legally binding General Assembly resolution, the Declaration has contributed both to the development of customary international law, as well as inspiring more than 60 international treaties on human rights.
This year’s slogan is Human Rights 365, which encompasses the idea that every day is Human Rights Day. It celebrates the fundamental proposition in the Universal Declaration that each one of us, everywhere, at all times is entitled to the full range of human rights, that human rights belong equally to each of us and bind us together as a global community with the same ideals and values.
What are you doing to promote human rights today?
Tuesday, December 9, 2014
Not a single country is immune to the risk of genocide, said the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Prevention of Genocide today as he marked the 66th anniversary of the signing of the 1948 Genocide Convention.
“As we continue to fight and to realize the objectives, we pay tribute to the millions of men and women who have lost their lives to genocide,” said Mr. Adama Dieng as he briefed reporters at UN Headquarters in New York, as part of a series of events in the run-up to Human Rights Day, commemorated annually on 10 December.
“We owe to them and to ourselves and future generations to realize a world free of genocide. We are still far from that, but we aim to make it happen,” he added.
Genocide must and can be prevented if we have the will of applying the lessons learned from Rwanda, Srebrenica, and the Holocaust. It is important to identify risk factors that would lead to genocide rather than to wait to when people are being killed.
The Holocaust did not start with the gas chambers and the Rwandan genocide did not start with the slayings. It started with the dehumanization of a specific group of persons.
Genocide is defined by the UN as a crime that is committed against members of a national, ethnic or religious group solely because they are members of that group. Genocide also entails there being intent to exterminate a particular group.
Genocide is when “you are being killed not for what you have done, but for who you are,” Mr. Dieng explained.
Currently, 140 Member States are party to the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, which was adopted in 1948.
On Thursday, Mr. Dieng’s office along with the Permanent Missions of Italy and Tanzania will launch a new Framework of Analysis for Atrocity Crimes which will focus on early warning signs and prevention strategies.
“We know from our experience that genocide is not a single event but a process that takes time, planning and resources which could be halted at any stage,” he said.
Marking the anniversary of Convention is an opportunity to renew our commitment to prevent genocide. “We must accept that there is no part of the world that can consider itself immune from the risk of genocide and all regions and all States must build resilience to these crimes,” the Special Adviser noted.
It is the collective responsibility of Member States, international institutions, civil society as well as the media to prevent such crimes.
He said that in 2005 world leaders committed to protecting populations who are at risk of genocide through the R2P, or ‘responsibility to protect’ initiative, now an international norm that addresses the failure to prevent and stop genocides, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.
But the question remains why some States have been ready to address genocide and in some cases even prevent it, while others have, unfortunately, failed to do so.
“We are still unable to protect people in Syria from human rights violations,” he said, adding that had the Security Council acted when the uprising against the Syrian Government was still peaceful, the current and devastating situation might look different.
“Would we still have seen the rise of the barbaric group like ISIL[Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant]? Such groups do not come from nowhere,” Mr. Dieng said. As for other conflicts, he said atrocious crimes in South Sudan and the Central African Republic (CAR) are being committed based on the issue of identity because they are easily manipulated to generate fear, hatred, and violence.
“We need to think about the significance of the Genocide Convention and do more on the promise of ‘never again.’ We need political leadership from Member States and the courage to take steps that are not always easy,” he said.
When asked about the recent decision by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to drop the charges of crimes against humanity for Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, Mr. Dieng said that he respected the independence of the Court. Accountability for gross human rights violations which occurred in Kenya is important. Victims are waiting for justice.
Answering a question on Gaza, he said he was not here to make a legal determination of genocide but analyse the risk of genocide. Last summer’s conflict may have led to crimes against humanity or war crimes. He was aware of Israel’s disproportionate military response. But when you send rockets from a civilian area, like Hamas did, that is a crime as well.
When asked about crimes committed during the time of United States intervention in Iraq, he said that the American soldiers who were indicted and flown over to the United States to face justice. This is an example of a country that has no capacity to bring to justice criminals.
On Ukraine, he said that the claims by civilians of genocide in the eastern part of the country, he reiterated that no region in the world is immune to atrocious crimes and called for all efforts to protect the rights of minorities in Ukraine.
He also responded to questions on the treatment of the Tamils in Sri Lanka, increasing anti-Semitism in Europe, and Islamophobia.
(UN Press Release)
A United States Senate report has confirmed what the international community has long believed – that there was a clear policy orchestrated at a high level within the Bush Administration which allowed to commit gross violations of international human rights law, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on counter terrorism and human rights said today.
Released this afternoon, the so-called Feinstein report, after long-time US Senator Dianne Feinstein who chaired the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that compiled the document, probes crimes of torture and enforced disappearance of terrorist suspects by the Bush-era CIA.
“It has taken four years since the report was finalised to reach this point,” said Ben Emmerson in a statement.
Now it is time to take action, he added. “The individuals responsible for the criminal conspiracy revealed in today’s report must be brought to justice, and must face criminal penalties commensurate with the gravity of their crimes,” he said.
Identities of the perpetrators, and many other details, have been redacted in the published summary report but are known to the Select Committee and to those who provided the Committee with information on the programme.
“The fact that the policies revealed in this report were authorized at a high level within the US Government provides no excuse whatsoever. Indeed, it reinforces the need for criminal accountability,” Mr. Emmerson explained.
International law prohibits the granting of immunities to public officials who have engaged in acts of torture. This applies not only to the actual perpetrators but also to those senior officials within the US Government who devised, planned and authorised these crimes.
The US is legally obliged, by international law, to bring those responsible to justice. The UN Convention Against Torture and the UN Convention on Enforced Disappearances require States to prosecute acts of torture and enforced disappearance where there is sufficient evidence to provide a reasonable prospect of conviction.
“States are not free to maintain or permit impunity for these grave crimes,” Mr. Emmerson said.
It is no defence for a public official to claim that they were acting on superior orders. CIA officers who physically committed acts of torture therefore bear individual criminal responsibility for their conduct, and cannot hide behind the authorisation they were given by their superiors.
However, the heaviest penalties should be reserved for those most seriously implicated in the planning and purported authorisation of these crimes. Former Bush Administration officials who have admitted their involvement in the programme should also face criminal prosecution.
“President Obama made it clear more than five years ago that the US Government recognizes the use of waterboarding as torture. There is therefore no excuse for shielding the perpetrators from justice any longer. The US Attorney General is under a legal duty to bring criminal charges against those responsible,” he said.
Torture is a crime of universal jurisdiction. The perpetrators may be prosecuted by any other country they may travel to. However, the primary responsibility for bringing them to justice rests with the US Department of Justice and the Attorney General.
Independent experts or special rapporteurs are appointed by the Geneva-based Council to examine and report back on a country situation or a specific human rights theme. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work.
(UN Press Release)
Monday, December 8, 2014
The American Association of Law Schools (AALS) Section on International Law is pleased to sponsor two programs at the AALS 2015 Annual Meeting in Washington D.C. from January 3-4, 2015.
The first program is called “Adding Foreign and Comparative Law to Your Courses: Guidelines, Materials, and Practical Advice for Law Professors”. Using comparative and international materials can enrich teaching of almost any course and can better prepare law students for the transnational contexts of their future legal work. This panel will provide practical examples, materials, and advice on how to integrate foreign and international law materials in basic first-year courses, as well as some upper-level courses. It will be held on Saturday, January 3, 2015 from 5:15-6:30 pm. Audience participation in sharing ideas is strongly encouraged, but the program will be led by:
Professor Cindy G. Buys, Southern Illinois University School of Law (constitutional law)
Professor Matthew Charity, Western New England School of Law (contracts)
Professor Milena Sterio, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law (criminal law/civil procedure)
Professor Mark Wojcik, John Marshall Law School – Chicago (torts)
The second program is titled “The Influence of International Law on U.S. Government Decision-Making” and will be held on Sunday, January 4 from 10:30 am -12:15 pm. This panel will explore the role that international law plays in informing the policy outcomes arrived at by U.S. government decision-makers. It will examine questions such as: To what extent is international law determinative or even influential, and to what extent does the policy area, the branch of government, or the ideological orientation of the decision-maker matter? As a more practical matter, at what stage in the decision-making process is international law taken into account and who are the most influential actors? How can academics be most influential in that process?
Mary McLeod, Principal Deputy Legal Advisor, Office of the Legal Advisor, U.S. Department of State
Sandra Hodgkinson, Vice President of Planning and Chief of Staff at Finmeccanica, North America and DRS Technologies. Ms. Hodgkinson formerly served as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Detainee Affairs and as Deputy to the Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues. She also worked for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq as Director of the Office of Human Rights and Transitional Justice from 2003-04.
Ralph Steinhardt, Professor of Law & Arthur Selwyn Miller Research Professor of Law, George Washington University Law School. Professor Steinhardt is the winner of the Section’s Call for Papers and will present his paper, “International Law and the Administrative State.”
The panel will be moderated by the Section Chair, Professor Cindy G. Buys, from Southern Illinois University School of Law.
Please spread the word to your colleagues. We hope to see you there!
Saturday, December 6, 2014
The application period for 2015 Helton Fellowships is open until January 19, 2015, or until the first 50 completed applications have been received, whichever comes first. The Helton Fellowship Program, established in 2004, recognizes the legacy of Arthur C. Helton, who died in the August 19, 2003, bombing of the UN mission in Baghdad. Funded by contributions from members of the American Society of International Law, interest groups, and private foundations, Helton Fellowships provide financial assistance in the form of "micro-grants" for law students and young professionals to pursue field work and research on significant issues involving international law. Click here for more information.
Friday, December 5, 2014
The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced Friday that she has decided to drop the charges against the President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, two days after the judges refused to postpone the trial as she had requested.
“I am withdrawing the charges against Mr. Kenyatta because I do not believe that it is possible at this time, for me to fully investigate and prosecute the crimes charged in this case,” said Ms. Fatou Bensouda in a statement released in the Hague today.
“The withdrawal of the charges does not mean that the case has been permanently terminated. Mr. Kenyatta has not been acquitted, and the case can be re-opened, or brought in a different form, if new evidence establishing the crimes and his responsibility for them is discovered,” she added.
“This is a painful moment for the men, women and children who have suffered tremendously from the horrors of the post-election violence, and who have waited, patiently, for almost seven years to see justice done,” Ms. Bensouda said.
She added that she based her decision on the specific facts of this case, not on any other consideration and stressed that as Prosecutor, her actions and decisions have “always been guided by the law and the evidence.”
There were, however, “severe challenges” to the Prosecutor’s Office and her investigation.
“Several people who may have provided important evidence regarding Mr. Kenyatta’s actions have died, while others were too terrified to testify,” Ms. Bensouda said.
On Wednesday, a Trial Chamber of the ICC rejected the request of the Prosecutor to adjourn the case. The Chamber ordered the Prosecution to file, within one week, a notice to withdrawn charges until at least the level of evidence had improved to a degree that would warrant a trial.
Mr. Kenyatta faced five counts of crimes against humanity (murder, deportation or forcible transfer of population, rape, persecution and other inhumane acts) for allegations that he helped incite violence following Kenya’s December 2007 presidential election.
The charges against him had been confirmed January 23, 2012 and the case was referred to trial before the Trial Chamber.
Ms. Bensouda said that Mr. Kenyatta’s Government had failed to fully cooperate with the investigation and in providing the most relevant documentary evidence regarding the post-election violence.
“Ultimately, the hurdles we have encountered in attempting to secure the cooperation required for this investigation have in large part, collectively and cumulatively, delayed and frustrated the course of justice for the victims in this case,” said the Prosecutor.
“Today is a dark day for international criminal justice. Be that as it may, it is my firm belief that today’s decision is not the last word on justice and accountability for the crimes that were inflicted on the people of Kenya in 2007 and 2008; crimes that are still crying out for justice,” she said.
(UN press release)
PHOTO: President Uhuru Kenyatta appeared at the Status conference at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague on 8 October 2014. Photo: ICC-CPI from the United Nations
The European Court of Human Rights issued a joint decision yesterday in Ali Samatar and Others v. France and Hassan and Others v. France, holding that France must pay compensation to nine convicted Somali pirates for failing to promptly bring the pirates before a judge upon apprehension. The pirates were convicted of hijacking two French vessels in 2008 and holding the passengers and crew hostage for ransom. They were apprehended by the French army, which transferred them to France, where they were taken into police custody and placed on trial. As a result of these operations, the pirates were held by authorities for four to six days before seeing a judge. The Court determined that the delay in bringing the suspects before a judge violated their rights under Article 5 (right to security and liberty) of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
The purpose of requiring that persons be brought promptly before a judicial authority is certainly laudable, in that it minimizes the possibility of ill treatment and unjustified interference with liberty. However, in the case of the Somali pirates, it would seem that the Court could have given the State a bit more leeway in light of the fact that France had to seek permission from the transitional government in Somalia to conduct the operation and there was no functioning court in Somalia that could try and convict the pirates, necessitating their transfer to French courts for trial and the consequent delays.
Thursday, December 4, 2014
The American Society of International Law will be a new co-sponsor of the Global Legal Skills Conference, which will be held in Chicago from May 20-22, 2015. That 2015 meeting will mark the 10th gathering of the Global Legal Skills Conference, which brings together law professors, law school deans, lawyers, judges, language professionals, translators, law students, and other researchers who are interested in promoting legal skills education around the world.
The conference will be held the first two days at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago, where it was founded by Professor Mark E. Wojcik. It then moves for the final day at Northwestern University School of Law. The 2015 conference will also be co-sponsored by the Facultad Libre de Derecho de Monterrey (Mexico), which hosted the conference on two previous occasions.
Other sponsors and cooperating entities of the Global Legal Skills Conference will include the Teaching International Law Committee of the American Branch of the International Law Association, the International Law Students Association, and the American Bar Association Section of International Law.
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Time: 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Place: Library of Congress, Thomas Jefferson Building, Coolidge Auditorium, 10 First Street S.E., Washington, D.C.
Scholars, historians and contemporary thinkers will discuss how Magna Carta's political and legal traditions have carried into our current times at a Library of Congress symposium on Dec. 9. The symposium, "Conversations on the Enduring Legacy of the Great Charter," is being held in conjunction with the Library's exhibition "Magna Carta: Muse and Mentor."
The afternoon program, "Contemporary Conversations on Magna Carta," is open to the public and starts at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 9, in the Coolidge Auditorium on the ground level of the Library's Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C. The symposium, organized by the Law Library of Congress, is free. Tickets are not needed.
A highlight of the program is an interview by David Rubenstein, co-founder and co-CEO of The Carlyle Group, with Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Stephen G. Breyer. The interview, "American Law and the Great Charter," begins at 2:05 p.m.
The Library of Congress exhibition "Magna Carta: Muse and Mentor," which runs through Jan. 19, 2015, celebrates the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta and illustrates the great charter's influence on laws and liberties throughout the centuries. The centerpiece of the exhibition is the 1215 Magna Carta, on loan from Lincoln Cathedral in England, one of only four surviving copies issued in 1215. The exhibition features 76 items drawn from the collections at the Library of Congress.
Featured Speakers for the Afternoon Program
Opening remarks by Deputy Librarian of Congress Robert Dizard Jr.
"American Law and the Great Charter"
David Rubenstein conducts an interview with Associate Justice Stephen G. Breyer
"Drafting Modern Constitutions"
Participants: A.E. Dick Howard, White Burkett Miller Professor of Law and Public Affairs, University of Virginia School of Law; Cornelius Kerwin, president of American University; and David Fontana, Associate Professor of Law, George Washington University Law School. Moderated by Jeffrey Rosen, president and chief executive officer, National Constitution Center
"Rule of Law in the Contemporary World: Civil Liberties and Surveillance"
Participants: Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Member, Committee on the Judiciary, and Chairman, Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations; Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Member, Committee on the Judiciary, and Member, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Moderated by Orin Kerr, Fred C. Stevenson Research Professor of Law at George Washington University Law School
"Proportionality Under the Eighth Amendment"
Participants: Vicki Jackson, Thurgood Marshall Professorship of Constitutional Law, Harvard Law School; Craig Lerner, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Law, George Mason University Law School. Moderated by Carrie Johnson, justice correspondent, National Public Radio
"The Enduring Value of Magna Carta"
Participants: Jonathan Jacobs, director of the Institute for Criminal Justice Ethics and chairman of the Department of Philosophy at John Jay College of Criminal Justice; William C. Hubbard, president, American Bar Association, and partner with Nelson Mullins Riley and Scarborough, LLP. Moderated by Roberta I. Shaffer, former Associate Librarian for Library Services at the Library of Congress.
"An International Perspective"
Sir Robert Worcester, chairman of the Magna Carta 800th Anniversary Commemoration Committee
David S. Mao, Law Librarian of Congress
The Library's exhibition "Magna Carta: Muse and Mentor" is made possible by The Federalist Society and 1st Financial Bank USA. Additional support comes from the Friends of the Law Library of Congress, BP America, The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the Earhart Foundation, White and Case LLP, The Burton Foundation for Legal Achievement, the Office of the General Counsel of the American University, and other donors as well as contributions received from Thomson Reuters, William S. Hein and Co., Inc., and Raytheon Company through the Friends of the Law Library. The Library also acknowledges the support and assistance provided by the British Council. The exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.
The Association of American Law Schools (AALS) has announced the winners of its 2015 awards for excellence in legal education. The awards are hosted by several AALS sections that are organized around various academic disciplines and topics of interest. The winners will be acknowledged at section programs during the 2015 AALS Annual Meeting, January 2-5, 2015 in Washington, D.C.
“I’d like to congratulate the 2015 AALS section award winners,” said Daniel B. Rodriguez, AALS President and Dean, Northwestern University Law School in a press release issued by the AALS. “These law professors represent the very best of our academic community and their commitment to our students and excellence in our profession is rightly celebrated by these section awards.”
The 2015 AALS section award winners are:
Section on Academic Support Award
Paula Lustbader, Seattle University School of Law
Section on Clinical Legal Education William Pincus Award
Ann C. Shalleck, American University, Washington College of Law
Section on Criminal Justice Junior Scholar Award
Saira Mohamed, University of California, Berkeley School of Law
Section on Evidence Wigmore Award
Peter Tillers, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law Yeshiva University
Section on Federal Courts Best Article Award
Seth Davis, University of California, Irvine School of Law
Section on Law Libraries and Legal Information Award
Billie Jo Kaufman, American University, Washington College of Law
Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning and Research Award
Mark E. Wojcik, The John Marshall Law School--Chicago
Section on Minority Groups Clyde Ferguson Award
Mario Barnes, University of California, Irvine School of Law
Angela Onwuachi-Willig, University of Iowa College of Law
Section on Minority Groups Derrick A. Bell Jr. Award
César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández, Capital University Law School
Section on Pro-Bono & Public Service Opportunities Deborah L. Rhode Award
Gerald Lopez, University of California, Los Angeles School of Law
Section on Pro-Bono & Public Service Opportunities Father Robert Drinan Award
William P. Quigley, Loyola University New Orleans College of Law
Section on Torts and Compensation Systems William L. Prosser Award
Michael Green, Wake Forest University School of Law
Section on Women in Legal Education Ruth Bader Ginsburg Lifetime Achievement Award
Herma Hill Kay, University of California, Berkeley School of Law
Each year, Transparency International (TI) conducts surveys to determine which countries are perceived to have the most and least corrupt governments in the world. Today, TI has released the Corruption Perceptions Index 2014. Sadly, more than 2/3 of countries score below a 50 on a 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean) scale.
Denmark is the least corrupt country on the list, with other northern European countries such as Norway, Finland and Sweden also in the top five (along with New Zealand). At the bottom of the list are Somalia, North Korea, Sudan, South Sudan and Afghanistan. (The United States is tied for 17th place with Ireland, Barbados, and Hong Kong.) Not only does corruption divert resources from the needy public, it undermines trust in public institutions, leading to breakdowns in civil society and the inability of governments to provide security and protection for the people, as is currently seen in Afghanistan and Iraq. The international community must continue its work to prevent, investigate, and punish corruption wherever it occurs.
Tuesday, December 2, 2014
Benjamin Liu was the Director of the Chinese Intellectual Property Resource Center at The John Marshall Law School. He joined the John Marshall faculty in 2011. He had previously practiced intellectual property law since 2004, first with Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP in New York, and then as an IP attorney in private practice in Chicago. Liu represented Asian and American clients in patent litigation, prosecutions, and consulting. His research focused on comparative patent law issues and biotech IP protection.
At The John Marshall Law School, Professor Liu taught IP specialty courses, including Administrative IP Protection at the U.S. Border and Comparative Topics in U.S.-China Patent Law.
After receiving a bachelor's degree from Harvard University in biochemistry and cellular biology, Liu conducted drug discovery research at Eli Lilly & Co. for two years. He then studied Japanese at Waseda University in Tokyo before attending UCLA School of Law, receiving a JD degree in 2004. He was the articles editor for the UCLA Law Review, and chief articles editor for the Pacific Basin Law Journal. He published a study of IP protection for traditional medicine and contributed articles in Genetic Engineering & Biotechnological News and Intellectual Property Today, in addition to presenting his research on Chinese IP protection at pharmaceutical conferences.
His untimely death comes as a great shock to his colleagues and students. He was an energetic, positive person who touched so many lives. We extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends on this terrible loss.
Mark E. Wojcik (mew)
The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union became legally effective as part of the Lisbon Treat process in December 2009, making this month the five-year anniversary for the Charter. The EU Charter is the first formal EU document to combine and declare all the fundamental rights (economic, social, political and civil) as well as certain "third generation rights" such as a right to clean environment, in one place. Its broad inclusion of tradtional and newer rights makes it more expansive than the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. It did not establish new rights, but was an attempt to bring clarity and visibility to existing rights. The EU Charter of Human Rights applies to all EU institutions, bodies and member states. It is directly enforceable in national courts and is referred to in decisions by the European Court of Justice and various national courts. For more information, click here.
Monday, December 1, 2014
On Friday, the United States filed an appeal of the World Trade Organization (WTO) compliance panel's report in “US – Certain Country of Origin Labelling (COOL) Requirements (Article 21.5 – Canada and Mexico)” (WT/DS384, WT/DS386). This dispute was originally filed against the United States by Canada and concerns a requirement in the U.S. Agricultural Marketing Act, as amended, that determines how a product's country of origin is to be determined and disclosed to consumers.
In 2011, a WTO dispute settlement panel found that the U.S. rules were inconsistent with the United States' WTO obligations in part because they do not fulfill the legitimate objective of providing consumers with information on origin. In 2012, the WTO Appellate Body upheld the panel's finding that the U.S. measure violates the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), but for different reasons.
The United States notified the WTO of its intent to comply with the ruling, but requested a reasonable period of time to implement the decision. In 2013, the United States issued a new final rule to comply with the WTO decision; however, Canada disputed whether the amended rule is compliant with WTO obligations. Accordingly, Canada requested the establishment of a compliance panel. That compliance panel agreed with Canada that the amended COOL regulation also violates the TBT Agreement. It is this decision that the United States is now appealing. The WTO Appellate Body will now consider this latest development in this long-running dispute.