Sunday, January 25, 2015

Experts to Review UN Peacekeeping

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has nominated an Advisory Group of Experts to conduct a policy and institutional review of the peacebuilding architecture and then to develop recommendations based on this work. The seven experts named to the group are:

  • Mr. Anis Bajwa (Pakistan);
  • Saraswathi Menon (India);
  • Ms. Funmi Olonisakin (Nigeria);
  • Mr. Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah (Mauritania);
  • Mr. Charles Petrie (France);
  • Mr. Gert Rosenthal (Guatemala); and
  • Ms. Edith Grace Ssempala (Uganda).

On 15 December, the Presidents of the General Assembly and the Security Council asked the Secretary-General to nominate up to seven experts to form an Advisory Group on the review of the peacebuilding architecture. In accordance with the Terms of Reference endorsed by both the General Assembly and the Security Council, the Advisory Group of Experts will undertake country studies in these countries:

  • Burundi,
  • Central African Republic,
  • Sierra Leone,
  • South Sudan, and
  • Timor-Leste.

The Advisory Group of Experts is expected to submit a report to the General Assembly and the Security Council for consideration through an intergovernmental process managed by co-facilitators appointed by the two principal organs. The intergovernmental process should be concluded with a concurrent decision by both organs before the end of 2015.

(mew) (adapted from a UN press release)

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

French Constitutional Council Upholds Loss of French Citizenship for a Dual National Convicted of Participating in a "Criminal Conspiracy with a Terrorist Undertaking"

The Constitutional Council of France (the Conseil Constitutionnel) is the highest constitutional authority in France. It was established in 1958 by the Constitution of the Fifth Republic.  The main activity of this council is to determine a priori whether proposed statutes conform to the French Constitution after they have been approved by Parliament and before they are signed into law by the President of the Republic. It also provides consitutional review of European Community Primary and Secondary Legislation.  Since March 1, 2010, individual citizens who are party to a trial or lawsuit can also ask for the Council to review whether the law applied in the case is constitutional.  The Constituional Council has also reviewed treaties, such as whether France could join internatioanl treaties such the Rome Statute establishing the International Criminal Court.  Click here to read more about decisions of the Constitutional Council (some of the decisions are translated into English).

Last week the Constitutional Council ruled that Ahmed Sahnouni, a Moroccan man who became a French national in 2003, could be deprived of his French nationality because he had been sentenced to seven years in prison for participating in "a criminal conspiracy with a terrorist undertaking."  Because he lost his French nationality, he can be deported to Morocco where he may face a 20-year prison sentence on similar charges. 

French law allows authorities to strip a dual national of French citizenship "if he or she has been convicted on charges of terrorism either before becoming a citizen, or within 15 years of becoming a citizen." Maia de la Baume, France: Loss of Citizenship Upheld in Terrorism Case, N.Y. Times, Jan. 24, 2015, at A7.

The opinion in Décision n° 2014-439 QPC du 23 janvier 2015 (M. Ahmed S. [Déchéance de nationalité]) can be found by clicking here.

Here's an excerpt:

17. Considérant qu'aux termes de l'article 8 de la Déclaration de 1789 : « La loi ne doit établir que des peines strictement et évidemment nécessaires, et nul ne peut être puni qu'en vertu d'une loi établie et promulguée antérieurement au délit, et légalement appliquée » ; que les principes énoncés par cet article s'appliquent non seulement aux peines prononcées par les juridictions répressives mais aussi à toute sanction ayant le caractère d'une punition ;

18. Considérant que l'article 61-1 de la Constitution ne confère pas au Conseil constitutionnel un pouvoir général d'appréciation et de décision de même nature que celui du Parlement, mais lui donne seulement compétence pour se prononcer sur la conformité des dispositions législatives soumises à son examen aux droits et libertés que la Constitution garantit ; que, si la nécessité des peines attachées aux infractions relève du pouvoir d'appréciation du législateur, il incombe au Conseil constitutionnel de s'assurer de l'absence de disproportion manifeste entre l'infraction et la peine encourue ;

19. Considérant que les dispositions contestées subordonnent la déchéance de nationalité à la condition que la personne a été condamnée pour des actes de terrorisme ; qu'elles ne peuvent conduire à ce que la personne soit rendue apatride ; qu'eu égard à la gravité toute particulière que revêtent par nature les actes de terrorisme, les dispositions contestées instituent une sanction ayant le caractère d'une punition qui n'est pas manifestement disproportionnée ; que, dès lors, le grief tiré de la méconnaissance des exigences de l'article 8 de la Déclaration de 1789 doit être écarté ;

. En ce qui concerne les autres griefs :

20. Considérant qu'il est à tout moment loisible au législateur, statuant dans le domaine de sa compétence, de modifier des textes antérieurs ou d'abroger ceux-ci en leur substituant, le cas échéant, d'autres dispositions ; que, ce faisant, il ne saurait toutefois priver de garanties légales des exigences constitutionnelles ; qu'en particulier, il méconnaîtrait la garantie des droits proclamée par l'article 16 de la Déclaration de 1789 s'il portait aux situations légalement acquises une atteinte qui ne soit justifiée par un motif d'intérêt général suffisant ;

21. Considérant qu'en fixant les conditions dans lesquelles l'acquisition de la nationalité peut être remise en cause, les dispositions contestées ne portent pas atteinte à une situation légalement acquise ;

22. Considérant que la déchéance de la nationalité d'une personne ne met pas en cause son droit au respect de la vie privée ; que, par suite, le grief tiré de l'atteinte au respect de la vie privée est inopérant ;

23. Considérant que les dispositions contestées, qui ne sont en tout état de cause pas entachées d'inintelligibilité, ne sont contraires à aucun autre droit ou liberté que la Constitution garantit ; qu'elles doivent être déclarées conformes à la Constitution,

D É C I D E :

Article 1er.- Les mots « ou pour un crime ou un délit constituant un acte de terrorisme » figurant au 1° de l'article 25 et l'article 25-1 du code civil sont conformes à la Constitution.

Article 2 - La présente décision sera publiée au Journal officiel de la République française et notifiée dans les conditions prévues à l'article 23-11 de l'ordonnance du 7 novembre 1958 susvisée.



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

Friday, January 23, 2015


David Gantz Ralph FolsomProfessor David A. Gantz, Director of the International Trade Law Program at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law and Professor Ralph H. Folsom of the University of San Diego School of Law are speaking today at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago.  Their topic is the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP).  The program is sponsored by The John Marshall Law School Center for International Law. This year's presentation marks the 14th Annual Folsom Lecture on International Business and Trade Law.

Given the problems in mulitlateral trade negotiations through the World Trade Organization, international trade negotiations in the next years may focus more on regional trade agreements and unilateral market opening measures. More than 400 Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and Customs Unions (CUs) have been concluded and many more are under negotiation, including the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Partnership (CETA), the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP), the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

The well-attended presentation and discussion focused on CETA and T-TIP, including the negotiations, political risks, effect of Chinese participation, rules of origin, data protection, intellectual property issues, agricultural market access, labor and enforcement issues, and dispute resolution.


January 23, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Nepal Fails to Meet Deadline for Drafting New Constitution

Nepal has failed to meet a deadline for drafting a new Constitution.   Reports from Nepal are that a late-night session of parliament had to be ended when politicians started throwing microphones and shoes at each other, and that authorities have deployed more than a thousand police officers to guard the parliament builing.  A report from Al-Jazeera describes some of the background of the constituional crises:

A new constitution is widely seen as crucial to ending the instability that has plagued Nepal since the end of a civil war in 2006, when Maoist guerrillas entered politics, ending a decade-long insurgency that left an estimated 16,000 people dead.

Six prime ministers and two elections later, discord between the opposition Maoists and ruling parties has intensified, paralysing the drafting process.

Landlocked Nepal has been in political limbo since 2008, when it's 239-year-old monarchy was abolished. An interim constitution was put in place a year earlier at the end of a civil war fought by Maoist rebels.

Click here to read the full story.


January 23, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Former ICJ Judge Talks About His Experiences as a Child Who Survived Auschwitz

Thomas Buergenthal, a former judge of the International Court of Justice, shares his astonishing experiences as a young boy in his memoir A Lucky Child. He arrived at Auschwitz at age 10 after surviving two ghettos and a labor camp. Separated first from his mother and then his father, Buergenthal managed by his wits and some remarkable strokes of luck to survive on his own. Almost two years after his liberation, Buergenthal was miraculously reunited with his mother and in 1951 arrived in the U.S. to start a new life. 

Now dedicated to helping those subjected to tyranny throughout the world, Buergenthal writes his story with a simple clarity that highlights the stark details of unimaginable hardship. Considered one of the world’s leading international human rights experts, Professor Buergenthal served as a judge on the International Court of Justice from 2000 to 2010 and was Dean at the Washington College of Law from 1980 to 1985.  He was a Judge and President of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights as well as President of the Administrative Tribunal of the Inter-American Development Bank, and a member of the UN Human Rights Committee and the UN Truth Commission for El Salvador. He is a member of the Ethics Commission of the International Olympic Committee and the honorary president of the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights in San José, Costa Rica.

His book A Lucky Child: A Memoir of Surviving Auschwitz is available in English and German (and possibly other languages, but I've only seen it in English and German. 

Judge Buergenthal will discuss his book and his experiences at the American University Washington College of Law on February 2, 2015 from 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm. The law school is located at 4801 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC, 20016 and the event will be held on the 6th Floor in Room 603

Claudio Grossman, Dean of the American University Washington College of Law, will do the welcome and introduction. Professor Peter Jaszi of the American University Washington College of Law will lead the questions.  Contact the law school for information on how to register for and attend the event.



January 23, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Gay Men Thrown to Their Deaths from the Top of Building After Being Accused of Homosexual Acts; Woman Stoned to Death for Alleged Adultery; Other Punishments of Unlawful Courts Under the Control of Islamic State

The United Nations human rights office has confirmed this week that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has established unlawful, so-called ‘shari’a courts’ in the territory under its control that have been carrying out cruel and inhuman punishments against men, women and children.

Those who are punished are accused of ‘violating the group’s extremist interpretations of Islamic shari’a law or for suspected disloyalty,’ said Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), at a Geneva briefing earlier this week.

“The ruthless murder of two men, who were thrown off the top of a building after having been accused of homosexual acts by a so-called court in Mosul, is another terrible example of the kind of monstrous disregard for human life that characterised ISIL’s reign of terror over areas of Iraq that were under the group’s control,” she added.

Last week, ISIL also posted photos on the web of two men being ‘crucified’ after they were accused of banditry. The men were hung up by their arms and then shot dead. Photos were also posted of a woman being stoned to death, allegedly for adultery.

OHCHR has received numerous other reports of women who had been executed by ISIL in Mosul and other areas under the group’s control, often immediately following sentences passed by its ‘shari’a courts.’

“Educated, professional women, particularly women who had run as candidates in elections for public office seem to be particularly at risk. In just the first two weeks of the year, reports indicated that three female lawyers were executed,” said Ms. Shamdasani.

Other civilians who are suspected of violating ISIL’s rules, or who are suspected of supporting the Government of Iraq, have also been victims. Four doctors were recently killed in central Mosul, allegedly after refusing to treat ISIL fighters. On 1 January, ISIL reportedly executed 15 civilians from the Jumaili Sunni Arab tribe in al-Shihabi area, Garma district, Fallujah.

“They were apparently shot dead in front of a large crowd for their suspected cooperation with Iraqi Security Forces. In another incident, on 9 January, ISIL executed at least 14 men in a public square in Dour, north of Tikrit, for refusing to pledge allegiance to it,” Ms. Shamdasani confirmed.

OHCHR has also been following reports of the release of a group of sick and elderly Yazidis, which included accounts that a ransom was paid. There are also reports that a ransom has been demanded made for Japanese hostages. The Japanese Government is in the process of verifying whether the video of the hostages is authentic, she said in response to questions.

Finally, she said OHCHR will continue to document human rights abuses and violations taking place in Iraq and is expected to present a report to the Human Rights Council in March.

(Adapted from a UN press release)

January 22, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

U.S. Legislation Introduced to End Cuban Trade Embargo

Representative Charles Rangel of New York has introduced HR 403, a bill that would lift the trade embargo on Cuba.  The bill was referred to the House Committees on Foreign Affairs, Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce, Judiciary, Financial Services, Oversight and Government Reform, and Agriculture. Congressional Record H412 (Jan. 16, 2015).  The Constitutional Authority invoked for the legislation is Article 1 Section 8, the Congressional Power to regulate commerce with foreign nations.

Click here to read an op-ed by Congressman Rangel on restoring trade relations with Cuba.

Hat tip to the ABA Governmental Affairs Office.


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

WTO Adopts Appellate Body Report in US-China CVD Dispute

WTOThe World Trade Organization (WTO) Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) held a meeting on Friday at which it adopted the Appellate Body's report addressing the impostion by the United States of countervailing duties (CVDs) on certain products from China (WT/DS437/AB/R).  In that report, the Appellate Body addresses the proper methodology for determining what constitutes a "public body"; how to evaluate a market distortion in deciding whether the provision of a financial contribution has conferred a benefit; adverse facts available determinations; and the issue of specificity.

Both the United States and Canada, participating as a third party, expressed concern regarding the delay in the completion of the proceedings and the procedures followed by the Appellate Body.  Canada suggested a need to address the Appellate Body's workload. 

Also at that meeting, the United States outlined its plans to implement the recommendations of the DSB in the  dispute “United States — Countervailing  Measures on Certain Hot-Rolled Carbon Steel Flat Products from India (DS436)”.  For more information regarding both these matters, visit the WTO website.


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

Monday, January 19, 2015

Deadline Approaching for 2015 ESIL Oslo Conference Submissions

The 11th Annual Conference of the European Society of International Law will take place in Oslo, Norway, from 10 to 12 September 2015.  The conference will be hosted by the Pluricourts Center on the Legitimate Roles on the Judiciary in the Global Order, University of Oslo.

Entitled “The Judicialization of International Law - A Mixed Blessing?”, the conference will address the international law aspects of the increased judicialization from an interdisciplinary perspective.

The conference will feature plenary sessions with invited speakers, and a number of agorae with speakers selected on the basis of a call for papers and agora proposals. The event will also offer poster sessions for early career scholars following a call for posters.  The deadline for the submission of abstracts and proposals is 31 January 2015.

For more information, click here.


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

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Helton Fellowship Deadline is Monday

Arthur HeltonApplications for the 2015 Helton Fellowships are being accepted until Monday, 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, a lawyer, refugee advocate, teacher, and author who died in the August 19, 2003, bombing of the UN mission in Baghdad, where he was working to assess humanitarian conditions. Helton was an active member of the American Society of International Law, the American Bar Association Section of International Law, and other groups. He was a great man whose memory lives on in the Fellowships named for him and in the impressive work that the Helton Fellows pursue with these grants.

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, human rights, humanitarian affairs, and related areas. Click here for more information.

Hat tip to Sheila Ward.


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

Symposium on Human Trafficking

The Saint Louis University School of Law Center for International and Comparative Law and the
Saint Louis University Law Journal will present a symposium on "Perspectives on Fighting Human Trafficking" on Friday, January 30, 2015 at the St. Louis University School of Law.  Check-in is at 8:30 a.m. and the program starts at 9:00 a.m.  Here's a description of the program for the day:

Human trafficking has been called “the modern day slavery.” Trafficking victims are forced to have sex or to work long hours against their will, often in dangerous situations and facing threats of violence or deportation. Many times the victims of trafficking do not see themselves as victims or are afraid to speak out, fearing that they themselves might be prosecuted. This year’s symposium focuses on the role of the victim in combating human trafficking. Two panels will focus on finding and working with victims in prosecuting trafficking, and two major talks will highlight global trends in human trafficking.

Contact the law school or the law journal for more information.


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

UN Security Council Affirms Critical Importance of Peacebuilding for Sustainable Peace and Development

UN Security CouncilPeacebuilding is of “critical importance” as the foundation for sustainable peace and development in countries emerging from conflict, the United Nations Security Council declared today, unanimously adopting its latest measure reaffirming commitment to the practice.

In a presidential statement adopted as part of a briefing by the Chair of the UN Peacebuilding Commission (PBC), the Council recognized peacebuilding’s role as an “important element” of the UN’s efforts in post-conflict nations and reaffirmed that sustainable peace and security requires “an integrated sustained approach based on coherence among political, security and developmental approaches.”

“The Security Council underscores that peacebuilding, in particular, institution building, the extension of State authority and the re-establishment of core public administration functions, requires sustained international and national attention, and financial and technical support in order to effectively build and sustain peace in countries emerging from conflict,” the statement declared.

The PBC, an intergovernmental advisory body created in 2005 with a mandate to support peace efforts in countries emerging from conflict, plays a “unique role” in UN peacebuilding efforts, according to its website.

Principally, it is tasked with bringing together all of the relevant actors, including international donors and financial institutions, national governments, troop contributing countries; marshalling resources and advising on and proposing integrated strategies for post-conflict peacebuilding and recovery and where appropriate, highlighting any gaps that threaten to undermine peace.

Addressing the Council members, Ambassador Antonio de Aguiar Patriota, Permanent Representative of Brazil to the United Nations and Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission, pointed to the vast swathe of crises afflicting nations around the globe as indicative of the need for “further sharpening the tools at the disposal of the United Nations with a view to preventing relapse into violent conflict.”

“The crises in the Central African Republic, South Sudan and Libya, as well as the risks posed by the Ebola crisis, remind us that our response must be multifaceted, carefully sequenced and sustained over the long term,” Mr. de Aguiar Patriota told the Council Members.

“Attention and support to nationally-owned and inclusive political, socio-economic development and institution-building processes should be prioritized,” he added.

Nonetheless, he warned, peacebuilding is still being not granted “the sustained attention and commitment that is required by the international community to meet the complex and long-term challenges to sustainable peace.” In particular, he added, the implementation of peacebuilding was still being deprived of the critical financing mechanisms necessary for the fulfilment of its ambitions.

“Early investment in peacebuilding activities, including security sector and justice reform as well as socio-economic development, is a necessary complement to political and security focused mandates,” Mr. de Aguiar Patriota continued.

“The Commission will continue to support regional and national efforts aimed at catalysing greater international commitment to address this challenge.”

UN Press Release and UN Photo/Loey Felipe

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

Friday, January 9, 2015

New Officers Elected for AALS Section on International Law

Congratulations to the new officers of the Association of American Law Schools Section on International Law who were elected at the 2015 annual meeting in Washington D.C.: Charity

  • Matthew Charity, Western New England School of Law, Chair (pictured here)
  • Anatasia Telesetsky, University of Idaho College of Law, Vice Chair
  • Shalanda Baker, University of Hawaii School of Law, Secretary
  • Milena Sterio, Cleveland Marshall College of Law, Treasurer
  • Thomas McDonnell, Pace Law School, Newsletter Editor
  • Cindy Buys, Southern Illinois University School of Law, Immediate Past Chair and Mentor Coordinator

Members of the AALS International Law Executive Committee include:

  • George Edwards, Indiana University School of Law
  • Andrew Strauss, Widener University School of Law
  • Ved Nanda, University of Denver, Strum College of Law
  • Mark Wojcik, The John Marshall Law School, Chicago
  • Claudio Grossman, American University Washington College of Law

We look forward to continued excellent programming from the Section in 2015!

(cgb and mew)

January 9, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 8, 2015

How much does international law influence US government decisionmaking?

At the annual conference of the American Association of Law Schools (AALS), the International Law AALS Intl Law Panel 14Section
sponsored a very interesting discussion of how, when and to what extent lawyers and policy makers in the U.S. government take international law into account when engaging in decisionmaking.  The panel included Mary McLeod, Principal Deputy Legal Advisor at the U.S.  Dept. of State, Sandra Hodgkinson of DRS Technologies, formerly Deputy Director, Office of War Crimes Issues and  Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Detainee Affairs, and Professor Ralph Steinhardt of George Washington University.  Matthew Charity, Professor at Western New England School of Law and Vice Chair of the International Law Section moderated.

All the panelists agreed that international law plays a critical role in U.S. foreign policy.  Ms. Hodgkinson stated that while the United States does not undertake treaty obligation lightly, she believes U.S. compliance is exceptional once it belongs to a treaty. Ms. McLeod also talked about how international law is something she works with every day.

Professor Steinhardt presented his paper, “International Law and the Administrative State,”  which was selected from a call for papers.  He talked about the role of administrative agencies and how administrative rulemaking is hardening international soft law.  He suggested that to ignore the work of international bodies drafting voluntary guidelines is dangerous because those non-binding guidelines often end up being implemented by other bodies with rulemaking authority.  He suggested a broadening of accepted sources of international law under Article 38 of the Statute of the International Court of Justice to take into account this administrative law, as well as the adoption of a Charming Betsy principle for administrative regulations similar to statutes (i.e., administrative regulations should be interpreted consistently with international obligations whenever possible).

Ms. McLeod and Ms. Hodgkinson both talked about the relationship of academic scholarship to their work at government decisionmakers.  Both suggested that academics can be helpful to government lawyers, particularly when academics research and write about topical issues.  The government attorneys often don't have time to do in-depth historical research, for example, and rely on work by academics in helping to formulate policy positions and to find precedent to support legal arguments. Ms. McLeod stated that she often reads blogs by international law professors that analyze issues on which she is working.

The AALS Section on International Law is grateful to all the panelists for their participation in this very interesting and informative discussion.


January 8, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Professor Mark Wojcik Earns Lifetime Achievement Award

WojcikMark Wojcik, a professor at John Marshall Law School  in Chicago and co-editor of this blog, received a lifetime achievement award today from the Association of American Law Schools Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research.  The Section Award is given to an individual who has made "a significant lifetime contribution to the field of legal writing, reasoning, and research."

Mark is known for his many contributions to the field, including spearheading international conferences, serving as a past Chair of the AALS Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Reearch, serving three terms on the Board of Directors of the Legal Writing Institute, helping to create the LWI One-Day Workshops, serving as Treasurer of Scribes--The American Society of Legal Writers, and working with the Law Library of Congress.

Congratulations, Mark!




January 4, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, January 2, 2015

Reminder: International Law Programs at the AALS Annual Meeting

For law professors attending the American Association of Law Schools (AALS) Annual Meeting in Washington, DC this weekend, be sure to participate in the programs sponsored by the Section on International Law. 

The first program is “Adding Foreign and Comparative Law to Your Courses: Guidelines, Materials, and Practical Advice for Law Professors” and will be held on Saturday, January 3, 2015 from 5:15-6:30 pm. 

The second program is “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.

See you soon!


January 2, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, December 28, 2014

President Obama's Legacy at Guantanamo Bay

One of the issues President Obama campaigned on was the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.  After entering office, his plans were stymied by Congress' refusal to cooperate and the detention facility remains open. However, recently, President Obama has secured the transfer of several detainees at Guantanamo Bay to third countries, perhaps in an attempt to at least partially fulfill his earlier promise.

Shortly after entering office in January 2009, President Obama issued an Executive Order calling for the review of the individual cases at Guantanamo Bay to determine the proper disposition of all the pending cases in accordance with U.S. and international law.  President Obama also began the process of the U.S. government acquiring alternate detention facilities in Illinois to house remaining detainees.  However, in 2010, Congress blocked funding for any alternative facilities in the United States for detainees from Guantanamo. In March 2011, President Obama issued another Executive Order reinstating a review process for detainess and trials by military tribunals under rules revised to comply with Supreme Court decisions applying U.S. and international law.  In May 2013, President Obama promised to begin the process of transferring individuals who had been cleared for release by an inter-agency task force.  

30 detainees have been released since 2010. However, there has been a recent uptick in activity. Seven detainees were transferred out of Guantanamo in November and and six more were released to Uruguay in December.  136 detainees still remain.

As President Obama enters his final two years in office and considers his legacy, it appears he wants to at least partially fulfill his promise to end detention at Guantanamo Bay. His efforts to transfer persons who have been cleared for release from Guantanamo Bay are to be commended, but it is unlikely he will be able to fulfill his promise to close the facility completely in light of continued Congressional opposition.


December 28, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

South Korea Files Antidumping Dispute Against US Over Tubular Goods

South Korea notified the Secretariat of the World Trade Organization (WTO) yesterday of its request for consultations with the United States regarding U.S. antidumping duties imposed on oil country tubular goods from Korea.  If consultations fail to resolve the matter within 60 days, Korea will have the right to request the establishment of a WTO dispute resolution panel. More information regarding the dispute may be found on the WTO website.


December 23, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Premiering Mediation and Negotiation Competition based on the VIS Problem in Vienna 2015

Law professors may be interested to learn about the new IBA-VIAC International Mediation and Negotiation Competition Vienna. The "CDRC Vienna" is a premiering event in the field of Consensual Dispute Resolution, especially focusing on the fields of mediation and negotiation. The Competition will bring together students from around the world who specialize in mediation or negotiation to enable them to prove their skill and strategy to achieve the best deals in simulated legal mediations based on an adapted version of the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot problem. The four-day competition event will include over 40 competition sessions and will be accompanied by a variety of educational and social events, including world-class mediation and negotiation trainings.

The first Competition will take place in Vienna from 1-4 July 2015. University teams from around the world are currently invited to apply online to be among the selected teams to enter the 2015 Competition. If you are interested in applying please find all relevant information here.  If you have a strong mediation or negotiation background and would like to volunteer as an Expert Assessor for the competition please sign up here.


December 23, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

US to establish normal diplomatic relations with Cuba

US FlagIn 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. Cuba flag

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.


December 17, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)