Friday, July 25, 2008
The House of Lords, Britain’s highest appellate court, ruled that there was “no point of law or general importance” that would justify further review in a case brought by Mostafa Kamel Mostafa, an Egyptian-born Muslim cleric who is fighting his extradition to the United States on terrorism charges. He faces criminal charges in the United States in an 11-count indictment for his part in a global plan to wage holy war against the United States. The cleric became well known for sermons in support of Al Qaeda and in praise of suicide bombers. The criminal charges against him in the United States include allegations that he masterminded a terrorist ambush in 1998 in which 16 foreign tourists (some of them Americans) were taken hostage in a remote area of Yemen. He is also charged with conspiring to establish a terrorist training camp in Oregon, to provide combat training for missions in Afghanistan. Jacqui Smith, the British Home Secretary, signed an order approving his extradition, and British officials said that the cleric would be extradited to the United States as soon as he exhausted his legal recourses in the United Kingdom. The cleric is serving a prison sentence in the United Kingdom, but had reached the point where he would have been eligible for release if he had not been indicted in the United States. Lawyers for the cleric said that they would try to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights to fight his extradition to the United States.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
A New Dispute Over the Temple of Preah Vihear -- UN Security Council Asked to Help Resolve New Dispute Between Cambodia and Thailand
The United Nations Security Council will convene a special session to try to avert a military confrontation over a border dispute between Cambodia and Thailand. Cambodia had appealed to the United Nations after the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) declined a request to help resolve the dispute. The border conflict focuses on 1.8 square miles of land adjacent to the Preah Vihear Temple, an ancient Hindu temple which was just listed as a United Nations World Heritage Site. UNESCO granted the designation as a World Heritage Site based upon the request of Cambodia, and it used a disputed map provided by Cambodia. Hundreds of troops from each country have been engaged in a standoff over the disputed land. Sovereignty over the temple has been in dispute since France withdrew from the area in the 1950s. In 1962, the International Court of Justice awarded the temple to Cambodia over the objections of Thailand. The land in dispute was not covered in the 1962 judgment of the International Court of Justice.
Omar Hassan al-Bashir, the president of Sudan, faces indictment by the International Criminal Court (also located in the Hague) for being the “mastermind” behind violence that resulted in the murder of thousands of persons, the rape of countless women, and the displacement of more than two million people from their land An indictment against President al-Bashir is being sought by Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. The United Nations Security Council may step in to suspend the case, with two of the permanent members of the Security Council (Russia and China) reportedly suggesting that a criminal indictment against the president would not assist peace efforts in Sudan.
Radovan Karadzic, the former Bosnian Serb leader charged with genocide and war crimes, was arrested in Serbia after spending 13 years as a fugitive from justice. His arrest stunned many observers because he was indicted in 1995 and was living openly (under an assumed identity) in the city of Belgrade. His lawyer announced that Karadzic would act as his own attorney in any war crimes trial if he is handed over to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). Karadzic is suspected of being the architect of the murders of nearly 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica. If he is transferred to stand trial in the Netherlands as expected, he would be the most notorious war crimes defendant to stand trial since Slobodan Milosevic, the former Yugoslav president who was arrested in 2001 and put on trial in 2002. Milosevic also acted as his own attorney and refused to be represented by attorneys appointed by the court. Milosevivc died during the defense phase of his trial.
On some days (like today) as many as half of our readers are from outside the United States. We don't know who you are (so don't worry about your privacy) but our visit counter includes the countries where you live. Over the past few weeks we have had visitors from the countries listed below. (If YOU are reading from a country not listed here, drop us a comment to say hello!).
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Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Professors Gregory S. Gordon (North Dakota) and Cindy G. Buys (Southern Illinois University) are both participating in an international human rights law summer study program in Vilnius Lithuana entitled: "Bringing Human Rights Home." The students in the program are equally divided among Americans, Lithuanians and Belarussian students. The Belarussian students study are studying in Lithuania because their university, the European Humanities University, was banned in Belarus. Lithuania is still exploring and struggling to come to terms with its recent history of occupation by Germany and Russia and atrocities that were committed during that time. The KGB's practices of arresting, interrogating, torturing, and executing persons who resisted Russian rule in Lithuania are documented at the KGB Museum in Vilnius. Lithuania has yet to fully explore and document the loss of 95% of its Jewish population during World War II.
The U.S. International Trade Commission announced that Robert K. Rogers was named as an Administrative Law Judge. He previously served as a Supervisory Administrative Law Judge at the Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals in Irvine, California. He also served as an Administrative Law Judge at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in Washington, DC, and at the Office of Hearings and Appeals with the Social Security Administration in Sacramento, California.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Press conferences from the WTO will be webcast live on the WTO website. Click here to see the schedule of upcoming press conferences. The website will also carry archived versions of press conferences. Press conferences this week include Susan Schwab: US Trade Representative, and Mrs. Mari E. Pangestu, Minister of Trade of Indonesia.
On July 22, 2008, the WTO talks in Geneva could have died if the non-confidence vote in India had not been defeated. Lucky for the WTO talks, this brush with a fatal delay to the process brushed by with a narrow margin. But, if the Indian Government had been defeated in the non-confidence vote, the Parliament would have been dissolved and Minister Nath would not have been able to return to Geneva to participate in the high level talks that are occurring this week.
On July 21, 2008, the EU representatives at the WTO talks agreed to increase their reductions in agricultural subsidies from 54% to 60%. However, this concession was delivered with the statement that emerging economies, such as India, China and Brazil, would have to reduce their tariffs on industrial goods, otherwise the Doha Round would not succeed. Hence, it is critically important for India to be at the table for current WTO negotiations to succeed.
If the India Government was dissolved and the WTO was forced to wait until after a new government was formed in India, they would be waiting for the new U.S. government to be formed also. It is far from clear that the presumptive presidential candidates would support the cuts to agricultural subsidies that are currently on the table or that must be improved this week.
This situation raises an important issue that will become headline news more regularly in the future (at least I will make the safe prediction). Domestic politics and power struggles can negatively impact on trade deals. The world is learning this lesson while watching the U.S. Congress' tactics in stopping the approval of the United States - Korea Free Trade Agreement, the United States - Panama Trade Promotion Agreement and the United States - Columbia Trade Promotion Agreement. We saw Costa Rica delay approval of the CAFTA-DR Agreement and the domestic problems associated with the approval of that free trade agreement. The United States - Korea Beef Agreement has led to consumer protests in the streets of Seoul. Politics at various levels are proving to be a tactical maneuver.
But, what we could have experienced today could have represented (and maybe still does represent) a dangerous step in a new direction. Political foes may, in a parliamentary system on other domestic constitutional structures, derail multilateral trade negotiations. Pro free trade political parties may be removed from office and replaced with protectionist political parties. If this should occur and important concessions tabled in the negotiations are reversed, multilateral trade negotiations may suffer serious negative consequences.
Yes - the WTO dodged a bullet today, but their will be something else tomorrow. The Doha Round is in a difficult place (even through Geneva is very secure). The governing party in India may return to the WTO negotiating tables wounded by serious credibility issues . They may feel as though they must take a cautious approach and it is possible that anything they agree to in terms of tariff reductions for industrial (non-agricultural) goods will be the subject of another non-confidence vote.
This would make from good drama if trade negotiations were more interesting.
Cyndee Todgham Cherniak
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has fixed 29 August 2008 as the time-limit for the filing by the United States of America of written observations on the Request for Interpretation of the Judgment of 31 March 2004 in the Case concerning Avena and Other Mexican Nationals (Mexico v. United States of America) submitted by Mexico on 5 June 2008.
A press release from the ICJ says that the Court took this decision pursuant to Article 98, paragraph 3, of the Rules of Court, after ascertaining the views of the Parties. It reserved the right, after the written observations of the United States of America have been filed, to afford the Parties the opportunity of furnishing further written explanations, as provided for in paragraph 4 of the aforementioned Article 98.
In its Order indicating provisional measures of 16 July 2008, the Court stated that it was “in the interest of both Parties that any difference of opinion as to the interpretation of the meaning and scope of their rights and obligations under paragraph 153 (9) of the Avena Judgment be resolved as early as possible." It added that it was for the Court to ensure that a final judgment on the Request for interpretation was reached “with all possible expedition."
It is not mentioned in the press release from the ICJ, but the date for written observations from the United States is after at least one scheduled execution date of individuals named in the Avena judgment. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Medellin that individuals named in the ICJ judgment had no right to enforce it, and the State of Texas has shown no willingness to defer the executions. Click here to download a background document on the Medellin case.
Monday, July 21, 2008
The Southeastern Association of Law Schools (SEALS) is about to have its annual meeting in Palm Beach, Florida, from July 27 to August 2, 2008. Click here for more information. I will be speaking on a panel on the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The panel is scheduled for 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 29, 2008. The other panelists are Robert Blitt (University of Tennessee), Barbara Stark (Hofstra University Law School), Margaret McGuinness (University of Missouri School of Law), and Johanna Bond (University of Wyoming College of Law). The moderator will be Professor Ngai Pindell of the University of Nevada, Law Vegas.
The International Law Students Association, in cooperation with the International Law Society – Grupo de Estudos em Direito Internacional (GEDI) – at Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG), will host an international conference on "Universalism and Regionalism in International Law: challenges and perspectives towards cooperation and conflict resolution" from August 13-16, 2008 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. For more information email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hat tip to Royal Gardner.
Radovan Karadzic, the Bosnian Serb wartime president and one of the world's most wanted men for his part in the murders of civilians and other crimes, has been arrested in Serbia. Click here for more information. He was indicted in 1995 to face prosecution before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), but had eluded capture until now.
The Journal of Transnational Law and Contemporary Problems at the University of Iowa College of Law and the University of Iowa Center for International Finance and Development will hold a symposium on “Financial Markets and Systemic Risk: The Global Repercussions of the U.S. Subprime Mortgage Meltdown.” The deadline for submitting abstracts is today, July 21, 2008.
The /Interdisciplinary of Journal of Human Rights Law/ is published annually by the Council for American Students in International Negotiations. IJHRL invites quality submissions from scholars, jurists, and professionals in fields related to international criminal law and international human rights and humanitarian law. IJHRL is an interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed journal and welcomes manuscripts from all academic fields. IJHRL also welcomes review essays, book reviews, and comments/notes. Manuscripts should be submitted to the Editor-in-Chief with assurance that they have not been
published or accepted for publication elsewhere.
Manuscripts should range from 3,000 to 10,000 words (approximately 15-25 pages) and be typed, double-spaced. Manuscripts exceeding the maximum length risk not being considered. Book reviews run from 1,000 to 2,500 words. Submissions must follow the style guidelines of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association(APA) 5th Edition or latest edition of The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation.
Manuscripts should be sent electronically in Microsoft Word document format. A notification of receipt of all manuscripts will be acknowledged shortly after the manuscript is received. Notice of acceptance, rejection or need for revision will be given within 4-6 weeks of receipt of manuscript. Each submission should contain an abstract of no more than 150 words, a coverletter, a brief biographical sketch, and contact information. Please send all materials to: Harry M. Rhea, Editor-in-Chief, Interdisciplinary Journal of Human Rights Law, by clicking here. (mew)
Matangi Tonga reports that King George Tupou V has elevated the Nobles Tungi and Tu'ipelehake to the rank of Prince. The newspaper also reported that according to a statement from the Lord Chamberlain in connection with the upcoming coronation, Tungi had been appointed Lord Bearer of the Crown and Tu'ipelehake Lord Protector of the Royal Regalia. In recognition of these services to the King, he elevated both nobles to the rank of Prince under his prerogative powers in a formal document known as an Act of Serjeanty. The new princes are to be addressed as "Their Serene Highnesses."The Tonga Post Office has also announced that it is releasing a commemorative stamp issue for the Coronation of King George Tupou V in his full coronation regalia. The stamps will go on sale on August 1, 2008, which is the day of the King's coronation. About 1,400 guests, including members some European and Asian Royal families are expected to attend that event, including Japanese Crown Prince Naruhito, Thai Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn and Britain's Duke and Duchess of Gloucester. During the Coronation, Tonga will host between 4,000 and 5,000 visitors during the coronation. The new King was sworn in on September 11, 2006 following the death of his father, King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV.
Hat tips to the East-West Center
Saturday, July 19, 2008
We also join them in congratulating the new blog on Careers and Professional Development. Click here to pay them a quick visit.