Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
The ABA Section of International Law is this year celebrating its 75th anniversary as an ABA Section and its 130 anniversary as an ABA entity. (The International Committee was established as one of the original committees when the ABA was founded in 1878 in New York). The section is celebrating its anniversary by launching the publication of a new book on the section's history. It is available for purchase through the ABA webstore at www.abanet.org.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Yesterday, the interdisciplinary conference "John F. Kennedy: History, Memory, Legacy", at the University of North Dakota wrapped up. It was a great conference largely due to the amazing energy and organizing efforts of Professor Greg Gordon at UND. Ted Sorenson shared insights from his time as special counsel to President Kennedy and Richard Reeves shared his perspectives as Kennedy's biographer. One of the panels dealt with international treaties negotiated and signed during President Kennedy's time in office. Professor David Tal from Emory University gave an insightful presentation on the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. Professor Marjorie Florestal from University of the Pacific drew some very interesting comparisons between trade negotiations and interest group pressures in Kennedy's time and the Doha Round today. Professor Cindy Buys from Southern Illinois University spoke about the Kennedy Administration's contributions to the law of consular relations and the continuing difficulties the United States has with respect to implementing consular notification rights. Look for all these papers on SSRN and in other venues in the near future. On a teaching note, we viewed the very intense and moving film, "Thirteen Days," a reference to the Cuban missile crisis. The movie has some rich material for classroom discussion, including an oral international agreement between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. regarding the removal of missiles from Turkey.
The American Bar Association Section of International Law has just finished its Fall Meeting in Brussels Belgium. It was another high quality meeting with many interesting and informative panels. Approximately 600 lawyers attended, a number smaller than expected but many canceled at the last minute because of legal work relating to the financial crisis in the United States. The organizers put on some splendid events, including a fantastic reception at the Belgian Parliament -- one of the best events I have attended in many years.
ABA International meetings bring together practicing lawyers from around the world. Judges, lawyers, and law students also attend, but there is a heavy focus on practical aspects of private and public international law. These meetings are well worth the time for international law professors to attend. Be sure you get the information on the next meetings by becoming a member of the ABA Section of International Law. You need not be a U.S. lawyer to become a member of the ABA or the section. Click here for more information.
U.S. lawyers and law students don't know enough about doing legal research with Canadian sources. They do know how to use Westlaw though. So, here are some databases for Canadian law to share with your moot court teams and others who are interested in improving foreign legal research skills. (This isn't a comprehensive list of the sources available, but it will give you a good start.)
CAN-ALLCASES -- Full text of decisions from Canadian federal, provincial, and territorial courts.
CANST-ALL -- Federal, provincial, and territorial statutes in force, and recently enacted legislation not yet in force.
CANST-RULES-ALL -- All Canadian statutes and rules
CANFED-REG -- Canadian Federal Regulations
TP-CANADA -- Texts and periodicals from Canada, including Canadian law reviews, texts, and bar journals
CANADANEWS -- The Canada News database with information from newspapers, magazines, journals, and wire services.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
We've noticed that our blog readers include some people in The Gambia. To encourage better understanding about The Gambia, here's a link with some basic information. You may have better links -- please share them with us here..
Monday, September 22, 2008
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Several news sources reported recently that the Venezuelan government expelled two senior activists from Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Friday who criticized President Hugo Chavez for political intolerance and for eroding democracy. The HRW activists, Jose Miguel Vivanco and Daniel Wilkerson, stated that their phones were confiscated and they were denied the right to speak with their consulates when Venezuelan officials came to their hotel around midnight, forced them to leave hurriedly, took them to the airport, and put them on the first plane leaving Caracas. Venezuela's actions likely violate Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. Venezuela is a party to both treaties.
The Journal of Private International Law will hold its third major conference at New York University on April 17-19, 2009. There is a call for papers on three topics: (1) International Commercial Law; (2) US and European Conflict Methodologies; and (3) Transactional Litigation and Arbitration. To submit a proposal, send a 500-word abstract to Professor Linda Silberman at NYU or to Professor Paul Beaumont at the University of Aberdeen
Saturday, September 20, 2008
The rise of transnational business has created new challenges for corporations and their counsel. Companies in nearly every industry -- from technology, to apparel, to mining and extractive industries -- have come under scrutiny from governments, human rights groups, and their shareholders as they navigate the challenges of investing and operating in foreign nations, with vastly different standards of human rights, environmental protections, and corruption standards that are expected of them at home. Companies face lawsuits in the U.S. courts for alleged violations of the Alien Tort Statute and a host of other laws for their conduct abroad. This showcase program at the ABA Section of International Law Meeting in Brussels will provide an update on the newest developments in corporate legal and ethical compliance responsibilities from selected jurisdictions around the world. It will be held on Friday, September 26, 2008, at 9:00 a.m.
(mew) (one of the speakers on this panel)
Video of the War Crimes Conference held at the Massachusetts School of Law is now available. Click here. We're told by attendees that the conference provided an interesting discussion by persons coming from a wide variety of schools of thought on domestic and international prosecutions for war crimes.
Hat tip to Ben Davis.
Friday, September 19, 2008
The International Court of Justice has finished hearing oral arguments in the Maritime Delimitations Case in the Black Sea (Romania v. Ukraine). The court will now begin its deliberations. Click here for more information on the final submissions made by the parties. By clicking on the link you'll also learn a new word -- loxodromes!
Thursday, September 18, 2008
The New York Times reports today that by extending a last-minute $85 billion lifeline to American International Group (AIG), the Bush Administration has probably undercut future U.S. efforts to promote the virtues of the free market and the dangers of government intervention. Click here for more.
If you have a research assistant, you might want to have them download this article on "Should You Be A Faculty Research Assistant?" (Don't just give them a copy of the article -- give them the link instead to teach them how to use SSRN as a research tool!) The article explains to law students (1) why they should want to be a faculty research assistant, (2) how to go about finding a job as a faculty research assistant, and (3) how to be a good faculty research assistant.
If you are in the market to hire a faculty research assistant, I think you should ask those applying for the job to download the article as well. In your job interviews, ask them for their views on how they can be an effective research assistant for you. You will quickly separate those who are taking the job just as a resume builder from those who recognize the job as a serious opportunity.
If the students have not previously used SSRN for research, they might need to register their email address. I think teaching SSRN to students is a valuable supplement to other electronic and print research sources students are learning to use.
And as we are here on the International Law Prof Blog (with lots of readers from around the world), I wonder if some of you might post comments about how research assistants are utilized in your home counties. Better yet, have your research assistants post a comment!
Barbados has been a member of the WTO since 1995. The WTO secretariat has issued a report finding that Barbados’ generally open trade and investment regime, and its close integration into the world economy, has helped it maintain some of the highest per capita incomes and human development indicators among developing countries. Click here to read more about the WTO Secretariat report on the trade policies and practices of Barbados.
Monday, September 15, 2008
Humanitarian Assistance to the Cuban People Following Hurricanes Gustav and Ike
Hurricane Gustav and Hurricane Ike have caused severe damage to Cuba, displacing over two million people and destroying homes across the island. In order to assist the Cuban people in this time of crisis, the United States is taking the following steps:
- The United States has provided $100,000 in immediate emergency assistance to NGOs engaged in humanitarian relief operations in Cuba.
- The United States informed the Cuban Government on September 13 that the U.S. is committed to providing up to $5 million in relief assistance for Cuban hurricane victims. As part of this assistance, the U.S. offered to fly emergency relief supplies to Cuba as soon as the Cuban Government approved such a donation. The Cuban Government declined this offer on September 14. We regret that the Cuban authorities have not accepted this offer and we are investigating other ways to get humanitarian assistance to the Cuban people.
- In the wake of the hurricanes, the U.S. Government increased existing authorizations for U.S.-based NGOs to provide larger amounts of humanitarian assistance, including in the form of cash donations, to help address the basic needs of the Cuban people. For a period of 90 days, the U.S. will expedite applications for immediate humanitarian assistance of up to $10 million per NGO, subject to appropriate restrictions. We have already authorized over $5 million in private donations.
- Individuals and organizations interested in assisting hurricane victims in Cuba are encouraged to provide cash donations to reputable humanitarian assistance organizations that are licensed to send humanitarian aid to Cuba.
- The United States has also licensed $250 million in agricultural sales to Cuba since Hurricane Gustav struck Cuba on September 7. Lumber, an important reconstruction material, is included within this category of agricultural sales. The United States is considering Cuba’s request to purchase other reconstruction materials on a case-by-case basis, consistent with U.S. law.
- The American people are the largest providers of humanitarian aid to the Cuban people, and Cuba's top supplier of food. In 2007, the American people provided $240.5 million in private humanitarian assistance in the form of gift parcels filled with food and other basic necessities ($179.4 million), non-agricultural humanitarian donations ($20.6 million), and medical donations ($40.5 million). The United States Government also authorized $3.65 billion in sales of agricultural products ($3.621 billion) and sales of medical equipment and pharmaceuticals ($20.6 million).