Friday, October 31, 2008
The American Society of International Law's International Economic Law Interest Group will present its 2008 Biennial Conference on the topic of The Politics of International Economic Law: The Next Four Years. The event will be November 13-15, 2008 at the George Washington University Law School Faculty Conference Center in Washington DC. For more information, contact Tomer Broude by clicking here.
The Presidents of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the International Court of Justice (ICJ) addressed the U.N. General Assembly this week.
Judge Philippe Kirsch, President of the ICC, said that the criminal court was at a “critical” juncture, with its success hinging on such factors as guaranteeing its judicial independence and universal ratification. To date, 108 nations are parties to the Rome Statute that established the court. The court is an independent court established by that treaty, and is not an organ of the United Nations. Four situations have been brought before the court, but no trials have yet commenced.
Judge Rosalyn Higgins, President of the ICJ, told the U.N. General Assmebly that the past year had been “the most productive” in the Court’s over 60-year history. She said that the ICJ has managed a full caseload and was also in “a position to respond swiftly to unanticipated requests for the indication of provisional measures.”
ABA Section of International Law - Celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Online registration ends November 7 (register on the ABA website).
The ABA Section of International Law, in conjunction with the ABA Center for Human Rights, Association of the Bar of the City of New York, Paris Bar, and Italian Bar, is organizing a celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to take place in New York on November 13-14, 2008. The day long conference will consist of two roundtable discussions in the morning, a keynote luncheon address, and two additional panels in the afternoon, all composed of leading human rights lawyers, scholars and policymakers.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Location: Association of the Bar of the City of New York
Friday, November 14, 2008
Location: Association of the Bar of the City of New York
Welcome and Introduction
Panel I: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: A Historical Perspective
Andrew Heyward (former President of CBS News)
Theodore Sorensen (author and of Counsel to Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison LLP)
Hans Corell (former Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and Legal Counsel for the UN)
Fali Nariman (President, Bar Association of India and Senior Advocate of the Supreme Court of India)
11:00 am - 12:30pm
Panel II: The Compatibility of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Religion
Ved Nanda (Professor of Law and Director, International Legal Studies Program, University of Denver)
Father John Langan (S.J., Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Professor of Catholic Social Thought, Georgetown University)
Mustapha Tlili (Founder and Director, Center for Dialogues: Islamic World-U.S.-The West, New York University)
Luncheon Keynote Address
Panel III: The Impact of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on Regional and Domestic Legal Systems
Richard Goldstone (former Justice, Constitutional Court of South Africa)
Philip Leach (Professor of Human Rights, London Metropolitan University)
Nasira Iqbal (former High Court Judge, Pakistan)
Michael Posner (President, Human Rights First)
Panel IV: Realizing the Promise of the UDHR
Jerome Shestack (Wolf, Block, Schorr and Solis-Cohen; Co-Chair ABA Center for Human Rights)
Philip Bobbitt (Professor of Law, Columbia Law School)
Patricia O’Brien (United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and United Nations Legal Counsel)
Joanna Weschler (Director of Research, Security Council Report)
Andrew Young (former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations; Co-Chairman, Goodworks International)
Thursday, October 30, 2008
The U.N. Security Council extended the ban on diamonds and an arms embargo against Cote d'Ivoire. Here is the text of the UN press release. The Security Council Resolution will be available on the U.N. website.
The Security Council voted today to renew for another year a ban on diamonds and an arms embargo against Côte d’Ivoire, as well as targeted sanctions restricting the travel of individuals.
In a unanimously adopted resolution, the 15-member body today said it would review these measures next October to determine whether progress has been made in putting key aspects of the peace process into place and positive steps made in the long-delayed elections.
The Ouagadougou Agreement – signed in neighbouring Burkina Faso last March between the Government, which controlled the south, and the rebel Forces Nouvelles, which held the north – called for a number of measures to resolve the crisis that first divided the West African country in 2002.
Today’s resolution also extended the mandate by one year of the Group of Experts established to monitor sanctions against the country, calling on the parties to the peace pact, especially the Ivorian authorities, to “provide unhindered access” to the UN team to equipment, sites and installations.
It also said that “any threat to the electoral process in Côte d’Ivoire, in particular any attack or obstruction of the Independent Electoral Commission in charge of the organization of the elections,” constitutes a threat to peace and the country’s national reconciliation process.
The Council requested Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the French Government provide immediate reports should any “serious obstacle” impede the freedom of movement of the UN peacekeeping operation in the country (known as UNOCI) and the French forces which support it.
On Monday, the body heard from the top UN envoy to Côte d’Ivoire, who warned that increasing delays in the dual identification and electoral processes are imperilling the hard-won peace in the nation, which is rebuilding after a brutal 14-year civil war.
Nearly six weeks have passed since the launch of the identification and voter registration drive, which was slated to wrap up at the end of this month, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative Y. J. Choi told the Security Council in an open meeting.
“Unfortunately, the pace of progress has been painfully slow,” he said. The pace will soon accelerate, but “the magnitude of delay has taken almost everybody by surprise.”
Judge Geoffrey Robertson to Speak at Case Western on Human Rights; Event will be Webcast and Also Available for Later Viewing
The Frederick K. Cox International Law Center at Case Western Reserve University School of Law in Cleveland Ohio announced that it will host Geoffrey Robertson, QC, head, Doughty Street Chambers and former Appeals Judge for the Special Court for Sierra Leone in a public lecture on Thursday, November 6, 2008, from 4:30 p.m.- 5:30 p.m. at the School of Law Moot Courtroom at Case Western, 11075 East Boulevard, Cleveland, Ohio 44106.
Judge Robertson, who is one of my all-time favorite authors in the field of human rights, will map the future of the fast-growing field of human rights law. Drawing on 30 years of experience as a human rights lawyer in Australia and the UK, and as Appeals judge on the Special Court for Sierra Leone, he will trace recent jurisprudence at the national, regional, and international level. He will also discuss strategies for litigating human rights cases against corporations and former foreign government officials, obstacles that stand in the way of success, and future trends. The presentation will be WEBCAST Live and available for viewing on demand after the event, by clicking here.
The Greater Chicago Chapter of the United Nations Association for the United States of America (UNA-USA) held a rally in Chicago to promote attention on the continuing crisis in Darfur. Photos of the event are available by clicking here.
Hat tip to Lydia Lazar, President of the Greater Chicago Chapter of UNA-USA.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
The International Court of Justice announced that it would issue its decision on Tuesday, November 18, 2008, on the preliminary objections to jurisdiction and admissibility raised by Serbia in the case brought against it by Croatia. The case is the Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Croatia v. Serbia). A public sitting will take place at 10 a.m. at the Peace Palace in The Hague, during which the President of the Court, Judge Rosalyn Higgins, will read the Court’s Judgment.
The President of the International Court of Justice, Judge Rosalyn Higgins, will present the annual Report of the Court for the period from August 1, 2007 to July 31, 2008 on Thursday October 30, 2008. Her address to the U.N. General Assembly is expected to start at 10 a.m. (New York time). It will be webcast live on the website of the United Nations:www.un.org/webcast
. The full text of the address and the ICJ's Annual Report will be available on the website of the Court at the end of President Higgins’s presentation.
A UN team sent by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and UN agencies have begun allocating more than $300,000 to help with relief efforts. An estimated 270,000 Hondurans need some form of assistance because of heavy rainfall and flooding that followed the tropical depression on October 16.
The World Food Programme (WFP) reports that it has distributed nearly 60 tons of food to some 5,500 families, but estimate a need for at least an additional 2,500 tons of food.
The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reports that it was distributing supplies and was planning to rehabilitate damaged water systems and schools.
The World Health Organization (WHO) mobilized medical teams and is working with the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) to provide assistance, especially on improving water and sanitation.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
The Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”) prohibits the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Attorney General of the United States from granting asylum to (or withholding removal of) a refugee who has “ordered, incited, assisted, or otherwise participated in the persecution of any person on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.” INA § 208(b)(2)(A), 8 U.S.C. § 1158(b)(2)(A).
The question presented in a case to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court will consider whether this “persecutor exception” in the immirgration statutes prohibits the U.S. from granting asylum to (or withholding of removal of) a refugee who participates in persecution only because he is credibly threatened with death or torture if he doesn't.
Click here to read more about the case, Negusie v. Mukasey. The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the case on November 5, 2008.
The International Court of Justice has given U.N. Member States until April 17, 2009 to submit written statements on the question of Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence. The order follows the U.N. General Assembly’s vote earlier this month for an advisory opinion from the ICJ on the legality of Kosovo’s declaration of independence from Serbia in February.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Southern Illinois University School of Law hosted the annual Central States Law Schools Association Conference (CSLSA) this past weekend, October 24-25, 2008. Three international law scholars made very timely presentations at the conference. Professor Milena Sterio from Cleveland State University Cleveland-Marshall School of Law presented her work in progress analyzing the Kosovo Declaration of Independence under international law rules pertaining to statehood. Professor Allen Blair from Hamline University School of Law presented his work in progress on the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision in Medellin v. Texas and the challenges it presents for international adjudication in the future. Finally, Professor Gregory Gordon from the University of North Dakota School of Law presented his work in progress which proposes evaluative criteria the International Criminal Court could use to formulate an admissibility test for analyzing complementarity in cases where a state proposes to use domestic alternative justice mechanisms. Congratulations to all the scholars who presented at the CSLSA Conference.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
A new United Nations-backed agreement that aims to protect migratory birds of prey in Africa and Eurasia has been signed in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates by 28 countries and will enter into force at the end of next week. Working through the UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), the governments of the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates have led the negotiations on the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), resulting in the signatories yesterday. The new agreement area stretches across more than 130 countries from the African, Afrotropical, Palaearctic and Indo-Malayan realms and protects more than 70 species of migratory birds of prey including Falconiformes, ospreys, eagles and owls.
More than 50 per cent of migratory birds of prey have poor conservation status as a result of habitat loss due to agriculture, forestry, industry and fisheries, collisions with power lines, hunting and trapping for falconry, according to a UNEP press release issued today. Signatories to the new agreement – which enters into force on 1 November – are committed to restoring positive conservation status of migratory birds of prey and protecting such bird species from illegal killing, including poisoning and shooting and unsustainable exploitation.
(From UN Press Release)
The Security Council heard calls yesterday for the peaceful resolution of the current border dispute between Djibouti and Eritrea, which flared into fighting in the Horn of Africa in June that killed at least 35 people and left dozens of others wounded. Representatives of Djibouti and Eritrea outlined their positions to a Council meeting that also heard statements from the Council’s 15 members, in which they stressed the need for restraint and backed existing international efforts to mediate a settlement. Djibouti’s President Ismail Omar Guelleh, whose country requested the Council meeting, asked the panel to call on Eritrea to meet its international obligations and move to end the dispute, which centres on an undemarcated border in an area known as Doumeira. If not, he said, sanctions may be needed.
The armed conflict erupted in early June after weeks of tensions and military build-up on both sides, and a subsequent UN fact-finding mission reported that the dispute had the potential to destabilize the entire region. Mr. Guelleh said Djibouti’s priority was to demilitarize the area and re-establish mutual trust by reactivating existing bilateral mechanisms and creating some sort of arbitration to demarcate the border. He said Eritrea had continued to reinforce its troops and refuse to negotiate since June, and Djibouti therefore had no choice but to mass troops at the border and defend its territory.
Eritrea’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Araya Desta, said his country had already dealt with Djibouti’s “unwarranted statements” at a previous Council meeting on the issue, adding that it was Djibouti that had provoked the conflict in June. Mr. Desta said Eritrea had exercised restraint and not taken any land belonging to Djibouti, and there had not been any new developments since the fighting four months ago.
Eritrea refused to receive the UN fact-finding mission when it visited after the fighting, and consequently only Djibouti’s version of events was made available to it. The mission concluded that Djibouti was being drawn into a crippling and expensive military mobilization to deal with the situation.
(From UN Press Release)
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Visitor Number 10,000 to this blog was from Loyola University of New Orleans. Thank you all again for your visits and continued contributions. Click here to see a list of countries where our readers are from.
More than 150 delegates from 71 countries are convening today at a United Nations conference in Nairobi to explore the roles of national bodies set up to protect or promote human rights in relation to the judiciary, law enforcement and monitoring of detention centres. During the three-day meeting, national human rights institutions will also report on activities undertaken as part of the Dignity and Justice for Detainees Initiative.
Launched earlier this month by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay, the initiative seeks to increase the pressure on States, parliaments, judiciaries and other relevant institutions to abolish – or at least reduce – arbitrary and unlawful detention. Part of the campaign to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on 10 December, the scheme also seeks to ensure that conditions in prisons and other places of detention are brought in line with minimum global standards.
The Nairobi meeting is expected to conclude with the adoption of a declaration providing further guidance on the role national human rights institutions can play on issues related to the rule of law and administration of justice. The gathering has been organized by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in cooperation with the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, the Swedish International Development Corporation Agency and the UN Development Programme (UNDP).
(UN Press Release)
Friday, October 24, 2008 is United Nations Day. This date represents the 63rd anniversary of the date the United Nations Charter became effective. Each U.S. President since Harry Truman has issued a proclamation on United Nations Day asking citizens to reflect on the importance of the United Nations to the national interest of the United States and to individuals. United Nations Day 2008 is dedicated to raising awareness of U.N. Millenium Development Goal 7 - Environmental Sustainability as an Essential Tool for Poverty Alleviation. On this day, I encourage all readers of this page to take action to recognize the vital work of the United Nations with respect to the development of international law, in addition to its other important work.
The Florida Journal of International Law invites submission of articles for possible publication. Click here to contact the journal, or click here to contact the Editor in Chief, Mohammed Jazil, or click here to contact the Managing Editor.
Hat tips to Berta Esperanza Hernandez-Truyol at the University of Florida Fredric G. Levin College of Law Spessard L. Holland Law Center (that’s a mouthful, huh?) and to Tracy L. McGaugh, Assistant Dean for Academic Advising and Associate Professor of Legal Process at Touro Law Center.