July 3, 2008
Call for Papers: University of Toledo College of Law
1808 was the year which abolished the importation of slaves into the United States. Two hundred years later, what does that mean to us?
Contact Ben Davis at Toledo for more information about the conference. He seeks a one or two page abstract on the conference theme on or before August 15, 2008.
World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index
The World Justice Forum and the World Justice Project are focused on advancing the rule of law through multinational, multidisciplinary collaboration. The Forum, which is meeting now in Vienna, is bringing together participants from 95 countries representing 15 disciplines, including architecture, engineering, media, public health, environment, education and law.
One main element of the Project is the Rule of Law Index, which will evaluate 100 variables that make up the rule of law.
AU Washington College of Law Dean Elected Chair of United Nations Committee Against Torture
American University News reports that AU's Washington College of Law Dean, Claudio Grossman, was recently elected chair of the United Nations Committee against Torture. Grossman, who has served as a member and vice chair of the committee since 2003, was elected to the two-year position by unanimous vote of committee members.
The UN Committee against Torture consists of 10 experts of high moral standing and recognized competence in human rights, who serve in their personal capacity. Established pursuant to article 17 of the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the Committee supervises compliance with the Convention against Torture, which has been ratified by 145 countries. In addition to issuing observations and recommendations based on its public review of country reports, the Committee decides individual petitions and conducts site visits to countries where serious indications exist that torture is systematically practiced.
Claudio Grossman has served as dean of American University’s Washington College of Law since 1995; the Raymond I. Geraldson Scholar for International and Humanitarian Law since 1985; and was also a member of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (from 1993–2001), twice serving as its president (in 1996 and again in 2001). Grossman has authored numerous publications on human rights and international law
International Human Rights Lawyer Awards Announced
The American Bar Association’s Section of International Law announced today the recipients of its 2008 International Human Rights Lawyer Award: Asma Jahangir from Pakistan, Hina Jilani from Pakistan, Abdulrahman al-Lahem from Saudi Arabia and Mohammed Dadkhah from Iran.
The annual award honors distinguished foreign human rights lawyers who have suffered persecution as a result of their professional activities.
· ASMA JAHANGIR (Pakistan) is the United Nations special rapporteur on the right to freedom of religion or belief. She has spoken out for democracy and helped found the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan in 1986, which has championed women's rights, demanded an end to bonded labor, challenged blasphemy laws, defended media freedoms and exposed official corruption. Jahangir was put under house arrest November 3, 2007, within hours of President Musharraf's declaration of a national state of emergency for her insistence that the Pakistani government obey the constitution and respect individual rights. Her 90-day detention order charges activities "prejudicial to public safety and maintenance of public order." Now 55, Jahangir has campaigned since she was a teenager against military rulers who have held sway over Pakistan.
· HINA JILANI (Pakistan) co-founded, with her sister Asma Jahangir, Pakistan’s first all-female legal practice in 1980. She is also one of the founders of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. She is the United Nations special representative of the secretary-general on human rights defenders. In 2006, she was appointed to the U.N. International Fact-Finding Commission on Darfur.
· ABDULRAHMAN AL-LAHEM (Saudi Arabia) recently drew the Saudi court’s ire because of his appeal and outspoken criticism of the original sentence of a 19-year-old female rape victim. Lahem also appealed the attackers’ sentences, saying that they were too lenient and that the treatment of the victim was too harsh. On November 15, 2007, a Saudi appellate court more than doubled the rape victim’s sentence to 200 lashes and six months in jail, provoking a rare public debate about the treatment of Saudi women. Abdulrahman al-Lahem is also known for his past defense of critics of the monarchy. He has had run-ins with Saudi authorities since he represented three Saudis who were jailed in 2003 for calling for a constitutional monarchy, a severe crime in a country where the power of the royal family is absolute.
· MOHAMMED DADKHAH (Iran) has taken on more than 300 human rights cases since 1997: reporters charged with writing against the system, activists alleged to be subverting national security, scholars accused of insulting Islam, and members of the Bahai religious faith rejected from university for their beliefs, to name just a few of his cases. He was one of the lawyers for 2004 Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi, the first Iranian to receive the prize, when she was charged with security crimes and locked up in prison. In 2000 Dadkhah represented a member of the outlawed but barely tolerated Freedom Movement, when few, if any, lawyers were willing to represent defendants in the Revolutionary Court, which handles politically-charged cases. Dadkhah also took on the case of Zahra Kazemi, an Iranian Canadian journalist held in Evin Prison who eventually died of injuries allegedly suffered at the hands of government officials. The next year, Dadkhah was thrown into Evin Prison for five months.
The ABA Section of International Law, which has more than 20,000 members in 90 countries, is the leader in the development of policy in the international arena, the promotion of the rule of law, and the education of international law practitioners. It focuses on the full range of international legal issues and is involved in a wide variety of substantive legal activities. The Section has assigned more than 60 regional and special interest committees, task forces and working groups within 12 divisions — Africa/Eurasia, Americas/Middle East, Business Regulation, Constituent, Corporate, Disputes, Finance, Industries, Legal Practice, Public International Law, International Treaties, and Tax, Estates & Individuals — to closely monitor and disseminate information on domestic and international policy developments with implications for law practice.
ABA Rule of Law Letter on Zimbabwe
International Criminal Court Orders Release of Thomas Lubanga Dyilo
The International Criminal Court has ordered the release of Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, a former Congolese militia leader. The order was made because prosecutors were said to be withholding UN documents that he might have used to defend his case.
Lubanga was charged with sending children under the age of 15 to fight in the Iturui region of the Congo in 2002-2003.
Prosecutors have five days to appeal. Lubanga will remain in detention until that time expires, and might be held in detention until the appeal is decided.
Poland and the Lisbon Treaty
President Lech Kaczynski of Poland said told Agence France-Presse that he would sign the Lisbon Treaty to strengthen the European Union if Ireland holds another referendum and approves it. The Polish Parliament has already approved the treaty.
The Lisbon Treaty requires the approval of all 27 members of the European Union, but Ireland was the only country to hold a referendum on the treaty.
July 2, 2008
UN Prize in Human Rights - Nominees Sought by ASIL Internatioal Law Human Rights Interest Group
The American Society of International Law Human Rights Interest Group is planning to nominate an individual or organization to receive the 2008 UN Prize in the Field of Human Rights. It seeks suggestions by Friday, July 11, 2008.
The United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights was instituted by the General Assembly in 1966 (Res. 2217/XXI of 19 December 1966), and was awarded for the first time on 10 December 1968 on the occasion of the commemoration of the twentieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Thereafter, the prize has been awarded in 1973, 1978, 1988, 1993, 1998 and then in 2003.
The prize is honorary in nature and is awarded approximately every five years to individuals and organizations in recognition of outstanding achievement in the field of human rights.
A special committee selects the laureates. This committee is composed of the President of the General Assembly, the President of the Economic and Social Council, the Presidents of the Human Rights Council, the Chair of the Commission on the Status of Women and Chairman of the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee.
The Prize is an opportunity not only to give public recognition to the achievements of the awardees themselves and to a send a clear message to human rights defenders that the international community supports their efforts to promote all human rights for all.
Hat tip to Prof. Professor John Cerone, Director, Center for International Law & Policy, New England School of Law
Government Searches of Your Laptop When You Return From Abroad
You return from a trip abroad. What does Customs look for when you return? Cigarettes? Alcohol? Food? No. They look inside the files on your laptop.
The ABA Section of International Law Committee on National Security will hold a teleconference on the hot topic subject of Border Searches of Electronic Devices: A Discussion of Legal and Policy Issues.
This program will discuss the Ninth Circuit’s decision, U.S. v. Arnold, which held that the U.S. government has the authority to search the contents of electronic devices (e.g. laptops, blackberries and cellphones) of persons entering the U.S. -- including U.S. citizens -- without reasonable suspicion. This decision may affect the manner of travel for lawyers and businesspersons who may wish, or are required, to keep confidential information stored in electronic devices. Furthermore, it is unclear where and how confiscated devices and content will be managed and retained once seized.
Critics argue that there must be some suspicion of wrongdoing before the government can search potentially sensitive personal, professional, or commercial information at the border and that some of the searches appear to be based on ethnic or religious profiling done in the name of national security. The Ninth Circuit, however, agreed with precedents supporting the border search doctrine and found the searches to be legal. This program will address the legal and policy issues of the practice and whether the Ninth Circuit erred in its decision.
The speaker will be Lee Tien, Senior Staff Attorney, Electronic Frontier Foundation, San Francisco , California. The teleconference will be held on July 17, 2008 from 12:30-1:30 pm EST.
International Criminal Law - 10th Anniversary of the ICC
A conference to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Rome Treaty of the International Criminal Court will be held on Thursday, July 17, 2008 from 4:00-7:00pm at Southwestern Law School, 3050 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90010 (Bullock's Wilshire Tower, 2nd Floor - Corner of Westmoreland and Wilshire) .
On July 17, 1998, the nations of the world agreed on terms of the Rome Treaty of the International Criminal Court (ICC), the first and only permanent international criminal tribunal established to hold individuals accountable for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, including use of child soldiers, and widespread rape and mutilation used as weapons of war.
Olivia Swaak-Goldman, Judge Donald Shaver, Scott Johnson, Melanie Partow and others will discuss the challenges to international criminal justice, how the ICC works to meet those challenges, and how an end to impunity can foster peace in the world's most violent areas.
Admission is free, but please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hat tip to Houston Putnam Lowrey
Administrative Law of the European Union
The American Bar Association Section of Administrative Law, the ABA Section on International Law, the ABA Section of Antitrust Law, and the U.S. Council for International Business are sponsors of a conference on Administrative Law of the European Union. The conference wil be held on August 7, 2008 at Cardozo Law School, 55 Fifth Avenue, in New York City.
The European Union has become the locus of an extraordinary range of activities that the academic and professional community in the United States associates with the field of administrative law. This range of decisional activity is of special interest because no other regulatory regime outside the U.S. affects American businesses and individuals as regularly and intensively as the European Union and no other regulatory regime constitutes as steady a frame of reference for comparison with American administrative law processes. This conference will present the results of, and discussion on, an extensive study of E.U. administrative law conducted by a large team of experts put together by the Section, led by renowned E.U. law expert Professor George Bermann of Columbia University School of Law.
The conference will provide practical advice on E.U. administrative law and regulatory practice and how to effectively participate in or influence E.U. decision making. The panelists are experts in the administrative processes of both the U.S. and the E.U., including practitioners and government officials; many of them participated in the preparation of an ABA Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice Section recently-completed study of E.U. administrative law.
The panels will cover many matters of importance to those who interact with the E.U., including:
- How to participate in the EU process for developing the equivalent of U.S. laws and regulations;
- The emergence and role of administrative agencies in the E.U.;
- How to use the substantial opportunities the E.U. provides for representing an interest in its adjudicatory system;
- The relationship between the member states, who have considerable authority for judicial enforcement even when E.U. law and rights or claims may be at issue, and the E.U.;
- The influence on statutory interpretation of multiple, authoritative language texts;
- Who plays an oversight role in the E.U. comparable to that played by the Office of Management and Budget in the U.S. and how to effectively influence that oversight;
- The effect of the Treaty of Lisbon, signed in December 2007, on E.U. law; and
- Valuable sources of information, including websites with a wealth of information.
ABA Administrative Law; Antitrust Law; or International Law Section Member: $249
Regular Rate: $299
Download the Conference Agenda and Registration Form at: http://www.abanet.org/adminlaw/webimages/AdminLawintheEU.pdf
July 1, 2008
Scholars at Risk
The Scholars at Risk Network announced some upcoming events of interest.
September 11: EAIE annual conference, Antwerp; Educational Cooperation with Developing Countries (EDC) Section Opening Event: Scholars at risk: universities defending threatened academics, featuring SAR scholars, SAR representatives and SAR staff.
October 6-12: Norwegian Students’ and Academics’ International Assistance Fund (SAIH) launch one-year campaign to promote academic freedom with a week of events, featuring SAR representatives and SAR scholars.
October 29-31: University of North Carolina-Greensboro (UNC-G) will host a SAR speaker from Rwanda as part of the university's Human Rights Week. He will give a public lecture on human rights monitoring in conflict zones and will later present on post-dictatorship societies on a panel with human rights activist Ishmael Beah.
Hat tip to the Scholars at Risk Network.
Stetson International Environmental Law Moot Court Competition
Are you interested in the International Environmental Law Moot Competition sponsored each year by Stetson University College of Law? It is a great competition (I've been luck to be involved with it for many years now), and I highly recommend it to you. Click here for more information.
Vienna Convention on Consular Relations
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Medellin that the decision by the International Court of Justice in Avena was not directly enforceable in the United States as domestic law, and that the President lacked power to direct state courts to implement Avena.
I wrote an introductory note that will appear in volume 47 of International Legal Materials. The note sets forth the background of Avena and other cases before the International Court of Justice involving the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. The note also discusses an advisory opinion from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights not cited by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Some U.S. cases after Medellin are identified, as well as Mexico's recent request for an interpretation of Avena and an indication of provisional measures to prevent the execution of Mexican nationals named in the Avena judgment.
Click here to read the introductory note. You can then click on Download this Document for a free dowload of the note. I encourage you to subscribe to International Legal Materials for a continuous stream of original documents and interpretive introductory notes that are often quite helpful to law professors and other researchers. Contact the American Society of International Law for more information.
Designing Writing and Research Courses for International Students
Here is a link to an article on "Designing Writing and Research Courses for International Students." Click on the link, and then click on Download this Document.
June 30, 2008
World Trade Organization
Click on the link for the handbook that provides the first detailed explanation and analysis of how governments become members of the WTO. http://www.wto.org/english/res_e/reser_e/handbook_acc_e.htm
June 29, 2008
Illinois State Bar Association Votes to Oppose Death Penalty
The assembly of the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) voted on Saturday to oppose the death penalty in Illinois, during the ISBA annual meeting held in St. Louis, Missouri.
International human rights law and the views of other countries were prominently discussed during the debate, including calls for the United States to join the community of civilized nations opposed to the death penalty.
(mew, a member of the board of governors of the ISBA)