August 9, 2008
Guantanamo Bay Detainee Files Complaint with IACHR
One of the detainees being held at Guantanamo Bay, Djamel Ameziane, has filed a complaint against the United States with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) alleging that he was tortured, given inadequate medical treatment, and denied basic civil rights. He is represented by the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Center for Justice and International Law. The lawsuit alleges violations of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man. Because the United States never ratified the American Convention on Human Rights, the more aspirational Declaration is the only basis for jurisdiction that the IACHR has to investigate complaints against the United States. The United States also has not accepted the jurisdiction of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, so the Commission's enforcement power in the event a violation is found is limited to preparing and publishing a report with its findings and recommendations.
ASIL Insight on Judgment from the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda
The American Society of International Law has published its latest Insight, entitled The ICTR Appeals Chamber judgment in Prosecutor v. Seromba. Click here.
August 7, 2008
New International Law Resource Coming SoonThe United Nations is preparing to launch the Audiovisual Library of International Law. The Historic Archives section contains original film and audio (e.g., interview with Raphael Lemkin on Genocide) on the Genocide Convention and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (e.g., Eleanor Roosevelt). The Lecture Series section contains a lecture by Judge Tulio Treves. The Research Library is under construction. The AVL will consist of three pillars: (1) the Lecture Series containing lectures by eminent international law scholars and practitioners from different countries on virtually all subjects of international law; (2) the Historic Archives containing introductory notes by leading experts on legal instruments adopted under the auspices of the United Nations as well as archival film, audio and photos of the negotiation and adoption of these instruments (e.g., the United Nations Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Genocide Convention); and (3) the Research Library containing treaties, jurisprudence, United Nations materials and scholarly writings. This innovative teaching and research tool will be available to all institutions and individuals around the globe free of charge. The AVL will be launched on 28 October 2008. To learn more you may view the Pilot Project at www.un.org/law/AVLpilotproject/. Hat tip to Virgina Morris (cgb)
Justice Kennedy and the Use of International and Foreign Law Sources
The National Law Journal reports that Justice Kennedy spoke in defense of citing to foreign and international law sources in judicial opinions.
In the 5-4 decision in Roper v. Simmons, which barred executions of juveniles who were under the age of 18 years old at the time of their offenses, Justice Kennedy wrote that the position of the majority against the death penalty for children was affirmed by most other countries.
The reference to foreign and international law drew great criticism from those who did not closely read the opinion and who mistakenly thought that the U.S. Supreme Court was relying upon foreign law to interpret the U.S. Constitution. The Supreme Court was doing no such thing -- the opinion showed only that the result being reached by the Court was consistent with the laws of other nations.
Justice Kennedy's remarks to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference support the citation of foreign and international law sources where appropriate. Click here to read more.
The annual meeting of the American Bar Association begins today in New York and continues until next Tuesday. Lots of events to attend, including the black-tie dinner on Saturday for the ABA Section of International Law. The section leadership retreat for the International Law Section concludes today in Atlantic City.
August 6, 2008
Congratulations to the Legal Writing Prof Blog
Congratulations to the Legal Writing Prof Blog, which just celebrated its 100,000th visitor!
No Third Class Processes for Foreigners
Professor Ben Davis of the University of Toledo College of Law has posted a new essay that responds to an essay of Professor Gregory S. Mcneal on the military commissions created pursuant to the Military Commission Act of 2006. He discusses why the military commissions are intentionally structured in this flawed way and the troubling example of the Hamdan military commissions. He concludes that reform is meaningless and suggests a different perspective.
ABA Section of International Law
The leadership of the ABA Section of International Law is meeting today and tomorrow at the Bally's Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey. On Friday and Saturday the Section will hold meetings and programs at the ABA annual meeting in New York. On Saturday evening the Section will celebrate its 75th anniversary as a section and its 130th anniversary as an ABA entity (it started as an international committee). Go to the section website for more information.
August 5, 2008
WTO - The Unofficial Guide to Agricultural Safeguards
WTO talks among ministers meeting in Geneva for the Doha Round collapsed over the special safeguard mechanism (SSM). What is this? The WTO sent this link to the unofficial guide that explains it all. Click here.
Call for Papers - Annals of Health Law
The Annals of Health Law Editorial Board is seeking submissions for the Winter 2009 issue. Annals of Health Law is the Health Policy and Law Review of Loyola University Chicago School of Law. The editors are seeking articles relating to health law topics of interest. Past articles have focused on corporate, regulatory, bioethical, and pharmaceutical issues, as well as patient rights and advocacy. To submit an article to Annals, please email the article and a curriculum vitae to firstname.lastname@example.org. Articles will be reviewed on a rolling basis, and we will be accepting articles until August 25, 2008.
The Editorial Board is also seeking submissions for the Summer 2009 Colloquium issue. The theme of the Colloquium will be: "Do patents inhibit or promote health care access and innovation?” The Colloquium will identify and explore the key issues connecting patents, innovation and health care access, both in the domestic and global arenas. Please submit any articles on this topic to email@example.com.
For further information on article submission, contact Ann Weilbaecher, Editor-in-Chief, at 312.915.6304 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Update on the AALS Annual Meeting in San Diego
Here is a link to information about the controversy over the Manchester Grand Hyatt, one of two hotels where the AALS annual meeting is scheduled to be held in January 2009. On that link, you can also access a story about it from the National Law Journal.
August 4, 2008
Divorced Male Lawyers, Age 55, Are the Worst Sleepers in England
A new study shows that lawyers may be in bad moods because they don't get enough sleep. And divorced male lawyers, age 55, are the worst sleepers in all of England, averaging only four hours a night. Click here to read more.
Hat tip to Carolyn Elefant and Law.com
New Court Decision from Germany
Germany regulates smoking in public places on a state-by-state basis in Germany, and most states allow bars to designate a separate room for smokers. But the court found that these laws discriminate against one-room bars. The court said that the states must either ban smoking in all bars or create exemptions for smaller businesses. Click here to read more on the Lex Universal website.
The Post-Doha Asian Trade Environment
Edmund Sim of Hunton and Williams in Singapore has shared his quite interesting views on the Doha Round negotiations. Click here for the link to his article on the Opinion Asia blog.
Hat time to Edmund Sim.
Legislation to Implement Consular Notification Rights
On July 14, 2008, two Congressmen from California, Representatives Berman and Lofgren, introduced H.R. 6481, which would create a civil action to provide judicial remedies to carry out certain treaty obligations of the United States under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (VCCR) and the Optional Protocol to the VCCR. This legislation was necessitated by the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Medellin v. Texas in March of this year. As readers of this blog are aware, the U.S. Supreme Court held in Medellin that the judgment of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) directing review and reconsideration of Mr. Medellin's case (as well as that of other defendants who were not provided with consular notification), is not automatically binding on courts in the U.S. and that the President does not have the power to unilaterally order state courts to implement the ICJ's judgment. The Supreme Court stated that Congress should be involved in the implementation of the ICJ's judgment. To date, Congress has not passed any legislation to implement that judgment. H.R. 6481 would remedy that situation by providing "appropriate relief" to any person whose rights under VCCR Article 36 are infinged. As a result of Congressional inaction to date, Texas is scheduled to execute Mr. Medellin on August 5, 2008. H.R. 6481 is important not only to demonstrate respect for U.S. treaty obligations, but also to protect Americans traveling abroad who wish to avail themselves of access to U.S. consulates in foreign countries. If you are interested in supporting H.R. 6481, you may write to your Congressional representatives directly, or go to the website of the Center for Constitutional Rights and sign the petition there - http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/383/t/6374/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=25299.
WTO - DSB Adopts Rulings in Shrimp Cases filed by Thailand and India
The World Trade Organization's Dispute Settlement Body adopted the panel and Appellate Body reports in the cases filed by Thailand and India concerning the US measure known as the “enhanced continuous bond requirement” on shrimp imports. Click here for a summary of the meeting.