Saturday, August 16, 2008
For international law professors who will be teaching the Filartiga case this fall, you may be interested to know that Paraguay recently elected a new President, Fernando Lugo, a former Roman Catholic Bishop. Lugo's swearing in last Friday ends the 61-year rule of the Colorado party. For 35 of those 61 years, the Colorado party was dominated by Alfredo Stroessner, who was in power at the time of the torture and death of Joelito Filartiga. Joelito's sister, Dolly Filartiga, filed a successful action against Joelito's torturer, a Paraguayan policeman named Pena-Irala, under the Alien Tort Statute. Her $10 million judgment against Pena-Irala remains unsatisfied. The events that led to the Filartiga lawsuit are portrayed in a movie called "One Man's War" starring Anthony Hopkins.
Dates: October 21-24, 2008
Location: Yerevan, Republic of Armenia
Focus: Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), with special emphasis on access, connectivity and local content.
The forum provides a platform for 300 young people across the globe to learn about ICTs and challenges them to develop initiatives that address the UN Millennium Development Goals through ICT. Forum topics will underline the basic needs and tools required for innovation and will highlight some of the best practices in the areas of ICT access, connectivity, and local content. The forum will also include discussions about nontraditional funding sources for new innovations and demonstrate creative ways to include young people in the process of innovating and implementing ICTs.
Throughout the forum, participants will have the opportunity to hear presentations from policy makers, private sector executives, and area experts and to engage them in informal discussions. Participants will also work with their peers to draft innovative solutions to ICT development and implementation challenges.
For more information about the forum topics and organization, click here.
Friday, August 15, 2008
The International Court of Justice has scheduled oral argument in the case that Georgia brought against Russia. Click here for more information. The hearings will be held from September 8-10, 2008 in The Hague.
The President of the International Court of Justice sent an urgent communication to Russia and Georgia. Click here to read the press release.
Libya and the United States settled 26 outstanding lawsuits filed against Libya by U.S. citizens, according to today's New York Times. The U.S. suits included actions for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Locerbie, Scotland. There may also have been a settlement of three actions filed by Libyan citizens as a result of airstrikes on Tripoli and Benghazi in 1986. The settlement agreement reportedly establishes a fund to compensate U.S. and Libyan claimants.
P.S. See the flag of Libya? It is the only flag in the world consisting of just a single color (green, a traditional color of Islam), and having no insignias or other marks.
Cambodia and Thailand have reached an agreement to withdraw most of their troops in a few days from the territory surrounding the Temple of Preah Vihear, according to a small story in today's New York Times that cites General Neang Phat of Cambodia as the source of that information. He told the Times that the countries agreed this week to keep only a small contingent on each side at the temple.
The government of Nigeria has now officially handed over the territory to Cameroon, in a ceremony held yesterday. It was observed by officials from the United Nations. You might be able to find further details and perhaps some photos by searching the Internet.
This is a prime example of how two nations resolved a territorial dispute by submitting it to the International Court of Justice. The nations could have gone to war, but instead they allowed the World Court to settle the matter for them. The process was not immediate (it has been six years since the judgment was issued, and even longer since the case was first filed in The Hague in 1994), but it was peaceful and it worked.
The New York University School of Law Office of Development and Alumni Relations will host the Inaugural Lloyd C. Nelson Professorship of International Law Lecture, to be presented by Robert Lloyd Howse, Lloyd C. Nelson Professor of International Law.
He will speak on the topic “Man of Peace: Rehearing the Case Against Leo Strauss,” on Tuesday, October 7, 2008 at 6:00 p.m. in Vanderbilt Hall. Here's the description:
Prominent journalists and academics have identified German-Jewish emigre philosopher Leo Strauss as the intellectual inspiration for the Bush Administration's war in Iraq. Strauss, who revived in modern times the themes and questions of classical and medieval Jewish and Islamic political thought, is accused of teaching an elitist, imperialist warrior morality. Based on a close reading of Strauss's own writings, this lecture will show that Strauss was a man of peace, valuing gentleness and restraint over courage and imperial ambition, preferring pluralist constitutionalism to dictatorship and oligarchy.
The lecture will particularly focus on the high value Strauss placed on international law-written and customary-as a constraint on inhumanity in war and as a support for trust and peace; this emphasis on law is perhaps the most remarkable feature of Strauss's book length study of the Greek historian Thucydides.
Contact the NYU alumni office if you're interested in attending. Click here.
(mew, an NYU grad)
As you start the new semester teaching international law, here are some questions that you might want to ask your students of international law and politics:
- Why did Georgia file a case against Russia before the International Court of Justice? (Discuss the role of the ICJ, legal effects of decisions, and the moral force of ICJ opinions).
- Does the ICJ have the power to order Russia to cease its military operations? (Discuss preliminary measures, can also discuss Mexico v. U.S. here.)
- Why did Georgia go to the ICJ instead of the UN Security Council? (Does Russia have a "veto" on the ICJ like it does on the Security Council?)
- What is legal theory that Georgia is asserting before the ICJ? (CERD)
- What is the role of a court during time of conflict? (Discuss establishment of ICTY during war in the former Yugoslavia, using Chapter VII as a Peacekeeping measure).
You undoubtedly have thought of other questions now to ask your students in your first class session with them. Have a good semester.
P.S. we will not object if you encourage your students to subscribe to the International Law Prof Blog. They simply have to enter their email address in the box in the column on the right side of your screen.
Pervez Musharraf, the President of Pakistan, is expected to resign, possibly within the next three days, according to a report today in the New York Times. Musharraf had tried to hold onto power by firing judges of the Pakistan Supreme Court and arresting leaders of bar associations. The article today says that he is planning to step down rather than face impeachment.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
The Republic of Georgia submitted a request to the International Court of Justice for the indication of provisional measures with regard to the proceedings instituted by Georgia against the Russian Federation on 12 August 2008.
Georgia requests that the ICJ indicate provisional measures in order to preserve its “rights . . . under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (“CERD”) to protect its citizens against violent discriminatory acts by Russian armed forces, acting in concert with separatist militia and foreign mercenaries.”
In its request, Georgia reiterates its contention made in the Application that “beginning in the early 1990s and acting in concert with separatist forces and mercenaries in the Georgian regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, the Russian Federation has engaged in a systematic policy of ethnic discrimination directed against the ethnic Georgian population and other groups in those regions.”
Georgia further states that “On 8 August 2008, the Russian Federation launched a full-scale military invasion against Georgia in support of ethnic separatists in South Ossetia and Abkhazia” and that this “military aggression has resulted in hundreds of civilian deaths, extensive destruction of civilian property, and the displacement of virtually the entire ethnic Georgian population in South Ossetia.”
Georgia claims that “Despite the withdrawal of Georgian armed forces and the unilateral declaration of a ceasefire, Russian military operations continued beyond South Ossetia into territories under Georgian government control”. Georgia further claims that “the continuation of these violent discriminatory acts constitutes an extremely urgent threat of irreparable harm to Georgia’s rights under [the] CERD in dispute in this case.”
Georgia requests the ICJ “as a matter of utmost urgency to order the following measures to protect its rights pending the determination of [the] case on the merits:
(a) the Russian Federation shall give full effect to its obligations under [the] CERD;
(b) the Russian Federation shall immediately cease and desist from any and all conduct that could result, directly or indirectly, in any form of ethnic discrimination by its armed forces, or other organs, agents, and persons and entities exercising elements of governmental authority, or through separatist forces in South Ossetia and Abkhazia under its direction and control, or in territories under the occupation or effective control of Russian forces;
(c) the Russian Federation shall in particular immediately cease and desist from discriminatory violations of the human rights of ethnic Georgians, including attacks against civilians and civilian objects, murder, forced displacement, denial of humanitarian assistance, extensive pillage and destruction of towns and villages, and any measures that would render permanent the denial of the rights to return of IDPs, in South Ossetia and adjoining regions of Georgia, and in Abkhazia and adjoining regions of Georgia, and any other territories under Russian occupation or effective control.”
The request for provisional measures should be soon available on the ICJ website. Click here for more.
Bristol Law School at the University of the West of England will hold an international Symposium in the field of international law and armed conflict. The Symposium will take place 3rd-5th September 2008 in Bristol (UK).
The symposium aims to review and examine the challenges facing international law relating to armed conflict and to identify gaps in knowledge, policy and practice. It provides an opportunity to develop the body of knowledge relating to international law and armed conflict.
Contributors include experts in the area of international law and armed conflict. They will comment on the papers presented and provide thoughts on issues raised. The experts participating at the symposium will be: Professor William Schabas (University of Galway, Ireland), Professor Nigel White (University of Sheffield, UK), Professor Ademola Abass (Brunel University, UK), Professor Bill Bowring (University of London, UK) and Dr Gerd Hankel (Hamburg Institute for Social Research, Germany).
The full range of panels chaired by the experts will be:
- Reforming the Laws of War;
- Environment and Natural Resources;
- Means and Methods of Warfare;
- Administration of Territories;
- Security and Justice.
Participants are expected from around the world, including, Australia, USA, Canada, Israel, Colombia, France, Georgia, Peru, The Netherlands, Germany, Greece, Switzerland, Austria and Italy. Click here for more information.
Hat tip to Bill Dunlap.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Please Discuss My Questions - Should WTO Members Revoke or Suspend the Russian Federations Accession Application
From Cyndee Todgham Cherniak, Toronto, Canada: I first posted this article on www.tradelawyersblog.com and then thought that maybe I can start an interesting discussion. I hope that we can have an academic discussion without getting into the politics and other areas where opinions can be emotional.
The recent hostile activities by the Russian Federation in the sovereign nation, Georgia, causes other nations to consider what can be done to punish or deter further aggression. Georgia has been a WTO Member since June 14, 2000. The Russian Federation's application to accede to the WTO was filed in June 1993 and WTO Members have been working towards accession. However, the Russian Federation's accession to the WTO is a ways off in the distance and the last meeting of the working party took place in March 2006.
While the 153 WTO Members could not agree in July to the compromise presented by Director-General Pascal Lamy, is it possible that they could come together to agree to revoke the Russian Federation's WTO accession application or suspend their discussions with the Russian Federation?
Should one use trade to force certain behaviour (or in this case, deter certain behaviour)? Should countries use what is available to send a message that actions have consequences? Should there be a consequence for engaging in hostile and aggressive acts of war within the territory of a WTO Member? Do WTO Members owe each other loyalty beyond adherence to WTO obligations?
Or, should WTO Members refrain from using the WTO for non-trade disputes? Should countries say that disputes such as whether one country can engage in hostile and aggressive acts in another country should be left to the United Nations, the International Criminal Court, the International Court of Justice and similar forum?
I have many questions, but not the answers ....
Call for Submissions
The Chinese (Taiwan) Yearbook of International Law and Affairs is calling for submissions of articles, comments and book reviews on any area of international law. The deadline for vol. 25 is December 20, 2008, although late submissions will be considered for the next volume.
The Yearbook is published jointly by Cameron May and the Chinese (Taiwan) Society of International Law. The Yearbook focuses on international and comparative law issues regarding Taiwan, Mainland China and cross-strait relations.
There is no limit on article length, but the editors encourage articles under 40 journal pages, including text and footnotes. Authors are requested to conform to the latest version of The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation. In addition, the Pinyin system of translation should be used in reference to publications in Chinese.
The editors strongly prefer electronic submissions of manuscripts. You can send the manuscript, a cover letter and a resume in Word format to the email address that you will find when you click here. The Journal will also accept paper submissions that are sent to the following address:
Chinese (Taiwan) Yearbook of International Law and Affairs
Attn: Professor Chun-i CHEN
P.O. Box 1-556 Wenshan, Taipei 116
Director-General Pascal Lamy, speaking on the second day of the “Global Partnership for Development” conference in New Delhi, India, said that the Doha Round should not collapse over the special safeguard mechanism in agriculture for developing countries. Click here to read his remarks.
On August 12, 2008, Georgia instituted proceedings by filing an Application with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against the Russia Federation. The World has been carefully watching the Russian Federation's military actions in sovereign Georgia and the many of the G8 countries are reported to be talking seriously about the Russian Federation's actions in a Eastern European country. It is interesting that the basis for the case is an alleged violation of the Convention Against Racial Discrimination (CERD).
The Republic of Georgia today instituted proceedings before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against the Russian Federation for “its actions on and around the territory of Georgia” in breach of the 1965 International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD). In its Application, Georgia “also seeks to ensure that the individual rights” under the Convention “of all persons on the territory of Georgia are fully respected and protected”.
Georgia contends that the “Russian Federation, through its State organs, State agents, and other persons and entities exercising governmental authority, and through the South Ossetian and Abkhaz separatist forces and other agents acting on the instructions of, and under the direction and control of the Russian Federation, is responsible for serious violations of its fundamental obligations under [the] CERD, including Articles 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6”. According to Georgia, Russia had “violated its obligations under [the] CERD during three distinct phases of its interventions in South Ossetia and Abkhazia” in the period from 1990 to August 2008.
Georgia requests the Court to order “the Russian Federation to take all steps necessary to comply with its obligations under [the] CERD”.As a basis for the jurisdiction of the Court, Georgia invokes Article 22 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. It also reserves its right to invoke Article IX of the Genocide Convention, to which both Georgia and Russia are parties, as an additional basis for the Court’s jurisdiction.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
A few minutes ago we welcomed our 5,000th visitor to the International Law Prof Blog. Visitor number 5,000 was from the United States, from the great state of Maryland. Thank you to all of our visitors. A special pleasure about this blog is that we have had visits from readers from all over the world, including these 65 jurisdictions:
- Brunei Darussalam
- Costa Rica
- Cote D'Ivoire
- Czech Republic
- Hong Kong
- New Zealand
- People’s Republic of China
- South Africa
- Sri Lanka
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
- United States of America
We welcome your guest posts to the blog, particularly when we can share important new developments in international law.
It took two months longer to get out than we thought it would, but it is finally here . . . the 2007 International Legal Developments Year in Review, published in the Summer 2008 issue of The International Lawyer.
What took so long? You'll know when you see it -- at almost 1,000 pages, it is the largest-ever review issue published by the American Bar Association Section of International Law, which publishes it in cooperation with SMU Dedman School of Law. If you are a member of the ABA Section of International Law it is in the mail on its way to you. If you're not a member, well, this publication alone should be enough to convince you to join! This year in review is concisely written by experts from international business regulation, international disputes, international corporate law, international finance, industries, tax and estates, public international law, transnational legal practice, and regional and comparative law.
N. Jansen Calamita served this year (and last year as well). He's presently at St. Hilda's College in Oxford.
If you are an international law professor in ANY field, you will absolutely want to get your hands on this to be sure that your lecture notes are up-to-date and ready for the fall semester.
Monday, August 11, 2008
Legislative news from the Baltics. The Justice Ministry in Estonia is reportedly drafting a same-sex partnership law, with plans that it will enter into force in 2009. The new law would cover inheritance, property rights, and citizenship, but probably not adoption rights.
Hat tip to Rex Wockner