Saturday, September 6, 2008
Here's a link to a new Guide to the Liberian Legal System and Legal Research by Hanatu Kabbah. Hat tip to Mirela Roznovschi at Global Lex (which has many other research guides online as well).
Friday, September 5, 2008
On September 4, 2008, in a very interesting (and sad) case about the U.S. export controls, a Knoxville jury convicted retired University of Tennessee Professor J. Reece Roth on eighteen counts, including violations of the Arms Export Control Act for permitting foreign graduate students (one from China and one from Iran) to have access to information relating to an Air Force project on the use of plasma technologies for unmanned aerial vehicles and conspiracy. The Arms Export Control Act prohibits the export of defense-related materials, including the technical data, to a foreign national or a foreign nation, without the required United States government license. This was a precedent-setting case .
According to a report on the Knoxville News Sentinel’s website, the jury took less than 8 hours to reach a decision. They considered as important evidence of guilt a set of notes that divided the work between an American graduate student and the Chinese graduate student in order to keep export-controlled technical data away from the graduate student. When this arrangement impeded progress on the project, the students were allowed to share data.
Assistant U.S. Attorney, Will Mackie, stated after the conviction: "National security issues matter and should be everyone's concern, even among those in an academic setting. We believe the vast majority of universities and professors are careful with what they're doing. By bringing this case, we're trying to underline when things go wrong, we're paying attention."
The maximum punishment for the conspiracy conviction is 5 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. The maximum penalty for each of the Arms Export Control Act offenses is 10 years imprisonment, a criminal fine of $ 1,000,000, and a mandatory special assessment of $100 for each offense. Dr. Roth's sentencing has been set for January 7, 2009, at 1:30 p.m., in the United States District Court in Knoxville.
On September 5, 2008, Pakistan's Supreme Court reinstated three judges ousted by Pervez Musharraf last year. This is an important day as Tassadiq Hussain Jillani, Shakirullah Jan and Syed Jamshed Ali were sworn back into the court.
Law Minister Farooq Naek said Mr. Chaudhry (the former Chief Justice) was also welcome to take a fresh oath, but said he could not return as chief justice because removing the judge who replaced him could trigger a “constitutional impasse.” This statement and decision keeps the political and legal debate open.
I make this posting wanting to avoid political discussions and negative discussions - but very much wanting to celebrate the return of the three judges and the rule of law. A celebration does not mean that everything is right in the Pakistani courts or the world for that matter, but that the events of today, and the return of the three Supreme Court judges is welcome news.
As a law professor, i welcome legal discussions that help us appreciate rule of law.
The United Nations has issued a report about the need to improve aid to developing countries. Among the conclusions of the report is the observation that only 79 percent of exports from least developed countries receive duty-free treatment in developed countries, which falls short of the goal of 97 percent. Click here to read more.
We try not to get into political issues here (there are thousands of other blogs for that), but it is hard to avoid noticing that U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney has been visiting Azerbaijan and Georgia this week, while U.S. Secretary of State Condaleeza Rice has been visiting Libya, Angola, and Morocco. Neither of these U.S. foreign policy architects was seen in Minnesota, where the Republican party this week held its nominating convention.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
The International Court of Justice has fixed dates for further submission of written explanations in the case that Mexico brought against the United States for an interpretation of the ICJ's judgment in Avena. Mexico is to submit its written materials by September 17, and the United States is to respond by October 6, 2008. Visit the ICJ's website for more information about the proceedings.
International Court of Arbitration: Conference on Bridging the Cultural Gap in International Arbitration
The International Court of Arbitration, with support from the United States Council for International Business (the U.S. national committee to the International Chamber of Commerce), will host the Third Annual New York Conference on "ICC Arbitration Today: Bridging the Cultural Gap in International Arbitration." The conference takes place at the Hilton New York on Monday, September 15, 2008. Click here for more information.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
The International Law Section of the American Bar Association is soliciting proposals for CLE programs for its spring meeting scheduled to be held in Washington, D.C. from April 14-18, 2009. Proposals must have the support of at least one of the Section Committees. The Section Committees and Chairs are listed on the ABA website. Here are some guidlines for submitting proposals. All proposals must be submitted electronically. The online submission form can be accessed by clicking here.
U.S. Secretary of State Condolezza Rice will visit Libya later this week. It will be the first visit to Libya by a senior U.S. diplomat in more than 50 years. (She will also visit Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, and Portugal during her current trip.)
P.S. for flag trivia fans -- the flag of Libya is solid green, with other colors and no symbols of any kind. It is the only single color flag in the world.
The New York Times reports today that Bolivia's National Electoral Court has annulled a decree by President Evo Morales, who had called for a December 7 referendum on a new constitution for Bolivia. The court said that the authority to call for a referendum rested with Congress, not the President. President Morales is presently on a state visit to Iran.
We remember the bombing of the United Nations Headquarters in Baghdad five years ago last month. Here are photos from the U.N. Headquarters in New York, and a link here to a memorial statement just issued by the U.N. Secretary General. Click on any of the photos to enlarge it and to read the names of the U.N. officials who were killed.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) condemned the killing of Magomed Yevloyev, an opposition journalist who had been arrested by police when he arrived at an airport, but who was "accidentally" shot in the temple by police whle being transported to the police station. Other opposition journalists killed in Russia in recent years include Anna Politkovskaya and Paul Klebnikov. Click here to read more.
The U.S. military has released three more prisoners from Guantanamo. One was sent to Pakistan and two were sent to Afghanistan. There was no information available about the identity of the men who were released. The U.S. military has now released more than 500 prisoners from Guantanamo, but an estimated 255 persons are still being held there.
Several weeks ago we reported about the coronation ceremonies for George Tupou V of Tonga. The ceremonies have now finally ended with a Royal picnic on Nuku Island, Vava'u, on August 21, 2008. The official celebration took 22 days, from the start on August 1st in Nuku'alofa (the capital of the Kingdom of Tonga) until August 22 when the king left the Lupepau'u Airport , Vava'u to return to Tongatapu. Click here for more information (including photos) from Matangi Tonga Online.
Click here for one of our earlier posts on Tonga.
Hat tip to the East-West Center in Honolulu.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
President Luiz Inancio Lula da Silva yesterday suspended the head of Brazil's intelligence service over a scandal involving telephone wiretaps. Among those phones who were tapped is the Chief Justice of Brazil's Supreme Court.
Can readers from Brazil fill us in a little bit more on this?
After 100 days of protest against him, Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej has declared a state of emergency in Thailand. It was invoked under the Executive Decree for National Administration under an Emergency Situation. The Bangkok Post reports that the state of emergency is to remain in effect until November 30. Click here to read more about the state of emergency in Thailand.
The current prime minister is accused of being a "front man" for the former prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, who just agreed to sell the Manchester City soccer club to Abu Dhabi United Group in the United Arab Emirates. Some saw the sale as a way to raise cash to finance new elections in Thailand. Click here to read more about the sale of the Manchester City soccer club.