October 11, 2008
North Korea Will Be Dropped from U.S. Terrorism Blacklist
The United States announced that it will drop North Korea from a list of state sponors of terrorism. Click here to read more.
UN General Assembly Asks ICJ for an Advisory Opinion on the Legal Status of Kosovo
The U.N. General Assembly adopted resolution A/RES/63/3 in which it asks the International Court of Justice to "render an advisory opinion on the following question: Is the unilateral declaration of independence by the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government of Kosovo in accordance with international law?"
The ICJ's advisory jurisdiciton is open to five United Nations organs and 16 agencies of the United Nations system. The procedure enables these UN organs and agencies to request opinions from the Court on legal questions.
On receiving a request for an advisory opinion, the ICJ compiles a list of States and organizations that may be able to furnish relevant information. It then organizes the written and oral proceedings pursuant to Articles 66 of its Statute and 105 of its Rules.
Unlike judgments handed down in contentious proceedings between States, the Court’s advisory opinions have no binding effect as such. However, the authority of the Court as the principal judicial organ of the United Nations attaches to them.
Since 1946 the Court has given 25 Advisory Opinions, concerning inter alia the conditions of admission of a State to membership in the United Nations, reparation for injuries suffered in the service of the United Nations, the international status of South West Africa (Namibia), certain expenses of the United Nations, certain judgments rendered by the United Nations administrative tribunal, Western Sahara, the applicability of the obligation to arbitrate under Section 21 of the United Nations Headquarters Agreement, questions relating to the privileges and immunities of human rights rapporteurs, the legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons and the legal consequences of the construction of a wall in the occupied Palestinian territory.
Global Legal Skills Conference IV - Georgetown University Law Center
Building on the successes of the previous Global Legal Skills Conferences held at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago and the Facultad Libre de Derecho de Monterrey in Mexico, Georgetown University Law Center is inviting submissions for Global Legal Skills IV. The conference will be held June 4-5, 2009 on the campus of Georgetown University Law Center – steps from the U.S. Capitol and all of the attractions of the National Mall. The organizers invite submissions from both legal academics and lawyers from practice. Submitters should address the following three Core Questions, but all submissions on topics related to Global Legal Skills are welcome.
I. What skills do lawyers need to effectively function in a global marketplace? Possible topics could include:
- Responding to cross-cultural factors in alternative dispute resolution
- Understanding diverse legal cultures
- Building awareness of other legal systems.
II. How can law schools adjust teaching methods and curricula to accommodate the needs of the global legal marketplace? Possible topics could include:
- Designing effective distance learning modules
- Defining the boundaries of “Legal English”
- Developing the components of a Global Core Curriculum.
III. What is the proper role of “global law firms” in the education and re-education of practicing lawyers? Possible topics could include:
- Managing CLE Programs
- Creating effective in-house training programs
- Contributing to the LL.M. Programs of the future.
Guidelines for Submissions
Submissions are encourgaged in a variety of formats. Presenters may propose panels of their own, or we may group Individual Presenters in similarly-themed sessions.
Panel Presentations: One hour
- Names and affiliations of panel members
- Proposed title
- Abstract of between 200 and 1000 words
Individual Presentations: 30 minutes or 15 minutes
- Name and affiliation of speaker
- Proposed title
- Abstract of between 200 and 1000 words
We also intend to provide forums for Topic Discussions. Topic Discussions will be informal gatherings at one-hour intervals throughout the Conference. One Presenter will be appointed to be the Chair of the Topic Discussion; the Chair will moderate the discussion among the participants. Participants in Topic Discussions will submit proposals for their contributions to these Topic Discussions. We will be adding Topics as they are suggested by submitters. Currently, we have four Topics for which we would like to solicit submissions:
- What is Legal English?
- What Teaching Methods Are Most Effective for Teaching Legal Writing to Foreign LL.M.s?
- What is the Role of Foreign Exchange Programs in Legal Education?
- What are the Possible Directions for Scholarship in the Field of Legal English?
Topic Discussions: Various Lengths
- Name and affiliation of speaker
- Proposed title
- Abstract of between 200 and 1000 words
Submissions should be made no later than November 15, 2008. Send them by email to Craig Hoffman, Professor of United States Legal Discourse and Director, Center for Global Legal Skills, Georgetown University Law Center. Click here to send an email to Craig Hoffman.
If you would like information about the earlier conferences, you can click here for information about the first GLS Conference, which was held at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago. You can click here for information about the second Global Legal Skills Conference, also held at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago. The third conference was held in Mexico. Click here for information about Global Legal Skills III, held at the Facultad Libre de Derecho de Monterrey. The conference will return to Mexico (once again at the Facultad Libre de Derecho in Monterrey, Mexico) on February 25-27, 2010.
UNA-USA Statement on Nobel Peace Prize Winner Martti Ahtisaari
Ambassador William H. Luers, president of the United Nations Association of the USA, has issued the following statement regarding the Nobel Committee’s awarding of the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize to Martti Ahtisaari.
The United Nations Association of the USA warmly congratulates Martti Ahtisaari, the former president of Finland, for winning the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize. Ahtisaari has been a leading diplomat at the United Nations who has set the highest standard for conflict resolution and peacemaking from Asia to Africa to Europe.
“Those in the world concerned with peace and diplomatic solutions to conflicts are uplifted by the decision of the Nobel Committee to award this year’s peace prize to Martti Ahtisaari,” said Bill Luers, the president of UNA-USA. “In this time of serious conflicts on several continents, the decision of the Nobel Committee is an important and healthy reminder to us that diplomacy works. Diplomacy and Ahtisaari have been honored by this selection of one of diplomacy’s most distinguished living practitioners.”
From his groundbreaking diplomatic work in Namibia as an Under-Secretary-General and Special Representative of the Secretary-General in 1989-90, to his mediation work in Aceh, Indonesia, to his most recent efforts in Kosovo, also under the auspices of the Secretary-General, Ahtisaari has quietly, confidently and successfully completed his missions.
“We congratulate Martii for having consistently given diplomacy a good name, for authenticating the valuable role of the UN in peacemaking and for the remarkable skills, patience and intelligence he has brought to the Angels Game – the historic name for diplomacy,” Luers added.
Ahtisaari is the 10th UN official or agency to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. The others are the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (with former Vice President Al Gore) (2007), the International Atomic Energy Agency and its Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei (2005), Kofi Annan (2001), UN Peacekeeping Forces (1988), the Office of the UN High Commission for Refugees (1981 & 1954), the UN Children’s Fund (1965), Dag Hammarskjöld (1961) and Ralph Bunche (1950).
Union Internationale des Avocats - Congress in Bucharest
The Union Internationale des Avocats (the International Association of Lawyers) will hold its 52nd Congress from October 29 to November 2, 2008, in Bucharest, Romania. Online registration is available by clicking here. As you might expect, the three-day substantive program for the Congress is packed with many interesting panels and presentations, with speakers from all over the world. Tours for accompanying persons not attending the Congress include “Introduction to Romanian Culture” and a tour of “Transylvanian Castles.” The American Bar Association Section of International Law will be sending some of its leadership to the meeting. Please look for them if you happen to be attending the UIA Congress in Bucharest.
October 9, 2008
SEALS - New Website and Blog
The Southeast Association of Law Schools (SEALS) has a new website and blog. Click here. I attended my first SEALS conference earlier this year, and participated in a panel on the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I found the conference to be particularly enjoyable, relaxed, and supportive. Once you attend a SEALS conference, you'll likely be hooked as well.
Fiji High Court Rules in Coup Case
A ruling on the case brought by ousted Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase against the interim regime and the nation of Fiji was dismissed by the Fiji High Court in Suva. Acting Chief Justice Anthony Gates ruled that the decision by President Ratu Josefa Iloilovatu to appoint an interim government post military takeover was valid. Click here to read the decision.
Hat tip to the East-West Center in Honolulu.
ICJ: Mexico v. U.S. (Interpretation of Avena)
Briefing has been completed in the case that Mexico brought against the United States before the International Court of Justice for an interpretation of the ICJ's earlier decision in Avena. No oral arguments were scheduled or held. The case is now under consideration by the ICJ.
October 8, 2008
Midwest Association for Canadian Studies - International Studies Association - Midwest
The joint Midwest Association for Canadian Studies/International Studies Association-Midwest conference in St. Louis is just a month away. Registration and hotel reservations can be made through the ISA website by clicking here. MWACS has limited travel funds to support graduate students and new scholars to help offset conference lodging and travel. Contact the conference organizers or review the MWACS web site by clicking here.
Hat tip to Colleen Duke
International Law in U.S. Courts
i.lex: The Legal Research System for International Law in U.S. Courts, is an online database of select U.S. court cases and materials produced by the American Society of International Law (ASIL). It is meant to help reasearchers understand how U.S. federal and state courts apply rules of international law in the cases that come before them.
Hat tip to the Law Librarian Blog. You can always count on your law librarian to keep you up to date.
WTO: Public Forum 2008 - Trading Into the Future
Audio from the WTO public forum on "Trading Into the Future" is now available online. Accompanying documentation is also available for many of the sessions. An online e-forum also allows you to post comments. How fun is that! Click here for the audio and presentations. Click here for the E-forum. And click here for the photo gallery.
October 7, 2008
New Act to Punish Persons Who Use Child Soldiers
On Friday. October 3, President Bush signed into law the Child Soldiers Accountability Act. The text of the Act may be viewed here: http://www.opencongress.org/bill/110-s2135/text. The purpose of the Act is, inter alia, "To prohibit the recruitment or use of child soldiers, to designate persons who recruit or use child soldiers as inadmissible aliens, [and] to allow the deportation of persons who recruit or use child soldiers." The Act subjects any person who knowingly recruits, enlists or conscripts a person under 15 years of age into an arrmed force or group or who knowingly uses a person under 15 years of age to participate actively in armed hostilities to fines and imprisonment. The Act applies to any offender who is a national or lawful permanent resident of the U.S. or who is present in the U.S. The Act also applies if any part of the offense occurs in the U.S. Offenders are inadmissible to the U.S. and, if already present in the U.S., are removable. According to a report on Children and Armed Conflict issued by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon in December 2007, recruitment of child soldiers was verified in at least 16 States or Territories during 2007, including Burundi, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda, Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Haiti, Iraq, Myanmar, Occupied Palestinian Territory, Columbia and Phillippines. The Secretary General's Report may be accessed here: http://daccessdds.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N07/656/04/PDF/N0765604.pdf?OpenElement. The Child Soldiers Accountability Act will help implement international law prohibiting the use of child soliders. In particular, Article 77 of the 1977 Additional Protocols to the four Geneva Conventions commits States Parties to take all feasible measures to ensure that persons under the age of 15 do not take part in armed conflict and prohibits States from recruiting persons under the age of 15 for the armed forces. These same obligations are reflected in Article 38 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
ITLOS - New Vice President
Judge Helmut Tuerk (Austria) was elected as Vice-President of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea by the judges of the Tribunal. He will serve as Vice-President for the period 2008 to 2011.
New Trade Agreements for ASEAN, Singapore, China, India, Australia, and New Zealand
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) announced a new Trade in Goods Agreement. It also announced a new comprehensive investment treaty, merging earlier treaties. ASEAN has also completed negotiations on trade agreements with India, Australia, and New Zealand. ASEAN member Singapore also announced completion of negotiations on a free trade agreement with the People's Republic of China. Click here for more information in an article by Edward W Sim. The article also notes that the United States announced that it will join the "Pacific Four" free trade agreement talks between Brunei, Chile, New Zealand and Singapore.
Welcome, Con Law Prof Blog
The Constitutional Law Professor Blog launched yesterday (on the first Monday in October, the day when the U.S. Supreme Court begins its New Term). Congratulations, and welcome!
ICJ to Rule on Georgia v. Russian Federation
On Wednesday, October 15, 2008, the International Court of Justice will give its Order on the request for the indication of provisional measures submitted by Georgia in the case concerning Application of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Georgia v. Russian Federation). The opinion will be available that day on the ICJ website.
ASIL Has a New Website
The American Society of International Law has revamped its website. Click here to have a look.