October 23, 2008
Happy United Nations Day!
Convention on Migratory Birds Enters into Force on November 1
A new United Nations-backed agreement that aims to protect migratory birds of prey in Africa and Eurasia has been signed in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates by 28 countries and will enter into force at the end of next week. Working through the UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), the governments of the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates have led the negotiations on the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), resulting in the signatories yesterday. The new agreement area stretches across more than 130 countries from the African, Afrotropical, Palaearctic and Indo-Malayan realms and protects more than 70 species of migratory birds of prey including Falconiformes, ospreys, eagles and owls.
More than 50 per cent of migratory birds of prey have poor conservation status as a result of habitat loss due to agriculture, forestry, industry and fisheries, collisions with power lines, hunting and trapping for falconry, according to a UNEP press release issued today. Signatories to the new agreement – which enters into force on 1 November – are committed to restoring positive conservation status of migratory birds of prey and protecting such bird species from illegal killing, including poisoning and shooting and unsustainable exploitation.
(From UN Press Release)
UN Security Council Discussions Situation Between Djibouti and Eritrea
The Security Council heard calls yesterday for the peaceful resolution of the current border dispute between Djibouti and Eritrea, which flared into fighting in the Horn of Africa in June that killed at least 35 people and left dozens of others wounded. Representatives of Djibouti and Eritrea outlined their positions to a Council meeting that also heard statements from the Council’s 15 members, in which they stressed the need for restraint and backed existing international efforts to mediate a settlement. Djibouti’s President Ismail Omar Guelleh, whose country requested the Council meeting, asked the panel to call on Eritrea to meet its international obligations and move to end the dispute, which centres on an undemarcated border in an area known as Doumeira. If not, he said, sanctions may be needed.
The armed conflict erupted in early June after weeks of tensions and military build-up on both sides, and a subsequent UN fact-finding mission reported that the dispute had the potential to destabilize the entire region. Mr. Guelleh said Djibouti’s priority was to demilitarize the area and re-establish mutual trust by reactivating existing bilateral mechanisms and creating some sort of arbitration to demarcate the border. He said Eritrea had continued to reinforce its troops and refuse to negotiate since June, and Djibouti therefore had no choice but to mass troops at the border and defend its territory.
Eritrea’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Araya Desta, said his country had already dealt with Djibouti’s “unwarranted statements” at a previous Council meeting on the issue, adding that it was Djibouti that had provoked the conflict in June. Mr. Desta said Eritrea had exercised restraint and not taken any land belonging to Djibouti, and there had not been any new developments since the fighting four months ago.
Eritrea refused to receive the UN fact-finding mission when it visited after the fighting, and consequently only Djibouti’s version of events was made available to it. The mission concluded that Djibouti was being drawn into a crippling and expensive military mobilization to deal with the situation.
(From UN Press Release)
October 22, 2008
Our 10,000th Visitor
Visitor Number 10,000 to this blog was from Loyola University of New Orleans. Thank you all again for your visits and continued contributions. Click here to see a list of countries where our readers are from.
Human Rights Bodies from 70 Countries Meet in Nairobi
More than 150 delegates from 71 countries are convening today at a United Nations conference in Nairobi to explore the roles of national bodies set up to protect or promote human rights in relation to the judiciary, law enforcement and monitoring of detention centres. During the three-day meeting, national human rights institutions will also report on activities undertaken as part of the Dignity and Justice for Detainees Initiative.
Launched earlier this month by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay, the initiative seeks to increase the pressure on States, parliaments, judiciaries and other relevant institutions to abolish – or at least reduce – arbitrary and unlawful detention. Part of the campaign to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on 10 December, the scheme also seeks to ensure that conditions in prisons and other places of detention are brought in line with minimum global standards.
The Nairobi meeting is expected to conclude with the adoption of a declaration providing further guidance on the role national human rights institutions can play on issues related to the rule of law and administration of justice. The gathering has been organized by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in cooperation with the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, the Swedish International Development Corporation Agency and the UN Development Programme (UNDP).
(UN Press Release)
United Nations Day 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008 is United Nations Day. This date represents the 63rd anniversary of the date the United Nations Charter became effective. Each U.S. President since Harry Truman has issued a proclamation on United Nations Day asking citizens to reflect on the importance of the United Nations to the national interest of the United States and to individuals. United Nations Day 2008 is dedicated to raising awareness of U.N. Millenium Development Goal 7 - Environmental Sustainability as an Essential Tool for Poverty Alleviation. On this day, I encourage all readers of this page to take action to recognize the vital work of the United Nations with respect to the development of international law, in addition to its other important work.
Florida Journal of International Law
The Florida Journal of International Law invites submission of articles for possible publication. Click here to contact the journal, or click here to contact the Editor in Chief, Mohammed Jazil, or click here to contact the Managing Editor.
Hat tips to Berta Esperanza Hernandez-Truyol at the University of Florida Fredric G. Levin College of Law Spessard L. Holland Law Center (that’s a mouthful, huh?) and to Tracy L. McGaugh, Assistant Dean for Academic Advising and Associate Professor of Legal Process at Touro Law Center.
October 21, 2008
International Criminal Court Appellate Chamber Confirms Suspension of First ICC Trial
The Appellate Chamber of International Criminal Court (ICC) affirmed the suspension of the first trial to come before the court Some people saw that as a failure of the court, but it actually is not. It shows that the court will consider the legal rights of defendants. The court is not a rubber stamp for any one, but a serious, independent institution that demands respect.
Is it unfortunate that the first case brought before the ICC has been dismissed? Yes, of course. This is a tragedy for the victims and for everyone who was waiting to see this case go to trial. In the long term, this setback may mean that future cases are prepared differently (if they can be, given the difficult circumstances under which investigators work). The problem arose because the investigators obtained documents on condition of confidentiality, and the court found it unfair not to share everything with the defendant. Read more here in a press release:
INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT CONFIRMS DECISION TO HALT TRIAL OF CONGOLESE REBEL
The International Criminal Court (ICC) today confirmed its earlier decision to suspend the trial of a Congolese rebel leader accused of recruiting child soldiers to serve in his militia, but ordered that he remain in detention pending another hearing.
In a ruling issued in The Hague, the ICC’s five-member appeals chamber unanimously dismissed an appeal by prosecutors against the trial chamber’s decision in June to stay the proceedings against Thomas Lubanga Dyilo.
But a majority of the appeals chamber reversed an earlier ruling regarding Mr. Lubanga’s release and ordered that the trial chamber hold a new hearing to determine whether he stay in custody or be released with or without conditions.
Mr. Lubanga, the founder and leader of the Union of Congolese Patriots in the Ituri region of the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), was charged with a series of war crimes, including conscripting and enlisting child soldiers into the military wing of his group and then using them to participate in hostilities between September 2002 and August 2003.
The trial of Mr. Lubanga was due to have been the first to be held by the ICC, and it had been scheduled to begin on 23 June this year.
Announcing its rulings today, the appeal judges backed the view of the trial chamber that there was no prospect that a fair trial of Mr. Lubanga could be held because prosecutors had failed to disclose more than 200 documents to the defence containing evidence that could potentially have exonerated the rebel leader.
“The prosecutor had obtained the documents in question from several information providers, in particular from the United Nations, on the confidentiality, and these information providers had refused to consent to their disclosure to the defence and, in most instances, to the trial chamber,” according to a press release issued by the ICC.
In its decision on whether Mr. Lubanga should remain in detention, the appeals chamber said the trial chamber had been wrong to find that an accused person’s unconditional release was the inevitable consequence of a stay on proceedings or the only correct course to be taken.
AALS Section on Teaching Methods
The Association of American Law Schools Section on Teaching Methods is soliciting articles related to teaching for the next issue of the section's electronic newsletter. Also invited are recommendations regarding new books, articles, videos, or websites related to law teaching. Articles should be approximately 500 words. The deadline is Friday, October 31, 2008. Please send your submission (electronically) to Melissa H. Weresh, Professor of Law and Director of Legal Writing at Drake University Law School. Click here to send her an email.
ASIL Holds Discussion on Trial of Saddam Hussein
The American Society of International Law and the Public International Law and Policy Group will hold an evening discussion with Michael Newton and Michael Scharf, authors of the new book, Enemy of the State -- The Trial and Execution of Saddam Hussein. The program will be moderated by the Elizabeth Anderson, Executive Director of the American Society of Interational Law (ASIL). The event will be held on Wednesday, October 29, 2008, starting at 5:30 p.m., at The American Society of International Law, 2223 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20008.
This event is free, but space is limited, and registrations are accepted on a first come, first served basis. To register, click here.
Hat tip to Craig Berry
Congratulations to Cherif Bassiouni and his Colleagues at DePaul
The Chicago Daily Law Bulletin is reporting that the U.S. government has given $5.1 million in grants to the International Human Rights Law Institute at DePaul University College of Law to improve human rights organizations and legal education in Iraq.
International Health Law Conference at Seton Hall
Seton Hall University School of Law's Center for Health and Pharmaceutical Law, the Gibbons Institute of Law, and the Seton Hall Law Review will host a symposium on October 23-24, 2008, to examine the legal, ethical, and public policy issues related to developing a pharmaceutical response to an influenza pandemic. Panels will explore the development and approval of vaccines and antiviral drugs, both before and during a pandemic; the allocation of vaccines and antiviral drugs in situations of scarcity; and issues related to international equity. For more information, contact Michael J. Ricciardelli by clicking here.
10,000 Visits to Our Blog, and Readers from Around the World
We're quickly approaching 10,000 visits to the International Law Prof Blog. When we started this blog, we knew it would be of interest to law professors in the United States. But we are especially pleased to have readers from around the world, including countries where direct communication is sometimes otherwise difficult. We thank you for your visits and contributions. Pease continue to send us news of conferences, legal scholarship, moot court competitions, international exchange opportunities, and important developments in international law.
October 20, 2008
WTO Reports Leap in Antidumping Investigations
The World Trade Organization is reporting that the number of antidumping investigations increased by 39 percent over the corresponding period for the previous year. Some 16 WTO members initiated 85 new investigations in the first six months of 2008, compared to 61 investigations in the corresponding period last year.
Dumping occurs when a manufacturer in one country exports a product to another country at a price either below the price it charges in the home country market or below its cost of production. There are many reasons why this might happen, but those reasons are largely unimportant. What matters for purposes of the antidumping law is simply the "dumping margin."
The most investigations were into alleged dumping of products in the base metal sector (21 initiations), followed by textiles (20 initiations), and chemicals (10 initiations).
Turkey recorded the highest number of initiations, with 13, followed by the United States, India, Argentina, the European Communities, Brazil, Australia and Colombia.
China was the most frequent subject of new investigations, with 37 – or nearly half the entire total – directed at its exports. Thailand was the subject of 7 investigations, and the European Communities and Indonesia were each the subject of 5 investigations.
Hague Institute for the Internationalisation of Law
The Hague Institute for the Internationalisation of Law (HIL) has issued two calls for research proposals on the topics of (1) Private Actors and Self-Regulation and (2) New Transnational Constitutionality. The subject of the first topic concerns corporate regulation with a transnational dimension, with norms created by private or public actors (including intergovernmental organizations). The core research question regarding the second project on New Transnational Constitutionality is how to make informal international public policy-making be made more democratic and accountable.
The total amounts HIL reserves for research grants to be awarded pursuant to these Calls are Euro 400,000 and Euro 200,000, respectively. For more information, click here.
U.S. State Department Background Notes
A great resource for country-specific information is the U.S. State Department series of Background Notes. It won't have all the information you need about a country, but each issue does have a lot of very useful information. They are updated regularly and you can subscribe to email updates for particular countries of interest or the whole series. Click here for the recent update for Japan. Or click here to see the recently updated report for South Korea.