March 21, 2009
American Society of International Law Annual Meeting (March 25-28, 2009)
The American Society of International Law (ASIL) will hold its 103rd Annual Meeting March 25-28, 2009, at the Fairmont Hotel, 2401 M Street, NW, Washington, DC. The theme of this year’s conference is "International Law as Law."
On-Line Jessup Competition Guide Available From White & Case
White & Case LLP has published an online guide for participants in the 2009 Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition. The White & Case Jessup Guide is available to help students around the world prepare for and participate in the competition. The website also includes FAQs, competition schedules and results and other key Jessup information. The White & Case Jessup Guide, a downloadable student-focused “how-to” handbook available at no cost to all Jessup participants. It contains recommendations on working with the Jessup Compromis, researching international law, writing Jessup memorials, preparing for Jessup oral pleadings, and leveraging Jessup skills in students’ legal careers.
For more information and updates on the Jessup Competition, please click here.
The 50th Anniversary of the Philip C. Jessup International Moot Court Competition is being celebrated on March 27, 2009 in Washington D.C. The featured speakers are two former presidents of the International Court of Justice: Dame Rosalyn Higgins of the United Kingdom and Judge Stephen M. Schwebel of the United States. Click here for more information about the anniversary dinner and celebration.
The Jessup competition is administered by the International Law Students Association.
Prof. Mark E. Wojcik, Board Member, International Law Students Association
LATCRIT XIV Call for Papers and Panels
The Fourteenth Annual Latino and Latina Critical Theory Conference will be held Oct. 1-4, 2009 at American University in Washington, D.C. The Theme of the LATCRIT XIV Conference is "Outsiders Inside: Critical Outsider Theory and Praxis in the Policymaking of hte New American Regime." As part of the conference, the Seventh Annual Junior Faculty Development Workshop, sponsored jointly with the Society of American Law Teachers (SALT), will begin at 9:00 am, Thursday, October 1 and continue through Friday morning. Proposals for papers or panels shoudl be submitted by April 27. For more information, please go to www.latcrit.org.
March 19, 2009
EU Parliament’s communication strategy for 2009 elections
The European Parliament (EP) is a rather unique body. It is the only directly-elected body of the EU (since 1979) and offers the unique example of a supranational parliamentary body with significant powers. Currently, the EP has 785 Members from 27 countries (on the impact of the Lisbon Treaty, see Grahnlaw’s blog). They sit in groups formed on the basis of political affiliation rather than nationality.
To halt a downward trend in participation, the EP has opted for a new strategy. Rather than merely calling on EU citizens to exercise their civic duties, a new communication campaign will stress the fact that the EU has major policy choices ahead which will affect the everyday lives of EU citizens and that by voting in the elections, EU citizens can affect those choices. See also the EP’s 2009 elections website. It highlights “10 good reasons to vote.”
While the downward trend in participation cannot be denied (from 63% in 1979 to 45% in 2004), various explanations have been offered. Voter apathy used to be explained by the EP’s lack of powers or overall political insignificance. This explanation is now clearly unsatisfactory as the EP has been gaining a great deal of powers and influence since the 1992 Maastricht Treaty. And so the lack of pan-European politics is now blamed. In short, the main reason lies in the fact that EU political life cannot easily be explained by reference to the classic distinction between a parliamentary majority supporting a government, and a minority opposing it. Indeed, in the EU, there is no “government” strictly speaking. Rather, executive and legislative powers are shared between several institutions (the European Commission, the Council of Ministers and the EP). In other words, EU parliamentary elections do not have any immediate and visible impact on the EU’s decision making process and as a result, EU citizens tend not to pay too much attention to these elections. Yet the poor turnout must also be put into a broader perspective. For instance, it is my understanding that voting rates in US congressional elections average 45 per cent. Accordingly, the EU decline in voter turnout could very well be a symptom of a widespread phenomenon of voter apathy in most democracies. This does not mean that we should not consider, for example, compulsory voting for EU parliamentary elections. It may also be a good idea of “personalizing” these elections. European political parties could select a leader, prior to the elections, and the Member States agree to appoint the leader of the victorious party to the presidency of the Commission.
For additional potential reforms, see a recent report on Democracy in the EU and the role of the European Parliament. For a broader discussion of the EU’s alleged democratic deficit, see e.g. our book: The EU and its Constitution.
March 18, 2009
2009 Spring Meeting of the ABA Section of International Law
The American Bar Association Section of International Law will hold its Spring Meeting in Washington DC from April 14 - 18, 2009. The event brings together the world's leading international lawyers (including both in-house and outside counsel), academicians, and government officials from around the world. (A special registration rate is available for law professors and law students, amont others). Programming will be offereed in the following tracks:
- Corporate Counsel / Transactional
- Dispute Resolution / Litigation
- International Trade / Customs
- Regulatory / Regional
- Public International Law / Rule of Law
- Young Lawyers
- Environmental Law / Climate Change
Click here for a complete meeting agenda. The Spring Meeting will be held at the Fairmont Washington, DC, 2401 M Street, NW, Washington, D.C. To register on-line visit the ABA website. For additional registration information contact Annie Wanlund.
I will be there to present short programs on publication opportunities with the ABA Section of International Law (in our section books, the section's scholarly journal, the section newsletter, and section committee newsletters).
Mark E. Wojcik, Publications Officer, ABA Section of International Law
Dispute Resolution in Samoa - Take Two
We posted earlier about the extremely rare situation in Samoa, where a traditional apology (ifoga) was rejected by a village and the offender (and his family) was banished. The Samoa Observer reports that the village of Vaimoso is considering a recommendation by the the Land and Titles Court to reconcile with the Vaiotu family. Former Cabinet Minister Vaiotu Mulitalo Siafausa Vui seems likely to seek a court decision on the order banishing him from the village of Vaimoso, where he holds the title Vaiotu. The village had rejected the traditional apology extended on his behalf and instead banished him from the village. Vaiotu was unavailable to provide comments to the Samoa Observer over the weekend, but a relative said he would take the matter again to the Land and Titles Court.
Hat tip to the East-West Center.
First Woman Appointed as Solicitor General in Vanuatu
The Vanuatu Daily Post reported that Viran Molisa Trief was appointed last week as Solicitor General. The paper noted that her appointment marks a major milestone in Vanuatu, as she is the first woman to take up the position. We extend our congratulations and good wishes to her as well.
Hat tip to the East-West Center at the University of Hawai'i.
March 17, 2009
International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia
The appeals chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia upheld the convictions of a former top Bosnian Serb official and sentenced him to 20 years in prison for deportations, forcible transfer and persecution of non-Serb civilians during the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina. But the ICTY appellate chamber dismissed other guilty verdicts for murder, extermination and persecution – with the exception of deportation and forcible transfer – against Momcilo Krajišnik.
In September 2006, the trial chamber convicted him of all of these charges, finding that he had taken part in a joint criminal enterprise – also including former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadžic – seeking to recompose the territories under the Bosnian-Serb Republic’s control by slashing the proportion of non-Serbs through crimes. The trial chamber cleared Mr. Krajišnik of accusations of genocide and complicity of genocide.
The appeals chamber today reaffirmed the trial chamber’s finding that he “shared the intent to commit the original crimes of deportation, forcible transfer and persecution based on these crimes from the beginning” of the joint criminal enterprise, according to a press release issued in The Hague.
Since it became operational 15 years ago, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has indicted 161 people for war crimes. Proceedings against 117 people have been completed and are continuing against 42 others, with only two indictees – Ratko Mladić and Goran Hadžić – on the run.
Free Student Memberships in the ABA Section of International Law
Law students have to pay a small amount to join the American Bar Association as student members, but once they do that they can then join the ABA Section of International Law for free. They will have access to electronic versions of section publications such as the International Law News and the International Lawyer and be able to join section committees. Remind your students that it is also a good idea to list their memberships in the ABA Section of International Law (and one or two committees) on their resumes if they want to find international employment later. They may also want to attend the ABA Section of International Law Spring Meeting in Washington DC.
Free Law Student Memberships in the American Branch of the International Law Association (ABILA)
The American Branch of the International Law Association (ABILA), founded in 1922, is one of forty-five branches of the International Law Association, which was founded in 1873 to study, clarify, and develop both private and public international law. For information about the American Branch, a copy of the Branch's January 2009 Newsletter that details our numerous activities, and membership information, see the ABILA website. Dues for new members are only $70 per year for each of the first two years ($100 per year thereafter), and full-time students may join the American Branch for free. Members receive several publications (explained here at this link), and free admission to the Branch's major conferences.
Three features distinguish the ABILA from other major international law organizations. First, the Branch is part of a truly international organization. Many of the most distinguished U.S. international lawyers, as well as early career professionals, represent the American Branch as members of the ILA's twenty-three committees and four study groups, and American Branch members participate in the ILA's major biennial conferences. The last biennial conference was held in Rio de Janeiro in August 2008, and the next biennial conference will be held in The Hague in 2010.
Second, the American Branch has twenty-five of its own committees (addressing topics as varied as human rights, feminism, the law of the sea, commercial dispute resolution, and international intellectual property), which welcome member-initiated projects. The range of committee projects is flexible. Some committees have engaged in traditional academic studies with committee members preparing books or other extensive reports. Other committees have focused on short projects commenting on current issues or advocacy efforts (e.g., amicus briefs).
Third, the American Branch provides significant public service by hosting major conferences, to which admission is free for Branch members and students. Each October, the Branch arranges International Law Weekend in New York, attracting approximately 1000 participants to its over thirty panels, major speeches, and receptions. Information about ILW 2009, to be held on October 22-24, and a call for panel proposals is available by clicking here. The Branch also stages regional International Law Weekends (for example, ILW West 2009 was held March 6-7, 2009 at the Willamette University College of Law in Salem, Oregon) and occasional other programs.
March 16, 2009
Students Can Now Join UNA-USA for Free
If you have students interested in the United Nations, those students can now keep up to date on UN news and participate in events relating to the United Nations and international law by joining the local chapter of the United Nations Association (USA) for free. Click here to join.
Pennsylvania Studies in Human Rights
The University of Pennsylvania Press has developed a truly impressive collection of titles in human rights. Click here to have a look.
Hat tip to Bert Lockwood, the Series Editor. Well done.
Possible Setback to Turkey's EU Accession
Turkey and the European Union (EU) formally opened accession negotiations in October 2005. One of the conditions the EU has set for Turkey's accession to the Union is the improvement in respect for rights of non-Muslim communities. The Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation issued a report this past Saturday: "The Story of Alien(ation): Real Estate Ownership Problems of Non-Muslim Foundations and Communities in Turkey." The report suggests that Turkey has not done enough to improve property rights for religious minorities to meet the EU's requirements. Such a failure is likely to further delay Turkey's accession to the EU.
Call for Panels: International Law Weekend
The American Branch of the International Law Association (ABILA) will hold its annual International Law Weekend on October 22-24, 2009 in New York. This important international law event brings together hundreds of practitioners, members of the governmental and non-governmental sectors, and law students. The conference will feature numerous panels, Ms. Lucy F. Reed, President of the American Society of International Law, as distinguished speaker, receptions, and the Branch's annual meeting. International Law Weekend 2009 will take place at the Association of the Bar of the City of New York on 22 October 2009, and at Fordham University School of Law on 23 and 24 October.
The Weekend's overall theme is "Challenges to Transnational Governance." In this context, the organizers stress that the economic, political, and social changes of the last decade have re-shaped
international law and deeply affected its role and practice, along with the identity and attitude of its participants. This year's International Law Weekend will address the challenges posed by these changes with an emphasis on the emergence of the notion of "transnational governance" and the issues related to it, including:
- Re-ordering, organizing, and monitoring: Is this what transnationalgovernance is about?
- Who is in charge of transnational governance?: a discussion of the(sometimes new) role of international organizations, states, NGOs,regions, companies, private individuals, and others.
- Governing what? The contents and scope of transnational governance.
- The impact of transnational governance on international trade, foreign investment, and dispute resolution mechanisms.
- In the new context, what is the role of regulatory international law?
The co-chairs of ILW 2009 are:
- Pierre Bodeau-Livinec of the United Nations Office of Legal Affairs;
- Wil Burns, Editor in Chief, Journal of International Wildlife Law & Policy; and
- Aníbal M. Sabater, Partner, Fulbright & Jaworski International LLP.
They invite proposals for panels for ILW 2009, including those pertinent to this year's theme. Proposals are due no later than Friday, April 10, 2009. Proposals should be geared for 90-minute panels and should include a formal title, a brief description of the panel (no more than 75 words), and the names, titles, and affiliations of the panel chair and three or four possible speakers. Panel proposals should also include information as to the format envisaged (point-counterpoint, roundtable, etc.).
The International Law Weekend is a major international law event (along with the American Society of International Law Annual Meeting and the Spring and Fall Meetings of the ABA Section of International Law). ABILA is assisited by the International Law Students' Association along with the many donors and supporters who have helped make the event so successful over the years. You should mark the dates now on your calendar. Click here for more information about the American Branch of the International Law Association.
Mark E. Wojcik, Chair, Teaching International Law Committee of the American Branch of the International Law Association
Chief Justice of Pakistan to be Reinstated
The government of Pakistan has reportedly just agreed to reinstate former Chief Justice of the Pakistan Supreme Court, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. Click here to read more. Justice Chaudhry was dismissed two years ago by then-President Pervez Musharraf.
Dispute Resolution in Samoa
Dispute resolution can take different forms around the world. I have found some of the most interesting forms of dispute resolution in the Pacific Islands, ranging from ho'o'ponopono in Hawaii to ifoga in Samoa.
The March 14 2009 issue of the Samoa Observer (published in Apia, Somoa) reports that a Somoan village hase rejected the traditional apology (ifoga) presented by the family of Vaiotu Mulitalo Siafausa Vui to the village of Vaimoso. (It is a very rare event when an ifoga is rejected.) Instead of accepting the traditional apology, a village matai (a high-ranking chief) instead ordered the former Cabinet Minister, his wife and children to leave the village. Here is a summary from the East-West Center in Honolulu:
Vaiotu is being punished for a string of indiscrepancies in his wife’s village. “This man should have been banished a long time ago, he has ruined the village’s good reputation,” Vaimoso spokesman, Aulavemai Tafito Selesele who is a former Member of Parliament, said after the ifoga was rejected. Thirteen years ago, Vaiotu was ostracised because he called a village meeting. He was not the rightful authority to do so. Recently, village spokespersons say he took part in the bestowal of the Manuleleua title on three persons. Again as a Vaiotu, especially one married into the village, he acted beyond his authority. He has also been accused of brandishing a gun over a land dispute last year. Two weeks ago, Vaiotu was banished from Vaimoso for “unfounded” statements he made to the media concerning the reason for his ostracism in 1999. He refused to leave. The village council then decided to mete a punishment called mu le foaga, where one’s house and belongings are burned. Fortunately for him, ministers of religion and police intervened, after which the matter was referred to court.
Litigation Before the U.S. International Trade Commission
The John Marshall Review of Intellectual Property Law (“RIPL”) has just published a special symposium issue on Litigation Before the International Trade Commission. You can view this issue by clicking here. The issue focuses primarily on section 337 litigation. It features a lead article written by the Honorable Carl C. Charneski. His article offers valuable insight regarding the Administrative Law Judge’s role as the initial trier of fact, administrator, and decision maker in every Section 337 investigation.
Hat tip to Professor David Schwartz and the RIPL Board.
March 15, 2009
WTO Appellate Body to Hold Public Hearings on "The Zeroing Dispute"
At the request of the parties in the World Trade Organization Dispute on how the United States calculates antidumping margins, the World Trade Organization Appellate Body has decided to open its hearing on March 23-24, 2009 to public viewing at the WTO Headquarters in Geneva. Click here to read more.
(I'll be at the WTO Headquarters with a group of law students from Stetson University College of Law and the University of Lucerne Faculty of Law on Friday of that same week as the public hearings, in case we have any readers in Geneva who would like to meet us.)
Four Aid Workers Released After Being Kidnapped in Darfur
The United Nations-African Union peacekeeping mission to Darfur (UNAMID) has welcomed the release of four aid workers who were abducted at gunpoint three days ago. The staff members worked for Médecins Sans Frontières. They had been taken at gunpoint from their office in the town of Saraf Omra on 11 March. One other Sudanese staff member abducted at the same time had been freed earlier.
One of those released yesterday, Dr. Mauro d'Ascanio of Italy, said he was fine and that he looks forward to speaking with his family. He is a native of Vicenza Italy, from where I am writing this. His kidnapping has been on the front pages of the Vicenza newspapers here, as you might expect. His kidnapping emphasizes how dangerous this volunteer work can be.
Mohammed Osman Kibir, the Wali, or governor, of North Darfur state, said he personally intervened by negotiating with the abductors over the telephone four times. According to a UN press release, the kidnappers told him that they had taken the doctors hostage in response to the International Criminal Court's arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir. Mr. Kibir said he was able to convince the gunmen that the abduction of the relief workers reflected badly on their country and that it was in Sudan's best interest to release them, with no ransom being paid either by the Government or by the NGO.
After the ICC announced the indictment of Mr. Al-Bashir, the Government ordered the expulsion of 13 aid groups which assist nearly 5 million people in Darfur. The United Nations and other institutions have urged the Sudanese authorities to reverse those expulsions.
Lewis & Clark Explores the International Law Terrain After Medellin v. Texas
The latest issue of the Lewis & Clark Law Review contains articles from their recent symposium on "Treaties and Domestic Law After Medellín v. Texas." Click here to have a look. As you may remember, in Medellin the U.S. Supreme Court found that a decision of the International Court of Justice could not be directly enforced in U.S. domestic courts, and that the U.S. President could not enforce an order to have state courts implement the ICJ decision. (The case involved the failure of Texas to give required notice to detained and arrested foreign nationals that they had a right to have their consulates notified of their arrest.) It's an important issue, and I'm glad that Lewis & Clark have held a symposium on it.
Hat tip to Paul Spencer, Internet Editor at the Lewis & Clark Law Review