Thursday, July 9, 2009

Israel Still Building the Wall Five Years After ICJ Advisory Opinion

Tomorrow marks the five-year anniversary of an Advisory Opinion issued by the International Court of Justice.  In that opinion, the ICJ ruled by a vote of 14-1 that Israel could lawfully build such a wall on its own territory as a valid security measure, but that the construction of a wall in occupied territory violated international law.  Israel claimed that its wall is only a temporary security measure.  The ICJ said that the specific route chosen was unnecessary to achieve Israel's security objective, with most of the barrier running inside the West Bank, instead of the so-called Green Line, or 1949 Armistice Line.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights issued a statement to mark the fifth anniversary of the ICJ Advisory Opinion, stating that Israel “continues to disregard the views of the ICJ, and the Wall remains under construction,” being 60 per cent completed.

The High Commissioner also stated that more than 600 closures block Palestinians’ movement in the West Bank, and that an increasingly segregated road system restricts travel for Palestinians while Israelis can move freely.  The Commissioner stated that these constraints curtail Palestinians’ freedom of movement and impede a host of other human rights, including the right to work, health, education, and an adequate standard of living.  “And Palestinian residents currently lack meaningful access to an effective remedy – judicial or otherwise – for their plight,” OHCHR said, calling on Israel to comply with the ICJ’s Advisory Opinion and make reparations for any damage caused.

The ICJ's advisory opinion on the Wall will be one of the ICJ decisions discussed on August 1, 2009 at the American Bar Association Annual Meeting during a CLE program on the International Court of Justice.


July 9, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Karadzic Gets No Immunity from Prosecution Before ICTY

ICTY The United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has rejected an application by former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadžic that he should be granted immunity from prosecution because of a 1996 agreement he says he struck with the U.S. government to avoid prosecution if he withdrew from public life.  A three judge panel denied the application, stating that Karadžic had not been able to establish that there has been an abuse of process.  Karadžic was the president of Republika Srpska and commander of Bosnian Serb forces during part of the 1990s.  He was arrested a year ago and transferred to The Hague to stand trial on charges of genocide, complicity in genocide, extermination, murder, wilful killing, persecutions, deportations, inhumane acts and other crimes.


July 9, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New WTO Website Database on Tariff Information

WTO 80 percent The World Trade Organization announced a new database that provides comprehensive information on customs duties.  Researchers can use the WTO Tariff Download Facility to search for members’ customs duty rates, as actually charged as well as legally bound maximums, and in many cases imports, down to a high level of detail.  Click here for more information.


July 9, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

ICTY Appeals Chamber Affirms 4-Month Sentence for Witness Who Refused to Testify before ICTY Trial Chamber

ICTYThe Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has upheld the conviction of a Bosnian Serb army officer who was given a four-month jail sentence earlier this year for refusing to testify in a case. 

The ICTY Appeals Chamber dismissed the appeal of Dragan Jokic against his conviction and sentence issued by the ICTY trial chamber in March.  Mr. Jokic had been subpoenaed to testify as a prosecution witness in the case of Popovic and others in late 2007, but he refused to do so, giving his reasons in a confidential submission to the ICTY.  The trial chamber ruled that his submission did not justify the refusal to testify, stressing that the duty of subpoenaed witnesses to testify was a basic principle of justice.

Mr. Jokic will serve his four-month sentence in an Austrian jail where he is also serving a separate nine-year term imposed by the ICTY in 2005 after he was convicted of aiding and abetting the notorious extermination, murder and persecution of Bosnian Muslim men in the town of Srebrenica in 1995.  Click here to read more about the ICTY appellate panel decision.

The full text of the judgment is available by clicking here

Hat tip to UN Press Office.


July 8, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

U.N. Security Council Extends Terms of Judges Serving in ICTY, ICTR

This news just came in from the United Nations, informing us that the U.N. Security Council has extended the terms of judges serving on the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).  Here is the text of the U.N. press release:

TheICTY United Nations Security Council today extended the terms of the judges serving on the United Nations war crimes tribunals sICTR Logoet up to deal with the 1994 Rwandan genocide and the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s, so they can complete remaining cases by the deadline set for the courts’ work.

The Council, in two separate resolutions that were adopted unanimously, urged both tribunals “to take all possible measures to complete their work expeditiously,” and expressed its determination to support their efforts in this regard.

The so-called “completion strategy” of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), which is based in The Hague, requires it to finish trials of first instance by 2009, and then start downsizing in 2010.

Among the decisions taken today, the Council extended the term of office of eight permanent judges at the ICTY and 10 ad litem, or temporary, judges until 31 December 2010, or until the completion of the cases to which they are assigned.

In addition, the Council decided, on the request of the President of the ICTY, that the Secretary-General may appoint additional temporary judges to complete existing trials or conduct additional trials.

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), which is based in the Tanzanian town of Arusha, is also aiming to finish first-instance trials by the end of 2009.

The Tribunal was created in November 1994 to prosecute people responsible for genocide and other serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in Rwanda that year. Some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were murdered, mostly by machete, in just 100 days.

The Council decided, among other matters, to extend the term of office of five permanent judges at the ICTR and 11 temporary judges until 31 December 2010, or until the completion of the cases to which they are assigned if sooner.

Reporting to the Council last month on their activities, officials from both tribunals stressed that the cooperation and assistance of Member States remains crucial if the courts are to successfully fulfil their mandates to bring those responsible for the most serious crimes to justice.



July 7, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

A Gender Perspective in Peacebuilding

Guinea-Bissau United Nations Flag Last year the U.N. Security Council adopted an important resolution on women, peace, and security (Click here to read Security Council Resolution 1820). 

That resolution was referenced in the latest U.N. Security Council Resolution on the situation in Guinea-Bissau.  (Click here to read U.N. Security Council Resolution 1876).  That resolution recommends establishing a United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS) that will focus on several key tasks, including strengthening national institutions to maintain "the full respect for the rule of law," supporting the insitutionalizaion of respect for the rule of law, and "mainstreaming a gender perspective into peacebuilding."  Click here to read more.


July 7, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Congratulations to the Legal Writing Prof Blog

The Legal Writing Prof Blog celebrated 250,000 visitors a few minutes ago.   Congratulations!


July 6, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

AU Members agree not to cooperate with ICC indictment of Bashir

On Friday, African leaders at the 13th annual African Union (AU) Summit in Libya agreed by consensus that AU members shall not cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC) at the Hague in the arrest and transfer of the President of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir, to the ICC.  Omar al-Bashir has been charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity by the ICC prosecutors, who also want to try him for genocide. About two-thirds of the members of the AU are parties to the Statute of the ICC, which obligates them to cooperate with the Court and to arrest and extradite Bashir to the Hague if found in their country.  This decision will create conflicting international obligations for these States. 

The ICC has launched investigations into four cases since its inception - all of them in Africa.  Some Africans, including Rwanda's Prime Minister Makuza, were quoted as stating that the decision is a signal to the West that it shouldn't impose its solutions on Africa. Other African leaders have suggested that the indictment of Bashir jeopardized the peace process in Sudan.


July 5, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

United Kingdom, Australia are Big Winners in the Jessup International Law Moot Court Written Memorial Competition

The International Law Students Association (ILSA), the group that organizes the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition, announced the winners of the Hardy C. Dillard and Richard R. Baxter memorial contests.

  • The winner of the Dillard award for best memorials from the National and Regional Rounds is King’s College London (United Kingdom).

  • The winner of the Baxter award for Best Overall Applicant Memorial is King’s College London (United Kingdom).

  • The winner of the Baxter award for Best Overall Respondent Memorial is the University of Sydney (Australia).

To read the winning Baxter memorials, and to view a complete list of finalists in both competitions, click here.

ILSA also posted on its website a short clip of the oral arguments in the Jessup final round.  The full DVD (and DVDs of competitions from earlier years) can be ordered from the ILSA website.  (Any law school teams planning to compete in next year's Jessup should order a copy of these DVDs).


July 5, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New ABA Book on Customs Law

Customs Book The American Bar Association Section of International Law is about to publish a new book on customs law.

     Customs: A Practitioner's Guide to Principles, Processes, and Procedures

Michael D. Sherman, J. Steven Jarreau, John B. Brew - Editors

Coming soon - pre order your copy today! This practical book clearly explains importers' legal obligations, rights, and responsibilities. It also assists practitioners in spotting customs issues that are likely to arise in particular contexts and to provide practical insights into implications and how issues should be addressed. The book covers:

  • Fundamental elements of a lawful importation, i.e., the importation process itself, classification, valuation, marking, and duty savings opportunities
  • Importer's recordkeeping obligations
  • Administrative and judicial review of CBP's decisions
  • CBP's auditing of importers' operations to determine the extent of compliance
  • Liquidated damages, penalties, and seizures
  • Government efforts to assure cargo security in the aftermath of September 11

Click here for more information.

July 5, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

OAS Votes Unanimously to Suspend Honduras from Membership

Honduras The Organization of American States voted unanimously yesterday to suspend Honduras from membership because of the Honduran military's coup againstPresident Manuel Zelaya.  The OAS said that the ouster of Zelaya had created an "unconstitutional alteration of the democratic order.''


July 5, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)