Saturday, August 29, 2009

2010 Jessup International Moot Court Rules Available NOW

The International Law Students Association (ILSA) has just released the rules for the 2010 Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition.  Among the changes are a new rule on the consequences of plagiarism in a memorial, and a rule that sets a disqualification date if a team's memorial is more than two weeks late.  Click here for more information about the new Jessup rules.  ILSA has also extended the deadline for early Jessup registration to September 18, 2009.  

Mark E. Wojcik

Member of the Board of the International Law Students Association

August 29, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

American Branch of the Intenational Law Association (ABILA)

The American Branch (sometimes called the "AmBranch") of the International Law Association (ABILA) has a number of committees that do important work for the organization.  One of those committees is the Committee on the Teaching of International Law.  I've recently been named chair of that ABILA committee.  We've just published a committee newsletter for members of the committee.  If you recently joined ABILA and its committee on Teaching International Law, please send me a message and I will send you a copy of the newsletter.

Click here for more information about the American Branch of the International Law Association.  That link now has the link to register for the International Law Weekend (ILW) in New York.

Click here for a list of ABILA Committees.

Click here for more information on the ABILA Committee on the Teaching of International Law.

Mark E. Wojcik

Chair, ABILA Committee on the Teaching of International Law

August 29, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Illinois Legal Research

Illinois Legal Research 2d ed It's not an international law text, but it may nonetheless be of interest to some of our blog readers. Here's a link with information about the new second edition of Illinois Legal Research, published by Carolina Academic Press.  The link also has information on state-specific research guides for other U.S. states.

Law professors who teach legal writing and research can order a free review copy of the book.  If you're not a professor but want to order the book, the Carolina Academic Press website is now offering a discount on the book (which is very reasonably priced by the way, unlike the international law text we discussed here in an earlier post).


August 27, 2009 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Call for Papers - Global Legal Skills Conference V - Monterrey Mexico Feb. 25-27, 2010

Click here for the call for papers for the fifth Global Legal Skills Conference, which will be held February 25-27, 2010 in Mexico at the Facultad Libre de Derecho de Monterrey.   Download Global_Legal_Skills_Conference_V_CFP

Click here for more information and a link to a video about the Global Legal Skills Conference.


August 26, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

U.S. Ratification of CEDAW

The United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA) is promoting a day of advocacy today (August 26, 2009) to urge the United States to ratify the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). UNA-USA notes that CEDAW has been ratified by 186 countries, including every democracy in the world, except the United States. The treaty provides a global standard for women's rights, but that the United States is unable to credibly demand that governments abide by their treaty commitments as long as it refuses to ratify CEDAW. Ratification of CEDAW would help strengthen America's voice in support of international human rights and women's equality.

If you are in the United States, you can pick up the phone and call your U.S. Senators today (Wednesday, August 26, 2009) and urge them to support U.S. ratification of CEDAW.  (If you don't see this message until Thursday or Friday, you can still pick up the phone!) 


August 25, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Women's Sufferage Anniversary

August 26, 2009 is the 89th anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution giving women the right to vote.  Many of my students find it hard to believe that women in the United States have had the right to vote for less than 100 years.  I encourage readers of this blog to take action in support of womens' rights on this anniversary, perhaps by encouraging the United States to ratify the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).  CEDAW sets standards for womens' rights against which government actions can be measured and governments may be held accountable. Of particular relevance on this anniversary, Article 7 of CEDAW requires that women be afforded the right to vote on an equal basis with men.  Over 90% of the States in the world have aleady joined CEDAW.  U.S. ratification would send a signal that the United States is commirted to support for womens' rights worldwide. 


August 25, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Welcomes Appointment of Special Prosecutor to Investigate CIA Officers and Private Contractors

We received the following press release from the United Nations.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, has welcomed the decision by the United States Attorney-General to appoint a special prosecutor to look into whether Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officers and contractors broke US laws while conducting interrogations outside the US, including at Guantanamo Bay.  

“I warmly welcome this responsible decision by the US Government to open a preliminary investigation,” Ms. Pillay said. “I hope there is a swift examination of the various allegations of abuse made by former and current detainees in Guantanamo and other US-run prisons, and if they are verified, that the next steps will involve accountability for anyone who has violated the law.”

Ms. Pillay said her concern all along “has been that there should not be impunity for torture or any other unlawful treatment of detainees, whether it is in the United States or anywhere else in the world. While we now have some idea of what occurred in Guantanamo, and to a lesser extent places like Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and Bagram airbase in Afghanistan, we still need more transparency about secret places of detention, and what went on in them.”

Ms. Pillay said that the use of secret places of detention must be curbed, and called for the release of the names of detainees currently held in these detention centres. “Secrecy has been a major part of the problem with this type of detention regime,” she said. “When guards and interrogators think they are safe from outside scrutiny, and legal safeguards are circumvented, laws become all too easy to ignore.”  

The High Commissioner also praised the decision to release Mohammed Jawad, an Afghan who was taken prisoner in 2002 when he may only have been 12 years old. Most of the charges against him were ruled inadmissible in 2008, and last month a US District Court ordered his release from Guantanamo.  

“I am delighted to hear that on Monday Mohammed Jawad was allowed to return to his family in Afghanistan,” Ms. Pillay said. “It has taken an extraordinarily long time, but the US justice system – once it was able to operate properly in his case – has, I believe, finally delivered justice.”  

However, she added that “in Jawad’s case and those of other people held in detention for unacceptably long periods, without any charges being proven, or who were tortured or otherwise treated unlawfully, compensation and other remedies are essential. Some people have lost seven years of their lives, and may have been severely psychologically, physically or financially scarred by their experience, simply because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Ms. Pillay reiterated her support for US President Barack Obama’s commitment to close the Guantanamo camp by 2010 and asked him to urgently review the status of detainees at the Bagram facility in Afghanistan.

August 25, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, August 24, 2009

It Is Time for the United States to Join the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea

Ship As many readers of this blog are probably aware, the United States is in the minority of countries that have not ratified the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea Treaty (UNCLOS).  In May of this year, the Obama Administration announced that ratification of UNCLOS is among its top treaty priorities.


UNCLOS is designed to facilitate international communication, promote peaceful uses of the seas and the equitable and efficient allocation of its resources, as well as the conservation and preservation of the marine environment.  To these ends, UNCLOS sets forth international standards for fishing, deep seabed mining, navigation, access to underwater resources, and scientific cooperation.  As of this writing, there are 159 parties to UNCLOS.


UNCLOS enjoys broad bi-partisan support including both former U.S. Presidents Bush and Clinton, the U.S. military, many business interests including the mining, fishing, shipping, and telecommunications industries, and environmental groups.


Opponents of the treaty argue that joining UNCLOS will diminish U.S. sovereignty and control by reducing U.S. freedom of action and subjecting the U.S. to international bodies -- arguments that could be made about virtually any treaty and that do not address the merits of UNCLOS.  Joining UNCLOS will bring many benefits, including securing navigation and overflight rights for the U.S. military; ensuring U.S. control over natural resources in its territorial seas, exclusive economic zone (the largest in the world) and continental shelf; opening up deep seabed mining to participation by U.S. companies; increasing support for and adherence to environmental protections found in the treaty; and clarifying rules for the Arctic regions.   And while UNCLOS does create international bodies, such as the Deep Seabed Authority, at least U.S. ratification will give the United States a seat at the table when the parties make and refine the international rules governing management of the sea and its resources.  


The potential gains to be achieved by membership in UNCLOS far outweigh any possible concerns.  It is time for the United States to ratify UNCLOS.


August 24, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)