Saturday, September 12, 2009
"If you are currently watching or listening to this message, it's because I was murdered by President Alvaro Colom. . . ."
Those were the chilling words of Rodrigo Rosenberg Marzano, an attorney in Guatemala who recorded a video to be released in case he was assassinated.
Rodrigo Rosenberg Marazano was assassinated on May 10, 2009. The video was released on May 11, 2009. Here is the first part of that video (in Spanish, with English subtitles). [On YouTube you can find the later parts and related videos on how the tape was released.]
Yesterday the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala announced the arrests of five police officers and two others. The announcement has been widely reported in news sources in the United States, Canada, France and other countries (so do your own search to check for developments).
The Commission reportedly said that other suspects (not yet arrested) had planned the murder. The Commission did not release those names because their investigation is continuing.
President Colom has reportedly denied any involvement in the murder.
In an update to earlier postings on this blog, the Obama Administration was apparently persuaded by the United Steelworkers Union to impose tariffs on Chinese tires. The government invoked a "safeguard" provision in the World Trade Organization agreements in response to a surge in Chinese tire imports that were allegedly harming the US tire industry. The U.S. government announced Friday that tariffs in the amount of 35% will be imposed during the first year, 30% during the second year, and 25% during the third year. These tariff levels are significantly lower than those recommended by the U.S. International Trade Commission, which had recommended tariffs as high as 55%, but are still high enough to have an impact on the market.
Senator John Kerry will serve as keynote speaker at a scholarly conference on October 1-3, 2009, at Southern New England School of Law in North Dartmouth, Massachusetts. Other speakers include Richard Cohen (President, Southern Poverty Law Center) and Shazia Rafi (Executive Director, Parliamentarians for Global Action).
The conference is sponsored by the Frances Howell Rudko Chapter of the International Law Students Association at Southern New England School of Law. For more information, see the official conference website at http://www.snesl.org/ilsaconference/.
The 64th Session of the UN General Assembly begins on September 15, 2009 in New York. For those who would like to read about issues that will be discussed in the coming year, click here.
Friday, September 11, 2009
Professor Michael P. Scharf at Case Western Reserve University School of Law in Cleveland Ohio has sent me the two recent issues of the Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law.
One issue deals with "Security Detention" and is being followed up by an "After Guantanamo" program held today at the law school on the eighth anniversary of the September 11th attacks. Professor Scharf tells me that the program at his school today will be avalilable for viewing later by clicking here. The Security Detention issue of the law review includes articles by these scholars:
- Michael P. Scharf
- Gwen Gillespie
- Tyler Davidson
- Kathleen Gibson
- Doug Cassel
- Ashley S. Deeks
- Laura M. Olson
- John P. McLoughlin
- Gregory P. Noone
- Diana C. Noone
- Dominic McGoldrick
- Maureen T. Duffy
- Rene Provost
- Jennifer Daskal
- Deborah Pearlstein
- Monica Hakimi
The other issue of the law review that Michael sent to me deals with the International Criminal Court and the Crime of Aggression, which comes on the eve of the ICC's first review conference (May 2010 in Kampala). The symposium on the ICC and Agression includes articles by these scholars:
- Michael P. Scharf
- Philip S. Hadji
- Henry T. King, Jr.
- Benjamin B. Ferencz
- Mark A. Drumbl
- Larry May
- Sean D. Murphy
- Elise Leclerc-Gagne
- Michael Byers
- Mark S. Ellis
- David Scheffer
- Roger S. Clark
He also sent me the Fall 2009 issue of the Case Global Newsletter, detailing recent international law activities at Pace. The Case International Law Program is funded by a special $4 million endowment, and deservedly so for the high quality of the work it puts out and shares so freely.
The Chicago Bar Association Committee on International and Foreign Law held a meeting today featuring Judge Chih-Hong Tsai (who in the U.S. also goes by the name of Henry Tsai). He gave an interesting presentation on "How to Enforce an American Judgment in Taiwan." This was his first presentation in the United States, and I am glad that my colleague Professor Juli Campagna of The John Marshall Law School was able to arrange the talk and to serve as host of today's meeting.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Steven Sanders of the Sexual Orientation and the Law Blog has posted a short piece on the situation of law reform in Lithuania for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendererd persons. We are happy to see attention being paid toward measures that will advance the human rights for all. We just wish that the news coming from Lithuania would be a little more hopeful. Click here to read Steve's post on the situation in Lithuania.
Today's Daily Press Briefing at the U.S. State Department included a question to Assistant Secretary Philip J. Crowley on the announcement by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez that he would recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The United States position is that these regions are part of Georgia. Here is the transcript from today's press briefing:
QUESTION: Hugo Chavez, the president of Venezuela, has said today he intends to recognize the two breakaway Georgian regions, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Any response to that reaction?
MR. CROWLEY: Well, we continue to believe, as do the vast majority of countries around the world, that South Ossetia and Abkhazia are part of Georgia, and that the solution is not recognizing their independence, but first stabilize the situation and then facilitating their reintegration into recognized Georgia. That Russia has found one country plus the Nicaraguan legislature to recognize the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia underscores how isolated that view is.
QUESTION: I think they also have Hamas.
MR. CROWLEY: Doesn’t change what I just said.
QUESTION: And is it not just – it’s not – it’s only the legislature in Nicaragua? It’s --
MR. CROWLEY: I believe so.
The Frankfurt International Investment Moot Court will release the problem statement for its 2009-10 competition on Monday, September 14. This year's problem concerns a dispute arising during "tulip mania," the 17th century investment "bubble" (and subsequent crash) in the Dutch tulip bulb market.
Now in its third year, the moot is hosted by the Wilhem Merton Centre for European Integration and International Economic Systems at Goethe University, Frankfurt-am-Main. The oral rounds of the competition will be held in Frankfurt, March 9-12, 2010. Arbitrators in the 2010 final round will be Professors James Crawford, Francisco Orrego Vicuna, and Christoph Schreuer.
The Best Advocate Award in the moot is accompanied by a full-tuition scholarship to Queen Mary, University of London's Centre for Commercial Law Studies towards either an LL.M. degree in Comparative and International Dispute Resolution or towards a postgraduate diploma in International Dispute Resolution (Arbitration). In addition, all members of the winning team receive a three-week placement at The Hague Academy for International Law.
For additional information, visit the competition's website at http://www.investmentarbitrationmoot.com/.
,Co-Sponsored Program of AALS Section on National Security Law, Section on International Human Rights and Section on International Law
"Cross-Currents in International Law, Human Rights Law and National Security Law"
Sunday, January 10, 2010. 9:00-10:45 a.m.
2010 AALS Annual Meeting
New Orleans, Louisiana
On Tuesday, the Bundestag overwhelmingly approved national legislation incorporating the Treaty of Lisbon, a major step towards the entry into force of the European Union's attempt at comprehensive institutional reform. The vote by the Bundestag, the lower house of Germany's parliament, follows this summer's favorable ruling on the Treaty by the German Constitutional Court. Next week, the Bundesrat (upper house) will vote on the treaty; if approved, German President Horst Kohler could sign it into law in advance of Germany's September 27 elections.
Germany is one of only four of the 27 EU Member States not to have approved the Treaty. In Ireland, the first step to ratification will be an October 2 general referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. During the last referendum, in June 2008, Irish voters rejected the Treaty, 46% to 53%. The ratifications of Poland and the Czech Republic await only Presidential approval; in both cases, the Presidents have stated their intention to withhold their approval unless Irish voters approve the Treaty.
The vote in the Bundestag was 446 in favor, 46 opposed.
Here's a reminder about a program of the American Society of International Law Committee on Teaching International Law. It will be held on Friday, September 25, 2009 at Hofstra Law School in New York. Click here for more information.
Aaron Zelinsky, a student at Yale Law School, has previously contributed to this blog. He does so again now by sharing with us a link to a short commentary he wrote. In that article, he concludes that the recent release of Lockerbie bomber al-Megrahi over U.S. protest reinforces the need for the U.S. President to be able to move Guantanamo detainees to U.S. soil, and that Congress should amend the federal legislation that currently prohibits bringing former Guantanamo detainees to the United States. Click here to read his article.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
INTERIGHTS, the International Centre for the Legal Protection of Human Rights, works to promote respect for human rights through the use of law. It does so by providing legal expertise to lawyers, judges, human rights defenders and other partners concerning international and comparative human rights law. The main focus of its work is strategic litigation, bringing or supporting cases in critical areas where there is either a potential for human rights standards to be developed or where existing standards are under threat. Click here for more information about the organization.
INTERIGHTS is seeking a Executive Director to work its London office. It is also seeking a Co-Litigation Director to work three days a week in its London office. Click here to see the two job vacancy postings.
Hat tip to Niels W. Frenzen, Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the Immigration Clinic at the Gould School of Law at the University of Southern California. Professor Frenzen spent part of his sabbatical working at INTERIGHTS.
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
September 6, 2009
On behalf of the people of the United States, I extend warm wishes and congratulations to the people of Brazil as they celebrate 187 years of independence. We value the bonds of friendship and mutual respect between our two nations. The United States and Brazil are united by our commitment to democratic values, by our long history – I am proud that the United States was the first country to recognize Brazil as a sovereign nation – and by our shared hopes for a peaceful and prosperous future.
The partnership between the United States and Brazil is both durable and dynamic. Our governments are working together to meet the regional and global challenges of our times, from developing alternative energy sources and rebuilding the global economy to combating threats to public health and security.
On this historic occasion, I want to applaud Brazil’s leadership in the Americas and around the world, and reaffirm the commitment of the United States to further strengthen and deepen our partnership.
There's another new blog to report about -- this one is a law firm blog that focuses on customs and international trade law. Click here for a quick visit. The three bloggers there are Peter Quinter, Jennifer Diaz, and Ana Ziade, all apparently from the firm of Becker & Poliakoff. I have known Peter for several years through his work on the Customs Law Committee of the American Bar Association Section of International Law. The blog contains some very practical insights for trade lawyers, clients, and all of us who teach or write about customs, international business, and international trade law.
Hat tip to Peter Quinter.
We continue to report on the sad situation in Fiji, where the military government has suspended the constitution. Radio New Zealand reported (on September 6, 2009) that the Annual General Meeting of the Fiji Law Society had been banned. The police in Fiji gave no reason for the decision to cancel the annual meeting.
Radio New Zealand reported that the President of the Fiji Law Society, Dorsami Naidu, said that the Law Society had been granted a permit to meet, but that the permit was then cancelled without providing any reason.
Hat tips to Radio New Zealand and the East-West Center in Honolulu. And a message of good will and support to all the lawyers and judges in Fiji who are unable to practice under the current military regime. May your consitution and your constitutional rights be restored quickly.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
We've just received the following press release from the World Justice Project. For more information about the World Justice Project (beyond what you're about to read in this press release), click here.
THE WORLD JUSTICE PROJECT HAS BECOME AN INDEPENDENT ORGANIZATION
The World Justice Project, launched in 2007 to strengthen the rule of law worldwide, has become an independent not-for-profit Washington State corporation with tax exempt status, announced William H. Neukom, the project’s founder, president and CEO.
“The World Justice Project was intended from its inception to become an independent organization, “ said Neukom of San Francisco, who was American Bar Association president from August 2007 to August 2008. “After several years of nurturing under the umbrella of the ABA, the WJP’s leaders believe that it is ready to stand alone,” he said. Neukom pledged that the project will expand its work to promote adherence to the rule of law in countries across the world. “The ABA has been a generous host for the WJP and we are very appreciative of its cooperation and support for the new entity during its start-up phase,” Neukom continued.
The ABA “is enormously proud of the work of the WJP, and its efforts to advance communities of opportunity and equity around the world. The project’s innovative approach draws together leaders from all segments of society to support the rule of law as a foundation to foster environments where human potential can be fully realized and culture, health, education, commerce and political development can thrive,” said ABA President Carolyn Lamm of Washington, D.C.
During the transition, contemplated to continue through March 31, 2010, the project and its staff will continue to occupy space in ABA offices at 740 15th St., N.W., Washington, D.C., and the ABA will continue to provide certain facilities and services. WJP will pay the association rent and service fees. The ABA will remain an active participant in the WJP, along with other co-sponsors, including the International Chamber of Commerce, the International Trade Union Confederation, the World Federation of Public Health Associations and the American Society of Civil Engineers.
WJP will be governed by a board of directors, presently consisting of William C. Hubbard of Columbia, S.C., James R. Silkenat of New York and Neukom, and will be expanded in the future to include notable world leaders from a variety of important professions and disciplines. Its officers will include Roderick B. Mathews of Richmond, Va., as treasurer; Laurence B. Bailey of Seattle, Wash., as secretary, and Deborah Enix-Ross of New York as vice president. Current honorary co-chairs of the WJP include Emil Constantinescu, Hilario G. Davide Jr., Dr. Ashraf Ghani, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and Mary Robinson.
The World Justice Project is unique in its engagement of stakeholders from a variety of disciplines around the world and is building an active network of governmental and nongovernmental leaders from more than 15 disciplinary fields, representing all socio-economic levels of society. Its work is being carried out through the creation of a comprehensive Rule of Law Index, the convening of global and regional mainstreaming meetings of world leaders on rule of law issues, the issuance of seed grants from the WJP’s Opportunity Fund to rule of law initiatives and the origination of new scholarship on rule of law issues. All of the WJP’s efforts are dedicated to developing practical programs in support of the rule of law.