September 8, 2009
Legal Educator Blog Census - Version 2.0
Here is the portion covering bloggers at law schools starting with A-M.
Here is the portion covering bloggers at law schools starting with N-Z.
Here is an alphabetical listing of all blogs.
Here is a listing of blogs started after March 2009 and bloggers who started posting on existing blogs after March 2009.
Finally, here are some statistics about the blog census, showing which schools have the most blogs (and bloggers).
Hat tip to Colin Miller.
Debate on International Law in the Law School Curriculum
Several bloggers have recently been discussing the wisdom or necessity of requiring first year law students to study international law. Links to various posts can be found here. The arguments in favor include (1) the world is becoming increasingly globalized such that more lawyers will face international law issues in their practice no matter what area of law they specialize in, and (2) exposure to different legal systems and approaches to problem solving improves students' reasoning skills generally. The arguments against requiring international law include (1) most lawyers do not face very many international issues in practice despite globalization, and (2) public international law concepts can be learned on the job.
Personally, as much as I love the study of international law, I am not convinced that it should be required in the first year of law school. First year law students are faced with an overwhelming amount of new information that they must master already. Having a solid grounding in domestic law may allow them to develop a better understanding of the similarities and differences between national and international legal systems as upper class students. However, I have no problem with offering an elective for those students who come into law school knowing that they want to practice international law. Being required to wait until the second year of law school before being able to pursue your passion can be very frustrating.
Regardless of whether international law is offered in the first year of law school, I do strongly believe that more law students should have some exposure to international law at some point in their law school career for the reasons stated above. I disagree with Eric Posner's argument that international law can be easily learned in practice. International law is a vast, complicated, and nuanced subject. I am often dismayed at the lack of understanding of international law concepts demonstrated by many judges in their opinions. (I am not blaming judges here - they often depend on the lawyers and law clerks to do the research and present the arguments.) If more lawyers were exposed to international law concepts in law school, lawyers, judges and clerks would likely do a better job of handling issues of international law that are raised in cases that come before them.
This discussion will be continued at the Teaching International Law Workshop, sponsored by the American Society of International Law Teaching International Law Interest Group at Hofstra Law School on Friday, September 25. For more information on the workshop, click here. Another topic of discussion at the workshop will be: to the extent law schools offer international law courses as part of the curriculum, what are the basic knowledge, skills, and values that should be taught? Comments are most welcome.
"Ratify the Law of the Sea" Page on Facebook Now Has More Than 500 Fans
We reported last week about a new Facebook page promoting U.S. ratification of the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea. That Facebook page now has more than 500 fans.
Fiji Government Pulls All Advertising from Fiji Times
We have reported previously on this blog about the sad situation in Fiji, where the military government suspended the constitution, fired all of the judges, revoked the law licenses of all of the lawyers in the country, banned certain public meetings, and imposed severe press censorship.
Radio Australia is reporting that interim leader Frank Bainimarama has now banned all government advertising in the Fiji Times, the country's national newspaper. The paper has been operating under the country's harsh censorship laws since April, but it has continued to criticize the restrictions on freedom of the press. The measure banning government advertising in the paper is intended to punish the paper financially. He also cancelled all of the government's subscriptions to the newspaper as well. The Fiji Times recently marked its 140th anniversary of publication.
Hat tip to Radio Australia and the East-West Center in Honolulu.
Woman in Sudan Escapes 40 Lashes for Wearing Slacks in Public, But Is Fined Equivalent of $200
Article 152 of the Penal Code of Sudan provides that anyone “who commits an indecent act which violates public morality or wears indecent clothing” can be fined and lashed up to 40 times.
The law is vague and has been used to oppress women. The most recent example of that can be found in the case of Lubna Hussein, a journalist who recently worked for the United Nations. She and a dozen or so other women were arrested in a cafe in Sudan and charged under article 152 of the Sudan Penal Code because they were wearing slacks.
Yesterday a court spared her the whipping -- a punishment given with plastic whips intended to leave permanent scars -- but fined her the equivalent of $200. The woman said she will not pay the fine, and the judge threatened her with one month imprisonment. She may choose the prison sentence to have a chance to report on prison conditions in Sudan.
Her trial yesterday was attended by diplomats from the British, Canadian, Dutch, French, and Swedish Embassies, along with many women supporters who were also wearing slacks.
Click here to read more about this story in the New York Times. The woman is quoted in the article as asking "What passage in the Koran says women can't wear pants?"
UPDATE: We have just received the following press release from the United Nations
The United Nations human rights arm today spoke out against the sentencing of a former employee of the world body in Sudan for wearing pants, stressing that the case is representative of discrimination against women in the African nation.
Lubna Hussein, who formerly worked for the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), was sentenced yesterday to one month in jail, with the alternative of paying a 500 Sudanese Pound, or $200, fine, for dressing in an “indecent” manner.
But the Sudanese Criminal Court “does not define what constitutes ‘indecent dress’ and leaves wide discretion to police officers, raising concerns that the arrests are being conducted arbitrarily,” Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the Office for the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR), told reporters in Geneva.
Ms. Hussein was spared the punishment of up to 40 lashes allowed under Sudan’s 1991 Criminal act, but under international human rights standards, flogging is seen as cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment, according to OHCHR.
When asked about Ms. Hussein’s case in July, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters that flogging contravenes international human rights standards. “I call on all parties to live up to their obligations under all relevant international instruments,” he said.
“Lubna Hussein’s case is emblematic of a wider pattern of discrimination and application of discriminatory laws against women,” Mr. Colville stated today.
She was arrested with 13 other women, and their detentions were all arbitrary and at the discretion of police officers, he added.
At the time of her arrest, Ms. Hussein was not informed of her charges, violating the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Sudan is a State party, as well as its own Interim National Constitution.
“The rights to freedom from arbitrary arrest, to due process of law, and to freedom from cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment are expressly protected in the Bill of Rights contained in Sudan’s Interim National Constitution,” the OHCHR spokesperson said.
Given her status as an UNMIS staff member at the time of her arrest and initial trial, Ms. Hussein, who subsequently resigned during her trial, was represented by the mission’s lawyers.
However, the other women arrested did not have access to legal representation and did not have enough time to prepare their defence. Some received flogging sentences, which were carried out immediately.
The 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which ended Sudan’s north-south civil war, requires a comprehensive review of national laws, including the Criminal Act, to bring them into line with the Interim Constitution and the country’s international human rights obligations.
“This review has yet to be completed,” Mr. Colville said.
Afghan Journalist Now Free -- He Had Been Sentenced to Death for Blasphemy for Downloading an Article About the Rights of Women in Islam
A 23-year-old journalism student and reporter who was sentenced to death and then to 20 years in prison for downloading an article about the rights of women in Islam was secretly pardoned and released several weeks ago. Sayed Perwiz Kambakhsh had been arrested in October 2007 on a charge of “blasphemy and distribution of texts defamatory of Islam.” He has now fled Afghanistan for fear of reprisals. Click here to read more from the website for Reporters Without Borders. The website includes a video interview.
Police Work and Respect for Human Rights -- Remarks From Liberia
The following press release from the United Nations describes remarks by the UN Deputy Special Representative for the Rule of Law in Liberia, who was addressing a graduation ceremony for police officers. In her remarks, she stressed the importance of having police give full respect for human rights.
Respect for human rights must be central to police work, a senior United Nations official in Liberia has told the new members of an elite unit within the West African country's police force as she warned them never to misuse their strength and power.
Eighty officers from the Liberia National Police (LNP) have completed a three-month intensive training programme to join the force's Emergency Response Unit (ERU), joining just over 200 others who have finished their training since courses began in mid-2008. They are tasked with responding to crisis and high-risk situations.
Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu, the Secretary-General's Deputy Special Representative for the Rule of Law in Liberia, told a graduation ceremony in Monrovia, the capital, for the 80 officers that they have "inherited the hopes and dreams of all Liberians who seek to live" in safety and security.
"The measure of your strength and power is not how frequently you remind people of them, but how well you control your use of that power," Ms. Mensa-Bonsu said, according to a press release issued today by the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).
"Even when tested under the most trying of circumstances, you must adhere to the principle of proportionality in the use of force; sound judgement, restraint and respect are characteristics of a professional police officer," she stressed.
In her remarks Ms. Mensa-Bonsu promised that UNMIL would continue to assist the Liberian Government in training, reforming and restructuring the LNP. She also welcomed the support for the United States and Irish Governments for the ERU training programme.
September 7, 2009
International Mother Earth Day
The U.N. General Assembly approved a resolution back in May that designates April 22 as "International Mother Earth Day." Click here to read a copy of A/Res/63/278 (2009).
Other upcoming U.N. dates to note include these (from a World Health Organization Calendar, so this isn't all of the holidays but just those relating to health):
TOMORROW -- Tuesday, September 8, is International Literacy Day.
Monday, September 21, is the International Day of Peace.
Thursday, September 24, is World Heart Day.
Thursday, October 1, is the International Day of Older Persons.
Sunday, October 11, is World Mental Health Day.
Friday, October 16, is World Food Day.
Saturday, November 14, is World Diabetes Day.
Tuesday, December 1, is World AIDS Day.
Thursday, December 3, is the International Day of Disabled Persons.
September 6, 2009
WTO Ruling Finds Airbus Subsidies to Violate Trade Rules
According to several news reports, a World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute resolution panel issued a preliminary report on Friday finding that European subsidies given to the aerospace company, Airbus, violate WTO subsidy rules. The United States initiated the WTO proceeding in 2004 complaining that $20 billion in subsidies provided to Airbus violated the WTO Subsidies Agreement. The panel apparently agreed with the U.S. at least in part, finding that all of the "launch" subsidies, i.e., $15 billion in loans given to Airbus by European governments, were illegal export subsidies. In addition to the loans having more favorable terms, they only had to be repaid if the projects they financed were successful. The panel ruled that certain research and development aid and infrastructure support given to Airbus violated WTO subsidies rules as well. The panel's decision will have to be finalized and then either adopted by the WTO Dispute Resolution Body or appealed to the WTO Appellate Body before there is any final resolution in the matter. In the meantime, the Europeans have filed a counterclaim against Airbus's U.S. competitor, Boeing, alleging that it too has received improper subsidies in the form of military contracts, state tax breaks and grants from the space agency, NASA. A ruling in that case is expected in a few months.