December 12, 2009
ICJ Advisory Opinion on the Independence of Kosovo
Public hearings wrapped up this week in the International Court of Justice on the question of Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia early last year, with the court now ready to begin its deliberations.
Representatives of Serbia and the authors of the declaration of independence, the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government (PISG) of Kosovo, spoke during proceedings at the ICJ, which began December 1, 2009. Twenty-seven other United Nations Member States also addressed the proceedings.
In October 2008 the General Assembly adopted a resolution requesting the ICJ to give an advisory opinion on the legality of the move by the PISG of Kosovo, where ethnic Albanians outnumber ethnic Serbs and other minorities by about nine to one.
Adapted from a UN Press Release
December 9, 2009
International Human Rights Day 2009
Thursday, December 10 is International Human Rights Day. This year's focus is on non-discrimination. In the words of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay: "Discrimination lies at the root of many of the world's most pressing human rights problems. No country is immune from this scourge. Eliminating discrimination is a duty of the highest order."
The promise of equality without discrimination has been part of every major human rights treaty in the last 60 years starting with the 1948 UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights: "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights." Unfortunately, the eradication of unlawful discrimination has been more difficult and is taking longer than many people imagined. Numerous UN General Assembly resolutions condeming discrimination and multiple treaties to combat discrimination against specific groups have been adopted, including the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), Convention of the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families, and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. And yet, much remains to be done. While many of these treaties have wide participation (CEDAW currently boasts 186 parties for example), implementation in domestic laws lags behind.
For ideas on ways to "Embrace Diversity and End Discrimination," in honor of International Human Rights Day 2009, see the United Nations wepage on International Human Rights Day.
December 8, 2009
Serbia Takes Another Step Towards Joining EU
Yesterday, the European Union (EU) removed another hurdle in Serbia's path to joining the EU. In 2008, the EU had signed a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with Serbia, a major early step in the accession process. However, the agreement was never fully ratified largely because of objections from the Netherlands regarding Serbia's failure to hand over two war crimes suspects, Ratko Mladic and Goran Hadzic. Mladic is accused of participating in a massacre at Srebrenica in 1995. Hadzic likewise is accused of participating in multiple war crimes. Both men are still at large. Despite that fact, Serbia recently received a positive evaluation from the UN chief prosecutor, Serge Brammertz, stating that Serbia has been cooperating with the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia (ICTY). As a result, the Netherlands withdrew its objections to the ratification and implementation of the SAA with Serbia. The move comes just one week after EU interior ministers agreed to life visa restrictions on Serb citizens as of December 19.
December 7, 2009
European Union Moves Towards Common Patent System
As persons familiar with international intellectual property (IP) law know, the general rule is that protection for intellectual property is territorial. As a result, if an IP owner is operating internationally, it is likely that they will need to file for IP protection in each country in which they desire protection. While some exceptions exist, the usual requirement of multiple filings can be quite time consuming and costly and can even jeopardize protection if the owner does not file quickly enough in each place.
On Friday, the European Union (EU) took an important step toward EU-wide patent protection. The EU's industry ministers agreed to set up a single EU patent and agreed to create a new EU patent court system, which will reduce or eliminate the need for litigation in multiple national venues and bring more uniformity to the law. Some legal issues and other details remain to be worked out, but the agreement signals an important revitalisation of talks on an EU-wide patent system that have been stalled since 2004.
Call for Proposals: Emory Conference Will Include Teaching Transactions in an International Setting
The Center for Transactional Law and Practice at Emory University School of Law in Atlanta, Georgia has issued a call for proposals for a conference being held at Emory on June 4-5, 2010. Proposals are being accepted now through the end of January. Conference topics include
- Contract Drafting
- Teaching Transactions in an International Setting
- Teaching Contract Drafting for the First Time
- Teaching Transactional Skills in a Doctrinal Course
- Teaching Accounting from a Transactional Perspective
- Teaching Ethics from a Transactional Perspective
- Teachign Transactional Skills Other than Contract Drafting
- Teaching Transaction-Related Tasks
- Transactional Training Techniques
- Curricular Issues
- Transacational Centers and Certificates
- The basic framework of contract law in civil law jurisdictions
- The drafting of contracts in civil law jurisdictions
- Business transactions in accordance with Islamic law
- Simulations as a mode of teaching
- Integration of international issues into transactional skills courses
- Cultural issues affecting the negotiation of international transactions
- The use of clinics to teach international transactions
- How non-U.S. law schools are teaching transactional skills
- Teaching foreign LLM students about drafting in a common law country
Hat tip to Tina Stark