April 24, 2010
State Department Invites Grant Proposals for U.S.-Afghanistan Professional Partnership Program
In his December 1, 2009, speech in West Point, New York, U.S. President Barack Obama said that a new diplomatic initiative in Afghanistan would be part of the U.S. strategy to bring peace and stability in the Afghanistan/Pakistan region.
As part of this initiative, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) of the U.S. Department of State is seeking proposals for a new program, called ``The U.S./Afghanistan Professional Partnership Program.''
This program will bring young professionals from the two countries together to develop cross cultural relationships and develop professional skills that will positively impact people's lives and will result in stronger ties between the two nations.
Applications are due by May 21, 2010. The ECA expects to award one grant of $1.2 million for this project. Get more information at 75 Fed. Reg. 18005 (2010) or click here.
April 23, 2010
U.N. Envoy Appointed to Help Resolve Guyana-Venezuela Border Controversy
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon appointed Norman Girvan--a respected diplomat, academic, and economist from Jamaica--to assist Guyana and Venezuela in resolving a long-standing border controversy.
Mr. Girvan’s appointment responds to a request from the parties to resume the Secretary-General’s good offices, which were suspended in 2007 after the death of Oliver Jackman, who had previously served as the U.N. Secretary-General’s Personal Representative on the Border Controversy between Guyana and Venezuela.
Mr. Girvan was Secretary General of the Association of Caribbean States from 2000-2004. He is currently a Professorial Research Fellow at the University of the West Indies’ Institute of International Relations.
Leadership Nominations for the International Association of Law Schools (IALS)
The nominating committee of the International Association of Law Schools has released the following nominations for officers and board members:
IALS Officers and Date of Expiration of Term in Office
Mónica Pinto, IALS President, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina (2011)
Francis SL Wang, IALS President-Elect, Kenneth Wang School of Law, Soochow University, China (2011)
Carl Monk, IALS General Secretary / Treasurer, USA (2011)
IALS Board Members (with terms expiring in 2010)
Mariam Hassan al-Khalifa, University of Bahrain College of Law, Kingdom of Bahrain (2010)
Noor Aziah Haji Mohd Awal, National University of Malaysia Faculty of Law, Malaysia (2010)
Roger Burridge, University of Warwick School of Law, United Kingdom (2010)
Michael Coper, Australian National University Faculty of Law, Australia (2010)
Claudio Grossman, American University Washington College of Law, United States (2010)
Chuma C. Himonga, University of Cape Town Faculty of Law, South Africa (2010)
Reem Bahdi, University of Windsor, Canada (2011)
Nerina Boschiero, University of Milan Faculty of Law, Italy (2012)
Fatou Kiné Camara, University of Dakar (Universite Cheikh Anta Diop), Senegal (2011)
Lidia Casas, Diego Portales University Faculty of Law, Chile (2012)
Dakas C. J. Dakas, University of Jos, Nigeria (2011)
V.S. Elizabeth, National Law School of India University, India (2012)
Aalt Willem Heringa, Maastricht University Faculty of Law, The Netherlands (2012)
Cheng Han Tan, National University of Singapore Faculty of Law, Singapore (2012)
Fernando Villarreal-Gonda, Facultad Libre de Derecho de Monterrey, Mexico (2011)
Hariolf Wenzler, Bucerius Law School, Germany (2011
Nominations for Newly Elected IALS Board Members (Terms Expire 2013)
Michael Coper, Australian National University Faculty of Law, Australia
Akram Daoud, An-Najah National University Faculty of Law, Palestine
Claudio Grossman, American University Washington College of Law, United States
Mohd Akram bin Shair Mohamed, International Islamic University Malaysia Ahmad Ibrahim Kulliyyah Of Laws
Valentina Smorgunova, Herzen State Pedagogical University, Russia
Amy Tsanga, University of Zimbabwe Faculty of Law, Zimbabwe
Hat tip to Jane LaBarbera
April 22, 2010
Whitney Harris, Former Prosecutor at Nuremberg, Has Died
We are sorry to report that Whitney Robson Harris died yesterday, at the age of 98, at his home in St. Louis, Missouri. He was the last surviving prosecutor who appeared before the International Military Tribunal (IMT) at Nuremberg during the trial of the principal surviving Nazi war criminals.
The following information comes from an email from Professor John Q. Barrett of St. John’s University School of Law.
At Nuremberg during 1945 and 1946, then Lieutenant-Commander Harris (United States Navy), serving as U.S. Trial Counsel, was primarily responsible for the prosecutions of defendant Ernst Kaltenbrunner, former Chief of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (RSHA, or Reich Main Security Office), and defendant organizations the RSHA, the Gestapo and the Sicherheitsdienst (SD, or Security Service). Whitney Harris also was a principal, trusted aide to U.S. chief prosecutor Justice Robert H. Jackson and assisted him throughout the trial, including during his cross-examination of defendant Hermann Goering.
Here is a video clip that shows Whitney Harris in Nuremberg.
Whitney Harris was the Chair of the American Bar Association Section of International Law from 1953-54. He also served as Executive Director of the American Bar Association.
He was a graduate of the University of Washington and the University of California Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law. As a young lawyer, he was in private practice in Los Angeles. Following Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, he enlisted in the Navy. During his World War II Navy service, he was recruited to the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), where his assignments included work relating to war crimes. In London during summer 1945, he assisted Justice Jackson’s staff informally. He soon was recruited to join the staff and became one of its most important members at Nuremberg.
After Nuremberg, Whitney Harris served successively as Chief of Legal Advice during the Berlin Blockade, as a law professor at Southern Methodist University, as director of the Hoover Commission's Legal Services Task Force, as the first Executive Director of the American Bar Association, and as Solicitor General of Southwestern Bell Telephone Company in St. Louis. He authored Tyranny on Trial, a monumental account of the Nuremberg case and evidence. He also became a generous philanthropist, including at Washington University in St. Louis, and a leader and conscience in his community.
Whitney Harris is survived by his beloved wife Anna, by devoted family members, by legions of friends and admirers, by his many students, and by his former client, Civilization. He represented it beautifully, and he left it with great confidence that it is in good hands.
The Law and Politics of the International Criminal Court
The symposium chair is Professor Shahram Dana. Speakers include Judge Philippe Kirsch, who served on the International Criminal Court from 2003 to 2009 and was its first President. Other speakers include Professors Jordan Paust (University of Houston Law Center), Nancy Combs (William & Mary Law School), Stuart Ford (The John Marshall Law School), Brian Lepard (University of Nebraska-Lincoln), Lisa Laplante (Marquette), Vincent Nmehielle (University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa), Kenneth Gallant (Arkansas), Margaret deGuzman (Temple), and Gregory Gordon (North Dakota).
I will be one of the moderators, as will my colleagues William Mock and Kim Chanbonpin. Professor William Schabas (National University of Ireland at Galway) was scheduled to attend but is stuck in Europe in the aftermath of Iceland's volcanic eruption. The luncheon speaker will be Jeanne Smoot of the Tajhirih Justice Center.
Papers from the symposium will be published in The John Marshall Law Review.
IACHR Rules that Sexual Orientation Discrimination Violates the American Convention on Human Rights
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights ruled on April 7, 2010 that discrimination against a parent in a child custody dispute because of his or her sexual orientation violates the American Convention on Human Rights. The Commission's ruling came in a case brought against Chile by Karen Atala. In 2004, the Supreme Court of Chile ruled that Karen's children could be removed from her custody because she is a lesbian. The Inter-American Commission's ruling repudiates that Chilean Supreme Court decision.
The decision is not publicly available (it was given only to the parties), and Chile is now considering how to respond to the ruling. The case is described in a bulletin issued by the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission. Click here to read that bulletin and to see links to other information about the case.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights is an autonomous body within the Organization of American States (OAS). The Commission was created to promote observance of human rights in the Americas. It consists of seven Commissioners, elected by the General Assembly of the OAS, and is headquartered in Washington, D.C. The Commissioners are independent human rights experts whose role is primarily to investigate and monitor human rights violations, promote public education about human rights, and resolve violations in a collaborative way as between the individual and the state. It is not a judicial body, as such but it can refer cases to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.
Hat tip to Paula Ettelbrick and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission.
Happy Earth Day!
Thursday, April 22 is the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day. It is a day to raise awareness about the environment. There are many events happening around the world, including an international focus on issues of access to safe water and climate change. Take a "green" action to celebrate!
April 21, 2010
Elections in Nauru
The Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat said that a small group of election observers will be present in Nauru for two weeks--a period that includes pre- and post-election activity so that the observers can gain a broad overview of the environment in which the election will take place.
Hat tip to the East-West Center
Afghanistan and State Building
The University of La Verne College of Law held a "wildly successful" international law symposium last week in California. The symposium focused on developing and enhancing rule of law protocols in post-conflict states. More than 40 military officials, government leaders and academic scholars attending the conference began collaborating to provide a set of detailed principles that governments can use to identify and prioritize essential, post-conflict actions. Also attending the symposium were LL.M. candidates from Afghanistan (studying through the Afghanistan Legal Educators Project), who spoke to the legal challenges influencing current policy-making and the rule of law in Afghanistan. Click here for more information about the program.
Hat tip to Rebecca Knapp.
April 20, 2010
Iceland's Volcano Disrupts ICJ Proceedings
The public hearings that opened yesterday at the International Court of Justice in the case concerning Ahmadou Sadio Diallo (Republic of Guinea v. Democratic Republic of the Congo) have been postponed because of the disruption of air traffic. The first round of oral argument by the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the second round of oral argument have each been postponed. Click here for more information.
ICJ Rules that Uruguay Breached its Obligations to Argentina, but Owes No Compensation
The International Court of Justice ruled today that Uruguay breached its treaty with Argentina when it began to build pulp mills on the banks of the River Uruguay. The Court ruled (by a vote of 14 to 1) that Uruguay breached procedural obligations under a 1975 treaty by failing to inform and negotiate with Argentina during the planning phase before the mills could be build. But the Court also ruled partially in favor of Uruguay, holding that the mill that has already been built in the Uruguayan town of Fray Bentos can continue operations and that Uruguay owes no compenstaion to Argentina for any impact to its tourism or agriculture.
Argentina filed suit against Uruguay in 2006, alleging that pollution from the mills will cause serious environmental damage and that they were being erected in breach of the 1975 border treaty. One mill was constructed near the Uruguayan town of Fray Bentos but the second mill is yet to be built.
The judges also voted by 11 to three that Uruguay did not breach its substantive obligations regarding the environment under a separate section of the 1975 treaty, known as the Statute of the River Uruguay. Those obligations include ensuring that the management of soil and woodland does not impair the quality of the river’s waters and coordinating measures to avoid changes in the ecological balance of the area.
The court also dismissed all other claims by the two countries, saying that dismantling the mill “would not constitute an appropriate remedy” given that Uruguay breached no substantive obligations under the treaty. It also found it could not uphold Argentina’s claim for compensation nor a request that Uruguay give guarantees that in future it will not prevent the treaty from being applied.
Click here to read the judgment. The cover page is in French but the rest of the 85-page document is in English.
(Adapted from a UN Press Release).
WTO Opens US Zeroing Dispute to Public
At the request of the parties, the arbitrator in the United States - European Communities (EC) Zeroing dispute (DS294) will open its May 20, 2010 meeting of the parties to public viewing. The meeting will be held at the World Trade Organization (WTO) headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland beginning at 10 a.m. local time. Viewing spaces will be allocated on a first come, first serve basis upon completion of an application. For more information or to find the application, click here.
The EC initiated this long-running WTO dispute in June 2003, when it requested consultations with the United States concerning a methodology known as "zeroing" which is used by the U.S., along with other WTO members, in the calculation of dumping margins. The “zeroing” methodology, generally speaking, involves treating specific price comparisons which do not show dumping as zero values in the calculation of a weighted average dumping margin. The EC asserted that in each case the dumping margin without zeroing would have been lower, de minimis or negative (most of the underlying products involved are steel products). In the EC’s view, U.S. law, regulations and practices were inconsistent with the United States’ obligations under several provisions of the WTO Agreements. Both the panel (in 2005) and the Appellate Body (in 2006) found the United States' zeroing methodology to be inconsistent with the United States' WTO obligations under Article 2 of the Anti-Dumping Agreement. Following the adoption of the Appellate Body report, the United States indicated its intent to bring its practices into conformity with the WTO Agreements. The current dispute concerns the ability of the EC to impose trade sanctions for the United States' alleged failure to bring its practices into full compliance.
April 19, 2010
ICJ to Broadcast Reading of Judgment in Pulp Mills Case
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has announced that viewers may watch the reading of its judgment in Pulp Mills on the River Uruguay (Argentina v. Uruguay) tomorrow, Tuesday, April 20, 2010, at 3 p.m. local time (1 p.m. GMT) live via Internet. The transmission will be in the Court's two official languages: French and English. For more information, go to the ICJ website.