Monday, June 21, 2010
A United States national with extensive experience in organizational ethics and compliance has been appointed Director of the United Nations Ethics Office. Joan Elise Dubinsky was Chief Ethics Officer of the International Monetary Fund ("IMF") from October 2004 through June last year, and served more recently as the Director of Ethics for BAE Systems. Within the private sector, Ms. Dubinsky has also led the Rosentreter Group, a management consultancy specializing in ethics, compliance and organizational development. She succeeds Robert Benson of Canada, who has served as UN Ethics Director since May 2007.
The UN Ethics Office administers financial disclosure and whistleblower policies mandated by the General Assembly during its 2005 World Summit. It also provides confidential advice to staff to help them avert conflict of interest problems.
(adapted from a UN Press Release)
Sunday, June 20, 2010
As readers of this blog know, Justice Tom Buergenthal has announced his retirement from the International Court of Justice. Our friends at the Intlawgrrls Blog have just posted news that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has confirmed that the U.S. will nominate Joan E. Donoghue, Principal Deputy Legal Adviser at the Department of State, to replace him.
Although the nomination has been described as one to "fill the U.S. seat on the court," there is no such thing. While there is technically no U.S. seat on the Court, each of the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council traditionally has been able to nominate a judge to the court.
Justice Buergenthal will return to George Washington University when he leaves the ICJ.
One of my colleagues at the Southern Illinois University (SIU) School of Law, Assistant Professor Lucian Dervan, recently returned from Israel where he completed a Foundation for Defense of Democracies Academic Fellowship to study counterterrorism issues. The Fellowship gave Professor Dervan a glimpse into Israel’s counterterrorism apparatus as well as access to academics, diplomats and military personnel who provided insights into that country’s daily struggle with terror. During his time in Israel, Professor Dervan traveled to military bases, border zones, and security installations where he watched several military and police units in action. He heard of rocket attacks occuring while he was there and observed the aftermath of many other attacks. He came away believing that Israel's multi-layered approach is largely successful in thwarting potential terrorist attacks. Below right is a memorial at the site of a suicide bombing.
With the United States engaged in its own fight against terrorism, Dervan believes it could learn much from Israel’s experience as a democratic nation that has struggled for decades to balance security with protecting individual freedoms. “The numerous attempted terrorist attacks in the United States since Sept. 11 show us that counterterrorism and national security will continue to become ever more important issues for our country,” said Dervan. “Israel perceives this as a long-term battle that requires multiple fronts for success, including the use of extensive intelligence-gathering networks to avert attacks and mechanisms by which to quickly respond to and alleviate imminent threats,” Dervan said. “As America continues to battle terrorism, we should be aware of the unrelenting nature of the threat and prepare ourselves as terrorists continue in their quest to again strike us on the home front.” (Note: some of these comments are taken from an SIU press release regarding Dervan's visit to Israel.)
Professor Dervan was in Israel during the confrontation between the Israel Defense Force (IDF) and persons aboard the Mavi Marmara, one of the Turkish ships that was part of the flotilla carrying humanitarian aid that attempted to run the blockade of Gaza. Dervan said he received a briefing from a high-ranking Israeli military officer that included video taken by the Mavi Marmara's onboard security cameras throughout its voyage, including footage taken during the confrontation. Dervan stated that the video showed that the IDF initially boarded the ship without deadly weapons drawn, not anticipating armed resistance. However, when some of the passengers put up armed resistance, the situation turned more deadly. (On a related note, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu announced last Thursday that the Security Cabinet had agreed to ease the blockade of the Gaza Strip.)
Congratulations to Professor Dervan on his Fellowship and best wishes for his future academic success!
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Myanmar used the the sixty-fifth birthday of Aung San Suu Kyi to call for her release from house arrest by the government of Myanmar, along with the release of other prisoners of conscience. (The UK Foreign Office also called for her immediate release on Friday.) Ms. Suu Kyi has been under house arrest for approximately 14 of the past 20 years for her leadership of the National League for Democracy in Myanmar. She has been recognized with the Nobel Peace Prize for her work. The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has found Ms. Suu Kyi's detention to be arbitrary and has repeatedly called on the government of Myanmar to comply with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which prohibits arbitrary arrests and detentions. The government of Myanmar has reportedly said that she will be released in November, after the next elections in October.