Saturday, September 11, 2010
Today is the ninth anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The day is being marked as a day of service and remembrance.
Earlier this week, an unfortunate preacher in Florida threatened to burn copies of the Qu'ran. He has called off those plans (thankfully) but his stupidity has caused distress around the world. I have been moved by many of the positive responses, such as a movement to "Learn It, Don't Burn It."
From all of our recorded history, we know one thing for certain: burning a book illuminates nothing.
Today is a special day around the world. We celebrate our common humanity and the things that bring us together. We celebrate our differences and the diversity that makes this planet such a special place to live. We celebrate and cherish the gift of life. Let us work to improve communication, understanding, respect, and peace.
Friday, September 10, 2010
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued two press releases relating to its members today.
First, the Court announced that the UN General Assembly and Security Council have elected Ms. Joan E. Donoghue from the United States as a Member of the ICJ. Ms. Donoghue succeeds Mr. Thomas Buergenthal, former judge of the Court, who resigned as of 6 September 2010. Pursuant to Article 15 of the Statute of the Court, Ms Donoghue will hold office for the remainder of Mr. Buergenthal’s term, which will expire on 5 February 2015. Prior to her election to the Court, Ms. Donoghue was a senior career attorney at the U.S. Department of State. She also has taught international law courses at several U.S. law schools, including George Washington, Georgetown, and University of California at Berkeley. More information may be found here.
In related news, the Court announced that a swearing in ceremony will be held on Monday, September 13 for Ms. Donoghue and the Court's other newest member, Ms. Xue Hanqui of China. Both women will make the Court's solemn declaration under Article 20 of the ICJ Statute to "exercise [her] powers impartially and conscientiously." This swearing in ceremony will be an historic occasion because it marks the first time two women will serve on the Court simultaneously (out of 15 judges). More information regarding the swearning in ceremony may be found here.
A new brochure from Foundation Press tells me that there's a new supplement availalbe for "The International Legal System" by Mary Ellen O'Connell (Notre Dame), Richard F. Scott (Thomas Jefferson), and Naomi Roht-Arriaza (Hastings College of Law).
The supplement is 1,137 pages long. Wow.
Contact Foundation Press for more information. The ISBN is 978-1-59941-184-2.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
At this summer's annual meeting of the Southeast Association of Law Schools (SEALS), one of the best attended panels was "Research Assistance 2.0." The panel was chaired by Professor Richard Bales (Northern Kentucky University Salmon P. Chase College of Law). The speakers were Professor Helane Davis (University of Kentucky College of Law), Brooke Bowman (Stetson University College of Law), Lawrence Rosenthal (Northern Kentucky University Salmon P. Chase College of Law) and me, Mark E. Wojcik (The John Marshall Law School).
Here is a link to my article, Should You Be a Faculty Research Assistant, which Brooke Bowman told me was her inspiration for putting the panel together. You can also share this link with your research assistants (or those seeking to become your research assistants) so that they will become more familiar with how to do research on SSRN. http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1265844
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
The Pettit College of Law at Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio celebrates this year the 50th anniversary of its relationship with the University of Iceland in Reykjavik. It produced a small brochure to celebrate that anniversary and to promote its other international activities.
Congratulations to Dean David Crago, the Claude W. Petitt College of Law, and the University of Iceland Faculty of Law,
Ninth Circuit Dismisses Suit Against Boeing Subsidiary for Allegedly Arranging CIA Flights in "Extraordinary Renditions"
By a one-vote margin (6-5), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit dismissed a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) against a subsidiary of the Boeing Corporation (Jeppesen Dataplan Inc.). The basis of the dismissal was the "state secrets" doctrine.
The ACLU, on behalf of five clients, accused Jeppesen of arranging flights for the Central Intelligence Agency’s “extraordinary rendition” program, by which the CIA would seize terrorism suspects and transfer them to other countries where they would be imprisoned, interrogated, and tortured.
Here's an excerpt from the opening of the decision:
This case requires us to address the difficult balance the state secrets doctrine strikes between fundamental principles of our liberty, including justice, transparency, accountability and national security. Although as judges we strive to honor all of these principles, there are times when exceptional circumstances create an irreconcilable conflict between them. On those rare occasions, we are bound to follow the Supreme Court’s admonition that “even the most compelling necessity cannot overcome the claim of privilege if the court is ultimately satisfied that [state] secrets are at stake.” United States v. Reynolds, 345 U.S. 1, 11 (1953). After much deliberation, we reluctantly conclude this is such a case, and the plaintiffs’ action must be dismissed.
An article in the New York Times said that the ruling was “a major victory to the Obama administration in its effort to advance a sweeping view of executive secrecy.”
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
A press release from the WTO announces that the organization is now on a number of social media websites. The WTO invites you to "tune in and join the conversation" and "debate the key issues related to international trade." You can follow WTO news and events and "have your say" on:
Click here for WTO on Facebook:
Click here to follow the WTO on Twitter
Click here for the YouTube
And click here for WTO photos on Flickr
Enjoy! (Your students will!)
Monday, September 6, 2010
Here is a reminder that the Association of American Law Schools' Section on International Human Rights invites abstracts and paper proposals from “new voices” among faculty whose research focuses on international human rights law and practice to be presented at its “New Voices in Human Rights” program during the 2011 Annual Meeting in San Francisco, California.Eligibility:
Faculty members of AALS members and fee-paid law schools are eligible to submit papers. Non-U.S., visiting and adjunct faculty members, graduate students, and fellows are not eligible to submit. To be a “New Voice,” you do not necessarily need to be new to academia or new to human rights, but you do need to be submitting a paper in area of international human rights law and practice for the first time at an AALS conference.
Please email submissions, in Word or PDF format, to Sarah Paoletti at paoletti [at] law.upenn.edu. Submissions at various stages of completion will be considered. The selection process has become increasingly competitive over the year, with the number of submissions exceeding what can be accommodated during the program.
NEW Deadline date for submission:
September 16, 2010.
The Frederick K. Cox International Law Center at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law in Ohio is hosting a War Crimes Research Symposium on Friday, September 10 and Saturday, September 11, 2010 beginning at 9 am each day. The title of the symposium is "Lawfare!: Are America's enemies using law against us as a weapon of war?" Speakers include Prof. Michael Scharf, director of the Cox Center (pictured at right), Prof. Michael Kelly, president of AIDP, Creighton, Prof. Leila Sadat, Washington University, Major General Charles Dunlap, Jr, JAG Air Force, Hon. James Ogoola, Principle Judge, Ugandan HIgh Court, Prof. David Crane, founding Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, Ambassador David Scheffer, former US Ambassador at Large for War Crimes Issues, and many others. The symposium is free and open to the public. Register online at http://law.case.edu/lectures.
Sunday, September 5, 2010
The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals has been busy with some international law-related cases this past month.
In World Holdings LLC v. Germany, No. 09-14359 (2010), the Court affirmed jurisdiction over the claim of World Holdings LLC (WHL) to obtain payment on bonds issued by Germany during the 1920s. Germany stopped making payment on the bonds during World War II. After the war, Germany affirmed its pre-war financial obligations, including these bonds, and negotiated repayment plans, including a 1953 treaty with the United States. Germany has refused to pay WHL for its bonds, however, because the bonds have not been properly validated. WHL claims alternatively that it is not possible to comply with the validation procedure and that it is not be subject to that validation procedure in any event. WHL sued Germany for breach of contract. Germany argued that it is not subject to suit in U.S. courts due to sovereign immunity. Although Germany conceded that the commercial activity exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act (FSIA), 28 U.S.C. sec. 1602, applies to this case, Germany also argued that FSIA is superceded by the international repayment agreements which require validation of the bonds. After reviewing those international agreements, the Eleventh Circuit concluded that no direct conflict exists between those agreements and FSIA. Accordingly, the Court determined that WHL's suit against Germany may proceed, but offered no opinion on the merits regarding whether the bonds are enforceable.
By contrast, In Estate of Amergi v. Palestinian Authority, No. 09-13618 (2010), the Court found that it did not have jurisdiction over an Alien Tort Statute (ATS), 28 U.S.C. sec. 1350, claim brought by representatives of an Israeli lawyer who was shot and killed while driving in the Gaza Strip. Plaintiffs claimed that the Palestinian Authority (PA) controlled that area as well as the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and that these groups advocated the killing of Israelis in Gaza. Plaintiffs further claim that Defendants provided encouragement and financial and other support to the man responsible for Amergi's killing. Plaintiffs allege that a private killing under these circumstances constitutes a war crime and is a tort in violation of the law of nations within the meaning of the ATS. The Eleventh Circuit rejected Plaintiffs' claim, stating that the record did not support the assertion that these actions were carried out during armed conflict. Rather than a tort under international law, the Eleventh Circuit characterized Amergi's killing as a single act of murder. Like the single act of illegal detenion in Sosa v. Alvarez Machain, a single act of murder does not give rise to jurisdiction under the ATS.