Saturday, September 18, 2010
United Nations officials are urging Member States to take advantage of next week’s annual high-level segment of the General Assembly to sign, ratify or accede to dozens of international treaties ranging from protecting human rights to fighting terrorism to preserving biodiversity. Last year 64 countries took 103 treaty actions - the highest participation in four years – and in hopes of even greater success this year’s event has been entitled ‘Towards universal participation and implementation.’
This year’s event highlights 43 treaties deposited with the UN that address human rights, disarmament, protection of the environment, biodiversity, desertification and climate change, terrorism and crime, and the safety of UN and associated personnel. In addition to these, Member States can also take action with regard to some 500 other treaties.
(from a UN press release)
The changes appear to be significant. Two new terms replace four earlier ones, and the total number of terms used is reduced from 13 to 11.
The International Monetary Policy and Trade Panel of the U.S. House of Representatives' Financial Services Committee will hold a hearing titled “The Global Financial Crisis and Financial Reforms in Nigeria” on October 5, 2010, at 2:00 p.m. in Room 2128 of the Rayburn Building in Washington DC.
Hat tip to the ABA Governmental Affairs Office
Friday, September 17, 2010
Our 100,000th visitor to the the International Law Prof Blog was from the United States. We don't know who you are but we know that you were drawn to our blog by our story on the human rights activist who was arrested at the Moscow Airport, and we know that you looked at six other pages of our blog.
We have readers in more than 100 countries and territories, and we've listed many of them here. (If your country or territory is not included in the list below, please let us know.) You can use the "sitemeter" in the left-hand column to see which countries recent readers have come from.
We are extremely proud of our global community of readers and we thank you for your continued support. Please continue to send us news of important international law developments around the world.
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Thank you all for visiting the International Law Prof Blog.
Mark, Cindy, Cyndee, Laurent, and Mike
The House Foreign Affairs Committee will hold a hearing titled “Nuclear Cooperation and Non-proliferation after Khan and Iran: Are We Asking Enough of Current and Future Agreements?” The hearing is September 22, 2010 at 10 am in Room 2172 Rayburn Building, Washington DC
Hat tip to the ABA Governmental Affairs Office
With less than two years to go before the end of the transition period in Somalia, a top U.N. official this week stressed the need to consolidate the fragile peace process, which has witnessed numerous recent attacks and an ongoing humanitarian crisis. Current peace and reconciliation efforts in Somalia are based on the 2008 Djibouti Peace Agreement, under which former adversaries are participating in an internationally recognized Transitional Federal Government (TFG)
“Concerted regional and international support and assistance are required at this very critical stage of the peace process if the TFG is to play the role envisaged by the Djibouti Agreement,” Augustine P. Mahiga, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia, told the U.N. Security Council. He noted that several tasks are to be accomplished before the end of the transition in August 2011. These include continuing the initiatives on reconciliation, building civilian and security institutions and the completion of the constitution-making process.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in his latest report on Somalia, called on the war-torn nation’s transitional authorities to end internal squabbles that are hampering key tasks. “As Somalia’s transition period approaches its end, I am concerned that the transitional agenda remains largely unfulfilled,” Mr. Ban wrote. “Unity within the Transitional Federal Institutions remains critical for confidence-building among Somalis and the international community. Now is the time for the Transitional Federal Institutions to show determination to complete the transitional tasks.”
Violence in the capital, Mogadishu, alone has led to some 3,000 conflict-related casualties so far this year and uprooted around 200,000 people from the city, which has been the scene of ongoing clashes between Government troops and Islamist militant groups, including Al-Shabaab. Recent weeks have witnessed increasing attacks on civilians and against the over 5,000-strong African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), resulting in a number of deaths and injuries. The country is also beset by a dire humanitarian crisis with 3.2 million people, more than 40 per cent of the population in need of aid – 1.4 million of them internally displaced persons (IDPs).
(adapted from a UN Press Release)
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Professor Stuart Ford of The John Marshall Law School has researched the costs of various international criminal tribunals, including a special emphasis on which nations make monetary contributions to support the important work of those tribunals. His research will enlighten you on some important trends in international criminal tribunals. You can download his paper (for free) from SSRN by clicking here. Here's the abstract for his article, How Leadership in International Criminal Law is Shifting from the U.S. To Europe and Asia: An Analysis of Spending on and Contributions to International Criminal Courts:
This article represents the first comprehensive attempt to understand how much the international community has spent on international criminal courts since 1993. It collects data on costs of and contributions to the International Criminal Court, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the Special Court for Sierra Leone, and the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia. The results are striking. The international community will have spent nearly $6.3 billion by the time that most of the existing international criminal courts have closed their doors at the end of 2015. Spending on international criminal courts peaked in 2009 at $560 million and will decrease for the foreseeable future. By the end of 2015, yearly spending on international criminal courts will drop to $167 million, a decline of nearly two-thirds.
One of the most significant findings is that leadership in funding for international criminal courts – and by extension leadership in international criminal justice – is shifting from the United States to Europe. The United States will have been the largest single contributor to international criminal courts in the period 1993-2015. However, U.S. contributions as a percentage of total contributions have been declining steadily since 2004. By 2015, the United States’ contribution will essentially be zero. The decline in U.S. spending is almost entirely being offset by increased spending by European states who will be contributing more than 60% of total funding for international criminal courts by 2015.
The United Nations-backed tribunal in Cambodia dealing with mass killings and other crimes committed under the Khmer Rouge three decades ago indicted four of the regime’s top officials today.
Ieng Sary, Ieng Thirith, Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea – the four most senior members of the Democratic Kampuchea regime who are still alive – will now be tried before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) for crimes against humanity, genocide, and grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions, as well as for violations of the 1956 Cambodian penal code, including murder, torture and religious persecution.
Ieng Sary served as foreign minister under the Khmer Rouge, while his wife Ieng Thirith was social action minister. Khieu Samphan served as head of State and Nuon Chea was known as “Brother Number Two.”
In its first verdict handed down in July, the ECCC found Kaing Guek Eav guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Also known as Duch, the head of a notorious detention camp run by the Khmer Rouge was given a 35-year prison term, but last month, the tribunal’s prosecutors appealed the sentence, saying that it “gives insufficient weight to the gravity of [his] crimes and his role and his willing participation in those crimes.”
As many as 2.2 million people are believed to have died during the 1975-79 rule of the Khmer Rouge, which was then followed by a protracted period of civil war in the impoverished South-East Asian country.
Under an agreement signed by the UN and Cambodia, the ECCC was set up as an independent court using a mixture of Cambodian staff and judges and foreign personnel. It is designated to try those deemed most responsible for crimes and serious violations of Cambodian and international law between 17 April 1975 and 6 January 1979.
(From a UN Press Release)
I have written an article that discusses the rights of victims before the ECCC. The article will be published next month in L'Observateur des Nations Unies. Click here for more information.
The U.N. Security Council voted to wind up the United Nations mission supporting Nepal’s peace process in January 2011 after the country’s opposing political groups reached agreement earlier this week on completing the final tasks of the stalled process by that date.
The UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) was set up in 2007, one year after the end of a bloody decade-long civil war pitting Government forces against the Maoists.
After conducting Constituent Assembly elections in May 2008, Nepal abolished its 240-year-old monarchy and declared itself a republic. But the peace process has slowed since then, threatened by tensions and mistrust. On Monday, Nepal’s caretaker Government and political parties reached an agreement to complete the remaining tasks of the peace process by 14 January 2011.
In response, the Security Council decided unanimously to extend UNMIN’s mandate until 15 January 2011, after which the mission is to leave Nepal. The mandate would have otherwise expired this week.
(adapted from a UN Press Release)
Nikolai Alekseev, one of the leading gay rights leaders in Moscow, was arrested last night at the Domodedevo Airport in Moscow as he was preparting to take a Swiss Air flight to Geneva. Nikolai was the founder of Moscow Pride. His arrest appears to be meant to pressure him to drop a case pending before the European Court of Human Rights. The case before the ECHR is a challenge to Moscow's denial of a pride parade in the Russian capital for the past five years.
The ECHR should take special note of this disturbing development when it rules on the complaint against Russia.
Voicing concern over the decision by Myanmar’s Election Commission to dissolve 10 political parties, including the National League for Democracy (NLD), Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on the country’s authorities to ensure that November’s elections are fully inclusive.
Last month Mr. Ban called on the authorities to release all remaining political prisoners so that they could fully participate in Myanmar’s political life in the polls – the country’s first in 20 years – which are due to be held on 7 November.
He has repeatedly called for the release of all political prisoners, including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, a pro-democracy leader, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and head of the NLD, who has been under house arrest for much of the past two decades, and was sentenced last August to an additional 18 months of house arrest.
Spokesperson Martin Nesirky told reporters today Mr. Ban “notes with some concern” the decision by the Union Election Commission to dissolve 10 political parties, including the NLD and four others for failing to renew their registration.
“The Secretary-General once again urges the Myanmar authorities to ensure conditions conducive for a fully inclusive and participatory electoral process,” he said, adding that a ministerial-level meeting of the Group of Friends of Myanmar, consisting of more than a dozen nations and one regional bloc in support of greater dialogue in the country, is expected to be held in New York on 27 September.
Asked about the role of the UN’s good offices, Mr. Nesirky said that work continued, and he recalled that Mr. Ban had expressed his frustration concerning access to the Myanmar authorities.
(UN Press Release)
Dr. Richard Thurston, Vice President and General Counsel of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, will give a talk on Tuesday, September 28, 2010 on “Trying to Understand the Magnitude: Achieving Law and Order in China Through “The Force” or “The Dark Side”?. The talk will take place from Noon to 2:00 p.m. at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago. There is no cost to attend, but reservations are required. Register online at www.jmls.edu/thurston. The event is sponsored by the Center for Intellectual Property Law at The John Marshall Law School
Hat tips to Michele Bridges and Richard Gruner.
World Trade Organization Director-General Pascal Lamy delivered a video address to the World Energy Congress 2010 in Montreal today. He said that “through more open markets, greater competition, and the spread of clean technology, the Doha Round would help stabilize the international trade and investment landscape in the energy field”. Click here to see the full text.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Nepal urged the government of Nepal to expedite implementation of a Supreme Court ruling issued three years ago that upholds equal rights in the granting of citizenship and identity documents to members of sexual minorities.
OHCHR-Nepal voiced concern over what it described as structured forms of discrimination and stigmatization faced by self-described members of the third gender, and lack of respect for their human rights by the State.
The Office pointed out that under key instruments and decisions of the UN human rights mechanisms, lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender (LGBTI) and other sexual minorities have the right to non-discrimination and equality. The acting head of OHCHR-Nepal, Jyoti Sanghera, said that
“In fact, Nepal is to be commended as the only South Asian country to extend equal rights to the LGBTI members via a historic Supreme Court ruling.”
“My Office has deployed a team of human rights monitors for the first and second day of the protests by members of sexual minority in Kathmandu. Our monitors have reported that the protests are peaceful and the police have acted responsibly,” Mr. Sanghera said. “I call on the Government entities to respect the rule of law by implementing the court order as soon as possible,” he added.
(Adapted from a UN Press Release)
Some professors teach the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) as part of their course on International Business Transactions. Some professors teach it as part of a criminal law course or international criminal law course. And at least one school teaches the FCPA as a stand-alone LLM course.
For anyone who needs to stay up to date on the FCPA, the American Bar Association will hold its third national institute on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in Washington D.C. on October 21-22, 2010. Visit the ABA CLE Center for more information. The institute is sponsored by the ABA Criminal Justice Section and the ABA Section of International Law.
If you can't make that two-day institute, then at least be sure your law library has both of these essential books on the FCPA:
For those of you interested in the United States' implementation of its international law obligations with respect to consular notification, you might want to check out the new U.S. State Department Manual on Consular Notification and Access which may be found here. According to the U.S. State Department's website, the manual explains: "how U.S. state, federal, and local law enforcement agencies, courts, and other competent authorities should handle arrests and detentions, quarantines and other types of non-criminal confinement, airplane crashes, shipwrecks, deaths, serious injuries or illnesses, and the appointment of guardians for foreign nationals."
One of the editors of this blog has recently completed an article on the subject of consular relations law, which will be published this spring in the Duke Journal of Comparative and International Law. Interested persons are invited to view it on SSRN here.
The Journal of International Law and International Relations, a joint venture of the University of Toronto and the Munk School of International Affairs, invites submissions from scholars in the fields of international law and international relations for its Fall 2010 issue. The Journal is a peer-reviewed scholarly journal that seeks to develop interdisciplinary discourse at the nexus between these two disciplines. The deadline for submissions is September 27, 2010. More information may be obtained here.
The editorial board of the Indian Journal of International Economic Law (IJIEL) invites submissions from academicians, scholars and graduate students for the fourth issue of the Journal. Submissions are invited in the following categories: full length articles (10,000-12,000 words); case reviews, legislative analyses, short comments and short articles by 'qualified graduate and doctoral students (7000-8000 words); Law in Focus and Case Comments by practitioners (3000-5000 words).
IJIEL is an annual journal that is managed, edited and produced by students of the National Law School of India University (NLSIU),
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Section meetings provide a great opportunity for law professors and lawyers interested in the most cutting-edge issues of international law. The official brochure for the 2010 Fall Meeting can be found by clicking here. For additional information, please go to the conference website by clicking here.
September 20, 2010: Early Bird Registration Deadline
October 15, 2010: Pre-Registration Final Deadline
October 18, 2010: Westin Paris hotel room block Deadline
The University of Tulsa Native American Law Center conference on “International Law: Future Impacts on the Tribal-Federal Relationship.” The conference will be held at the TU College of Law on Friday October 8. The conference is free to participants but you have to register in advance. Speakers include Walter Echo-hawk, Chief “Willie” Littlechild, and Bryan Newland, Policy Advisor to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, US Department of the Interior. To register, or for more information, please contact Lesley Scruggs at 918-631-3416 or lesley-scruggs [at] utulsa.edu.