Friday, December 24, 2010
Thursday, December 23, 2010
The final vote was 71-26 in the U.S. Senate on December 22, 2010 71-26 to approve ratification of the accord known as "New START" between the United States of America and the Russian Federation. The treaty involves measures to reduce and limit strategic offensive arms. It was signed in Prague on April 8, 2010. The Treaty Document Number is 111-5.
Click here to see the list of the Senate's conditions and for more legislative history information about the New Start Treaty.
The Office of Foreign Asset Controls (OFAC) of the U.S. Department of the Treasury rarely makes it into the newspapers. So it's quite a surprise to see a front page story in the December 24, 2010 print edition of the New York Times. The story reported there concerns U.S. companies that have gotten permission to conduct business with Iran and other countries that have been designated as state sponsors of terrorism.
You can visit the online New York Times to read the full story(or buy a copy from the newsstand). The New York Times story is the result of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and apparent lawsuit. It's good to see that investigative journalism is not yet dead.
The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has requested that the tribunal issue summons against six Kenyan citizens for alleged crimes committed during the violence that erupted following the country’s general elections in December 2007.
“The post election period of 2007-2008 was one of the most violent periods of the nation’s history,” the prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, said at a press conference at the ICC headquarters in The Hague. The prosecutor said that more than 1,100 people were killed, 3,500 injured and up to 600,000 forcibly displaced during 30 days of violence. There were hundreds of rapes, possibly more, and over 100,000 properties were destroyed in six of Kenya’s eight provinces.
“These were not just crimes against innocent Kenyans,” Mr. Moreno-Ocampo said. “They were crimes against humanity as a whole. By breaking the cycle of impunity for massive crimes, victims and their families can have justice. And Kenyans can pave the way to peaceful elections in 2012.”
Those named by Mr. Moreno-Ocampo are:
- William Samoei Ruto, the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology;
- Henry Kiprono Kosgey, the Minister of Industrialization;
- Joshua Arap Sang, the Head of Operations for KASS FM radio station;
- Francis Kirimi Muthaura, the Head of the Public Service and Secretary to the Cabinet;
- Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance; and
- Mohamed Hussein Ali, the Police Commissioner at the time of the violence.
The judges of the ICC’s Pre-Trial Chamber II will now review the evidence. If they determine that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the six persons named committed the alleged crimes, they will decide on the most appropriate way to ensure their appearance in Court. The prosecution has requested “Summonses to Appear.”
(From a UN Press Release)
Sir Ken Robinson received the Benjamin Franklin Medal last year from the Royal Society of Arts in London. In his acceptance speech, he spoke on "Changing Paradigms in Education." RSA produced an animated version of highlights of his talk. It's 11 minutes long but you will enjoy every minute of it. This is great. Really.
Hat tip to Ruth Hargrove
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
The U.N. Security Council yesterday set up a new body to finish the remaining tasks of the United Nations war crimes tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda,. The Security Council also called on both courts to conclude their work by the end of 2014. By a vote of 14 in favour, with one abstention (Russia), the Security Council established the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals with two branches. The Mechanism’s branch for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) will begin functioning on 1 July 2012, while the branch for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) will commence on 1 July 2013.
To ensure a smooth transition to the Mechanism, the Council requested both tribunals to take “all possible measures” to expeditiously complete all their remaining work no later than 31 December 2014. Under the so-called “completion strategy,” the tribunals were supposed to complete investigations by the end of 2004, all trial activities at first instance by the end of 2008, and all work in 2010.
Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said Russia abstained during the vote because it believed the tribunals had “every opportunity” to complete their work by the dates that had been previously agreed. “We firmly believe that today’s resolution is the last on the issue of the duration of activity of the tribunals and that they will be fully wound up by the end of 2014,” he added.
Several Council members welcomed the action, saying it sent a strong message against impunity and that it will help to preserve the legacy of the two tribunals. By the resolution, the Council decided that all States “shall cooperate fully” with the Mechanism, and urged countries in which fugitives are suspected to be at large to further intensify their cooperation with the tribunals and the Mechanism. It also urged the tribunals and the Mechanism to make every effort to refer cases not involving those most responsible for crimes to competent national jurisdictions.
The location of the two branches of the Mechanism will be subject to the conclusion of appropriate arrangements between the UN and host countries, and acceptance by the Security Council.
Since its inception 17 years ago, the ICTY, which is based in The Hague, has indicted 161 persons for war crimes committed on the territory of the former Yugoslavia. The proceedings against 125 individuals have been completed, with only two indictees remaining at large – Ratko Mladic and Goran Hadžic. Meanwhile, 10 fugitives wanted by the ICTR, which was created in 1994 in the wake of the Rwandan genocide and located in Arusha, Tanzania, still remain at large.
(From a UN Press Release)
The American Society of International Law and the American University Cairo are co-sponsoring a Comparative International Law Conference in Cairo, Egypt in December 2011. The conference planners hope to attract scholars and jurists from all over the world, including in particular participants from the Middle East and North Africa. Plenary sessions will be planned on public international law, international human rights, international criminal law and transitional justice, and international economic law. The call for papers will be issued in March. In the meantime, save the dates: December 16-17, 2011.
Contact Professor Adrien K. Wing (University of Iowa College of Law) for more information about the conference.
Hat tip to conference organizers Andrien Wing and Chantal Thomas
UPDATE: This conference was announced before the change of government in Egypt. We don not know whether the conference is being held or postponed.
In a foreign policy victory for the Obama Administration, the U.S. Senate voted 71 to 26 today to give its advice and consent to the new START treaty between the U.S. and Russia. Under the U.S. Constitution, the treaty requires a 2/3 vote of the Senate before it may be ratified. The treaty is being described as the broadest nuclear arms reduction pact in two decades. U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed the treaty back in April, pledging to slash their nuclear arsenals by a third.
The United Nations General Asembly has added sexual orientation to a resolution condemning extrajudicial and summary executions. According to a Press Statement by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, the United States introduced this language to send an unequivocal message that no one should be killed for who they are. Secretary Clinton states:
"Sadly, many people around the world continue to be targeted and killed because of their sexual orientation. These heinous crimes must be condemned and investigated wherever they occur. We look forward to continuing our work with others around the world to protect the human rights of those facing threats or discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation."
A new United Nations treaty, the 2006 International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances, will take effect tomorrow, December 23, 2010. The Convention bans enforced disappearances and declares widespread or systematic kidnappings to be a crime against humanity. It also bans all forms of secret detentions. The treaty requires that the states parties enact domestic legislation making enforced disappearance a crime and that they prosecute any person who commits, orders, solicits or induces forced kidnapping. 87 States have signed the treaty thus far, not including the United States, and 20 States have ratified it, allowing it to take effect. The text of the treaty may be found here and the ratification status may be found here.
The ABA Journal reports that Nigel Salmingo, the son of a former Philippine Consul General to Honolulu, embezzled $300,000 from a law firm in Honolulu. His defense attorney said that Mr. Salmingo mistakenly believed that, as the son of a former diplomat, he had diplomatic immunity from arrest and prosecution.
We don't think so.
He pled guilty to 37 counts of first- and second-degree theft, forgery, and money laundering. Click here to read more.
Hat tip to Martha Neil at the ABA Journal.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
The World Trade Organization (WTO) Dispute settlement Body (DSB) announced that is is adopting the rulings of the dispute settlement panel and the WTO Appellate Body in Australia - Measures Affecting the Importation of Apples from New Zealand (DS 367). New Zealand welcomed the action, stating that the dispute settlement process had affirmed its position that Australia's quarantine measures were not in compliance with its WTO obligations. Australia has pledged to implement the rulings to bring its laws into conformity with the WTO rules. More information may be found here.
Monday, December 20, 2010
In a vote of 55-41, the U.S. Senate voted on December 18, 2010 to close further debate on HR 5281, known as “the DREAM Act.” The law would have provided a road to U.S. citizenship for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children.