Friday, April 29, 2011
In the spirit of the end-of-the-semester season, here's an article from the Onion about one professor's reaction to a student evaluation. For readers outside the United States who might not know the Onion, it is a spoof newspaper that--in the world of the internet--is sometimes mistaken as a serious newspaper. Click here.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
The sixth Global Legal Skills Conference takes place in Chicago from May 5-7, 2011 at The John Marshall Law School. Click here to see the latest draft of the program schedule.
The conference focuses on a wide variety of legal skills. Presenters are coming from across the United States as well as law schools and law firms in Canada, China, Costa Rica, Italy, Japan, Moldova, the Netherlands, Russia, Singapore, Spain, the United Kingdom, and Ukraine. The presenters will discuss legal skills education and ESL for lawyers and law students around the world. The conference is highly interactive and one that you won't want to miss. Click here for information on conference registration.
(Photo by Mike Jarecki)
The United Nations Compensation Commission (UNCC), which settles the damage claims of those who suffered losses due to Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait, today made $880 million available to nine successful claimants. The latest round of payments brings the total amount of compensation disbursed by the Commission to $32.2 billion for more than 1.5 million successful claims of individuals, corporations, Governments and international organizations, states a news release.
Successful claims are paid with funds drawn from the UN Compensation Fund, which is funded by a percentage of the proceeds generated by the export sales of Iraqi petroleum and petroleum products.
The Geneva-based UNCC’s Governing Council has identified six categories of claims: four are for individuals’ claims, one for corporations and one for governments and international organizations, which also includes claims for environmental damage. The Commission was established in 1991 as a subsidiary organ of the UN Security Council. It has received nearly 3 million claims, including from close to 100 governments for themselves, their nationals or their corporations.
(mew) (From a UN Press Release)
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
The White House, recognizing that many "birther" movement Americans are distracted by not seeing a copy of his birth certificate, released a copy of it today on the White House website. Yes, President Obama was born in Hawai'i, as we already knew. Click here if you need to look at the birth certificate yourself. Hopefully the "birthers" can now move on to consider serious problems facing this country and the rest of the world.
The independent United Nations expert on the right to freedom of opinion and expression today called on the Algerian Government to investigate the killing of a political activist he had met on a recent official visit to the North African nation and to bring those responsible to justice.
Ahmed Kerroumi reportedly disappeared on 19 April and his body was found in his office four days later. He was a professor at the University of Oran, and member of the opposition party Democratic and Social Movement and the Oran section of the National Coordination for Change and Democracy.
“His killing is tragic and absolutely unacceptable,” said UN Special Rapporteur Frank La Rue. “According to reports I received, Mr. Kerroumi had several head injuries, which leads me to believe that this was an arbitrary deprivation of life.”
Mr. Kerroumi was one of the civil society representatives Mr. La Rue met with during his official visit to Algeria from 10 to 17 April. “I insisted on absolute freedom to meet with whomever I considered necessary and requested full protection from the State for all those that met with me during my visit, and especially after the conclusion of the mission,” Mr. La Rue stated in a news release, adding that he was “deeply shocked” about this incident. He called on the Government to conduct a detailed and independent investigation into the killing to bring those responsible to justice. “Such action, coupled with a public condemnation by the Government, is indispensable to ensure that this horrendous event will not have a chilling effect on freedom of expression in the whole country,” noted the expert, who reports to the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council.
(mew) (from a UN Press Release)
The United Nations Human Rights Council will hold a special session on Friday on the situation in Syria amid mounting concern over the recent killing or wounding of hundreds of peaceful protesters in the Middle East country. The United States requested the special session, which will take place in Geneva, on behalf of 16 Member States, according to a press release issued by the 47-member Council.
This afternoon B. Lynn Pascoe, the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, is expected to brief the Security Council in a closed-door session on the latest developments in Syria, where security forces have used tanks and live fire against demonstrators in recent days.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who briefed Security Council members yesterday, has condemned the violence against the protesters and called for an “independent, transparent and effective” investigation into the killings. Mr. Ban told journalists that “it goes without saying that Syrian authorities have an obligation to protect civilians and respect international human rights. That includes the right to free expression and peaceful assembly.”
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said it had received reports that more than 100 people were killed just between last Friday and Sunday, with numerous others injured or detained.
(from a UN Press Release)
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
At its recent meeting, the World Trade Organization (WTO) Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) established a single panel to review whether the European Union's import ban on seal products is consistent with its WTO obligations. Both Norway and Canada have lodged complaints and several other states have expressed concerns.
The WTO DSB also announced that it is extending the deadline to June 17 for appeal or adoption of the panel report in the antidumping dispute involving orange juice from Brazil.
It took me a few days, but I am finally posting photos and an update from the International Association of Law Schools (IALS) Conference at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina (pictured left) that was held April 13-15. The conference was on Teaching, Legal Education and Strategic Planning and it was a great opportunity to interact with colleagues from all over the world. There were between 130-140 law professors from approximately 45 different countries in attendance. While there are many differences in the way legal education is structured in different countries, I was struck by how many of the issues are similar, e.g., how do we balance teaching and research, how much do we (or should we) provide practical training to our students, is it even possible to teach values and ethics to students and, if so, how can we do it effectively?
The conference organizers did a fantastic job of arranging for small group discussions and networking over meals. Pictured to the right are Professor Amy Tsanga from the University of Zimbabwe Faculty of Law and Elizabeth Adjin-Tettey from the University of Victoria Faculty of Law in Canada. Below left are Professor Noor Aziah Haji Mohd Awal from the National University of Malaysia, Professor Fernando Villarreal Gonda of the Free Faculty of Law of Monterrey, Mexico, and myself, Professor Cindy Buys of the Southern Illinois University School of Law.
Monday, April 25, 2011
On Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals reinstated the case of U.S. v. Slough et al. (redacted decision) against four former Blackwater Worldwide employees accused of manslaughter in the shooting deaths of seventeen Iraqis in 2007. The lower court had dismissed the case because it found too much of the evidence to be tainted. The Court of Appeals disagreed with the lower court's analysis and remanded the case to the District Court for reconsideration of the specific evidence against each of the accused. Blackwater has ceased operations in Iraq and is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice.
It's not too late to register for the "Teaching International Law Beyond the Classroom" conference to be held at Pace Law School in New York one week from Friday, May 6, 2011.
The conference will host panel discussions on getting both students and faculty involved in empirical research, historical research, Web 2.0, and experiential learning. Speakers include Beth Simmons, Jordan Paust, Sital Kalantry, Julian Ku, Peggy McGuiness, Tom Lee, among other distinguished speakers.
The conference is being co-sponsored by the Teaching International Law Interest Group of the American Society of International Law and the American Branch of the International Law Association. For more information, or to register, click here.
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Mike Koehler is an Assistant Professor of Business Law at Butler University in Indiana. He has a blog devoted to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. If you teach about the FCPA or if you're a practitioner in the field, you'll want to subscribe to that blog to keep up with all of the latest developments. He does a good job with it and you will find some great teaching notes and resources for your students. Click here to visit the FCPA Professor Blog.
Mike will be one of the speakers at the Global Legal Skills Conference in Chicago, being held from May 5-7, 2011 at The John Marshall Law School.
Thursday, April 21, 2011
The Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns will present three human rights awards today.
The Human Rights Defenders Award recognizes individuals or non-governmental organizations who show exceptional valor and leadership in advocating the protection of human rights and democracy in the face of government repression. The U.S. State Department will honor the Cuban nongovernmental organization Damas de Blanco – “Ladies in White” for its visible, consistently observed vigils focusing international attention not only on political prisoners, but the overall human rights situation in Cuba.
Ambassador Stephen Beecroft of U.S. Embassy Amman will receive the Diplomacy for Human Rights Award for his extraordinary commitment to defending human rights and advancing democratic principles in Jordan. His advocacy has created new opportunities to engage the government on a broad range of human rights issues, with progress on both individual cases and systematic reform.
The Human Rights and Democracy Achievement Award will be presented to Christian Marchant of U.S. Embassy Hanoi for outstanding work to prevent torture and defend the rights of Vietnam’s dissidents, and Holly Lindquist Thomas of U.S. Embassy Tashkent for superb reporting underscoring issues of child labor during the cotton harvest and key contributions to diplomatic engagement in support of civil society and human rights activists in Uzbekistan.
(Adapted from a U.S. State Dept. press release)
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Friday, April 15, 2011
The registration deadline for the 2011 International Law Association (ILA) Asia-Pacific Regional Conference is fast approaching. The conference will take place in Taipei, Taiwan from May 29 to June 1, 2011. The conference theme is “Contemporary International Law Issues in the Asia Pacific: Opportunities and Challenges.” The registration deadline is May 10.
The keynote speakers are Judge Helmut Tuerk (Vice President, International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, ITLOS) and Professor David Caron (President, American Society of International Law). Other speakers include President Ying-jeou Ma (President, Republic of China), Lord Mance (Justice, Supreme Court of the United Kingdom), Professor Nicolaas Schrijver (President, International Law Association), Judges Albert Hoffmann, Jin-Hyun Paik and Shunji Yanai of the ITLOS, scholars and government legal advisors from various ILA branches. The ILA Research Committee on Recognition and Non-Recognition will also convene at the conference. The tentative conference program and other information is available here.
On April 8, 2011, President Barack Obama issued Proclamation 8651 to declare April 14, 2011 as "Pan American Day" and the week of April 10 to April 16, 2011 as "Pan American Week." The Proclomation urges nation’s officials to honor these observances with appropriate ceremonies and activities. Click here for more information. FR20831.
Hat tip to the ABA Governmental Affairs Office
Two former top Croatian generals were today convicted and sentenced to lengthy jail terms by a United Nations war crimes tribunal over atrocities carried out against ethnic Serb civilians during a military offensive in the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s. But a third ex-general was acquitted by judges at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) on charges relating to his role in the same offensive, known as Operation Storm, in the Krajina region of Croatia in mid-1995.
Judges serving on the ICTY trial chamber found Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac guilty of various crimes against humanity, including murder, persecutions, deportation and plunder. Both were acquitted of charges of inhumane acts (forcible transfer). Mr. Gotovina, 55, who commanded the Split military district of the Croatian army from 1992 to 1996, was sentenced to 24 years in prison. Mr. Markac, 55, who served as the Assistant Interior Minister in charge of Special Police matters after 1994, was jailed for 18 years.
Ivan Cermak, 61, who commanded the Knin Garrison from August 1995, was acquitted of all charges, including murder, persecutions, deportation and the wanton destruction of cities, towns or villages.
The judges noted that Operation Storm took place within a wider armed conflict in the former Yugoslavia and followed years of Serb-Croat ethnic tensions in the Krajina region and crimes committed against Croats. But Judge Alphons Orie, who presided over the trial, said that the case was not about the legality of resorting to and conducting war. “This case was about whether Serb civilians in the Krajina were the targets of crimes and whether the accused should be held criminally liable for these crimes,” he stressed. The judges found that “a high number of crimes” were carried out during Operation Storm, which had the objective of permanently removing ethnic Serbs from the Krajina region by either force or threat of force.
At the end of July 1995 the then Croatian president Franjo Tudman met with high-ranking military officials – including Mr. Gotovina and Mr. Markac – to discuss Operation Storm, which began on 4 August. Military forces and special police under the control or influence of Mr. Gotovina and Mr. Markac shelled a series of towns and villages, murdered several elderly residents of another village and burned or looted property belonging to ethnic Serb civilians. The men created a climate of impunity and were aware of the involvement of subordinates in the commission of these crimes, but did nothing to stop them. The judges found, however, that Mr. Cermak did not have effective control over army units outside of his own subordinates at the Knin garrison, and there was no reliable evidence that those subordinates committed crimes.
The joint trial of the three former generals was one of the ICTY’s longest, beginning in March 2008 and concluding in September last year. The tribunal, which is based in The Hague, has concluded proceedings against 125 people and is still conducting proceedings against 34 others.
(UN Press Release)
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Today marks the beginning of the 2011 annual conference of the International Association of Law Schools (IALS) in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The theme of the conference is "Teaching, Legal Education and Strategic Planning" and it is being hosted by the University of Buenos Aires from April 13-15, 2011. There are plenary sessions on Curriculum Content of Legal Education, Pedagogy, and Regulation and Accreditation Models. Conference papers have been posted and are available to the public at the IALS website. For those looking ahead to next year, the IALS annual meeting on Human Rights and the Role of Law Schools will be held in Bangalore, India in 2012.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Yesterday, Icelandic voters rejected a referendum for a second time that would have authorized repayment of monies to the governments of the United Kingdom and Netherlands in connection with the 2008 collapse of the Icelandic Icesave bank. The Netherlands now states that it will be impossible for Iceland to join the European Union. But EU enlargement spokesperson Natashia Butler said that it is not an issue that will affect accession negotiations. For more information, see this report from the EU Observer.
Monday, April 11, 2011
The Research Project on Shared Responsibility in International Law (SHARES) at the Amsterdam Center for International Law announced the launch of the SHARES website. The website will feature news, events, and resources on shared responsibility in international law. The SHARES project is led by Professor André Nollkaemper and funded by the European Research Council. Get more information at http://www.sharesproject.nl/
Hat tip to Isabelle Swerissen