March 25, 2011
For those of you who want to keep current with recent developments in U.S. customs law, one of the best ways to stay connected is through the Customs and International Trade Bar Association (CITBA). Click here to visit the announcements page on their website.
March 23, 2011
Illinois State Bar Association CLE Program on International Law
11:55 a.m. – 1:45 p.m.
1.75 MCLE hours
Presented by International and Immigration Law
Co-sponsored by Human Rights and ISBA Diversity Leadership Council
ISBA Chicago Regional Office
20 S. Clark Street, Suite 900
Interactive Map of U.S. Law Schools
Hey! Where are law schools in the United States? Have a look at this map to see where ABA-approved law schools are located in the United States.
Online book review, academic freedom and libel tourism
Readers may remember the controversy about the criminal libel case brought in France against a NYU law professor based on a complaint by an academic working in Israel unhappy with the review of her book available on Global Law Books, a website associated with The European Journal of International Law. The Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris issued its judgment earlier this month. I finally took the time to read this fascinating decision last week and readers may be interested in the short note I just published on EJIL:Talk!
Convicted General Transferred to Estonia to Serve ICTY Sentence
A former Bosnian Serb army general convicted of war crimes by the United Nations tribunal set up to judge the worst abuses committed during the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s was transferred to Estonia today to serve out his 29-year jail term for terror, murder and inhumane acts.
Dragomir Miloševic, who is not related to the former Serbian leader Slobodan Miloševic, was convicted in 2007 by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) of five counts of murder, inflicting terror and inhumane acts during the second half of the 1992-1995 siege of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s capital, when a campaign of sniping and shelling killed or injured large numbers of civilians. His initial sentence of 33 years was cut to 29 years in 2009 by an ICTY appeals chamber ruling that evidence cited in the judgment did not support a finding that Mr. Miloševic, now 69, planned and ordered the sniping incidents but that his command responsibility for failing to prevent and punish committed by his subordinates had been established beyond reasonable doubt. The chamber upheld the majority of his convictions for ordering the shelling of the civilian population.
For 15 months, from August 1994 to November 1995, Mr. Miloševic was commander of the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps (SRK) of the Bosnian Serb Army (VRS) which encircled and entrapped Sarajevo during the conflict. He is the second convicted person to be transferred to Estonia. Milan Martic, a former wartime political leader of Croatian Serbs, was transferred there in 2009 to serve out his 35-year jail sentence for his role in a campaign of ethnic cleansing.
The ICTY thanked the Estonian authorities for their continued support in ensuring the enforcement of its sentences and stressed the “crucial role” that Member States play in enforcing the sentences. It has so far signed agreements on serving sentences with 17 States, and today it called for help in securing additional enforcement capacity. Since its establishment, the ICTY has indicted 161 persons for serious violations of humanitarian law committed in the former Yugoslavia between 1991 and 2001. Proceedings against 125 have been concluded. Proceedings are currently ongoing for 34 accused.
(adapted from a UN Press Release)
UNSC Extends Mission In Afghanistan For Another Year
The United Nations Security Council voted unanimously yesterday to extend the mandate of the UN mission in Afghanistan for one more year so that it can continue to assist the Afghanistan Government as it assumes greater responsibility for ensuring the country’s security and development.
Under the new resolution, the UN mission in Afghanistan, known as UNAMA, will continue its activities until 23 March 2012, including in the fields of monitoring human rights, promoting good governance, facilitating the delivery of humanitarian assistance and assisting in the fight against corruption.
In his most recent report to the Council, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reiterated UN support for the so-called “Kabul Process” that spells out a transition to greater Afghan responsibility and ownership, in both security and civilian areas. He stated: “Our approach to the Kabul process and transition is based on three key principles; transition must be Afghan-owned; it must be planned and implemented in a sustainable manner; and it must ensure the protection and promotion of the rights of all Afghans.”
UNAMA has been in place since March 2002, when the Bonn Agreement established an interim Government and prescribed the drafting of a new constitution and the holding of elections.
(Adapted from a UN Press Release)
March 22, 2011
World Water Day
Today, Tuesday, March 22, is World Water Day. The declaration of the first World Water Day in 1993 grew out of the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development in 1992 in Rio de Janiero. On this day in 2004, a network to address water concerns in Africa was launched in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This year's focus is on waters for cities, which constitute only 2% of the land mass, but hold 50% of the population.
Potable water is an increasingly precious resource, yet European experts estimate that 20-40% of all water in Europe is lost due to leaks in the supply system, dripping taps and unsustainable irrigation practices, a problem that must be addressed.
Morer information on World Water Day 2011 may be found here.
March 20, 2011
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon again called on the Libyan Government to stop all hostilities against its own civilians and comply fully with last week's Security Council resolution. Libyan authorities in the capital, Tripoli, reportedly declared a ceasefire tonight in their battle with opposition forces who have led a popular uprising against the long-standing regime of Muammar al-Qadhafi.
Speaking to journalists in Egypt, Mr. Ban noted that this is at least the third time in 48 hours that senior Libyan officials have either declared a ceasefire or pledged to fully abide with last Thursday's Council resolution. "Now they have been continuing to attack the civilian population," Mr. Ban said in response to questions, adding that their ceasefire claims must be verified and tested.
UN Security Council Resolution 1973 authorizes UN Member States to take "all necessary measures" to protect civilians and the militaries of several countries have launched air raids against Libyan targets in the past 48 hours. Mr. Ban noted the "very decisive action" of some Member States to implement the resolution and try to protect Libyan civilians from further attacks. He also commended the Arab League for its recommendation of a no-fly zone above Libya, which was included in the Council resolution. "Let me say: we are at a historic moment. Democracy is on the march across the Arab world."
(Excerpts from a UN Press Release)
UN Secretary-General in Egypt
A successful transition in Egypt towards greater democracy can inspire the rest of the region, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today, urging the country to continue with its recent reforms by holding fair and transparent elections soon, upholding the rights of women and minorities and encouraging the development of a free press.
In his first visit to Egypt since long-standing leader Hosni Mubarak was toppled by popular protests in January, Mr. Ban pledged that the United Nations would help the country as it "walks this very difficult, very important road? towards fuller democracy and more participatory democracy." The Secretary-General held talks today in Cairo with many senior officials, including Foreign Minister Nabil el-Araby, and tomorrow he is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Ezzad Sharaf and the country's High Council of the Armed Forces.
Today's talks focused in part on yesterday's referendum, in which Egyptians voted on a number of proposals for constitutional reform, including reducing the number and length of presidential terms and altering the criteria for eligible presidential candidates. Media reports indicated an extremely high voter turnout for the referendum. Mr. Ban told journalists in Cairo that he would stress during his visit that there must be "transparent and inclusive national dialogue that spans the spectrum of Egyptian society," as well as the staging of free and fair elections on a mutually agreed timetable.
Popular protests have swept North Africa and the Middle East in recent months and the long-term regime in Tunisia also fell earlier this year. The Secretary-General said the UN was able to assist Egypt with its social and economic development, including the promotion of further tourism, as well as technical support for elections expected to be held later this year.
(Excerpts from a UN Press Release)