Friday, April 8, 2011


On April 7, 2011, U.S. President Barack Obama announced the continuation, for one year, of the U.S. national emergency with respect to Somalia due to the threats it poses to the national security and foreign policy of the United States. Hat tip to the ABA Government Affairs Office (mew)

April 8, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

US State Department Releases 2010 Human Rights Reports

Each year, the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor of the U.S. State Department prepares and publishes Country Reports on Human Rights Practices around the world.  2010 marks the 35th anniversary of this publication.  The State Department released the new Country Reports for 2010 today covering 194 countries.  The full reports may be found here.

The State Department acknowledges in its introduction that the reports are already out of date in light of developments in Northern Africa and the Middle East.  It also notes three important trends: the increasing influence of nongovernmental organizations, the growth of the Internet and other connective technologies and increasing violence, persecution and societal discrimination against vulnerable groups.

The report highlights positive developments in Columbia, Guinea and Indonesia, will noting backsliding in Ukraine.  Countries with serious human rights concerns include Cote d'Ivoire, Nigeria, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Burma, China, North Korea, Cambodia, Vietnam, Belarus, Russia, Bahrain, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Cuba and Venezuela.


April 8, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Mauritius Brings UNCLOS Arbitration Against The United Kingdom Over The Chagos Archipelago

The American Society of International Law has just released an explanation of the arbitration action that Mauritius is bringing against the United Kingdom over the Chagos Archipelago. Click here for to read it. 

Hat tip to Sheila Ward at ASIL


April 8, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Vanuatu Set to Join WTO

Vanuatu-flag Vanuatu is in the final stages of accession to the World Trade Organization and plans to complete all steps necessary to join the WTO by the United Nations Least Developed Country Conference scheduled to be held May 9-13, 2011 in Istanbul, Turkey.  If all goes as planned, Vanuatu will be the 154th member of the WTO.


April 7, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Global Legal Skills Conference in Chicago

The sixth Global Legal Skills Conference will be held at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago from May 5-7, 2011. 

Click here for more information and to register. 

Click here to see the draft program.  Download GLS Schedule (Version 2.1)


April 7, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

CFP - International Law Weekend in New York

The International Law Students Association (ILSA) and the American Branch of the International Law Association (ABILA) will hold their annual International Law Weekend from October 20-22, 2011 in New York.  Proposals for panels are due by May 4, 2011.  Click here for more information.


April 7, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

ASIL Announces Winners of the Helton Fellowships

The American Society of International Law (ASIL) announced the nine student and young professional winners of its 2011 Helton Fellowships for projects in international law.  Selected from more than 50 applicants from Africa, Asia, Europe and Eurasia, Oceania, and North and South America, the students will receive micro-grants of to pursue fieldwork in or research on issues involving international law, human rights, humanitarian affairs, and related areas.  

ASIL established the Helton Fellowship Program in 2004 in honor of Arthur C. Helton, an internationally renowned lawyer and advocate for protecting the rights of refugees and internally displaced persons.  Helton died in the August 19, 2003, bombing of the United Nations (UN) mission in Baghdad. 
Helton Fellows undertake their fellowship fieldwork and research in association with established educational institutions, international organizations, or non-governmental organizations (NGOs).  The following are the 2011 ASIL Helton award recipients:
Allison Davidian, LLM graduate, Harvard Law SchoolAllison will assist in strengthening the capacity of women’s rights organizations and other civil society groups in Eastern Congo with the Gender Justice Unit of the International Center for Transitional Justice.  She will provide input on and advocate for the adoption and implementation of a legal framework that addresses impunity for grave violations of international criminal and human rights law.
Anne Leddin Gell, JD graduate, Columbia University School of Law.  Anne will work as a Lawyers’ Earthquake Response Network Fellow with the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti and the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI).  Specifically, she will be the coordinator for the Rape Accountability and Prevention Project, BAI’s response to gender-based violence in post-earthquake Haiti. 
Sasha Hart, JD candidate, McGill University School of Law.  Sasha will be conducting field work and legal research relating to Equality Effect’s (formerly known as the African and Canadian Women's Human Rights Project) “160 Girls” project in Kenya this summer.  This legal initiative aims to achieve immediate justice for 160 girls (between two and 17 years of age) in eastern Kenya who have been raped, as well as long-term justice for all girls in Kenya, who are too often victimized by sexual violence.
Alexander Lewis, JD candidate, Rutgers University-Newark, School of Law.  Alexander will support Akany Avoko, a children’s home and school in Madagascar that takes in abandoned children, orphans, teenage mothers, and children facing indefinite detention while they await trial for petty crimes.  He will develop a human rights curriculum that will be delivered to the children, their parents, and the staff at the home.
Katerina Novotna, Ph.D. candidate, Faculty of Law, Masaryk University, Czech Republic.  Katerina will participate in an ongoing project run by La Strada, an NGO that focuses on human trafficking, in the Czech Republic.  Katerina will be involved with prevention and education work for trafficked persons, groups at risk, and the wider public as well as with providing legal assistance to victims housed in La Strada’s crisis shelter.
Aminta Ossum, JD graduate, Harvard Law School.  Aminta will support Amnesty International’s “No Safe Haven” project seeking domes­tic accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity. She will be working with local civil society groups in Sierra Leone to gather legislation, jurisprudence, and other materials to outline Sierra Leone’s relevant legal framework; obstacles to pros­ecution and the exercise of jurisdiction; procedures for extradition and mutual legal assistance; and state practice regarding immigration, police, and prosecutors.
Daniel G. Thiemann, JD candidate, Indiana University Maurer School of Law.  Daniel will support the Arias Foundation based in San Jose, Costa Rica, by conducting research and field work related to international law and conflict resolution mechanisms in the Americas that promote human rights.  He will assist in a Technical Cooperation of the Inter-American Development Bank to conceptually design the “Regional Mechanism for Peace and Conflict Resolution.”
Kathleen Thomas, JD candidate, City University of New York School of Law.  Kathleen will work on the ongoing efforts of the Saheli Sangh, a sex workers’ collec­tive with the goal of enhancing and enabling greater levels of self-protection among sex workers. Kathleen will be based in Pune, India, and will conduct research into which bodies of law afford the greatest protections for sex workers and victims of hu­man trafficking.
Sanjula Weerasinghe, LLM graduate, Georgetown University Law Center.  Sanjula will conduct research on the protection gaps facing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) refugees in South Africa. She will be working for ORAM, a US-based NGO, with support from Lawyers for Human Rights.  She will develop an interview questionnaire to evaluate, inter alia, the services currently available to LGBTI refugees and asylum seekers, their protection concerns and needs, the responsiveness of NGOs and other agencies, and the practical application of South Africa’s progressive legal guarantees.
The Helton Fellowship Program is administered by ASIL through its Career Development Program.  It is funded by a grant from the Planethood Foundation and generous contributions from ASIL members.  For more information, visit  To contribute to the Helton Fellowship fund, visit
ASIL is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, educational membership organization.  It was founded in 1906, chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1950, and has held Category II Consultative Status to the Economic and Social Council of the UN since 1993.  ASIL’s mission is to foster the study of international law and to promote the establishment and maintenance of international relations on the basis of law and justice.  The Society’s nearly 4,000 members (from more than 100 countries) comprise attorneys, academics, corporate counsel, judges, representatives of governments and nongovernmental organizations, international civil servants, students, and others interested in international law.  For more information, visit

April 6, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

ABA Section of International Law

More than 1300 people are attending the Spring Meeting of the American Bar Association Section of International Law.  It's the largest section meeting in DC in the section's history. 


April 6, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

International Summer School decicated to The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The purpose of this six-day Summer School, which is jointly directed by the Centre for Disability Law & Policy, NUI Galway (Ireland) and the Harvard Project on Disability (USA), is to equip participants with the insights and skills necessary to translate the generalities of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities into tangible reform for persons with disabilities. Further details available here.


April 5, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Guantánamo Bay Military Commission Will Try Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, not a Civilian Court

The New York Times has jus announced that the Obama administration has decided to use a military commission at Guantánamo Bay to try Khalid Shaikh Mohammed for his alleged role in the attacks of
September 11.  This is a major reversal of the policy that he was going to be tried instead in a civilian courtroom.  A Department of Justice press conference is expected later today.


April 4, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

UK Bribery Act Will Enter Into Effect on July 1, 2011

The United Kingdom's new Bribery Act was meant to enter into effect on April 10, 2011.  The effective date was pushed back, however, pending publication of Guidance Documents from the United Kingdom Ministry of Justice.  The guidance documents were finally released last Thursday.

Among other things, the Bribery Act 2010 creates a new offense (under section 7) which can be committed by commercial organisations that fail to prevent persons associated with them (such as employees, agents, other third parties, and also subsidiaries) from bribing another person on their behalf. An organization that can prove it has adequate procedures in place to prevent persons associated with it from bribing may be able to defend a charge of violating section 7. 

The guidance published last week was intended to help commercial organizations of all sizes and sectors understand what sorts of procedures they can put in place to prevent bribery, as mentioned in section 7.

and it has now been announced that the UK Bribery Act will now enter into effect on July 1, 2011.

Click here for information about the UK Bribery Act.

Click here for the text of the UK Bribery Act and other information about the Act.

Click here for the new, 45-page UK Bribery Act Guidance.

Click here for a new, 9-page "Quick Start Guide" to the UK Bribery Act.

The new Act presents many law firms with the opportunities to educate clients about the new act and how to avoid violating it.  Mayer Brown, for example, is conducting an informative telephone conference today on "The UK Bribery Act Guidance: Implications for Anti-Corruption Compliance."  Among the tips shared is one from Kristy Balsanek, who recommends that corporations review contracts as to supervision of subagents and that any anti-corruption provisions in a contract refer not only to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practice Act (FCPA) but also to the new UK Bribery Act.  She also recommends reviewing joint venture agreements.


April 4, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Comparative Law: Ten Years of Same-Sex Marriage

This past Friday marked the 10th anniversary of the world's first same-sex marriages, which took place in the Netherlands on April 1, 2001. Since then, almost 15,000 same-sex couples have married in the Netherlands.

Same-sex marriage is now legal in the following 12 countries:

Additionally, Israel will recognize lawful same-sex marriages performed in other countries even though same-sex marriage is not presently allowed under Israeli law.  And in Mexico, where same-sex marriages are lawful in the Federal District, a Supreme Court ruling requires all other Mexican states to recognize those marriages.

Five U.S. states and the District of Columbia recognize same-sex marriage in the United States.  Other states also provide for civil unions -- Illinois, for example, will allow civil unions starting on June 1.

For more information, click here

Hat tip to Rex Wockner


April 4, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Teaching International Law Conference in New York on May 6

The Teaching International Law Interest Group of the American Society of International Law is hosting a conference on "Teaching International Law Beyond the Classroom."  The one-day conference will be held at Pace University School of Law in White Plains, N.Y., on Friday, May 6, 2011.  The conference is being co-sponsored by the American Branch of the International Law Association.

The focus of the conference is on getting both students and faculty involved in empirical research, historical research, Web 2.0, and experiential learning.  Beth Simmons of Harvard is one of the country’s leading empiricists in the field of international law; she will be speaking along with Jordan Paust, Houston; Sital Kalantry, Cornell; Julian Ku, Hofstra; Peggy McGuinness, St. John's; Tom Lee, Fordham; among other distinguished speakers.  Anthony VanDuzer, from Ottawa University Faculty of Law, will be discussing his course on NAFTA, which he co-taught with a U.S. law professor and a Mexican law professor, using Skype to bring professors and students together from the three countries simultaneously.  Robert Van Lierop, former UN ambassador and currently with the UN in Darfur, will be discussing the externship program he supervises with law students assisting island countries at the United Nations.

Discounted rates are available under April 6. For more information and to register, click here.


April 4, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Reforming the United Nations: The Future of U.S. Policy

The Foreign Affairs Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives  will hold a hearing titled “Reforming the United Nations: The Future of U.S. Policy" on April 7, 2011 at 10 am, 2172 Rayburn, Washington DC.

Hat tip to the ABA Governmental Affairs Office


April 3, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)