April 29, 2011
Friday Fun: Student Evaluations
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.
April 28, 2011
Global Legal Skills Conference in Chicago
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)
New book on Research Methodologies in EU and International Law
I have just come accross a book that looks promising and whose basic aim is to help scholars in EU and international law reflect on their research. More information is available here.
UN Compensation Commission Awards $880 Million to Nine Claimants
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)
April 27, 2011
President Obama's Birth Certificate
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.
A Murder in Algeria: Ahmed Kerroumi
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)
U.S. Asks U.N. Human Rights Council for Special Session on Syria
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)
April 26, 2011
Recent WTO Actions
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.
IALS Conference in Buenos Aires
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.
April 25, 2011
US Appellate Court Reinstates Case Against Blackwater Guards in Iraq
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.
Teaching International Law Beyond the Classroom
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.
April 24, 2011
A Blog on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
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.