Saturday, June 18, 2011
Blog reader Gary Stark sent us a short video in which he argues that the United Nations should not permit the participation of non-democratic nations. The video is two-and-a-half minutes long. Law professors might consider using it as a discussion tool for classes on international law or international organizations.
Friday, June 17, 2011
The Libyan National Transitional Council has reportedly been "recognized" now by more than a dozen countries. The American Society of International Law prepared a report to explain that many media stories are not quite correct in how they explain international law or in what various nations have actually done in relation to the Libyan National Transitional Council. Click here to access the ASIL report.
Hat tip to Sheila Ward.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Today brings further developments in the saga of the United States' attempts to provide consular notice to foreign defendants in the United States in accordance with its international obligations. U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy has introduced a bill to faciliate compliance with the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. The bill reaffirms the duty of state and federal officers to provide timely consular notification in all cases where a foreign defendant is arrested or detained. However, it only provides federal courts with specific jurisdiction to review claims of lack of consular notice in capital cases. In his statement accompanying the bill, Senator Leahy states that he recognizes the need to ensure prompt consular notice in all cases involving foreign defendants, but is seeking support for the narrower Consular Notice Compliance Act as a first step in that direction, particularly in light of the scheduled execution next month of foreign national, Humberto Leal. The bill may be found here.
Monday, June 13, 2011
Followers of consular notification law will recall the International Court of Justice's decision in Avena in which the ICJ found that the United States violated its obligations under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (VCCR) by failing to provide approximately 50 Mexican nationals with consular notification prior to their trial and conviction. One of those Mexican nationals is Humberto Leal, who was convicted of murder in Texas and sentenced to death. His execution is scheduled for July 7, 2011. Attorneys for Mr. Leal are challenging the fairness and accuracy of the trial and have filed a clemency petition with the Texas Board of Pardons and Parole and Texas Governor Rick Perry requesting that Mr. Leal be given a hearing regarding whether the lack of consular assistance caused prejudice to his case. For more informaton or to sign the petition, click here.
Providing Mr. Leal with a hearing is clearly the proper course of action. The United States violated its treaty obligations by not providing Mr. Leal with timely consular notification in the first instance. The United States has admitted the violation and it has been confirmed by the ICJ in Avena. Providing a hearing does not mean that a guilty man will necessarily go free. It simply means that the United States will uphold its obligation to provide due process of law and, in particular, an opportunity for consular assistance, to a foreign national who is involved in criminal proceedings in the United States. Demonstrating respect for consular notification in the U.S. will help to ensure that other countries respect consular notification rights of U.S. citizens traveling abroad. Unfortunately, however, it is unlikely that Gov. Rick Perry will take this proper course of action. He is the same Governor that allowed the execution of Mr. Medellin, another of the Mexican nationals in the Avena case, to go forward despite requests for a hearing following that decision.
I am pleased to announce that a book written by our Contributing Editor, Dr. Laurent Pech, has been chosen as the best interdisciplinary research published on the Lisbon Treaty since its text was signed in 2007. Professor Pech's book is entitled, "The European Union and Its Constitution." The prize is the first ever awarded by LISBOAN (Linking Interdisciplinary Integration Studies by Broadening the European Academic Network), a European academic network which is dedicated to European integration studies and which includes scholars from 67 universities in all the Member States of the EU, as well as Croatia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Turkey. Congratulations to Professor Pech on his outstanding scholarship!
Sunday, June 12, 2011
Sunday, June 12, 2011 marks the day the United Nations wishes to focus attention on combating child labor. The International Labor Organization (ILO) of the UN has declared it the World Day Against Child Labour.
In commemoration of the day, the ILO has just released a report indicating that 115 out of 215 million child laborers worldwide are engaged in hazardous work. The ILO has called for an urgent stop to the practice. It calls instead for ensuring that children attend school until the legal age of employment. The ILO's report, "Children in hazarous work: what we know; what we need to do," may be found here.
The ILO has 183 Member States; 173 of whom have pledged to take action to fight against the worst forms of child labor by joining the ILO Convention No. 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labor.