Friday, November 11, 2011
Yesterday, the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council elected four Members of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for a term of office of nine years, beginning on 6 February 2012. Judges Hisashi Owada (Japan), Peter Tomka (Slovakia) and Xue Hanqin (China) were re-elected as Members of the Court. Mr. Giorgio Gaja (Italy) was elected as a new Member of the Court. The election of a fifth Member of the Court could not be concluded on Thursday, because no candidate obtained a majority in both the General Assembly and the Security Council. That election has been postponed. In February 2012, the newly constituted Court will elect from among its Members a President and a Vice-President, who will hold office for three years. More information and the biographies of the re-elected Members of the Court are available on the ICJ's website. The biography of the newly elected Member, Mr. Gaja, may be found here. (cgb)
Yesterday, the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council elected four Members of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for a term of office of nine years, beginning on 6 February 2012. Judges Hisashi Owada (Japan), Peter Tomka (Slovakia) and Xue Hanqin (China) were re-elected as Members of the Court. Mr. Giorgio Gaja (Italy) was elected as a new Member of the Court. The election of a fifth Member of the Court could not be concluded on Thursday, because no candidate obtained a majority in both the General Assembly and the Security Council. That election has been postponed. In February 2012, the newly constituted Court will elect from among its Members a President and a Vice-President, who will hold office for three years. More information and the biographies of the re-elected Members of the Court are available on the ICJ's website. The biography of the newly elected Member, Mr. Gaja, may be found here.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Readers may be interested in a paper I co-wrote with 2 colleagues on the EU-ECHR draft accession agreement. The paper is available on the website of the French Foundation Robert Schuman. You can download a copy of the draft accession agreement here. As always, comments are most welcome.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
News reports indicate that Russia is finally ready to join the World Trade Organization (WTO). It is expected that the WTO Accession Working Party will sign the final agreement with Russia at its meetings beginning tomorrow. If all goes well, Russia's membership will be approved by at the Eigth Ministerial Conference December 15-17 and will take effect shortly thereafter. It has taken 18 years for the two sides to reach agreeemnt on the terms of membership.
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Al-Nashiri, the person alleged to be the mastermind behind the bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000, is scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow before a military commission at Guantanamo Bay. It will be the first trial by military commission since President Obama lifted the moratorium on military commissions at Guantanamo Bay. However, it is expected to be months, if not a year or more, before any testimony is heard. In the meantime, lawyers will be filing motions regarding a number of procedural and evidentiary issues. The most difficult of these issues is likely to be whether any of al-Nashiri's statements obtained as a result of "enhanced interrogation techniques" will be admissible. The 2010 Manual for Military Commissions, rule 304, prohibits statements obtained by torture. Other statements must be evaluated for reliability. If convicted of the charges against him, including murder and terrorism, al-Nashiri could be sentenced to death.
Monday, November 7, 2011
The Gujarat National Law University, Gujarat, India is organizing the Global Maritime Security and Anti-Piracy Conference from 26 to 27 November 2011 at Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India. The following is the conference announcement:
Relevance of the conference for the developing nations, especially maritime nations:
The piracy threat has become a daily affair, hundreds of crew members and many ships are being held hostage. Despite the fact that leading shipping associations have launched a campaign “Save Our Seafarers”, the governments and the international community are yet to come up with stronger enforcement legal mechanisms to prevent and eradicate the problem. While the developed nations are equipped with state-of-art technological machineries and instrumentation, developing nations are lagging far behind in their capacity building. As a result, the economic, trade and human losses to developing nations are increasing more in comparison to the developed nations. Capacity building for the developing nations, despite the magnitude of the scale of the problem and losses to the entire international community, including developed nations, is not acquiring significant momentum. While government-to-government capacity building programs are often subjected to bureaucratic hurdles and resource-crunch, there is a need on part of the commercial end-users and intermediaries to devise ways, means and strategies to build the capacity among partners from the developing nations for achieving larger benefits. There is a need for an Implementation Protocol, a non-binding, gentleman’s understanding, i.e practical and feasible guidelines, as starting point, which can be practiced among the user nations, individuals and commercial companies. The UN Security Council resolutions 1851 (2008), 1897 (2009), 1950 (2010), and 1976 (2011) have highlighted the gravity of the situation and need for international cooperation.
In view of this, GNLU initiative is timely and will be immensely helpful to India and the global community at large. The conference proposal attached identifies clear aims, tangible outcomes, measurement of such outcomes and providing much needed platform to all stakeholders, commercial, governmental and inter-governmental institutions. GNLU is contemplating an exhibition to provide opportunities to stakeholders to showcase their institutions, networks, products, among others.
GNLU has pleasure in informing you that ambassadors, diplomats, judges, lawyers, senior navy officers, academicians, researchers, from as many as 21 nations (from all continents) and IMO, UN and European Union have confirmed their participation. GNLU has invited representatives of the coast guards, navy, ports, oil and gas companies, shipping companies, shipping insurance companies and firms from across the country and the world to this first kind of conference in India in recent years. The conference will indeed help the Industry, such as Oil and Gas, Petrochemical, Tankers, Shipping, Insurance, Intelligence Agencies, Research and Development Agencies and Institutions, Technology Equipment Manufacturers and Distributors, Private Security Companies, Coast Guard Management Authorities, government departments such as foreign ministry, defense ministry, navy, Academicians, Researchers, Law Firms, Police Officers, and Maritime Judiciary authorities.
GNLU invites participation in the deliberations of the conference and contributions to the success of the conference. For more information, visit the conference website.
Sunday, November 6, 2011
Change is definitely in the air in Cuba. Last week, the Cuban government announced that it would allow sales of private homes by citizens and permanent residents for the first time in decades. (For more information, click here.) The new rules are scheduled to go into effect this week on November 10. While government approval will no longer be needed for many real estate sales, regulations remain. Homeowners are limited to no more than two homes and all financing must be arranged through the Cuban National Bank. Cuban has long suffered from a housing shortage, causing adult children to continue to live with their parents. While the new law may open up some new economic opportunities, it may also exacerbate social problems which result from a lack of housing.
The Cuban government announced another free market reform (reported in a New York Times article today): it will now allow private sales of vehicles. As many international travelers know, the Cubans have maintained many classic American cars from the 1950s, among other foreign cars. Because of a shortage of cars, and a shortage of money to run them, most Cubans cannot afford a car. As with the sale of private homes, these changes will benefit those few in Cuban society who are affluent enough to take advantage of the new rules, particularly those who have relatives abroad. Remarkably for a socialist, Raul Castro is reported to have said that the government has no business getting involved in a sale between two individuals.