Friday, February 18, 2011
Proving that the World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement process is not just for the international heavy-weights, Ukraine filed a request for consulations with Moldova yesterday concerning the importation and sale of goods in Moldova (WT/DS421/1). This is the first time Moldova has been involved in a WTO dispute settlement proceeding since it joined the WTO in 2001 and only the second time for Ukraine (both times as complainant).
The request for consultations formally initiates a dispute settlement proceeding at the WTO. Mandatory consultations are intended to give the parties an opportunity to settle the matter without resort to further litigation. After 60 days, if consultations have failed to resolve the dispute, Ukraine, as complainant, may request the establishment of a WTO dispute settlement panel.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
In an update to earlier posts, a U.S. District Court Judge for the Southern District of New York sentenced the Somali pirate, Abduwali Muse, to 34 years in prison for his involvement in the hijacking of the Maersk Alabama, as well as two other attacks on ships in the Indian Ocean in March and April 2009. Muse had pled guilty in May 2010 and had requested lenience from the court in sentencing due to his youth. The judge, however, agreed with the U.S. government that a longer sentence was necessary to deter piracy. In November, in the first piracy trial in the U.S. in over a hundred years, a federal district court in Virginia sentenced another Somali pirate, Jama Idle Ibrahim, to 30 years in jail for an attack on a U.S. Navy vessel, the USS Ashland.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
The 2011 Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition is underway. Super-Regional Rounds have started in the United States (some rounds were held last weekend and some will be held this coming weekend).
In the Midwest U.S. Super-Regional Rounds, the regional champion was Case Western Reserve University and the Runner-up was the University of Michigan. Both teams advance to the International Rounds in Washington D.C.
The other semifinalist teams were Loyola University of Chicago and Thomas M. Cooley Law School. The quarter finalist teams were Ohio Northern University, the University of Detroit Mercy, the University of Tennessee, and Wayne State University.
Tyler Talbert of Case Western Reserve University won the best oralist award in the Final Round. The winner of that award receives a copy of the book Careers in International Law, donated to the Jessup Competition by its publisher, the American Bar Association Section of International Law.
It is everyone's favorite subject to hate -- but why do U.S. law schools give so much power to A MAGAZINE??? As much as people complain about law school rankings, the only remedy for them is . . . more rankings. Have other magazines (Time, Newsweek, etc.) come up with law school ranking systems and that will dilute the power of U.S. News and World Report.
But in the meantime, U.S. News announced that it is thinking of changing its "third tier" schools to a format that would number each of the schools in that list. Click here to read more about that.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
A program on Saturday, February 26, 2011 in Los Angeles will consider the future of international law. The program is sponsored by the Southwestern Journal of International Law, in conjunction with International Law Weekend West (organized by the American Branch of the International Law Association--ABILA). The lineup of speakers is impressive -- it is the sort of program where you wish it would have gone for three days instead of just one so you wouldn't have to make difficult choices about which session to attend. The site will be the Southwestern Law School, 3050 Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today marked the 6th anniversary of the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri by stressing United Nations support for the court set up to uncover the truth despite the reported attempts by Hizbollah to close it down.
Lebanon’s previous government, led by Mr. Hariri’s son, Saad, collapsed in January after 11 Hizbollah and allied ministers resigned, reportedly over the Government’s refusal to cease cooperation with the tribunal, which the media says was about to indict Hizbollah members for the murders.
At the end of last month, Mr. Ban called on the newly designated Government led by Najib Mikati to continue to cooperate with the Tribunal, set up following a probe by the International Independent Investigation Commission after an earlier UN mission found that Lebanon’s own inquiry into the massive car bombing that killed Mr. Hariri and 22 others was seriously flawed. The Commission also found that Syria was primarily responsible for the political tensions that preceded the attack. The court received its first indictment in January, but the contents remain confidential at this stage.
Today’s statement said Mr. Ban “stands with the people of Lebanon in commemorating the life and achievements of Mr. Hariri and renews his condolences to the families of the victims of this crime.” He also called for the full implementation of all Security Council resolutions pertaining to Lebanon. These include resolution 1701, which ended a month-long war between Israel and the Hizbollah militia in 2006. It calls for respect for the Blue Line separating Israel and Lebanon, the disarming of all militias in Lebanon, which would include Hizbollah, and an end to arms smuggling in the area. The UN has repeatedly condemned Israeli over-flights of Lebanese territory since then and, according to media reports, Hizbollah has received thousands of new missiles and other arms.
(Adapted from a UN Press Release)
The United Kingdom has enacted what appears to be the world's most comprehensive bribery statute. The Unlike other statutes that criminalize payments only to foreign government officials, the UK Bribery Act extends the prohibition on bribery to many others, including individuals. Questions arose on a large number of topics, including (for example) whether taking a client to dinner would now constitute bribery under the new law.
The Bribery Act was supposed to enter into force in April, but the Financial Times informs us that the British Ministry of Justice failed to meet a January deadline to produce essential supporting guidance. The British government has accordingly delayed the effective date of the UK Bribery Act until three months after the guidance is published.
If you would like to read more about the UK Bribery Act, click here for a summary of its provisions by Pulina Whitaker from the law firm King & Spaulding.
Monday, February 14, 2011
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently issued a ruling interpreting the obligations of the United States to cooperate with a Russian request for discovery in connection with a criminal case in U.S. v. Global Fishing, Inc., Case No. 09-35096 (Jan. 31, 2011).
In 2007, Arkadi Gontmakher, President of Global Fishing Inc., was arrested and criminally charged by Russian authorities with illegal crabbing. Russia authorities then sought the assistance of the U.S. government in obtaining information and documents that were in the possession of Global Fishing in the U.S. in connection with the investigation. The Russian request was made pursuant to the 2002 U.S.-Russia mutual assistance treaty and the implementing federal statute, 28 U.S.C. sec. 1782, which generally authorizes requests for legal assistance in the collection of evidence for use in a foreign proceeding. Global Fishing resisted turning over the requested information and documents and asked the U.S. courts to quash the subpeona in its discretion.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the Russian authorities are entitled to broad discovery under the treaty, which severely limits the court's usual discretion in these matters. Despite these limitations, however, the court stated that it could still deny a request if it was unconstitutional (e.g., if it violated due process), but that was not the case here. The full text of the opinion may be found here.
Sunday, February 13, 2011
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has announced that it will hold public hearings in the Peace Palace at the Hague on March 21-30, 2001 regarding the Application of the Interim Accord of 13 September 1995 (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia v. Greece). By way of background, in 2008, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYRM) initiated these proceedings with a complaint that Greece had violated Article 11 of their 1995 Interim Accord. The FYRM claims that Greece has improperly vetoed FYRM's application for membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on the basis that a name other than FYRM was used in the membership application. The FYRM claims that it used the proper name and Greece's veto was therefore contrary to their international agreement. Both parties filed written pleadings during 2010, but those pleadings have not been made available to the public.
More information may be found in the ICJ press release.