Saturday, March 5, 2011

Who has the Most Expensive Parking in the World?

The Financial Times of London today reports the results of its "Global Parking Rate Survey" of Central Business Districts around the world.  You can read more on page 10 of the "House and Home" Section of today's Financial Times (including the methodology used to calculate the monthly rates), but here are some of the results from its survey. 

Monthly Parking Costs in Central Business Districts Around the World

  • London                                 USD 939.16
  • Hong Kong                            USD 749.63
  • Sydney                                  USD 595.25
  • New York (Midtown)              USD 541.57
  • Moscow                                USD 269.07

(mew)

 

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

Friday, March 4, 2011

UN Apologizes to Belarus

The United Nations publicly apologized to Belarus this week for an inaccurate report from its mission in Côte d’Ivoire that Belarus had supplied attack helicopters to former President Laurent Gbagbo in violation of an arms embargo on the strife-torn West African country.

“This [is a] troubling event and a mistaken report,” Under-Secretary-General Alain Le Roy, head of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), told a news briefing of the account that a Belarussian plane had landed in Côte d’Ivoire on Sunday evening. Mr. Le Roy noted that the information came from a report given to the Group of Experts established by the Security Council to monitor the arms embargo against Côte d'Ivoire regarding three attack helicopters and related equipment that were going to be delivered to the forces loyal to Mr. Gbagbo.

On Sunday evening, the UN Mission in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) said it had received reports that a flight corresponding to this description landed at Yamoussoukro. Given the seriousness of the issue, it was decided to raise the matter publicly.  “I presented on behalf of DPKO and the United Nations our deep regret and apologies to Belarus and I welcome particularly the fact that . . . the Belarussian authorities have reconfirmed their full compliance with the embargo,” he said after meeting with Belarussian Charge d’Affaires Zoya Kolonta.

Belarus has checked that none of their private company is engaged in any arms deal in Côte d’Ivoire, he said, apologizing for any harm caused. “It was UNOCI making the wrong report and of course as head of DPKO I take the blame for that,” said Mr. Le Roy, adding that such mistaken UN reports are extremely rare since DPKO places a high premium on the accuracy of its reporting.

The Security Council imposed the embargo in 2004 after a civil war in 2002 split the country into a rebel-held north and a Government-controlled south. The country has been thrown into turmoil by Mr. Gbagbo’s refusal to leave office despite opposition leader Alassane Ouattara’s UN-certified victory in last November’s run-off poll. Tensions have since risen, with Gbagbo loyalists attacking UN convoys and civilians in Abidjan, the commercial capital, and UN officials have voiced concerns over a possible resumption of civil war.

UNOCI was set up in 2004 by the Council to facilitate the peace process that ended fighting in the 2002 war, leading to last year’s elections, which were meant to be a culminating point in the reunification of the country, the world’s largest cocoa producer.

(UN Press Release)

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

Sierra Leone

The Security Council this week authorized the withdrawal of United Nations peacekeepers protecting the court trying indicted war criminals in Sierra Leone, handing over responsibility to local forces at the request of the Government of the West African country.

Sine 2005, a detachment of troops from the UN Mission in neighbouring Liberia (UNMIL) has  ensured security in Freetown, Sierra Leone’s capital, for the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone, which was set up in 2002 to try those most responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian law in the civil wars that plagued the country, starting in 1996.

In a unanimous resolution, the Council called for the 150 UNMIL troops to be withdrawn by 7 March following the training of local security personnel to take over their responsibilities.

In a letter to the 15-member body passing on the Government’s request, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that the court’s registrar had informed him that the UNMIL guard force was no longer needed since the evidence and archives have been transferred to The Hague, Netherlands, and its international staff have been reduced accordingly.

In the resolution, the Council asked the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL) to include within existing security contingency evacuation arrangements relevant court officials.

The court has indicted 13 people. Eight of these have been sentenced to terms of up to 50 years in prison, while the trial of former Liberian president Charles Taylor is continuing in a chamber of the court sitting in The Hague for security reasons. Two others died before trial and two more before sentencing.

The war was marked by extreme brutality, including massacres and the severing of arms and legs of living victims.

(UN Press Release)

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

Thursday, March 3, 2011

UNESCO

The U.S. National Commission for UNESCO will hold a conference call meeting on March 10, 2011 to discuss upcoming programs.  The call will also allow an opportunity for comments and questions from the public or media. Get more information at page 11843 of the Federal Register.   

Hat tip to the ABA Governmental Affairs Office

(mew)

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

U.S. Libya Sanctions

U.S. President Obama issued Executive Order 13566 to block property and prohibit certain transactions related to Libya.

(mew)

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

ICC Prosecutor Announces Investigation of Qadhafi for Crimes Against Humanity

The International Criminal Court (ICC) announced yesterday that it will initiate an investigation of Libyan President Muammar Al-Qadhafi’s regime for crimes against humanity in repressing peaceful protesters.

ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo stated that preliminary examination of available information shows that an investigation is warranted after the UN Security Council last week asked him to look into the violent repression in which more than 1,000 people are reported to have been killed and many more injured as Mr. Qadhafi’s loyalists opened fire on peaceful civilians demanding his removal from government.

Mr. Moreno-Ocampo will present an overview of the alleged crimes committed in Libya since 15 February and information on the entities and persons who could be prosecuted at a news conference at The Hague today. After Mr. Moreno-Ocampo completes his preliminary investigation, he will present his case to ICC judges who will then decide whether or not to issue arrest warrants based on the evidence.

(cgb) (Adapted from a UN Press Release)


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

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Public Invited to Hear State Department Legal Advisor Harold Koh on March 3, 2011

The American Society of International Law (ASIL) and Georgetown University Law Center will host a speech by U.S. State Department Legal Adviser Harold Hongju Koh on "The Legal Adviser’s Office Eighty Years On: Decades in Peace and War." The event will be held on Thursday, March 3, 2011 at the Student Center of the Georgetown Law Center, 120 F Street, NW, Washington D.C. The event is open to the public, and a webcast will be available if you cannot attend (or if you can't get in!).

Hat tip to Sheila Ward at the ASIL.

(mew)

March 1, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

UN General Assembly Suspends Libya from Human Rights Council

The United Nations General Assembly today suspended Libya's membership in the UN Human Rights Council.  The vote follows a request from the Council itself to suspend Libya, one of the 47 elected members.  Of course, one has to wonder how Libya got elected to the Council in the first place.

This suspension from the Human Rights Council is the latest measure taken by the UN against Libya.  The UN Security Council (and some of its individual members) already imposed sanctions on Mr. Qaddafi’s regime and asked the International Criminal Court to investigate Libya for possible crimes against humanity (even though Libya is not a party to the Rome Statute establishing the ICC).

Will this latest expulsion change Qaddafi's mind?  No, because that delusional president ignores world opinion and the voices of his own people.  But to have kept Libya as a member of the Human Rights Council is obviously untenable.

(mew)

March 1, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

April Symposium on International Arbitration (Cleveland, Ohio)

Cleveland State University Cleveland-Marshall College of Law’s Global Business Law Review will hold a symposium on April 1, 2011 on International Arbitration: Practice and Modern Developments.  The event will feature a number of scholars and practitioners.   Get more information by clicking here.

(mew)

March 1, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Global Business Entrepreneur Network (GBEN) Launches Today

A new website for international business entrepreneurs launches today.  Its focus will be on providing business advice for international entrepreneurs.  Lawyers serving the international business community are also invited to join the website, www.gben.org.  There is no fee to join.  Click here for more information.

(mew)

March 1, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, February 28, 2011

UN Pledges Support for Egypt's Political Transition

The United Nations stands ready to support Egypt’s political transition, the United Nation’s top political official has said, noting the world body understands that the process must be led by Egyptians.

“The UN fully respects and understands that Egypt’s transition must be done by and for Egyptians – this is and must be an Egyptian process,” the UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, B. Lynn Pascoe, said at a press conference in Cairo on Monday at the end of a visit to Egypt. “The UN will be ready to support Egypt wherever that is useful and wherever our help is sought.”

(from a UN press release)

February 28, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

US Sanctions Against Libya are Reportedly Largest Ever Against Any Country

CNN is reporting that the United States has frozen more than $30 billion in Libyan assets, the largest sanctions it has imposed on any country.  Switzerland and other countries have also reportedly frozen Libyan assets.

(mew)

February 28, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

US Court Reinstates ATS and TPVA Claims of Columbian Children Whose Labor Organizer Fathers Were Killed by Paramilitary Hit Squads

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit recently reinstated the claims of the children of three murdered union leaders in Columbia under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS) and the Torture Victim Protection Act (TVPA) (both found in 28 USC sec. 1350) in the case of Locarno Baloco v. Drummond Co., No. 09-16216.  The children are seeking damages for emotional harm, loss of companionship and financial support. The U.S. District Court previously had dismissed the case for lack of standing.

The plaintiffs sued the mining firm, Drummond Co., and other related parties after their fathers were pulled off a Drummond bus and murdered by paramilitary soldiers in 2001. The victims were all union leaders involved in organizing Drummond employees in Colombia, where the plaintiffs asserted there exists a “long history of trade union violence.”  Plaintiffs allege that Drummond paid members of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia—a paramilitary group commonly referred to as the AUC—to carry out the murders in order to facilitate the downfall of the union.
The standing doctrine is derived from Article III of the U.S. Constitution, which requires that plaintiffs present an actual "case or controversy" to invoke the jurisdiction of the courts.  Standing requires a plaintiff to demonstrate (1) injury, (2) caused by the defendant, and (3) redressibility.   In this case, the court found that loss of a parent was clearly an “injury-in-fact,” the allegations of murder-for-hire provided a connection between that injury and the defendants, and, although monetary damages are an imperfect substitute for loss of a loved one, such awards are viewed as adequately redressing the injury for purposes of standing.
The court then went on to address the statutory requirements of the ATS and the TVPA.  The court noted that the ATS gives U.S. courts jurisdiction over violations of established international norms.
In this case, the court stated that the plaintiffs alleged an “intricate and vindictive plot, orchestrated by the defendants, that ultimately led to the assassination of the children's fathers,” which, if true, “establishes a violation of international law sufficient for purposes of triggering ATS liability.”
With respect to the TPVA, the court stated that the statute “provides that the perpetrator of an extrajudicial killing can be held liable for ‘damages to the individual's legal representative, or to any person who may be a claimant in an action for wrongful death.”  The plaintiffs submitted evidence to show that under Columbian law, the children are “legal beneficiaries” of their parents, entitling them to sue for their personal damages. The court thus held that they had standing to sue under the TVPA, reversing the lower court.
To read the full text of the case, click here.
(cgb)

 

February 28, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Global Business Enterpreneur Network (GBEN)

A new website for global business leaders and lawyers launches on March 1, 2011.  It is the Global Business Entrepreneur Network (GBEN).  Get more information here

(mew)

February 27, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

War Crime: UN Peacekeepers Attacked in Côte d'Ivoire

Three United Nations peacekeepers in Côte d'Ivoire were wounded in an ambush in Abobo, a suburb of Abidjan, the country's commercial capital.  They were wounded in an ambush by members of the "Young Patriots," the name given to forces loyal to Laurent Gbagbo, the outgoing president who refuses to recognize that he lost the election last year to opposition leader Alassane Ouattara.

The UN peacekeeping force said the escalation of violence against the peacekeepers and their assets has been fuelled by propaganda, based on untruths against the mission by Mr. Gbagbo's camp.  The UN mission in Côte d'Ivoire issued a statement that "under international conventions, any attack against UN peacekeepers constitutes a war crime."

(adapted from a UN Press release)

(mew)

February 27, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)