January 7, 2012
UN Expresses Concern Regarding Executions in Saudi Arabia
The United Nations (UN) Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has expressed alarm at the significant increase in Saudi Arabia’s use of capital punishment in the past year. According to the OHCHR, the number of executions in the country almost tripled last year compared with 2010.
“We call on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to respect international standards guaranteeing due process and the protection of the rights of those facing the death penalty, to progressively restrict the use of the death penalty and to reduce the number of offences for which it may be imposed,” OHCHR spokesperson Rupert Colville told reporters in Geneva.
“What is even more worrying is that court proceedings often reportedly fall far short of international fair trial standards, and the use of torture as a means to obtain confessions appears to be rampant,” Mr. Colville added.
Saudi Arabia applies the death penalty for a wide range of offences, including the charge of sorcery and witchcraft, for which a woman was executed last month.
OHCHR also expressed grave concern at the recent sentencing of six men convicted on charges of highway robbery. The men were condemned to “cross amputation” – a form of punishment which involves the amputation of the men’s right hands and left feet.
“We call on the authorities to halt the use of such cruel, inhuman, degrading punishment,” Mr. Colville continued, noting that as a party to the Convention against Torture, Saudi Arabia is “bound by the absolute prohibition” against the use of torture and other forms of cruel punishment.
Last October, OHCHR voiced deep distress over the execution of 10 men who were publicly beheaded in the country’s capital, Riyadh, while underscoring that about 140 of the 193 UN Member States are now believed to have either abolished the death penalty or introduced a moratorium.
(cgb) (adapted from a UN press release)
January 5, 2012
Interactive Legal Education in Egypt
Here's a description of a program I did last year in Egypt on interactive teaching methods. In some Egyptian law schools, there may be up to a thousand or more students in a lecture hall. How can law professors handle such large classes? Click here to read the story about our seminar in Egypt.
For my friends in Egypt, a special message of courage and hope for good things in the coming year.
January 4, 2012
Update on Private International Law - Next Wednesday
The Private International Law Coordinating Committee of the American Bar Association Section of International Law will have a phone conference update on Private International Law on January 11, 2012 at 11:00 a.m. EST time. The speaker will be Hal Burman from the U.S. State Department, who always gives a great presentation filled with information.
If you're a members of the ABA Section of International Law and would like to receive the toll-free call-in number and access number for your country, please email me at mwojcik [at] jmls.edu. I am a co-chair of the Private International Law Coordinating Committee. The committee invites you to join this informative phone conference.
If you're not a member of the ABA or its Section of International Law, now is a good time to remedy that. Click here for more information.
Mark E. Wojcik, Co-Chair, ABA Section of International Law Private International Law Coordinating Committee
January 3, 2012
International Law Events at AALS This Week
This is a reminder for law faculty members attending the annual meeting of the American Association of Law Schools (AALS) this week in Washington, DC. Don't forget the all-day program on "North American Legal Developments - 2011 and Beyond" on Thursday, January 5 or the breakfast for international law professors sponsored by the Pacific McGeorge School of Law on Saturday, January 7. Also, the international law section will have its business meeting directly after the program on Thursday. We hope to see you there.
January 2, 2012
Thursday at AALS: Pedagogy for International Law Practice
What preparation do practicing lawyers and policy-makers believe today's law graduates should have in international law, foreign law and legal systems, and skills training? A panel of lawyers in private practice, government service, and international organizations will share their views on this subject on Thursday, January 5, 2012 at the upcoming Annual Meeting of the Association of American Law Schools. Click here for more details about the panel from our friends at intlawgrrls.
Hat tip to Stephanie Farrior