May 11, 2012
Moldova Urged to Adopt Anti-Discrimination Legislation
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) today called on the Moldovan Government to follow up on its commitment to adopt a comprehensive anti-discrimination law. “We urge the Government of Moldova to act on its commitment to adopt this long-overdue legislation in conformity with obligations under international human rights law,” an OHCHR spokesperson, Ravina Shamdasani, said in a news release.
The law has been under preparation since 2008 and is currently being debated in the country, pending consultations with the Government – one of the most contentious provisions of the law is that it will outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
The law was one of the key elements raised by the High Commissioner, Navi Pillay, in her discussions with the Moldovan Government during her November 2011 visit to the country and featured strongly in the report of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Moldova, adopted in March this year. Under the auspices of the Geneva-based Human Rights Council, the UPR process involves a review of the human rights records of all UN Member States once every four years.
“Given the hostility facing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people in Moldova, including hate speech by politicians and public officials, it is imperative that this provision remain in the law,” Ms. Shamdasani said. “As the High Commissioner has repeatedly stressed, acts of discrimination and violence against lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgendered people are violations of international human rights law and must be outlawed.”
The spokesperson said OHCHR welcomes the active role of civil society in debating and promoting the draft law, which will also provide much-needed protection for groups such as the Roma community, religious minorities and individuals living with HIV/AIDS.
(UN Press Release)
May 9, 2012
ICJ Begins Deliberations in Territorial and Maritime Dispute Between Nicaragua and Colombia
The International Court of Justice has concluded its public hearings in the "Territorial and Maritime Dispute" between Nicaragua and Colombia. Nicaragua is seeking a declaration that it has sovereignty over all of the maritime features off her Caribbean coast that are not proven to be part of the San Andres Achipelago, and that it would also have sovereignty over any features on the bank of the Quitasueno that qualify as islands under international law. It also argued that the appropriate delimitation of the coasts of Nicaragua and Colombia is a continental shelf boundary established by dividing by equal parts, as well as other claims. Click here to read more about its claims, and those of Colombia.
May 8, 2012
ICTR Appeals Chamber Reduces Life Sentence for Rwandan Army Major Found Guilty of Genocide, War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity, and Violations of the Geneva Convention
The appeals chamber of the United Nations tribunal trying key suspects implicated in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda today commuted a convict’s life sentence to 35 years in prison after reversing convictions on some counts in his indictment, and upheld the prison terms of two other men.
Appeal judges in the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) reduced the life term imposed on Aloys Ntabakuze, a former Rwandan army major, after he was found guilty of genocide, crimes against humanity, and serious violations of the Geneva Conventions. While affirming some of the Trial Chamber’s original findings, the court reversed Mr. Ntabakuze’s convictions for murder as a crime against humanity and set aside the finding of the trial chamber that he was responsible for crimes by committed by militiamen. He was also cleared of the charge of preventing a group of people who were later killed from fleeing.
In the case of Ildephonse Hategekimana, a former lieutenant in the Rwanda military, the court dismissed his appeal and confirmed the sentence of life imprisonment based on his convictions for genocide and murder and rape as crimes against humanity.
Also dismissed was the appeal launched by Gaspard Kanyarukiga, a former businessman, who was convicted in 2010 of genocide and extermination as a crime against humanity for his participation in the planning of the destruction of a church in Rwanda’s Kibuye prefecture – an action that resulted in the deaths of an estimated 2,000 Tutsi civilians. The appeals chamber upheld Mr. Kanyarukiga’s sentence of 30 years in prison.
Based in the northern Tanzanian town of Arusha, the ICTR was set up after the Rwandan genocide, when at least 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus were killed during three months of bloodletting that followed the deaths of then Rwandan president Juvenal Habyarimana and his Burundian counterpart Cyprien Ntaryamira when their plane was brought down over the capital, Kigali on 6 April 1994.
(UN Press Release)
May 7, 2012
Program to learn more about new US Model Bilateral Investment Treaty
On Thursday, May 31, the District of Columbia (DC) Bar International Dispute Resolution Committee and the Dispute Resolution Interest Group of the American Society of International Law are co-sponsoring a lunchtime program from 12:30 pm to 2:00 pm at which Jonathan (Josh) Kallmer, Deputy Assistant US Trade Representative for Investment, and Michael Tracton, Senior Negotiator for Investment Treaties, US State Department, will explain and discuss the newly revised US Model Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT). Jean Kalicki, a partner at Arnold & Porter LLP and co-chair of the DC Bar International Dispute Resolution Committee, will moderate this event. The program will be held at the offices of Arnold & Porter, 555, 12th St. NW, Washington, DC. The Model BIT is the US Government template for investment treaty negotiations, including with possible treaty partners such as China, India and others. To learn more or to register for the program, click here.