Friday, May 18, 2012

We're Four Years Old Today

Our International Law Prof Blog started May 19, 2008.  We appreciate your support, contributions, and feedback.  Thanks everyone!

Mark, Cindy, Cyndee, Laurant, and Michael 

May 18, 2012 in About This Blog | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Inaugural Conference of the Society for Mediterranean Law and Culture

La Conferenza Inaugurale della Società di Diritto e Cultura del Mediterraneo

The Society for Mediterranean Law and Culture will hold an inaugural conference on Thursday, June 21 and Friday, June 22, 2012 at the University of Cagliari Faculty of Law, Sardinia, Italy.  The conference will be co-sponsored by the University of Cagliari Faculty of Law and its sister school, The John Marshall Law School in Chicago.

The conference organizers are Professors GianmarioDemuro and Giovanni Coinu of the University of Cagliari Faculty of Law and Professors William B.T. Mock Jr. and Mark E. Wojcik from Cagliari's sister school, The John Marshall Law School in Chicago.   

Other conference committee members include Professor Lauren Fielder of the University of Lucerne Faculty of Law in Switzerland and Professor David Austin of the California Western School of Law in San Diego.

Papers and panels at this conference may be presented in English, Italian, or French (and other languages depending on the needs of the participants and audience).  Contact Professor William Mock at 7mock [at] for more information.




May 17, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Special Court for Sierra Leone: Sentencing Hearing for Charles Taylor

Convicted former Liberian President Charles Taylor told the United Nations-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) yesterday that he felt “sadness and deepest sympathy for the atrocities and crimes that were suffered by individuals and families in Sierra Leone.”  But he also denied responsibility and asked the judges to use “reconciliation and healing and not retribution" as their guiding principles in determining his sentence.

Last month, the SCSL handed down a guilty verdict against Mr. Taylor for planning, aiding and abetting war crimes and crimes against humanity. He had been on trial on 11 charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including pillage, slavery for forced marriage purposes, collective punishment and the recruitment and use of child soldiers, related to the civil war in Sierra Leone in the 1990s.

The Court will deliver its sentencing judgement on Wednesday, May 30, 2012.

The SCSL judges ruled in April that Mr. Taylor had participated in planning the rebel attacks on Kono, Makeni and Freetown between December 1998 and February 1999, and that he had instructed the rebels to “make the operation fearful.”  They also convicted him on all counts for aiding and abetting the rebels in the commission of crimes during the war in Sierra Leone by providing arms and ammunition, military personnel, operational support and moral support.

Prosecutor Brenda Hollis told the tribunal that Mr. Taylor was a “willing and enthusiastic participation” in the crimes, and that his “leadership positions and betrayal of positions of trust” were sufficient to justify a long sentence, which would “reflect the essential role that Mr. Taylor played in crimes of such extreme scope and gravity.” She has recommended that Mr. Taylor serves an 80-year term in prison.

The SCSL was set up jointly by the Government of Sierra Leone and the United Nations. It is mandated to try those who bear the greatest responsibility for serious violations of international humanitarian law and Sierra Leonean law committed in the country since November 30, 1996.

(mew) (adapted from a UN Press Release)


May 17, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Japanese Judge Resigns from Cambodia Tribunal

Motoo Noguchi from Japan, an international judge of the Supreme Court Chamber of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), submitted his resignation to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.  The resignation will take effect on July 15.

Under an agreement signed by the UN and the Cambodian Government, the ECCC was set up as an independent court using a mixture of Cambodian staff and judges and foreign personnel. It is designated to try those deemed most responsible for mass killings and other crimes committed under the Khmer Rouge regime three decades ago.

Mr. Noguchi, who has been serving the ECCC since its inception in 2006, expressed his intention to return to service with the Ministry of Justice of Japan, and addressed the Cambodian people.

“It was my greatest honour and privilege to play a role in the ECCC’s historic endeavours to bring justice to the people of Cambodia,” Mr. Noguchi said. “I trust that they will continue to strive to overcome the tragic past which once put the country in ruins, as was the case with the Japanese people half a century ago.”  

“I hope that the Cambodian people will keep telling their stories beyond generations, enhance dialogue in their society, and reflect these on the education for pupils and students. I wish all the best and prosperity for the country and people of Cambodia,” he added.

In addition to Mr. Noguchi, the ECCC has in recent months witnessed the resignations of the international co-investigating judge, Siegfried Blunk, and the reserve international co-investigating judge, Laurent Kasper-Ansermet.

Judge Blunk cited attempted interference by Government officials in the court’s proceedings, while Judge Kasper-Ansermet stated that he was being prevented from properly and freely carrying out his duties at the tribunal. In March, Mr. Ban stressed that the Government must provide full cooperation so that they could carry out their duties.

(mew) (adapted from a UN Press Release)

May 17, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Mladic Trial Opens in the Hague

The trial of Ratko Mladic, the former Bosnian Serb military chief, opened yesterday in the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).  Mladic is charged with genocide, crimes against humanity, and violations of laws and customs of war. The alleged crimes were committed across Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1992 to 1995.

Prosecutors may call more than 400 witnesses and present nearly 28,000 exhibits during the trial.  They told the court that they anticipate needing about 200 hours of tribunal time to present their case.

The indictment against Mr. Mladic alleges that the 68-year-old led forces that conducted the notorious massacre of more than 7,000 Muslim men and boys in the supposed safe haven of Srebrenica in July 1995. The former army chief also faces charges for the shelling of and sniping in the city of Sarajevo during the protracted wartime siege of the city.  The indictment also lists more than 70 incidents of murder in 20 municipalities across Bosnia and Herzegovina, and accuses forces under Mr. Mladic’s supervision of torturing, mistreating and physically, psychologically and sexually abusing civilians confined to detention centers.

(mew) (adapted from a UN Press Release)

May 17, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Journalist and Gay Rights Activist Killed in Honduras

Erick Martínez Ávila, a Honduran journalist and gay rights activist, has been murdered. 

The Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Irina Bokova, condemned the murder in a news release. “I am deeply concerned about this second journalist killed in Honduras in a month and call on the authorities to bring to justice the perpetrators of this crime against the basic human right of freedom of expression.”

 Mr. Martínez Ávila, 32, was a spokesman for Kukulcán, an organization that defends lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights. According to Reporters Without Borders, his body was found on 7 May, two days after he had been reported missing. He is said to have been strangled.  

“Freedom of expression is the cornerstone of democracy and rule of law and it is essential that journalists be allowed to contribute freely to political and social debate,” Ms. Bokova added.
According to UNESCO, 19 journalists and media workers, including Mr. Martínez Ávila, have been killed in Honduras since 2009. In 2010, UNESCO supported training workshops in legal aspects of freedom of expression, access to information and election reporting for 140 journalists and media officers in the Honduras.

(mew) (adapted from a UN Press Release)

May 17, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

ICC Prosecutor Seeks New Charges and an Arrest Warrant

Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), wants to seek new charges against Congolese rebel leader Bosco Ntaganda, one of the top commanders in the militia led by Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanda Dyilo (who was convicted in March by the ICC).  

The Prosecutor also wants an arrest warrant for the head of a Rwandan rebel group, both of whom are allegedly responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). 
In 2006, the ICC issued an arrest warrant for Mr. Ntaganda, who is currently a general in the DRC’s national army, for crimes committed against civilians in the Ituri region of DRC from 2002 to 2003.
Mr. Moreno-Ocampo said that evidence collected during the Lubanga trial has led the Office of the Prosecutor to request an expansion of the arrest warrant against Mr. Ntaganda for murder, persecution based on ethnic grounds, rape, sexual slavery, attacking civilians, and pillaging.

The second arrest warrant request is against Sylvestre Mudacumura, the supreme commander of the Rwandan rebel group known as the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, or by its French acronym FDLR.

The most recent incarnation of Rwandan rebel groups established by Rwandan Hutus responsible for the 1994 genocide of Tutsis and Hutu moderates in Rwanda, the FDLR has been involved in crimes in eastern DRC for some time.

“The followers of Ntaganda and Mudacumura have to understand that it is time for them to demobilize and stop their crimes, even help in arresting the leaders,” said the ICC Prosecutor, whose term of office comes to an end next month.  He added that it is important that any new plan to attack these groups take into consideration the fact that past military operations against them have produced civilian casualties. 

The ICC, which is based in The Hague, is the first permanent international court set up to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression.  It can try cases involving individuals charged with war crimes committed since July 2002. The Security Council, the ICC Prosecutor or a State Party to the court can initiate any proceedings, and the ICC only acts when countries themselves are unwilling or unable to investigate or prosecute. In addition to the situation in DRC, the Court has ongoing investigations in the Central African Republic, the Darfur region of western Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, Libya and Côte d’Ivoire.

(mew) (adapted from a UN Press Release)

May 17, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)