Saturday, July 6, 2013

UK House of Commons Votes to Hold Referedum on EU Membership

The United Kingdom House of Commons voted unanimously on Friday to hold a referendum by 2017 on the question of whether the UK should remain a member of the European Union.  Although the vote was unanimous, the bill had the support of less than half of the members of the House of Commons because the vote was taken during a boycott by the Labor Party and the Liberal Democrats.  The bill must also pass the House of Lords before it will take effect.  Thus, the future of the referedum is still very much in doubt.


July 6, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Developments in Egypt

With Egypt's transition at "another delicate juncture," United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reiterated his appeals for non-violence and restraint, urging an inclusive approach to overcome the current "deep difficulties" and address the concerns of all Egyptians. "The Secretary-General is following closely and with continuing concern the fast-moving developments in Egypt.  He continues to stand with the aspirations of the Egyptian people," said a statement issued by a spokesperson for the UN chief.

In the wake of massive protests -- both for and against Egypt's current Government -- Mr. Ban noted the delicate nature of the situation following the army's announcement that it is suspending the Constitution and appointing the head of the constitutional court as interim head of state -- "decisions that have not been accepted by President [Mohamed] Morsy".  

Egypt has been undergoing a halting democratic transition following the toppling of President Hosni Mubarak two years ago in the wake of mass protests similar to those seen in other parts of the Middle East and North Africa as part of the "Arab Spring." Demonstrations have been taking place in Cairo and other cities across the country in recent days, with protesters reportedly calling for President Morsy's resignation. Media reports noted on Monday that Egypt's army had given the country's rival parties 48 hours to resolve the political crisis.

"At this moment of continued high tension and uncertainty in the country, the Secretary-General reiterates his appeals for calm, non-violence, dialogue and restraint," the statement said, adding that an inclusive approach is essential to addressing the needs and concerns of all Egyptians. "Preservation of fundamental rights, including freedom of speech and assembly remain of vital importance."  

Mr. Ban said that in their protests, many Egyptians have voiced deep frustrations and legitimate concerns.  At the same time, military interference in the affairs of any State is of concern. "Therefore, it will be crucial to quickly reinforce civilian rule in accordance with principles of democracy," he says in the statement.  

"The world is watching closely the next steps with the hope that Egyptians will remain on a peaceful course, overcome the deep difficulties they are facing today, and find the needed common ground to move forward in a transition for which so many fought so courageously," the statement concludes.

July 4, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Patton Boggs Ends Lobbying for Ecuador

The Washington DC based law firm Patton Boggs has ended an annual $780,000 lobbying contract with Ecuador, according to a report in the National Law Journal.  The NLJ reports that the firm has stopped lobbying for the country, according to a Foreign Agents Registration Act report the firm filed Friday with the U.S. Justice Department.

Justice Department records show that Ecuador hired Patton Boggs in 2009 to "improve its reputational image and bilateral relations with the United States."  The report filed last week with the Justice Department does not say why the lobbying ended, and a spokesman for the firm declined comment to the NLJ.  

The termination report came shortly after Ecuador pulled out of the Andean Trade Preference Act (ATPA), a trade preference system for favorable duty treatment for exports to the United States.  Ecuador pulled out of the ATPA in response to U.S. pressure not to grant asylum to Edward Snowden, the man who leaked news about a previously secret U.S. surveillance program. 


July 3, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Vanuatu Diplomatic Passports

Radio New Zealand International reports that the Vanuatu Foreign Ministry is still trying to ascertain all the people who are traveling internationally using Vanuatu diplomatic passports.

Vanuatu’s Foreign Minister Edward Natapei is reviewing diplomatic passport appointments made outside of proper procedure.  As many as 70 of the 99 overseas representatives may lose their jobs after the review and 12 appointments have been already been revoked. The Minister is reported to have said that “Some of the diplomatic passports were signed and issued by former ministers and therefore the department does not have records of all the diplomatic passports. We’re still in the process of trying to find out who is out there.”  Minister Natapei is currently Deputy Prime Minister and has served as Minister for Foreign Affairs since March 23, 2013.

Hat tip to the East-West Center and Radio New Zealand International


July 3, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Croatia Joins WTO Government Procurement Agreement

Following Croatia's accession to the European Union (EU), the EU has amended its schedules to the World Trade Organization's Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA) to bring Croatia under the auspices of that Agreement effective July 1.  Croatia's inclusion brings the number of WTO Member States covered by the GPA to 43.  Ten other WTO Member States have begun the accession process: Albania, China, Georgia,  Jordan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Moldova, New Zealand, Oman, Panama, and Ukraine.  The GPA commits Member States to behave in a manner that is transparent, non-discriminatory and procedurally fair when procuring goods, services and  public works.



July 2, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, July 1, 2013

Croatia Joins EU

Croatia_flag[1]At midnight last night, Croatia officially became the 28th member state of the European Union (EU). 

It took approximately 10 years to complete the ratification process from the time of its intial application in 2003. It is the first new member state since 2007 when Bulgaria and Romania joined the EU.

July 1, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, June 30, 2013

IACHR Brings Case Against Peru at Inter-American Court

Earlier this month, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) filed an application with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in Case No. 11.581, Zulema Tarazona Arrieta et al., Perú.

The underlying case involves the murder of Zulema Tarazona Arrieta and Norma Teresa Pérez Chávez, as well as injuries suffered by Mr. Luis Alberto Bejarano Laura, on August 9, 1994, which resulted from a shooting by a member of the Army against a public transportation vehicle where the victims were travelling. The shooting occurred as members of the Army tried to intercept the vehicle. After the shooting, the security officials left the scene without rendering assistance to the victims and without informing their superior about what happened. The Commission found that these facts constituted an arbitrary deprivation of life of the two victims who were killed, and a violation of the right to humane treatment to the detriment of the person injured.

While the case was pending before the IACHR, the Peruvian judicial authorites issued a decision establishing responsibility and awarding partial compensation to the victims' families. Therefore, the Commission determined that the violation was partially repaired. However, the government of Peru has not granted reparation to the families of the victims as a consequence of the situation of impunity in which the facts were kept for an unreasonable time of 14 years.  Accordingly, the IACHR decided to send the case to the Inter-American Court to obtain fuller compliance with the Merits Report.  For more information, see this IACHR Press Release.


June 30, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

International Maritime Boundaries 2013 Poster Map

We think this might be of interest to readers of this blog.  International Mapping has announced the publication of its new International Maritime Boundaries: 2013 poster map.  This map is designed to help users stay abreast of the rapid influx of new boundary delimitations on the continental shelf.  This is a topic of immense importance to all coastal States in that it determines their access to the resources of the sea and seabed that lie in close proximity to their coastal baselines.  The poster map also identifies specially designated areas that form parts of many maritime boundary agreements.  These special areas deal with a variety of topics such as shared fishing rights, joint development of seabed resources, pollution abatement, maritime shipping, enforcement of maritime laws and more.

This new poster map also illustrates delimitations that extend beyond the 200 nautical mile limits of a coastal State’s entitlement to an exclusive economic zone, or EEZ.  The recent ITLOS award in the Bangladesh / Myanmar case represented the first time that an outer continental shelf claim had ever been delimited through litigation.  While this award represents the first adjudicated maritime boundary to extend beyond the 200 nautical mile juridical shelf established by UNCLOS-III, International Mapping notes that it certainly will not be the last.   

This map will be updated on an annual basis so that new boundary agreements, awards, or judgments can be added to the current list of over 220 boundaries already in existence.  This year the ICJ is scheduled to hand down its judgment in the Chile/Peru case, while the PCA is scheduled to hear arguments in the Bangladesh/India case.  Additionally, eight new multi-lateral boundary agreements in the South Pacific will likely be made public in 2013.  As soon as these new boundaries have been officially established they will then be added to the next edition in 2014.

You can purchase a copy of the 2013 edition by clicking here. 

The International Law Prof Blog has no commercial relationship with this provider.  We simply think it will be of interest to many readers of this blog.  

Hat tip to  Dan Przywara, Director, Sales & Marketing at International Mapping


June 30, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Former Dictator of Chad, Hissène Habré, is in Police Custody in Senegal

Hissène Habré, the former dictator of Chad, is reportedly now in police custody in Senegal as of June 30, according to a press release from Human Rights Watch. Habré is accused of thousands of political killings and systematic torture during his presidency, from 1982 to 1990, when he was deposed by President Idriss Deby Itno and fled to Senegal. He has been living in exile in Senegal ever since. After a 22-year campaign by his victims, the Extraordinary African Chambers were established in the Senegalese court system in February to prosecute the worst crimes during his rule. The chambers can prosecute “the person or persons most responsible” for international crimes committed in Chad between June 7, 1982, and December 1, 1990.

The chambers’ chief prosecutor, Mbacké Fall, reportedly asked to have Habré taken into police custody (garde à vue). Under Senegalese law, a person may be detained for up to 48 hours for investigation purposes if there is evidence to believe that they have committed an offense. The detention can be extended for another 48 hours with the prosecutor’s permission.

The prosecutor is expected to bring charges (réquisitoire introductif) before the investigating judges of the chambers and request Habré’s indictment before his period of police custody expires. If Habré is indicted by the judges, he could be remanded to custody (mandat de dépôt) while the judges carry out their pretrial investigation. 

According to  Human RIghts Watch, the pretrial investigation is expected to last 15 months. It will potentially be followed by a trial in late 2014 or 2015.

“I have been waiting more than two decades to see Hissène Habré in court,” said Clément Abaifouta, president of the Association of Victims of the Crimes of Hissène Habré’s Regime (AVCRHH) who as a political prisoner during Habré’s rule was forced to dig mass graves and bury hundreds of other detainees. “We are finally going to be able to confront our tormentor and regain our dignity as human beings.”

(mew) (adapted from an HRW press release)

June 30, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

An Important Anniversary

The Organization of African Unity (OAU)-- known in French as the Organization de l'Unité Africaine (OUA)) was established 50 years ago on May 15, 1963 in Addis Abada with 32 signatory governments. The OAU was disbanded on July 9, 2002 and replaced by the African Union.


June 30, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Gay Pride Participants Arrested in St. Petersburg, Russia

Gay pride celebrations in the United States celebrated the two Supreme Court victories this week that declared unconstitutional section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and that allowed same-sex marriages to resume in California.  

But in other parts of the world the situation was quite different.  Some reports from St. Petersburg Russia are that every one participating in the gay pride parade there was arrested for violating a law promoting homosexuality.  Click here for photos of the parade and of the arrests.  Other reports say that the number of arrests was only about 60 persons, but of these many were severely beaten.  Click here for more information.

The St. Petersburg law setting fines for "gay propaganda" among minors entered into effect on March 30, 2012. It faced strong criticism from rights activists both in Russia and abroad, but the upper house of the Russian Parliament passed a similar federal bill this week banning promotion of “non-traditional sexual relations.”


June 30, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)