January 24, 2013
Law Student Writing Competition (International Humanitarian Law)
Here's a reminder that the American University Washington College of Law Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (Center) and the American Society of International Law’s Lieber Society on the Law of Armed Conflict (ASIL) have announced their Third Annual International Humanitarian Law Student Writing Competition.
The Competition seeks submissions of academic papers on the topic of international humanitarian law (IHL) from students currently enrolled in a law degree program in the United States or abroad. The purpose of the Competition is to enhance scholarship and deepen understanding among students in this important area of international law. The winning authors will be flown to Washington, DC to present their papers at a conference at American University Washington College of Law focused on emerging issues in IHL with a panel of expert professors and practitioners. In addition, winners will receive a complimentary registration to the ASIL 2013 Annual Meeting in Washington, DC on April 3-6, 2013, and a one-year student membership in the American Society of International Law. Last year, the Competition received over 50 submissions from 13 different countries.
This Competition is part of a multi-pronged initiative to expand and support the teaching and study of IHL among both students and professors in which both the Center and ASIL have been deeply involved. In 2007, the Center published a study with the International Committee of the Red Cross on Teaching International Humanitarian Law in US Law Schools(available at www.wcl.american.edu/humright/ center/ihl_report.cfm). The study identified a growing need for resources to support and expand the teaching of IHL among law faculty, but also a desire to support the interest of students in learning about IHL. The IHL Student Writing Competition promotes and supports student interest and deepening scholarship in IHL by providing students with a tangible way to become more directly involved in the global discourse around IHL.
The deadline for submissions is January 31, 2013 at 12:00 pm (noon) EST. Send any questions to TeachingIHL@wcl.american.edu or call them at 202-274-4180.
Hat tip to the Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at American University Washington College of Law(mew)
January 21, 2013
New UN Treaty on Mercury-Emissions
Over the weekend, over 140 nations met in Geneva to conclude four years of work on a new treaty to reduce exposure to mercury, which is known to have negative health and environmental effects. Their work has resulted in a new international convention called the Minamata Convention on Mercury, named after a city in Japan that has suffered negative health consequences as a result of mercury pollution. The treaty imposes controls and restrictions on industries and products that use, emit or release mercury. Some affected products include certain kinds of batteries and medical devices.
The treaty will be opened for signature at a special ceremony in Japan in October. It will enter into force once 50 nationas ratify it.
January 20, 2013
US Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Case Involving Chemical Weapons Convention
Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in Bond. v. United States, which raises issues regarding federalism and proper treaty implementation in the United States. The United States is a party to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), which it implemented through a federal statute, the Chemical Weapons Convention Implemenation Act, 18 USC sec. 229. The Act certain criminalizes activities that may lead to the spread of chemical weapons.
Carol Anne Bond was arrested and charged with violating the Act for attempting to poison her husband's lover by applying certain highly toxic chemicals to the other woman's mailbox, car door handles and house doornob. She was convicted under the Act of acquiring, transferring, receiving, retaining, or possessing a chemical weapon. Ms. Bond challenged the constitutionality of the Act claiming that Congress does not have the authority under the U.S. Constitution to implement the CWC because the criminal activity at issue must be regulated by states and local governments pursuant to federalism principles.
The US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit upheld Ms. Bond's conviction stating that, "because the
Convention is an international agreement with a subject matter that lies at the core of the Treaty Power and because Holland [v. Missouri] instructs that 'there can be no dispute about the validity of [a] statute' that implements a valid treaty, we will affirm Bond's conviction." The U.S. Supreme Court must now determine whether the federal government does have the power to regulate criminal behavior pursuant to its treaty power that it might not be able to reach under its commerce clause or other expressly enumerated powers.
The petition for writ of certiorari may be found here.