Thursday, January 31, 2013
Earlier this week, the World Trade Organization (WTO) Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) took several actions, including establishing a single panel to examine complaints by the European Union (EU), the United States, and Japan against Argentina in connection with certain measures affecting the importation of goods which are alleged to be inconsistent with GATT 1994 and the Import Licensing Agreement. Argentina claims it repealed the offending statute but the other parties did not believe the matter was resolved.
In addition, at the request of Argentina, the DSB also established a panel to examine the dispute “US – Measures affecting the importation of animals, meat and other animal products from Argentina”. Argentina believes the subject US measures violate the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreement and GATT 1994.
Finally, the DSB also acted on a request by Antigua and Barbuda and granted authorization to suspend the application to the US of concessions or other obligations consistent with the Arbitrator’s decision concerning the dispute “US — Measures affecting the cross border supply of gambling and betting services”.
In anticipation of International Law Weekend 2013 to be held on October 24-26, 2013 in New York City, the sponsors invite proposals for panels, roundtables, and lectures. The overall theme of ILW 2013 is Internationalization of Law and Legal Practice.
ILW is sponsored and organized by the American Branch of the International Law Association (ABILA) – which welcomes new members from academia, the practicing bar, and the diplomatic world – and the International Law Students Association (ILSA). This annual conference attracts an audience of more than 1,000 practitioners, academics, diplomats, members of the governmental and nongovernmental sectors, and most importantly, foreign policy and law students who are learning about the range of practice and career opportunities.
ILW 2013 will be held in conjunction with the 92nd annual meeting of the American Branch in Manhattan at the Association of the Bar of the City of New York at 42 West 44th Street on Thursday evening, October 24, and at the Fordham Law School at Lincoln Center on October 25-26, 2013. The audience will include practitioners, professors, UN diplomats, business leaders, federal and state government officials, NGO leaders, writers, journalists, and interested citizens.
The unifying theme for this year’s meeting is to examine how and why an appreciation and knowledge of international law is an increasingly relevant and important professional tool for virtually every lawyer. Panels may explore, for example, how international law principles and instruments are involved in such domestic areas as civil litigation, commercial transactions, trade regulation, family law, criminal prosecution, intellectual property, bankruptcy, and dispute settlement. Others may address international legal developments in such rapidly evolving substantive areas as public health, cyber and telecommunications, human rights, the environment and outer space – especially those under consideration in international organizations. Still others might focus on the specific mechanisms by which international law affects domestic law and legal proceedings such as treaty implementation, application of customary international law, or proof of foreign law.
The ILW Organizing Committee invites proposals to be submitted online at http://ilsa.org/component/chronoforms/?chronoform=ILW_Panel_Proposals on or before Friday, March 15, 2013.
Please provide a title, brief description of the topic, and the names, titles, and affiliations of the chair and likely speakers – but also describe what you think would be the most engaging and exciting format, including ways to enhance participation by the audience. One of the objectives of ILW 2013 is to promote new dialogues among scholars and practicing lawyers; so formats should include presenters with diverse experiences and perspectives.
You should know about the Law Library of Congress. It's an abosolute treasure. Their website allows you to ask obscure research questions. And get answers. For free.
A few weeks ago I had to find a Lagos (Nigeria) State Statute. It was the 2007 Lagos State Law to Provide Protection Against Domestic Violence and Connected Purposes. And most law libraries don't have Nigerian statutes -- much less the statutes of the various Nigerian states. I sent an email to the "Ask a Librarian" link on the website for the Law Library of Congress, which found the law for me and sent me a PDF of 40 Lagos State of Nigeria Official Gazette, No. 53, A187-201 (Jul. 30, 2007). It took a couple of weeks, but that's ok -- I got what I needed.
If you have a sticky research question, remember to test out the stunning resources of the Law Library of Congress. And if you're in Washington DC, be sure to pay them a visit.
A Houston Conference on International Arbitration will be held April 8-9, 2013 at the Houston offices of Fulbright & Jaworski LLP.
The conference will feature Houston as a gateway for U.S. companies doing business in Latin America and the Middle East. It will also focus on new developments in energy, infrastructure disputes, and enforcement issues in the Middle East and Latin America. The closing session will be a roundtable of corporate counsel discussing their perspectives on international arbitration. Join scholars, practitioners, and corporate counsel from Houston, Latin America and the Middle East as they discuss and debate international arbitration practices with a focus on Houston as an arbitration gateway.
For more information, contact Josefa Sicard-Mirabal, Director of Arbitration and ADR, North America, International Court of Arbitration®, 1212 Avenue of the Americas, 21st Floor, New York, NY 10036-1689, Tel 212-703-5065 or email josefa.sicard-mirabal [at] iccwbo.org.
On Friday, February 22, 2013, the Southern Illinois University School of Law is hosting a symposium entitled, "Guantanamo Bay: What Next?" The symposium will explore some the current issues surrounding the remaining detainees at Guantanamo Bay, including the constitutionality of the military commission trials as currently constituted, the role of international law and tribunals in international detention law and policy, and some of the evidentiary and ethical issues involved in representing detainees or the government in these cases.
William Lietzau, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Rule of Law and Detainee Policy, U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), will provide the keynote address, entitled, "Detention in 21st Century Armed Conflict."
Other speakers include:
Associate Professor Christopher Behan, Southern Illinois University School of Law and former Associate Professor at the Judge Advocate General's School in Virginia
Professor Cindy Buys, Southern Illinois University School of Law
Associate Professor Benjamin Davis, University of Toledo College of Law, appointed DOD observer for Guantanamo military commission tribunals
Associate Professor David Frakt, Visiting at University of Pittsburgh, former lead defense counsel, DOD Office of Military Commissions
Professor David Glazier, Loyola Law School, former research fellow at the Center for National Security Law and US Navy Surface Warfare Officer
Associate Professor Eric Jenson, Brigham Young University, former US Army Cavalry Officer and Judge Advocate
Professor Michael Strauss, Center for Diplomatic and Strategic Studies, Paris, France
Capt. Edward White, JAGC, US Navy, Head of Motions and Appeals Sections, Office of Chief Prosecutor, DOD Office of Military Commissions
For more information, or to register for the symposium, go to the events page. There is no fee for attendance and CLE credit is being offered.
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Guest Blog Post: The Case for an Arms Trade Treaty (and an Invitation to Sign a Letter to President Obama)
Guest Blog Post -- International Law Prof Blog
by Becky Farrar and Nate Smith
Despite the existence of multilateral agreements on cluster munitions, chemical and biological weapons, missile technology, and nuclear weapons, the world still has no multilateral standards regarding the trade in conventional arms. The results have been a slow-moving catastrophe: irresponsible arms transfers, often facilitated by profiteering weapons traffickers, fuel grave human rights violations against some of the most vulnerable populations in the world. Amnesty International estimates that there are 250,000 child soldiers in the world today, and that as of 2008, some 26 million people were internally displaced as the result of armed conflict.
Last year (July 2012), delegates from around the world convened in New York to negotiate an Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). The treaty text was to be adopted by consensus, and indeed, the outcome looked promising. Although there were a few troubling loopholes, it appeared poised to become the first multilateral agreement linking the arms trade to human rights criteria—an historic achievement. At the last second, however, the U.S. delegation announced they needed more time to consider the text. Several other countries then took advantage of this political cover to make similar statements.
The conference wasn’t a total loss, though -- the U.N. General Assembly voted to use the text as currently drafted as a starting point for a second conference in March 2013. This provides the Obama administration with a second chance to take a leadership role on human rights. The United States is the world’s biggest arms exporter, and it can bring significant political pressure to bear on reluctant states to put robust arms export laws in place.
What’s in the treaty? The ATT essentially requires all states to reform their arms export laws to meet certain minimum standards. Among other things, this includes prohibitions on transferring weapons to states subject to UN Security Council embargoes, or to entities that are likely to use them to facilitate grave violations of international human rights and humanitarian law – think conflict zones. It doesn’t create any new international enforcement bodies, instead relying on national-level enforcement.
Will it be effective? That clearly remains to be seen. The idea is that it will “move the needle” by making it incrementally more difficult for those who would make irresponsible arms trades to do so. While no multilateral agreement can be 100% effective, any opportunity to make irresponsible transfers more difficult, to protect those most vulnerable from protracted armed conflict, and to stem the flow of weapons to conflict zones and into the hands of child soldiers, is an opportunity the international community is morally obliged to pursue.
Members of the international legal community are invited to join in signing a letter to President Obama that encourages U.S. support of a robust and comprehensive Arms Trade Treaty. The deadline for signing the letter is Monday February 25, 2013. For more information, please contact Becky Farrar at rfarrar88 [at] gmail.com.
The Irish Law Journal, a hybrid peer-reviewed student-edited journal, is now accepting submissions for its second edition. The deadline for submissions is the 1st of March. Submissions should be no more then 25,000 words in length. They are accepting submissions on Irish and international law. Please see the website for more details.
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
This year's Philip C. Jessup Competition is underway with a record of 632 teams registered from 92 countries, including the first team from Iran. The 2013 Jessup problem addresses the consequences of global climate change on statehood, migration, and sovereign debt. The fact pattern follows a debt-ridden island nation that sinks into the ocean, forcing its people to relocate and causing its remaining funds to be seized.
The law firm White & Case LLP is sponsoring eleven of the national competitions as part of the 54th annual Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition. Its sponsorship includes national qualifying competitions in:
- Hong Kong,
- South Africa and
- the United Kingdom.
Highlights for the 54th season include:
- Teams from Bahrain, Iran, Macau, Sierra Leone, and Trinidad and Tobago participating in the Jessup for the first time
- Iranian team being sponsored by White & Case
- 632 teams registered from 92 countries
- 90 new teams competing this year
- First-ever qualifying competitions in Palestine and Nepal
- Record number of registered Jessup teams in Iraq, Afghanistan, the United Kingdom, and Germany
Jessup is the world's largest moot court competition. More than 2,000 law students participate each year, from more than 80 countries. Students are required to present oral and written arguments on a hypothetical international law case to a simulated International Court of Justice. Most teams will compete first in the national and regional competitions to earn the right to advance to the 2013 White & Case International Rounds, which will be held March 31 through April 6 in Washington, DC. The winning team will take home the White & Case Jessup Cup.
Photos and up-to-the-minute results will be posted throughout the White & Case International Rounds at www.jessup.whitecase.com. You can also join the Jessup Facebook group (www.facebook.com/jessup.whitecase) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/JessupWhiteCase).
Mark E. Wojcik, a Board Member of the International Law Students Association
Hat tip to White & Case (and a big thank you for its support of ILSA and the Jessup Competition).
These past two days, my home institution, the Southern Illinois University School of Law, had the pleasure of hosting a visit by Judge Kimberly Prost, United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Ombudsperson for the Al Qaida Sanctions Committee. Judge Prost is a former prosecutor from Canada, and has served as the Chief of the Legal Advisory Section in the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, as well as serving for four years as a judge ad litem at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. In 2010, the UN Secretary General appointed her as the first Ombudsperson for the UNSC Al Qaida Sanctions Committee. In that role, she is responsible for hearing and making recommendations on petitions from persons who have been listed as associating with Al Qaida and who believe they should be delisted.
Judge Prost described the history of the creation of her office and her current role and authority. The UNSC, pursuant to its Chapter VII powers, along with individual states, use "smart" sanctions to target persons who associate with Al Qaida to avoid the suffering of the general population that often accompanies broad-based sanctions programs. Persons placed on the list usually have their assets frozen and are subject to bans on travel and weapons purchases. When the sanctions programs were originally created, there was no procedure for delisting someone once the person had been placed on the targeted list. Persons who thought they were wrongfully targeted began bringing legal challenges seeking a procedure to be removed from the list. In response, the Office of the Ombudsperson was established by Security Council resolution 1904 (2009) and amended by resolution 1989 (2011).
One of the most famous, and so far, successful, challenges has been by a Saudi Arabian businessman named Kadi. He convinced the European Court of Justice (ECJ) that the program violates fundamental due process rights. As a result, the European courts have essentially instructed the European Union countries not to comply with the UN Al Qaida sanctions program unless due process rights are respected. (The Kadi decision may be found here.) Largely as a result of those legal proceedings, the UN Ombudsperson now has the power to investigate individual petitions and to make recommendations to delist a person and those recommendations are binding unless the entire UNSC votes in opposition (a reverse consensus procedure).
In carrying out her job, Judge Prost often travels to various countries to visit the petitioners and interview them in person. She also consults with governments to determine whether there is sufficient and credible information today to believe the person should remain on the sanctions list. So far, she has recommended delisting 20 persons and the UNSC has not overturned any of her recommendations.
The UNSC is to be commended for creating a more robust procedure for allowing the delisting of persons where there has been a mistake or where circumstances have significantly changed since the person was listed. The procedure still is not perfect, of course. In November 2012, Mr. Ben Emmerson, the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Counter-Terrorism, issued a report recommending some additional procedures, such as increased access to confidential information by the Ombudsperson and creation of a fund to pay for counsel for petitioners who cannot afford their own lawyers. In addition, due process procedures need to be extended to other international and national sanctions programs.
Sunday, January 27, 2013
Global Legal Skills Conference in Costa Rica Will Include a Visit to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights
The 8th Global Legal Skills Conference is being held in San Jose, Costa Rica, from March 11-13, 2013. Speakers and attendees are coming in from Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, Italy, Japan, Mexico, and the United States. The conference focuses on teaching and learning "Global Legal Skills" -- a concept broadly defined over the life of the conference to bring together a large number of people working together on international skills education.
The 2013 Conference includes these sessions:
- Lurene Contento (The John Marshall Law School) and Alissa Hartig (Department of Applied Linguistics at Pennsylvania State University) on "The Importance of Teaching International Students to Read Before Teaching Them How to Write."
- Mireille Butler (Pepperdine University School of Law) in a bilingual session (in English and Spanish) on "Academic Legal Writing."
- Sammy Mansour and Daphne O'Regan (both of the Michigan State University College of Law) on the "Benefits and Challenges of Using the Socratic Method to Teach Foreign-Trained Attorneys."
- Iselin Gambert (The George Washington University Law School) on "Connecting the Law School Writing Cetner to the International Human Rights Clinic"
- Michael Murray (Valparaiso University School of Law) on "Comparative Synthesis" and "Visual Rhetoric"
- Laurel Currie Oates and Mimi Samuel (both of Seattle University School of Law) and Ann Nowak (of Touro Law School) on "Teaching Skills Online"
- Deborah B. McGregor and Cynthia Adams (both of Indiana University) on "Using Contrastive Rhetoric to Balance LL.M.Students' Past Legal Experiences with their U.S. Legal Education."
- Ruth Thompson (University ofSaskatchewan) on "Implementing Human Rights in Law School"
- Robert Somers (Whittier Law School) and Maureen Collins (The John Marshall Law School-Chicago) on "Technology in the Classroom"
- Diane Kaplan (The John Marshall Law School-Chicago) and others in a Roundtable on Teaching Materials
- Leo Ciano (Kansai University of Foreign Studies, Japan)
- A roundtable on Teaching International Law with Cindy Buys (Southern Illinois University), Gregory Gordon (University of North Dakota School of Law), and William B.T. Mock, Jr. (The John Marshall Law School-Chicago)
- Kathryn Mercer (Case Western Reserve University School of Law), David Austin (California Western School of Law), and Ruth Hargrove (California Western School of Law) in sessions diversity and on "How Gender and Cross-Cultural Communication Can Enhance or Interfere with Global Legal Skills"
- Attorney Matthew Rooney, Senior Counsel at Meyer Brown, Chicago, on "Teaching Legal Writing and Advocacy in Iraq and South Africa"
- Jennifer Davis (University of New Hampshire) on incorporating field trips to teach the U.S. legal system.
Also planned are sessions for bilingual contract negotiations (in Spanish and English) where law students and lawyers can improve their legal Spanish--and legal English--in simulated contract negotiations.
There will also be sessions on law and legal education in Costa Rica and Central America, and other panels as well.
There are special GLS8 rates at these hotels:
- Holiday Inn Aurola Downtown, San Jose
- Hotel Presidente, San Jose
- Gran Hotel Costa Rica
- Hotel Balmoral, San Jose
For more information about attending the conference, contact Mark Wojcik (hey, that's me) at mwojcik [at] jmls.edu.
The next Global Legal Skills Conference is March 11-13, 2013 in San Jose, Costa Rica.
The roundtable discussion panels will include one on teaching international law. Panelists will include Professor Cindy Buys (of this blog, and Southern Illinois University School of Law), Gregory Gordon (North Dakota), and William Mock (The John Marshall Law School).
Conference attendees and presenters are coming from Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, Italy, Japan, Mexico, and the United States. Some slots are still open for panel moderators if you are able to attend.
It's not a court case. It's soccer (football). Costa Rica, having beat El Salvador two days ago, just defeated Honduras a few minutes ago to win the championship for the Central American Cup (Copa Centroamericana). Viva los ticos!
Mark E. Wojcik, in Costa Rica
Things We Forgot to Tell You Last Week: Burning Goat Cheese Shuts Down a Tunnel in Norway for Four Days
We can't make this stuff up. A truck trailer full of sweet goat cheese caught fire late last week in Norway, blocking a road tunnel. it took four days for firefighters to put out the flames. Click here to read more or one of the article links below. If you dare.