Saturday, March 4, 2017
The 2017 Global Legal Skills Conference (GLS-12) will be held in Monterrey, Mexico, at the Facultad Libre de Derecho de Monterrey. The conference will begin on Wednesday, March 15, and continue through Friday, March 17, 2017. There will also be a pre-conference field trip on March 14, 2017. Participants are expected from Australia, Canada, Estonia, Germany, Haiti, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, The Netherlands, Qatar, Russia, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Venezuela. The GLS-12 Conference is organized by the Facultad Libre de Derecho de Monterrey (Monterrey, Mexico), the Instituto Tecnologico Autonomo de Mexico Department of Law (Mexico City), The John Marshall Law School (Chicago), and the University of Texas at Austin School of Law (Austin).
Friday, March 3, 2017
Thursday, March 2, 2017
The International Law Students Association, in conjunction with the American Society of International Law (ASIL), is soliciting nominations for the Student Deak Award for articles published in the 2016 calendar year.
The Student Deak Award is a prize provided by Oxford University Press for the best international law student article in a student-edited law journal. The award honors Francis Deak, a WWII veteran who wrote extensively on international law. The award is the student equivalent of the prize separately awarded by the American Journal of International Law for the best article in the Journal.
Students, professors, practitioners or other persons in the legal community may nominate students for the Student Deak Award. A student may even nominate his or her own article. Per award rules, the nominee must have been a student at the time the article was written, and the article must have been published in a student-edited journal during the award year (2016). All nominations satisfying these criteria will be considered by the awards committee, who will choose the winning submission. The winner of the 2016 award will be announced at the 2017 ASIL Annual Meeting in Washington, DC in mid-April.
All nominations must include the student’s name, school, graduation year, full article (pdf), and article citation. The nominations should be sent to email@example.com by March 12, 2017. Any questions about the award may also be directed to that email address.
Sean Murphy to Give 2017 Herzog Lecture in Chicago on "Preventing and Punishing Crimes Against Humanity"
Preventing and Punishing Crimes Against Humanity
Fred F. Herzog Memorial Lecture
Thursday, March 23, 2017, 3:30 to 5:00 p.m.
The John Marshall Law School, 315 S. Plymouth Court, Chicago, Illinois
Meet and Greet to Follow the Lecture
"Crimes against humanity" are part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack. These crimes include murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation and forcible transfer of a population, torture, rape, sexual slavery, and other inhumane acts intentionally causing great suffering. The International Law Commission has begun work on a Draft Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against Humanity. For the 2017 Herzog Memorial Lecture, Sean D. Murphy, a member of the International Law Commission and its Special Rapporteur for the Project, will discuss the Commission's important work on the prevention and punishment of crimes against humanity.
The International Law Commission. In 1947, the United Nations General Assembly established the International Law Commission to study and make recommendations that would encourage the "progressive development of international law and its codification." Its members are "persons of recognized competence in international law" who sit in their individual capacities and not as representatives of their governments.
Sean D. Murphy is a Professor at The George Washington University Law School and a leading authority on international law. He was recently re-elected to a second, five-year term on the International Law Commission.
Fred F. Herzog was born in 1907 in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He studied law and in 1935 he became the youngest federal judge in Austria and the only Jewish judge in that country. Although appointed as a judge for life, he was removed from office in 1938 following the Nazi Anschluss of Austria. He escaped to Sweden and then to the United States, where he studied for an American law degree. He later became Dean of the Chicago-Kent College of Law and then The John Marshall Law School. He died in 2008 in Chicago at the age of 100.
Fred F. Herzog Memorial Lecture Series. The lecture series named in Dean Herzog's honor has included such notable speakers such as Hans Corell (Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and the Legal Counsel of the United Nations), Laurel Bellows (President of the American Bar Association, speaking on Human Trafficking), Professor Deborah Lipstadt of Emory University (speaking on Combating Holocaust Denial), and Thomas Buergenthal (former Judge of the International Court of Justice and a survivor of the Nazi camps).
Who should attend? The lecture will be of great interest to lawyers and law students interested in international law and to all persons interested in preventing and punishing crimes against humanity.
There is no charge to attend the lecture.
The United Nations agency leading the world's HIV/AIDS response is urging everyone to 'make some noise' for zero discrimination in healthcare settings.
“Healthcare settings should be safe and supportive environments. It is unacceptable that discrimination is inhibiting access to care today,” said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), in his message for Zero Discrimination Day.
“Eliminating discrimination in health-care settings is critical, and we must demand that it become a reality,” Mr. Sidibé added.
The right to health is a fundamental human right that includes access to affordable, timely and quality health-care services for all, yet discrimination remains widespread in health-care settings, creating a serious barrier to access to HIV services.
Data from 50 countries from the People Living with HIV Stigma Index cited by UNAIDS show that one in eight people living with HIV report being denied health care.
Around 60 per cent of European Union/European Economic Area countries report that stigma and discrimination among health-care professionals remains a barrier to the provision of adequate HIV prevention services for men who have sex with men and people who inject drugs.
Each year on 1 March, the world marks Zero Discrimination Day “to highlight how everyone can be part of the transformation and take a stand for a fair and just society,” according to the press release.
“Everyone has the right to be treated with respect, to live free from discrimination, coercion and abuse,” said Mr. Sidibé.
“Discrimination doesn't just hurt individuals it hurts everyone, whereas welcoming and embracing diversity in all its forms brings benefits for all.”
(Adapted from a UN Press Release)
Concluding a four-day visit to parts of Bangladesh where she met with members of Myanmar's Rohingya community who fled the violence there following attacks on a border post in early October and the ensuing military operations, a United Nations expert called for urgent action by the Government of Myanmar to end the suffering of the Rohingya population in the country.
“The magnitude of violence that these families have witnessed and experienced is far more extensive than I had originally speculated,” highlighted Yanghee Lee, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar.
She recounted several allegations of horrific attacks including the slitting of some people's throats, indiscriminate shootings, houses being set alight with people tied up inside and very young children being thrown into the fire, as well as gang rapes and other sexual violence.
Earlier this month, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) issued a flash report, based on its interviews with the people who fled Myanmar, in which it documented mass gang-rape, killings, including of babies and young children, brutal beatings, disappearances and other serious human rights violations by the country's security forces.
In addition to the alleged human rights violations occurring within the context of the security operations that followed the 9 October attacks, Ms. Lee also highlighted today how the Government of Myanmar appears to have taken, and continues to take, actions which discriminate against the Rohingya and make their lives even more difficult.
“I urge the Government of Myanmar to immediately cease the discrimination that the community continues to face, to act now to prevent any further serious rights violations and to conduct prompt, thorough, independent and impartial investigations into those already alleged to have occurred,” said the UN rights expert.
“We all owe it to those I have met and their fellow community members to do everything in our power to ensure this is done and to give the Rohingya people reason to hope again,” she added.
During her mission to Bangladesh, Ms. Lee visited the capital Dhaka and the town of Cox's Bazar, located near its border with Myanmar, where many members of the Rohingya community had fled to. Ms. Lee will present her full report to the UN Human Rights Council on 13 March.
Special Rapporteurs and independent experts are appointed by the Geneva-based Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a specific human rights theme or a country situation. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work.
(Adapted from a UN Press Release)
Russia and China exercised their veto powers this week in the United Nations Security Council to block a resolution that would, have imposed sanctions against specific parties using chemical weapons in war-torn Syria. Although nine of the Council’s 15 members voted to support the resolution, Bolivia joined Russia and China in rejecting it. Egypt, Ethiopia, and Kazakhstan abstained.(mew)
More than 1,000 civilians were killed or injured last month in Iraq, the United Nations mission in the country has announced.
According to the latest figures from the UN Assistance Mission in the country (UNAMI), at least 392 civilians were killed and another 613 were injured in acts of terrorism, violence and armed conflict.
The head of UNAMI, Ján Kubiš, condemned the deliberate targeting of civilians by the Islamic State (ISIL), and saluted the Iraqi security forces for professionalism in pursuing the terrorists while seeking to minimize civilian casualties.
“As the Iraqi security forces stepped up the military operations to liberate the remaining parts of Mosul from Daesh control, the terrorists struck again, targeting civilians with cowardly bombings to ease the pressure on the frontlines,” Mr. Kubiš said referring to ISIL by its Arabic acronym.
“Daesh's sinister attempts have failed to weaken the resolve of the people and Government of Iraq to rid the country once and for all from the scourge of terrorism,” added Mr. Kubiš, who is also the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq.
The figure of 392 is slightly lower than 403 civilians killed in January, when an additional 924 civilians were injured.
(UN Press Release)
The United Nations human rights office today urged the Government of Thailand to criminalize enforced or involuntary disappearance and torture. The announcement follows news last week that National Legislative Assembly – the military-appointed parliament – decided not to enact a bill that would have done just that.
“The Assembly’s decision to reject the bill is very concerning given the continued allegations of torture and disappearances in Thailand, and it is deeply worrying that such actions may now continue without any legal redress,” Ravina Shamdasani told journalists in Geneva.
Ms. Shamdasani, the spokesperson for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), characterized the decision to not enact the bill as “a devastating blow” to the families of those who have disappeared.
Since 1980, the UN Working Group on Enforced or Voluntary Disappearances recorded 82 cases of enforced disappearances in the country. Those include the disappearances of respected lawyer Somchai Neelapaijit in 2004 and Karen human rights activist Pholachi “Billy" Rakchongcharoen in 2014.
Speaking to the press, Ms. Shamdasani also raised concern about the increasing number of criminal cases brought against human rights defenders in Thailand for reporting allegations of torture and ill-treatment.
(UN Press Release)
UN Report Finds that Defense and Security Forces of the Democratic Repubilc of the Congo Used Lethal Force to Suppress Demonstrations, in Violation of International Human RIghts Law
Defence and security forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) used excessive, disproportionate and at times lethal force to prevent and contain demonstrations in December 2016, in violation of international human rights law and standards, a UN report has found.
“Measures should also be taken, at all levels, to ensure that the legitimate exercise of fundamental freedoms by the population will not lead to loss of lives and other serious rights violations,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said today in a news release on the report.
The report is based on the findings of the investigation conducted by the human rights team comprising staff of the UN Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) and of the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
According to the report, at least 40 people, including five women and two children, were killed between 15 and 31 December 2016 across several cities of the DRC, among them the capital Kinshasa, as well as Lubumbashi, Boma and Matadi. The victims include 28 individuals who were killed by soldiers of the Forces armées de la République démocratique du Congo (FARDC), six by agents of the Police Nationale Congolaise (PNC) and six during joint PNC and FARDC operations.
The report also revealed that all but two of the victims were killed by live ammunition. During the same period, at least 147 people were injured by State agents, including 14 women and 18 children, and at least 917 individuals, including 30 women and 95 children, were arrested by defence and security forces.
“Such serious incidents are worrisome, particularly in the current context,” said Maman Sambo Sidikou, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative in the DRC, citing the need to create an environment conducive to the holding of peaceful elections.
The lack of accountability for past human rights violations, including those committed during the demonstrations in Kinshasa on 19 and 20 September 2016, may have encouraged a sense of impunity, and defence and security forces to commit further violations in December 2016.
“Once again we see serious human rights violations being committed blatantly and with complete impunity by the security forces, who employed excessive use of force against unarmed demonstrators, in flagrant violation of international human rights law and standards,” said the UN human rights chief, Mr. Zeid.
He urged the Government to bring those responsible for such violations to justice and urgently adopt the law on freedom of peaceful protests and the law on human rights defenders.
(UN Press Release)
Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria Finds All Parties Committed War Crimes in Aleppo
The battle late last year for control over Syria’s war-ravaged Aleppo was a stage of unrelenting violence, with civilians on both sides falling victim to war crimes committed by all parties, read a report issued today by the United Nations-mandated Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria.
The report documents brutal tactics employed by the parties to the conflict in the country as they engaged in the decisive battle for the once iconic city between July and December 2016, resulting in unparalleled suffering for Syrian men, women and children.
“The violence in Aleppo documented in our report should focus the international community on the continued, cynical disregard for the laws of war by the warring parties in Syria,” said Paulo Pinheiro, the Chair of the three-member Commission, which was mandated by the UN Human Rights Council.
“The deliberate targeting of civilians has resulted in the immense loss of human life, including hundreds of children,” he added.
The report notes that the siege-like tactics employed by pro-Government forces in eastern Aleppo last year trapped civilians without adequate food or medical supplies, and that between July and December, Syrian and Russian forces carried out daily air strikes, claiming hundreds of lives and reducing hospitals, schools and markets to rubble.
The report adds that Syrian forces also used chlorine bombs – a chemical agent prohibited under international law – in residential areas, resulting in hundreds of civilian casualties. The Commission also notes that it received reports of use of cluster munitions in densely populated areas.
Furthermore, by late December, when pro-Government forces on the ground took control over eastern Aleppo, no functioning hospitals remained. The intentional targeting of these medical facilities amounted to war crimes, the Commission concludes.
(Adapted from a UN press release)
March 3rd, 2017 @ noon CST: Refine Your International Student Recruitment Strategies through this 2017 Resource Guide – Free Webinar
Register for this webinar and be among the first to receive an electronic copy of the new 2017 Education and Training Services Resource Guide. This webinar will show you how to use the Guide to develop effective international recruitment strategies. The Guide contains education sector briefs on 50 international markets, covering the following critical topics:
- Market entry recommendations
- Current demand and market trends
- Resources and trade events
All registrants will receive a link to an electronic copy of the guide, which will be published and released in hard copy at NAFSA 2017 in Los Angeles.
Why is it important to stay informed on Education service exports?
- $35.7 billion USD was contributed to U.S. economy by international students studying in United States in tuition and living expenses during the 2015 calendar year.
- The total number of foreign students increased 7.1 percent in 2015–16, with an international student population of over 1 million students.
- About 75 percent of students studying in the United States use outside sources to fund their international study and supported over 400,000 U.S. jobs, making Education and Training Services a valuable U.S. export.
Please register at https://emenuapps.ita.doc.gov/ePublic/event/editWebReg.do?SmartCode=7Q8W Webinar login details will be provided after registration. Marketing Partners made this book edition possible: OCS America Inc., FPP EDU Media, and Sannam S4. For questions, contact Debra.Rogers@trade.gov
Friday, February 24, 2017
Journalists from the New York Times, CNN, and Politico were prohibited from attending a White House Press Briefing today by President Trump’s press secretary, Sean M. Spicer. Aides to Mr. Spicer allowed in reporters from only a handpicked group of mostly conservative news organizations.
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
The International Criminal Court (ICC) had a better week this past week. Following the announcements this past fall by a few African States that they intend to withdraw from the Court, more recently, Gambia's newly elected government announced that it would not leave the Court after all. Then today, South Africa's High Court ruled that the South African government's decision to withdraw from the ICC was unconstitutional because the government had failed to seek approval from the South African Parliament. This decision does not mean that South Africa cannot leave the ICC eventually, only that it will take more time and the withdrawal must follow a different procedure. It also may give the ICC more time to show that the charges against it of bias are not well founded.
A major milestone for the global trading system was reached today when the first multilateral deal concluded in the 21-year history of the World Trade Organization (WTO) entered into force. In receiving four more ratifications from Rwanda, Oman, Chad and Jordan for the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), the WTO has obtained the two-thirds acceptance of the agreement from its 164 members needed to bring the TFA into force. For more information, see the WTO website.
ICC Revised Arbitration Rules Go Into Effect on March 1st; Changes Include Expedited Procedures for Disputes Under US$2 million
The International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC Court) announced important amendments to the ICC Rules of Arbitration (the "Rules") to increase the efficiency and transparency of ICC arbitrations.
The revised rules enter into effect on March 1, 2017. They provide that expedited procedure rules will automatically apply to all arbitrations with amounts in dispute below US$2 million and to cases involving higher amounts on an opt-in basis.
Features of the Expedited Rules
Under the Expedited Procedure Rules, the ICC Court will normally appoint a sole arbitrator, irrespective of any contrary term of the arbitration agreement. Awards must be made in six months from the case management conference. Extensions will be granted only in limited and justified circumstances.
Under the Rules there will be no Terms of Reference and the tribunal will have discretion to decide the case on documents only, with no hearing, no requests to produce documents and no examination of witnesses. The quality control on awards -- performed by the ICC Court and its Secretariat through the scrutiny of the award -- will however be maintained at its long-established highest level. Finally, a scale providing for significantly reduced fees will apply under the Expedited Procedure Rules.
ICC Court President Alexis Mourre said: "This is an entirely new offer to our users. Disputes will now be resolved on a very expeditious and cost-effective manner, providing an effective answer to the legitimate concerns of the business community as to time and costs. These new rules will not only be effective for disputes of a limited value, but also for larger cases if the parties so agree."
Reflecting a string of new measures and amendments to ICC practice notes introduced in 2016, the ICC also introduced a number of other changes to its Rules. They reduce from two months to one month the time-limit to establish Terms of Reference in order to streamline the initial phases of the proceedings.
The Rules have also been amended to allow the ICC Court to provide reasons for its decisions made on challenges, as well as for other decisions, such as prima facie jurisdictional decisions and consolidations, without having to seek consent of all parties, as under the previous Rules. Mr Mourre said: "Any party will now be in a position to ask the ICC Court to provide reasons for its decisions. This is an increased measure of transparency and accountability to our users.
The amendments to the Rules were proposed in May 2016 by the ICC Court and the Governing Body for Dispute Resolution Services. They were presented to the ICC Commission on Arbitration and ADR at its Washington session in September 2016 and finally approved by the ICC Executive Board in Bangkok in October 2016.
(Adapted from an ICC Press Release).
OSCE Tells UN Security Council that Multilateral Cooperation is the Only Way to Achieve Peace, Security, and Stability
Multilateral cooperation is the only way to achieve peace, security and stability, and there is no alternative to it, Austria’s Foreign Minister told the United Nations Security Council today, underscoring the work of his country in its role as the Chair of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
“As you can imagine, chairing OSCE is not an easy task,” said Sebastian Kurz, Federal Minister for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs of Austria, citing the difficulty in finding consensus among the regional body’s 57 States. “Austria has taken over the OSCE chairmanship at a critical moment. Everywhere we look, there are grave threats to peace and security,” he added. He said that the Austrian chairmanship will seek to contribute to defusing existing conflicts, create a platform to assists States in their efforts to combat radicalization and violent extremism, and help rebuild trust between the OSCE States.
On the crisis in and around Ukraine, he said the OSCE has demonstrated its crucial role in brokering a ceasefire and its special monitoring mission has helped prevent a worsening of the situation. However, support is need to increase the number of monitors on the ground, improve the technical equipment for monitoring and extend the operating hours along the contact line between Government and non-Government armed forces, he said.
Austria will also support all efforts to achieve progress on other conflict situations, including those in Transnistria, Georgia and Nagorno-Karabakh.
Turning to radicalization and terrorism, he said more than 10,000 people from the OSCE area have joined the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh). The most vulnerable group to be radicalized is youth, Mr. Kurz said, adding that he has appointed Peter Neumann, an expert on terrorism, as his special representative on radicalisation.
The Austrian chairmanship will also try to resume discussions on conventional arms control in Europe, and seek to launch a structured dialogue on current and future challenges and risks to security in the OSCE area.
Cyber security and social and economic cooperation – two issues discussed in Vienna recently - are areas where everybody stands to gain from more cooperation, and success in these areas will lead to more trust, he stressed. “The same is true for human rights, the rule of law and democracy. Together we can strengthen the cohesiveness and resilience of our societies to better counter threats to our security,” he said.
(Adapted from a UN Press Release). Photo: Austria’s Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, in his role as the chair of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), addresses the Security Council. (UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe)
Monday, February 20, 2017
Reuters News Service reports that the Mexican Minister of Agriculture will lead a business delegation from Mexico to Argentina and Brazil to buy yellow corn. The move is part of a plan to lessen Mexico's dependence on U.S. exports because of threats from the current U.S. President to disrupt a long-standing free trade agreement between the United States and Mexico and to impose taxes on products on Mexico.
Mexico currently imports $2.3 billion of yellow corn annually from the United States. Mexico is the largest foreign buyer of corn from the United States.
Mexico will now look increasingly to Argentina, Brazil, and other countries to decrease its dependence on the United States. Click here to read more.
Additionally, a Mexican Senator reportedly has promised to introduce a bill that would require Mexico to import corn from Argentina and Brazil instead of the United States. Click here to read more.
Sunday, February 19, 2017