Tuesday, September 15, 2015
September 21 is the new deadline for Early Bird Registration for the Fall Meeting of the American Bar Association Section of International Law. The meeting will be held from October 20-24, 2015. Click here for more information about the Fall Meeting. It's one of those not-to-be-missed events for people who work (and who want to work) internationally or in the field of international law.
This is a fantastic opportunity for lawyers and law students interested in working in international law, as hundreds of lawyers from around the world gather in Montreal. There are many networking opportunities in addition to the substantive programs and high profile talks by notable lawyers such as former Prime Minister Brian Mulruney (who speaks on Wednesday) and the Right Honorable Beverley McLachlin, Chief Justice of Canada (who speaks on Friday).
And if you're going to the Montreal meeting and you're in the market to buy a home in that very lovely city, you can try to buy the home of former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. Have a look.
On September 17, 1787, thirty-nine delegates signed the U.S. Constitution in Philadelphia. In anticipation of this year's Constitution Day, the Law Library of Congress announced the following event:
Date: Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Time: 1:00 p.m.
Place: Library of Congress, James Madison Building, Montpelier Room (LM-619), 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. 20540
In commemoration of Constitution Day, the Law Library of Congress will host a discussion about the importance of religious liberty in America and its historical connection to the U.S. Constitution with Princeton University professor of jurisprudence Robert P. George and Supreme Court correspondent Jess Bravin of The Wall Street Journal.
This public event will serve as the Law Library's annual commemoration of Constitution Day and Citizenship Day - a U.S. federal observance to commemorate the signing of the Constitution, and "recognize all who, by coming of age or by naturalization, have become citizens." Constitution Day was established by Congress in 2004 to recognize the ratification of the U.S. Constitution on September 17, 1787.
For those not able to attend the program, the Law Library of Congress will have a member of its staff live tweet the event via Twitter @LawLibCongress, using #ConstitutionDay. A webcast of the event will be posted after the video has been processed.
Look for more information about this and other events via our social media outlets:
In Custodia Legis, < http://blogs.loc.gov/law/ >
Twitter, < https://twitter.com/LawLibCongress >
Facebook, < http://www.facebook.com/lawlibraryofcongress >.
Monday, September 14, 2015
The United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide has welcomed the resolution adopted by the General Assembly last week proclaiming 9 December as the International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of this Crime.
“Remembering the events of the past and paying tribute to those who perished should strengthen our resolve to prevent such events from ever happening again,” Adama Dieng said in a press release issued today.
“We have a collective responsibility to prevent genocide – and by commemorating the victims of the crime of genocide, we can dignify them and show that we are not indifferent, that we care about what happened to them and will never forget them.”
Genocide is defined by the UN as a crime that is committed against members of a national, ethnic or religious group solely because they are members of that group. Genocide also entails there being intent to exterminate a particular group.
The 9th of December is the anniversary of the signing of the 1948 Genocide Convention. The International Day is intended to commemorate and honour the victims of the crime of genocide around the world, and to raise awareness of the Convention and its role in protecting populations from future genocides.
In adopting the resolution on Friday, without a vote, the 193-member Assembly reiterated the responsibility of each individual State to protect its populations from genocide, which entails the prevention of such a crime, including incitement to it, through appropriate and necessary means, and that fighting impunity for the crime of genocide is an important factor in its prevention.
“Genocide represents the very worst of humanity. No human being should experience such a terrible crime,” Mr. Dieng stated.
(UN Press Release)
Thursday, September 10, 2015
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) invites States and civil society to submit information to the Commission for the elaboration of Section A of Chapter IV of its Annual Report 2015 on the human rights situation in the hemisphere. With that goal, the Commission published a questionnaire (English) about the topics access to water and use of force.
Chapter IV.A of the IACHR provides an annual description on the human rights situation in the hemisphere, resulting from the work and supervision of the Commission, and which shall include the main tendencies, issues, challenges, advances and positive practices regarding both political and civil rights as well as economic, social and cultural rights.
The deadline to send answers is September 15, 2015. For more information, visit the IACHR website.
Monday, September 7, 2015
This past week, much of the international community expressed outrage over the drowning of a Syrian child, whose death was captured in this picture by The Guardian. The sad truth is that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that 2,500 persons have lost their lives attempting the cross the Mediterranean Sea in 2015.
We have blogged on this site about the refugee crisis in Europe before and it dismaying that the situation has continued to deteriorate in part because of the European nations' refusal to deal with the problem in a responsible and humanitarian manner. Germany's and Austria's recent offers to accept many refugees who were stuck in Hungary is heartening, but other countries need to step up as well. This problem is not just a European problem either. Given current world conditions such as increasing populations and demand for resources, as well as religious-based conflict, it is likely that refugee flows will continue for the foreseeable future. It is time for the international community to do some bold and innovative thinking about how to handle these crises in the future.
The definition of a refugee, i.e., someone who has a well-founded fear of persecution due to his or her race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group has hardly changed since it was adopted in the Refugee Convention shortly after World War II (the definition of an asylum seeker is essentially the same). States and their judicial bodies have often adopted limiting definitions of who qualifies as a refugee or asylee for fear of opening the proverbial floodgates. This definition leaves out those who are fleeing civil war, natural disasters and starvation. It is time to re-think the legal definition of refugee to determine whether it is possible to provide humanitarian relief to more of the hundreds of thousands of persons who are driven from their homes each year by these conditions.
There is much that could be done. Experts can often predict refugee flows. More resources must be devoted at the beginning of a crisis to provide temporary food, shelter, safe transportation, etc., to the refugees and asylum seekers. That means States must make greater financial contributions to the UNHCR to support its work. International law often favors asylum seekers applying in the first country in which they arrive. That country may not have sufficient resources to absorb the refugees or asylees. The international community could develop a better system for distributing refugees among multiple countries so that the burden on any one country would not be too great. States could also put more resources into assisting refugees to return to their home country whenever possible and desirable when the situation at home improved.
Refugee crises will continue. If not allowed in lawfully, desperate refugees will continue to risk their lives to cross borders surreptitiously. Human lives will be lost. States will lose control of their borders and will spend money fighting illegal immigration and security threats that could be better spent on humanitarian aid. It is time for a new international conference to re-examine the continuing validity and utility of the world refugee system.
Thursday, August 27, 2015
The trial of the military commander Bosco Ntaganda for grave crimes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is scheduled to begin on September 2, 2015, at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. Bosco Ntaganda is the former Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Force patriotiques pour la libération du Congo [Patriotic Force for the Liberation of Congo] (FPLC). He is accused of thirteen counts of war crimes (murder and attempted murder, attacking civilians, rape, sexual slavery of civilians, pillaging, displacement of civilians, attacking protected objects, destroying enemy property, and rape, sexual slavery and enlistment and conscription of child soldiers under the age of 15), as well as five crimes against humanity (murder, attempted murder, rape, sexual slavery, persecution, and forcible transfer of population), allegedly committed in Ituri, DRC, in the years 2002 and 2003.
For more information, see this ICC case summary.
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
ABA Section of International Law Fall Meeting in Montreal - Early Bird Registration Only Until September 8
The American Bar Association Section of International Law will hold its Fall Meeting in Montreal, Canada from October 20-24, 2015. Early bird registration ends September 8, 2015. Click here for more information about the Fall Meeting. It's one of those not-to-be-missed events for people who work (and who want to work) internationally or in the field of international law.
Friday, August 21, 2015
The American Bar Association Section of International Law installed its new leadership earlier this month during the ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago.
Lisa is a Partner in the Axelrod Firm's Washington, DC office, where she handles international and domestic litigation and alternative dispute resolution, representing foreign and domestic companies in matters involving complex legal, regulatory, and technical issues. Much of her international work involves issues relating to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), application of various treaties, jurisdictional challenges, the doctrine of forum non conveniens, and enforcement of foreign judgments. Her industry experience includes representing clients in the aviation, insurance, chemical, agriculture, and manufacturing sectors. Her work has included counseling clients on cross border litigation and application of law from both civil and common law jurisdictions. She has worked in Belize, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, England, Ethiopia, France, Greece, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Peru, Poland, Taiwan, and the Turks and Caicos Islands.
The new Chair-Elect is Sara P. Sandford (pictured right) of the law firm Garvey, Schubert & Barer in Seattle, Washington. She works with clients from around the world in all stages of establishing, acquiring, and operating businesses across borders. She concentrates her practice on representing Japanese companies and individuals in their business activities in the United States and on advising U.S. clients concerning business activities in Japan, Canada, and other Pacific Rim countries. In this U.S.-Japan context, she has worked with clients in various stages of joint ventures in industries ranging from livestock-exporting to sports equipment to internet entertainment. She has represented high-technology start-up companies in obtaining and documenting both bank and venture capital financing.
Other officers announced are:
- Vice Chair: Steven Richman
- Finance Officer: Adam Farlow
- Budget Officer: Prof. William B.T. Mock, Jr. of The John Marshall Law School in Chicago
- Secretary/Operations Officer: Lelia Mooney
- Liaison Officer: Dixon Miller
- Membership Officer: Marcos Rios
- Programs Officer: Robert Brown
- Communications Officer: Ingrid Busson-Hall
- Diversity Officer: Lisa Ryan
- Policy/Government Affairs Officer: David Schwartz
- Publications Officer: Patrick Del Duca
- Rule of Law Officer: Nancy Stafford
- Technology Officer: Marcela Stras
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Mile Mrksic, a former Serbian army officer sentenced to 20 years in prison by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), has died in Portugal at the age of 68.
Mrksic had surrendered to the tribunal on 15 May 2002 and pled not guilty to the charges against him. In 2007, the Trial Chamber found him guilty of aiding and abetting murder, torture, and cruel treatment as violations of the laws or customs of war with respect to events at Ovcara, near
Vukovar, on 20 and 21 November 1991. He had withdrawn troops who were protecting prisoners of war who had taken shelter in a hospital. The decision to withdraw the troops allowed the prisoners to be murdered by paramilitary forces, and an estimated 264 persons died. The Trial Chamber sentenced him to a single term of 20 years of imprisonment, with credit for time served since 15 May 2002, when he had surrendered to the tribunal. In 2009, the ICTY Appeals Chamber affirmed the sentence and dismissed his appeal. He was sent to Portugal to serve out his sentence. He applied for early release after 10 years but that request was denied.
The Socio-Legal Review (SLR), a student-edited, peer-reviewed journal which is published by the Law and Society Committee, National Law School of India University, Bangalore, has issued a call for papers for its twelfth volume to be published in 2016. Since it is now a biannual publication, it will be published in two issues this year.
SLR aims to be a forum that involves, promotes and engages students and scholars to express and share their ideas and opinions on themes and methodologies relating to the interface of law and society. The Journal thus features guest articles by eminent scholars as well as student essays, providing an interface for the two communities to interact. The Journal subscribes to an expansive view on the interpretation of “law and society” thereby keeping its criteria for contributions simply that of high academic merit, as long as there is a perceivable link. This would include not just writing about the role played by law in social change, or the role played by social dynamics in the formulation and implementation of law, but also writing that simply takes cognizance of legal institutions/institutions of governance/administration, power structures in social commentary, and so on. Through this effort, the Journal also hopes to fill the lacunae relating to academic debate on socio-legal matters among law students.
Articles should not ordinarily exceed 8000 words and Short Articles should not ordinarily exceed 5000 words. The Journal also accepts Book Reviews and Notes from the Field. The latter includes shorter pieces designed to provide a glimpse into a new legal strategy, political initiative or advocacy technique applied in the field, a current problem or obstacle faced in, legal reform or development work, or a new issue that has not yet received much attention and needs to be brought to light. Such contributions should not exceed 3000 words.
The deadline for sending in submissions is November 1st, 2015. More information may be found on the SLR website.
The Journal Quaestio Iuris (ISSN 1516-0351), quarterly electronic publication of the professors of Law School of the State University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ), classified by Brazilian Ministry of Education as Qualis A2, Law, has announced a call for papers for its next volume (vol. 08, nº. 02, 2015) which will be published in November 2015.
Created from the need to investigate the law from multidisciplinary matrices, the Journal Quaestio Iuris receives a continuous flow of papers on Legal Theory, Philosophy of Law, Sociology of Law, History of Law, State Theory, Philosophy, Epistemology and others disciplines that having the law by subject matter.
In order to promote greater participation and interaction between researches, the Journal invites university professors to participate by sending papers to the next issue, noting that the Journal Quaestio Iuris is seeking entries streaming, submitted to the Journal webpage or through e-mails to the Editorial Team. Papers will be accepted in Portuguese, Spanish or English.
The Journal also has open a call for participation of university professors who want to collaborate in the Journal Quaestio Iuris as Referees Assessors in sporadic review articles, which are sent for the online submission system .
If you are interested in publishing articles or participation as an evaluator referee, contract the Journal and its Editorial Team via the website.
Monday, August 17, 2015
The Center for International and Transnational Law (CDIT) of the Faculty of Law of Laval University is hosting an international conference, WTO at 20: Critical Perspectives on an Evolving Legal System, under the Honorary Presidency of Mrs. Gabrielle Marceau WTO’s Legal Affairs Division Advisor Université de Genève Faculty of Law Professor President of the Society of International Economic Law (SIEL).
Date : September 17th - 19th, 2015
Venue : Château Laurier Hotel – Québec City, Canada
Registration : 300$/regular, 50$/student
Accomodation : Château Laurier Hotel
In order to take advantage of the group discount, be sure to mention the code 160915UL when placing your reservation.
Other relevant information :
- Live translation (English/French)
- Recognised for 15 hours of training by the Barreau du Québec towards its mandatory continuous education requirement.
Programme and registration here.
The conference is possible with the support of the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), Laval University’s Institute for Advanced International Studies (HEI) and Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in International Trade and Investments (CEPCII), Université de Toulouse’s Institute for Comparative European and International Law Research (IRDEIC), University of Waterloo’s Center for International Governance Innovation (CRDP), Université de Montréal’s Center for Public Law Research (CRDP) and the Canadian Council on International Law (CCIL).
Saturday, August 15, 2015
American Society of International Law Announces Progress on the Judge Howard M. Holtzmann Archives for International Arbitration and Conciliation
Judge Howard Holzmann was an original member of the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal and a U.S. Delegate to the U.N. Commission on International Trade Law. Judge Holtzmann died in December 2013.
A year later, in November 2014, the American Society of International Law launched an 18-month project to catalog and preserve the papers of Judge Holtzmann for use by researchers, educators, and students interested in the field of international arbitration and conciliation. The project will eventually make available the entire archive in physical form and selected materials accessible in digital form.
The archives will add an exciting new dimension to the programs and activities of the Holtzmann Research Center, which the American Society of International Law launched in 2012 with a generous grant from the Holtzmann family. We've learned that the physical processing of the archives has just been completed and that plans are underway for a program and reception this fall where portions of the papers will be on display.
Hat tip (and congratulations) to the American Society of International Law
The Office of the United States Trade Representative is seeking public comments on the annual review of country eligibility for benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act in 2016. Comments are due by September 16, 2015. FR48951
Hat tip to the ABA Governmental Affairs Office
Friday, August 14, 2015
THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA COLLEGE OF LAW anticipates hiring several tenured/tenure track faculty members and clinical faculty members (including a director for field placement program) over the coming year. Our goal is to find outstanding scholars and teachers who can extend the law school’s traditional strengths and intellectual breadth. We are interested in all persons of high academic achievement and promise with outstanding credentials. Appointment and rank will be commensurate with qualifications and experience. Candidates should send resumes, references, and descriptions of areas of interest to: Faculty Appointments Committee, College of Law, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1113.
THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants are encouraged to apply and will receive consideration for employment free from discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color, national origin, age, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, religion, associational preference, status as a qualified individual with a disability, or status as a protected veteran.
Here's the (three-minute) video of raising the flag at the U.S. Embassy:
Hat tip to the U.S. State Department
From the ABA Website
ABA President William C. Hubbard statement on Lawyers in China
In light of recent reports of the arrests, detentions, and interrogations of lawyers in China, the American Bar Association (ABA) at its Annual Meeting in Chicago [earlier in August 2015] highlighted the importance of supporting Chinese lawyers, maintaining progress on rule of law reform in China and continuing the ABA’s collaboration on that agenda.
China's ambition to achieve government under a just rule of law has been viewed as encouraging, particularly as set forth by last year's fourth plenary session of the Communist Party's central committee, by the statements of Chinese leaders and by the sincere efforts of legal officials, judges, prosecutors and legislators, as well as by the lawyers, law professors and NGOs with whom the ABA has long collaborated in China.
ABA leaders acknowledge that the development of a just rule of law is a continuing struggle in every nation, including the United States. ABA President William Hubbard remarked, "In all societies lawyers are essential to realizing rights enshrined in law, whether in the U.S. or China, and true progress requires the vigorous participation of dedicated and imaginative lawyers."
For the past 17 years the ABA has worked with Chinese partners in many fields important to China's national interests and social stability, including criminal justice, legal advocacy and ethics, legislative and judicial reforms, and reduction of domestic violence, and its Sections of International Law and Criminal Justice are planning major conferences in Beijing this fall. "The ABA has engaged in robust dialogue and exchanges on legal issues with justice sector colleagues in China over the past two decades, and we have been looking forward to continuing these exchanges," remarked Hubbard. Referring to the U.S.-China Human Rights Dialogue scheduled for August 13-14, and President Xi’s scheduled visit to the United States in September, Hubbard added, “The upcoming U.S.-China bilateral meetings will provide an occasion for both countries to recommit to conditions for sustaining further people-to-people and professional exchanges that enrich our citizens, and to recommit to the rule of law."
The ABA encourages the Chinese Government to permit lawyers to discharge their professional duty to assure achievement of the fair and just legal system that the Communist Party has promised to all its citizens. The ABA also urges the many foreign legal organizations, universities, NGOs and government agencies that have been cooperating with Chinese counterparts in advancing the rule of law to continue their collaboration, and encourages other foreign institutions that are objecting to the current treatment of lawyers in China to join in supporting those lawyers and cooperating with China.
Venezuela is described as the second-most violent country in the world after Honduras. That was proven true this week when John Ralston Pate, a 70-year-old American lawyer living in Caracas, Venezuela, was murdered in what some news stories suggest was a botched attempt to kidnap him and his companion.
John was an active member of the American Bar Association Section of International Law and served as Vice Chair of the Section's Committee on Latin America and the Caribbean. Although he knew Venezuela to be an increasingly dangerous place, his love of that country and its people convinced him to stay there, where he had built his life and where he was a successful partner in the law firm of De Sola, Pate, and Brown, where he chaired the international corporate and business transactions practice. His principal areas of expertise were in negotiating international business transactions, commercial and corporate law, foreign investment, licensing, franchising, international banking, project finance, commercial aviation and secured transactions.
He had received an A.B. from Brown University (1966) and his J.D. from Boston University (1969). He has also received an M.A. (1971) and an M.A.L.D. (1972) from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He was a member of the Bar of Massachusetts. In addition to his memberships in the International and Business Law Sections of the American Bar Association, he was also a member of the Inter-American Bar Association, the American Society of International Law, the Association of International Petroleum Negotiators, the Latin American Studies Association, and the Advisory Committee of the Tulane Latin American Law Institute. John was a Fellow of the Center for International Legal Studies (Salzburg, Austria), a Director of the Entrepreneurial Center for Conciliation and Arbitration – CEDCA, Director and Secretary of the Venezuelan-American Friendship Association - AVAA, Director of the Centro Venezolano Americano – CVA, a member of the Legal Affairs Committee of VenAmCham, and Director and Secretary of the Valle Arriba Golf Club.
Before joining his firm in Caracas, John was a professor of International Business and Latin American Integration at the Institute for Higher Administration Studies (Instituto de Estudios Superiores de Administración – IESA, 1974-1977), manager of the Andean Integration Department at KPMG (previously Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co., from 1977-1978), and director of GRANLAW Consultores (1978-1981).
Members of the ABA Section of International Law Committee on Latin America and the Caribbean have been sharing their condolences and memories all week. He was deeply admired and loved. John's funeral was yesterday. He is missed.
The front page of today's New York Times carries the horrific story of systematic rape of Yazidi women and children by fighters for the so-called Islamic State. "In the moments before he raped the 12-year-old girl, the Islamic State fighter took the time to explain that what he was about to do was not a sin. Because the preteen practiced a religiou other than Islam, the Quran not only gave him the right to rape her -- it condoned and encouraged it, he insisted." Rukmini Callimachi, Enslaving Young Girls, The Islamic State Builds A Vast System of Rape, N.Y. Times, Aug. 14, 2015, at A1. The story reports that "[t]he systematic rape of women and girls from the Yazidi religious minority has become deeply enmeshed in the organization and the radical theology of the Islamic State in the year since the group announced it was reviving slavery as an institution." Id.
A court in Azerbaijan reportedly has sentenced Leyla Yunus to eight and a half years in prison and her husband, Arif Yunus, was sentenced to seven years. The court also ordered confiscation of their assets. Amnesty International says that the charges against them were fabricated and made in retaliation for their human rights work and criticism of the government. Azerbaijan: Human Rights Defenders Are Sentenced, N.Y. Times, Aug. 14, 2015, at A9.