Thursday, May 15, 2014

International Day of Families

May 15, 2014 marks the 20th anniversary of the International Day of Families. The day began in 1994 when the UN General Assembly declared 1994 to be the International Year of the Family.  The UN will host a special panel discussion on "Families Matter in the Achievementof Development Goals."  Many other events will be held worldwide to explore recent family trends, family poverity and best policies and practices relating to families.

(cgb)

May 15, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A Month Has Passed Since Boko Haram Kidnapped More Than 200 Girls

The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women has added its voice to the chorus of condemnation of the abduction on April 14 of over 200 girls from their school in the the village of Chibok (Borno State) in north-eastern Nigeria. The Committee urged Nigeria to use "all necessary means to obtain the release of the girls and to bring to justice the perpetrators of this heinous crime.” 

(mew)

May 14, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Hey, United Nations! Get a Better Acronym for Killer Robots!

Michael Moller UN GenevaOK, we're officially complaining. The United Nations held its first meeting on killer robots, which it is calling Lethal Autonomous Weapons (LAWS).

Come on, United Nations. We're lawyers and we talk about laws all the time. We do not need the confusion you're about to create by pushing LAWS as an acronym for killer robots.

Dear blog readers, please help the United Nations (and all of us) by suggesting other ways to describe killer robots (although we happen to like killer robots just fine!). And we hope that Michael Moeller (pictured at right and mentioned in the press release below) can put a stop to this unfortuante acronym before it's too late.

We also note the link to the story below that despite record attendance, NONE of the delegates debating killer robots are women. Go get 'em, our blogger friends at Intlawgrrls!

Here's the UN press release issued yesterday:

The top United Nations official in Geneva today urged bold action by diplomats at the start of the world body's first ever meeting on Lethal Autonomous Weapons (LAWS), better known as “killer robots,” telling them: “You have the opportunity to take pre-emptive action and ensure that the ultimate decision to end life remains firmly under human control. The remarks were made by Michael Møller, Acting Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, at the opening session of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) Meeting of Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems taking place this week at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

 

Ambassador Jean-Hugues Simon-Michel of France, who is chairing the four-day expert meeting, noted: “Lethal autonomous weapons systems are a challenging emerging issue on the disarmament agenda right now.”

 

The four days of discussions will focus on technological developments, the ethical and sociological questions that arise from the development and deployment of autonomous weapons, as well as the adequacy and legal challenges to international law and the possible impact on military operations, according to the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs (ODA).

 

The Geneva meeting has attracted record attendance by States, UN organizations, the International Committee of the Red Cross and non-governmental organisations, ODA said.

 

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon took note of “killer robots” in his report on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict issued in November 2013, saying important questions have been raised as to the ability of such systems to operate in accordance with international humanitarian and human rights law. “Is it morally acceptable to delegate decisions about the use of lethal force to such systems? If their use results in a war crime or serious human rights violation, who would be legally responsible? If responsibility cannot be determined as required by international law, is it legal or ethical to deploy such systems,?” he asked. The Secretary-General went on to say: “Although autonomous weapons systems have not yet been deployed and the extent of their development as a military technology remains unclear, discussion of such questions must begin immediately and not once the technology has been developed and proliferated.”

 

While noting the Meeting of Experts was only a first step towards addressing lethal autonomous weapons, Acting Director-General Møeller urged the delegates gathered in Geneva to take bold action. “All too often international law only responds to atrocities and suffering once it has happened,' Mr. Moeller said and noted that Geneva has had “a historical record that is second to none for achieving results in disarmament and international humanitarian law negotiations."

 

The outcomes of the Geneva discussions will be submitted to the formal conference of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons in November 2014, where States will discuss possible next steps on autonomous weapons. The purpose of the Convention is to ban or restrict the use of specific types of weapons that are considered to cause unnecessary or unjustifiable suffering to combatants or to affect civilians indiscriminately. Currently 117 States are parties to the Convention.

(mew)

UPDATE from Blog Reader Comments (Thank You)

Maya Brehm said:

If you are interested in a more substantive engagement with the legal aspects of this debate, you may find the experts' presentations and statements by government representatives, internatioanl organisations and civil society on the website of Reaching Critical Will: http://www.reachingcriticalwill.org/disarmament-fora/others/ccw/2014/statements#legal1 Of particular interest, the statements on legal issues by the International Committee for Robot Arms Control (ICRAC) http://icrac.net/2014/05/icrac-statement-on-legal-issues-to-the-un-ccw-expert-meeting/ http://icrac.net/2014/05/icracs-second-statement-on-legal-issues-to-the-un-ccw-expert-meeting/ See also, this analysis of the dynamics of the debate by Charli Carpenter: http://www.whiteoliphaunt.com/duckofminerva/2014/05/dynamics-of-debate-at-the-experts-meeting-on-autonomous-weapons.html
 

May 14, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

ECJ Holds Google Must Remove Irrelevant Information About Individuals Upon Request

GoogleApplying a 1995 European Union (EU) Directive on the protection of personal data, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled yesterday that: "People have the right to request information be removed from search engine results if it appeared to be "inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant."  As a result, companies like Google must remove such information about ordinary individuals from their search engines if so requested.

The case was filed by Spaniard Mario Costeja González who stated in his complaint that search results for his name on Google brought up links to Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia from 1998 including an announcement about old social security debts. Costeja Gonzalez argued that the issue had long been settled and that the information was now irrelevant. In response, the Spanish data protection agency ordered Google to remove the data from its index.  When Google resisted, the matter went to the ECJ, which sided with the Spaniards.

The ruling may assist in the inclusion of an express "right to be forgotten" that has been proposed during the ongoing process of updating the EU's data protection rules.  It is also likely to raise costs for companies like Google and Facebook, which are now responsible for identifying and removing information from their databases when requested.

For more information, see this ECJ Press Release.

(cgb)

May 14, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Call for Papers: 2014 International Business Law Scholars’ Roundtable at Brooklyn Law School

The Dennis J. Block Center for the Study of International Business Law will sponsor a Scholars’ Roundtable on October 10, 2014 at Brooklyn Law School. Scholars writing in a diverse range of fields related to international business law are invited to submit proposals to present works in progress for an intense day of discussion with other scholars in the field. Participants will be expected to read all papers in advance of the Roundtable and offer commentary on each of the presentations. Scholars selected for the Roundtable will receive a $500 stipend from Brooklyn Law School to defray the cost of attendance.

Requirements for Submission

- Applicants must hold a fulltime tenured, tenure-track, or visitor/fellowship position at a university. Scholars from outside the U.S. are encouraged to apply. Scholars who anticipate holding a faculty appointment in the 2015-2016 academic year are also welcome.

- Applicants should submit a 3-5 - page proposal, abstract, or summary of the paper.

- All papers presented must be unpublished at the time of the Roundtable. Papers that have been accepted for publication but are not yet in print are welcome.

- Possible topics include international and comparative perspectives on:

o Banking

o Bankruptcy

o Commercial law

o Conflicts of law

o Corporate law

o Dispute resolution and arbitration

o Enforcement of judgments

o Intellectual property

o Regulation of corrupt practices

o Securities

o Shipping and maritime law

o Tax

o Trade

Applicants should submit a proposal to Robin Effron at Brooklyn Law School byJune 13, 2014

. Scholars selected to present at the Roundtable will be notified by June 30, 2014.

May 13, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights

The Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights is an academic journal which contains articles on important human rights issues and on the promotion and protection of human rights. Here are some article titles of interest from the latest issue of the Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights (volume 32, number 1, 2014):

  • Reparations at the Human Rights Committee: Legal Basis, Practice and Challenges, Valeska David
  • Human Rights Due Diligence for Corporations: from Voluntary Standards to Hard Law at Last?, Olga Martin-Ortega
  • The Effectiveness of Legislative Reform in Combating Domestic Violence: a Comparative Analysis of Laws in Ghana, Namibia and South Africa, Christina Beninger

(mew)

May 13, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

ASIL Call for Papers for Mid-Year Meeting and Research Forum

The American Society of International Law (ASIL) has issued a call for submissions of scholarly paper proposals for the ASIL Research Forum to be held during the Society's Midyear Meeting in Chicago November 6-8, 2014.

The Research Forum, a Society initiative introduced in 2011, aims to provide a setting for the presentation and focused discussion of works-in-progress.  All ASIL members are invited to attend the Forum, whether presenting a paper or not.

Papers can be on any topic related to international and transnational law and should be unpublished (for purposes of the call, publication to an electronic database such as SSRN is not considered publication).  Interdisciplinary projects, empirical studies, and jointly authored papers are welcome.

Proposals should be submitted online by June 8, 2014. Interested person should submit an abstract (no more than 1000 words in length) summarizing the scholarly paper to be presented at the Forum.

Review of the abstracts will be blind. Notifications of acceptance will go out in mid-July.

Papers will be assembled into panels. The organizers welcome volunteers to serve as discussants who will comment on the papers. Please e-mail submissions@asil.org if you are interested in serving as a discussant. All authors of accepted papers will be required to submit a draft paper four weeks before the Research Forum. Drafts will be posted on a web page accessible exclusively to Forum participants.

(cgb)

May 13, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Agora: The End of Treaties?

For those of you interested in learning more about what is happening with treaties, both in the United States and internationally, and what international law scholars are saying about, check out the online Agora: The End of Treaties? published by ASIL Unbound.

(cgb)

May 13, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Austria Wins the Eurovision Song Contest

Thomas Neuwirth, a 25-year-old drag queen who performs as Conchita Wurst, has just won the Eurovision Song Contest with her song "Rise Like a Phoenix." She was a favorite in many countries not only for having an amzing voice, but because the Eurovision Song Contest is broadcast in Russia which recently enacted an anti-gay law. Here's a video of the winning song.

 

(mew)

May 10, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, May 9, 2014

Nigeria Accepts UN Help with Kidnapped Schoolgirls

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has voiced his deep concern at the fate of the recently kidnapped schoolgirls in Nigeria during a phone call with the country’s President, Goodluck Jonathan, who has accepted the United Nations chief’s offer to send a high-level envoy to discuss how the world body can support the Government tackle internal challenges. During the call, Mr. Ban expressed his solidarity with the people of Nigeria, and especially the girls’ families, according to information provided by the Secretary-General’s spokesperson.

The President briefed the Secretary-General on the current state of the search for the 230 girls, who were violently abducted from their school in Borno state in mid-April by Boko Haram militants.

“The President accepted the Secretary-General’s offer to send a high-level representative to Nigeria to discuss how the United Nations can better support the Government’s efforts to tackle the internal challenges.”

In a separate statement, the Secretary-General said he shared the anguish of the families of the girls and the people of Nigeria at this “traumatic” time. “The Secretary-General reiterates that the targeting of children and schools is against international law and cannot be justified under any circumstances,” said the statement.

Boko Haram, whose name stands for “Western education is a sin,” has been carrying out targeted attacks in recent years against schools, police, religious leaders, politicians, public and international institutions, indiscriminately killing civilians, including dozens of children.

(Adapted from a UN press release)

May 9, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Global Legal Skills Conference in Verona, Italy

Verona Photo 1The ninth Global Legal Skills Conference being held a short time from now will include an international law roundtable with the editors of this blog. Click here for more information about the conference, which is being held on May 21-23, 2014 at the University of Verona Faculty of Law.

(mew)

 

May 9, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

10 More Eurovision Song Contest Finalist Nations

OK perhaps this isn't really international law, but who doesn't love the Eurovision Song Contest. Here are the 10 nations from the second semifinals that will be among the 28 competing in the finals on Saturday.

  1. Austria
  2. Belarus
  3. Finland
  4. Greece
  5. Malta
  6. Norway
  7. Poland
  8. Romania
  9. Slovenia
  10. Switzerland

Watch the announcment here, with clips from the qualifiying countries:

 

(mew)

May 9, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Armed Opposition Groups in Ukraine Asked to Stop Illegal Acts

Increasing violence in eastern and southern Ukraine is resulting in more and more death and destruction, the top United Nations human rights official said today, calling on all sides in the conflict to make a greater effort to find a peaceful resolution, particularly ahead of the 25 May presidential election. As she urged all sides to do more to resolve the crisis, especially in eastern and southern towns which have seen a recent surge in violent protests, Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, appealed to armed opposition groups to “stop all illegal actions, including detaining people and seizing public buildings in violation of Ukraine’s laws and Constitution.” She added that these “organized and well-armed groups” should lay down their weapons, free arbitrarily detained persons, and vacate occupied public and administrative buildings.
 
Ms. Pillay also called on the Government to ensure that military and police operations are undertaken in line with international standards. “It is extremely important that the authorities themselves demonstrate full respect for the rule of law and scrupulously protect the human rights of all, including the Russian-speaking population,” the High Commissioner said. She also called on authorities to carry out “prompt, transparent and comprehensive” investigations into events in Odessa and Donetsk eastern regions, where dozens of people have been killed in recent days.

Briefing reporters in Geneva, Ms. Pillay’s spokesperson, Rupert Colville, said the Office of the High Commissioner (OHCHR) is calling for authorities to undertake “inclusive and participatory dialogue” and to take “serious steps to halt the rhetoric of hatred and confrontation, before the situation spirals totally out of control”.

Ukrainian officials have announced that the presidential election will be held later this month. It was originally scheduled for May of next year, but was brought forward following the political crisis in the country. The upcoming polls “represent the best opportunity for Ukraine to begin the process of reconciliation and stabilization,” Ms. Pillay said.  She urged authorities to permit genuine peaceful demonstrations, both as a matter of international law and “as a release valve for people’s legitimate fears and frustrations”. 

The High Commissioner also emphasised the need to create an environment where freedom of expression and opinion are fully respected, allowing journalists the space to work.
 OHCHR teams are currently monitoring the human rights situation from five locations in the country and are due to publish their next report on 15 May.

(UN press release)

May 9, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 8, 2014

China Arrests Gay Activists

China has arrested nine persons who were planning to hold a seminar in a Beijing hotel on how to organize gay advocacy groups.  Click here to read more from the BBC.  

 (mew)

May 8, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Swiss Arbitration Rules

Information on how to purchase the second edition of commentary on the Swiss Rules of International Arbitration is available by clicking here . . . unless you live in Switzerland! 

(mew)

May 8, 2014 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

International Humanitarian Law and Emerging Technologies: An Online Conversation

Tomorrow, May 8, 2014, from 12:00 - 1:00pm EDT, there will be a global virtual conference on International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and emerging technologies. The conference is sponsored by the American Society of International Law’s Lieber Society on the Law of Armed Conflict and American University Washington College of Law Center for Human Rights & Humanitarian Law.

The expert discussion will focus on the themes evoked in this year’s winning paper from the Fourth Annual IHL Student Writing Competition, which was written by Michele Krech on, “Technological Asymmetry and the Law of Armed Conflict: The Intersection of Law and Politics in the Creation of Differentiated State Obligations,” and relevant emerging issues which go beyond the paper.

Speakers include:

  • Prof. Laurie Blank, Director, International Humanitarian Law Clinic, Emory Law School
  • Prof. Chris Jenks, SMU Dedman School of Law
  • Michele Krech, Winner of the 2014 IHL Student Writing Competition
  • Prof. Sean Watts, Ceighton University School of Law
  • Moderated by Prof. Eric Jensen, Chairperson, Lieber Society on the Law of Armed Conflict, American Society of International Law

To register, click here.

(cgb)

May 7, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Friday Fun . . . A Little Early. The NYU "Chevron Two Step"

What can we say?

Enjoy.  And thanks Julie Campagna.

 

(mew)

May 6, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, May 5, 2014

New Books Noted: Damrosch and Murphy International Law Casebook

Lori F. Damrosch (Columbia University) and Sean D. Murphy (George Washington University) have published a new (sixth) edition of their international law casebook, International Law: Cases and Materials (West Publishing). 

(mew)

 

May 5, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

IBA and ILSA Conference in London

Save the date! The International Law Students Association (ILSA) and the International Bar Association (IBA) will hold a conference in London (United Kingdom) on September 5-6, 2014.

The conference will offer student participants:

  • A chance to meet fellow law students from around the world 
  • A range of educational and vocational panels
  • A Jessup Compromis Panel Discussion with experts considering the issues raised by the newly released 2015 Jessup Compromis 
  • A complementary drinks and canapé reception, as well as catered lunches and breaks for all delegates.
  • A chance to explore one of the world’s most iconic cities

Registration for the conference is available by clicking here.

(mew)

May 5, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The New Chinese Trademark Law

Chinese Trademark Law CoverChina's new trademark law entered into effect on May 1, 2014.  A new book about it was published by Carolina Academic Press: Paul Kossof, Chinese Trademark Law: The New Chinese Trademark Law of 2014, a volume that includes the first English translation of the new law.

Mr. Kossof, the author of that book, has also published a short primer on the New Chinese Trademark Law on the Asia Law Portal. Click here to have a look.

And click here for more information about the new book on Chinese Trademark Law.

(mew)

 

May 5, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)