Thursday, January 26, 2017
Enrique Peña Nieto, the President of Mexico, has canceled a meeting to have been held next week with U.S. President Donald Trump after Mr. Trump ordered construction of a border wall between the United States and Mexico.
A story in The New York Times relates that according to some historians, the antagonism against Mexico is the worst since President Calvin Coolidge. Friendly relations have been replaced by insults and threats to a longstanding partner.
Monday, January 23, 2017
As predicted in our earlier post, the website for the U.S. Trade Representative has quickly removed the information on the benefits that the Trans Pacific Partnership would have had for the United States and replaced it with a statement about an "America First Trade Policy." This follows the Executive Order signed by President Trump withdrawing the signature of the United States from the TPP.
In case you weren't fast enough to download documents about the TPP that you may need, here is the document describing benefits that the TPP would have had for the United States. Download TPP-Overall-US-Benefits-Fact-Sheet
U.S. President Donald Trump has signed an Executive Order withdrawing the signature of the United States to the Trans Pacific Partnership ("TPP"). Here is the text of the Executive Order:
Presidential Memorandum Regarding Withdrawal of the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations and Agreement
MEMORANDUM FOR THE UNITED STATES TRADE REPRESENTATIVE
SUBJECT: Withdrawal of the United States from the
Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations
It is the policy of my Administration to represent the American people and their financial well-being in all negotations, particularly the American worker, and to create fair and economically beneficial trade deals that serve their interests. Additionally, in order to ensure these outcomes, it is the intention of my Administration to deal directly with individual countries on a one-on-one (or bilateral) basis in negotiating future trade deals. Trade with other nations is, and always will be, of paramount importance to my Administration and to me, as President of the United States.
Based on these principles, and by the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby direct you to withdraw the United States as a signatory to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), to permanently withdraw the United States from TPP negotiations, and to begin pursuing, wherever possible, bilateral trade negotiations to promote American industry, protect American workers, and raise American wages.
You are directed to provide written notification to the Parties and to the Depository of the TPP, as appropriate, that the United States withdraws as a signatory of the TPP and withdraws from the TPP negotiating process.
You are authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.
DONALD J. TRUMP
If you teach international trade or international business, you will miss the resources previously available on the website for the United States Trade Representative, such as the list of benefits that the TPP would have brought to the United States if it had become a party to that treaty (for example, by eliminated more than 18,000 taxes that other countries impose on exports from the United States). Check for another post here on the International Law Prof Blog for one of those now-missing documents.
[Post updated on January 30, 2017 with the text of the statement withdrawing the signature of the United States.]
Saturday, January 21, 2017
One day following the inauguration of Donald Trump as U.S. President, massive demonstrations and marches were held in Washington, D.C. and it cities all across the United States. Reports indicate that turnout for these events dwarfed the numbers who showed up for Trump's inauguration ceremony itself.
Marches for Women's Rights in solidarity with the marches in the United States were also held around the world. We have seen reports of marches taking place today in these countries and cities:
- Australia: Melbourne
- Belgium: Brussels
- Brazil: Sao Paolo
- Cambodia: Phnom Penh
- Canada: Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver
- China: Beijing (Candlelight Vigil)
- Costa Rica: Nosara
- France: Paris
- Germany: Berlin and Duesseldorf
- Hungary: Budapest
- Iceland: Reykjavik
- India: New Delhi
- Indonesia: Ubud
- Ireland: Dublin
- Italy: Milan and Rome
- Kenya: Nairobi
- Mexico: Oaxaca
- Mozambique: Maputo
- New Zealand: Auckland and Wellington
- St. Kitts and Nevis: Nevis
- Serbia: Belgrade
- Spain: Barcelona and Madrid
- Switzerland: Geneva
- Tanzania: Dar Es Salaam
- United Kingdom: Edinburgh (Scotland), London (England), and York (England)
In addition to the marches across the United States, we know there have been many other marches around the world today. Please use the "comment" feature to advise us of other marches in your part of the world.
Urging all Gambian parties to respect the outcome of the 1 December election recognizing Adama Barrow as the country’s President-elect, the United Nations Security Council this week expressed its support for the commitment of West African States to “ensure, by political means first, respect of the will of the people.”
Amid a political standoff over Gambia’s presidency, the Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution expressing grave concern at the risk of deterioration of the situation. Mr. Barrow was sworn in as President of The Gambia in the Gambian embassy in neighboring Senegal.
The Council strongly condemned former President Jammeh’s 9 December statement rejecting the official election results and the takeover of the Independent Electoral Commission by the Gambian Armed Forces on 13 December 2016, as well as the attempt by the Parliament on 18 January 2017 to extend President Jammeh’s term for three months beyond his current mandate, which ends today.
Against this backdrop, the Council strongly condemned the attempts to usurp the will of the people and undermine the integrity of the electoral process in Gambia. It also condemned the attempt to prevent a peaceful and orderly transfer of power to President Barrow by declaring a state of emergency.
Endorsing the decisions of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union (AU) to recognize Mr. Barrow as the President of Gambia, the 15 nation Council called upon the countries in the region and the relevant regional organization to cooperate with him in his efforts to realize the transition of power.
The Council also requested the Gambian defence and security forces to demonstrate “maximum restraint” to maintain an atmosphere of calm in country, and stressed “their duty and obligation to place themselves at the disposal of the democratically elected authorities.”
The text further commends and strongly supports continued efforts of the AU and ECOWAS to promote peace and stability in the region. By the text, the Council requests for the Secretary-General to update the body on the resolution’s implementation within 10 days.
According to a statement issued by Mr. Guterres’ spokesperson, the Secretary-General expressed deep concern about the refusal of outgoing President Yahya Jammeh to step aside and about the high outflow of Gambians into Senegal.
“The Secretary-General told President Barrow of his full support for his determination, and ECOWAS’s historic decision, with the unanimous backing of the Security Council, to restore the rule of law in The Gambia so as to honour and respect the will of the Gambian people,” said the statement.
Mr. Guterres also conveyed the readiness of the UN system to support President Barrow and his government in their efforts to promote democracy and achieve sustainable development in Gambia.
(Adapted from a UN Press Release)
One Week Left for Early Bird Registration for the 2017 Global Legal Skills Conference in Mexico; Presentation Proposals Still Being Accepted Until January 28th
There's still a week left for the early bird registration for the 12th Global Legal Skills Conference being held at in Monterrey, Mexico at the Facultad Libre de Derecho de Monterrey (FLDM), a previous host of the third and fifth Global Legal Skills Conferences. The conference is being held March 15-17, 2017. There is an optional full-day city tour of Monterrey on Tuesday, March 14, 2017.
Proposals for presentations at the conference are also being accepted for another week.
The first Global Legal Skills started as a conference to connect legal writing and ESL professionals who had an interest in teaching international students and lawyers who speak English as a second language. The GLS Conference series has since grown to include not only legal writing faculty, but also international and comparative law professors, clinical faculty, linguists, librarians, judges, attorneys, court translators, law students, and scholars interested in global legal skills education. Now in its 12th iteration, the conference draws hundreds of professionals from around the world.
The conference being hosted at the FLDM is being cosponsored by The John Marshall Law School-Chicago (Illinois, USA), the Instituto Tecnologico Autonomo de Mexico Department of Law (Mexico City, Mexico), and the University of Texas at Austin School of Law (Texas, USA). The conference is also supported by various professional organizations, including the American Bar Association Section of International Law, the American Society of International Law, the International Law Students Association, Lawbility (Switzerland), Scribes — The American Society of Legal Writers, and the Teaching International Law Committee of the American Branch of the International Law Association.
Click here for more information about the conference (including descriptions of presentations already accepted), the early bird registration, conference hotel discounts, city tour information, and nominations for the GLS Awards.
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
In a message to an event spotlighting the growing challenges of anti-Muslim discrimination as well as hatred in various contexts, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres appealed today for drawing strength from the principles of inclusion, tolerance and mutual understanding to recognize the value of diversity.
“Discrimination diminishes us all. It prevents people – and societies – from achieving their full potential,” said Mr. Guterres in a video message to a high-level event on combating anti-Muslim discrimination and hatred.
“In times of insecurity, vulnerable communities that look different become convenient scapegoats,” he added, calling on everyone to resist cynical efforts that try to divide communities and “portray neighbours as 'the other'.”
Further, noting that anti-Muslim hate crimes, xenophobia, racism, anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry are on the rise, the UN chief said that many people are victims of intolerance and suspicions that may not appear in statistics, these none the less degrade people's dignity as well as that of the common humanity.
He also underlined the need people everywhere feel for their cultural identities to be valued – and at the same time to have a strong sense of belonging to the community as a whole, and said that as societies become more multi-ethnic and multi-religious, cultural and economic investments in cohesion are required, so that diversity is rightly seen as a richness, not a threat.
Sunday, January 15, 2017
According to a press release from the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), more than 90% of children reaching Italy's shores after crossing the Mediterranean Sea have been separated from their families or are unaccompanied. The number of children arriving in Italy by themselves via the sea in 2016 more than doubled over the previous year, from 12,360 to 25,800. The majority were from Eritrea, Egypt, Gambia and Nigeria. UNICEF is calling for urgent and special measures to protect them from trafficking, exploitation and abuse.
“These figures indicate an alarming trend of an increasing number of highly vulnerable children risking their lives to get to Europe,” said Lucio Melandri, the Senior Emergency Manager at UNICEF. “Current systems in place are failing to protect [them as they] find themselves alone in a [completely] unfamiliar environment,” he added, calling for a coordinated European response, given that the children are on the move. “Apart from addressing the factors that are forcing children to travel alone, a comprehensive protection, monitoring system needs to be developed to protect them,” he stressed.
According to UNICEF, though most of the children were boys aged 15-17 years, younger children and girls were also among the arrivals. Girls are at a particular risk of sexual exploitation and abuse, including commercial sexual exploitation by criminal gangs. UNICEF further stated that several of the girls who were interviewed by its staff earlier this year in Palermo, Sicily, reported that they were forced into prostitution in Libya as a means to ‘pay off’ the cost of the boat travel across the Mediterranean. Most of the boys spoke of being forced into manual labor.
In addition to protecting child refugees and migrants – particularly unaccompanied children – from exploitation and violence, UNICEF urged stopping the detention of refugee or migrant children; keeping families together; providing quality learning, healthcare and other related services to all refugee and migrant children; addressing underlying causes of large-scale movements; and combating xenophobia, discrimination and marginalization.
Thursday, January 12, 2017
For the last two decades, the United States has maintained a special immigration policy that applied only to Cubans. Cubans who were intercepted by U.S. officials in the waters between the United States and Cuba (those with wet feet) would be returned to Cuba. Cubans who made it to U.S. soil (those with dry feet) would be able to apply for permanent residency in the United States after one year, without meeting the usual requirements for a family or employer sponsor or for asylum.
The Cuban government did not like the policy because they believed it encouraged Cubans to leave Cuba and make the dangerous journey across the sea to the United States. Other critics maintained that the policy was discriminatory. Other foreigners with equally valid claims for humanitarian relief, such as Haitians, were not given the same privileges.
Many Cubans anticipated this change in policy after the U.S. and Cuba normalized relations. As a result, the numbers of Cubans arriving in the United States in the last two years has skyrocketed (NBC report).
Today, U.S. President Obama announced the end of this controversial policy. Cuban migrants will now be treated like other foreign nationals seeking to immigrate to the United States. In exchange, Cuba has agreed to accept the return of Cubans who have been ordered removed by the United States.
Here's another reminder for Jessup Teams submitting their memorials tomorrow. In addition to uploading your memorials to your team homepage on the ILSA website, you must also email your memorials to the relevant Administrator (if you have one). Consult the Jessup Rules on the ILSA website, and be sure to check for any national supplement to the rules for your country.
Here's the Rule:
Each Team must submit its Applicant and Respondent Memorials to the Executive Office via its Team Homepage (available through www.ilsa.org), and send its Applicant and Respondent Memorials to the relevant Administrator, if any, at the email address provided by the Administrator, no later than 17:00 (5:00 p.m.) Eastern Standard Time (EST) (UTC/GST–5), on the date specified in the Official Schedule. Submission to the Administrator must occur in a single email message, addressed to the Administrator, with both Applicant and Respondent Memorials attached as separate files titled “###A” and “###R”, respectively (where “###” is the Team’s official Team Number assigned in accordance with Rule 3.5). If one of the Memorials will be submitted late, a Team may separately submit the timely memorial online through its Team Homepage and send the timely Memorial to the Administrator before the deadline without penalty. The official time of submission for the purpose of calculating late penalties is the time each individual Memorial is uploaded to a Team’s Homepage. Administrators may assess a discretionary penalty of no more than 5 points (unless a Rules Supplement provides otherwise) if a Team fails to timely email its memorials to the Administrator.
Wishing you all the best of luck.
Many teams competing in the 2017 Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition will be filing their memorials tomorrow. Here is a useful word count chart to be sure that your team isn't penalized for having too many words in a particular section of the memorial.
Word Count for Applicant
Word Count for Respondent
The Statement of Facts section, including the section title, any section headings or sub-headings, conclusion, associated footnotes, and any other language a team might elect to include, must be no longer than 1,200 words.
The Summary of Pleadings section, including the section title, any section headings or sub-headings, conclusion, associated footnotes, and other language a team might elect to include, must be no longer than 700 words.
The total length of the Pleadings section, including the section title, any section headings, section sub-headings, the required Conclusion/ Prayer for Relief, associated footnotes, signature block, and other language a team might elect to include, must be no longer than 9,500 words.
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Executive Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Special Projects William H. Byrnes of the Texas A&M University School of Law completed his term as Chair of the Association of American Law Schools Section on International Legal Exchange.
The new Section Chair is Professor Mark E. Wojcik of The John Marshall Law School in Chicago, who previously chaired the Section in 1998-99. His election as Chair marks the 10th time he has chaired a Section of the American Association of Law Schools.
The AALS Section on International Legal Exchange was chartered in 1974. The Section promotes international communication and understanding, principally through the transnational movement of law faculty and students, both through assisting in placing U.S. law faculty and students in foreign nations and in bringing to U.S. law schools foreign faculty and students. The Section seeks to obtain and exchange ideas and information relating to exchanges and assists law schools in the development of exchange programs.
The new Section Chair-Elect of the AALS Section on International Legal Exchange is Assistant Dean for International Affairs Theresa K. Kaiser-Jarvis (The University of Michigan Law School). She will become Chair in January 2018 when the AALS will hold its Annual Meeting in New Orleans. Elected as Section Secretary was Gabrielle Goodwin (Director of Graduate Legal Studies at the Indiana Mauer School of Law). Elected as Section Treasurer was John Smagula (Temple University, James E. Beasley School of Law).
Members of the Section's Executive Committee include George Edwards (Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law), Charolette Ku (Associate Dean for Global Programs at Texas A&M University School of Law), and Jeffrey Ellis Thomas (University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law). William Byrnes will also be on the Executive Committee as Immediate Past Section Chair.
Monday, January 9, 2017
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines has ratified the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), making it the 106th member of the World Trade Organization to do so. Only four more ratifications from WTO members are needed to bring the TFA into force. The TFA will enter into force once two-thirds of the WTO membership has formally accepted the Agreement.
Concluded at the WTO’s 2013 Bali Ministerial Conference, the TFA provides for expediting the movement, release, and clearance of goods, including goods in transit. The TFA also sets out measures for effective cooperation between customs and other appropriate authorities on trade facilitation and customs compliance issues.
According to a 2015 study carried out by WTO economists, full implementation of the TFA would reduce members’ trade costs by an average of 14.3 per cent, with developing countries having the most to gain. The TFA also has the ability to reduce the time to import goods by over a day and a half while also reducing time to export by almost two days, representing a reduction of 47 per cent and 91 per cent respectively over the current average. The TFA also has the potential to increase global merchandise exports by up to $1 trillion.
The TFA broke new ground for developing and least-developed countries in the way it will be implemented. For the first time in WTO history, the requirement to implement the Agreement was directly linked to the capacity of the country to do so. In addition, the Agreement states that assistance and support should be provided to help them achieve that capacity.
A Trade Facilitation Agreement Facility (TFAF) was also created at the request of developing and least-developed country members to help ensure that they receive the assistance needed to reap the full benefits of the TFA and to support the ultimate goal of full implementation of the new agreement by all members. Further information on TFAF is available at www.TFAFacility.org.
The Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition is the world's largest moot court competition, with over 600 teams from more than 90 countries. The Jessup Competiton allows you to interact with brilliant students and talented lawyers. It is an opportunity to educate, network, and explore intriguing international legal issues. And if you competed in Jessup in the past, now it's your turn to be a judge.
Jessup judges are needed all around the world. And in the unlikely event that you're not near any of the upcoming competitions, you can nonetheless serve an important function of judging the written memorials. (I've always enjoyed grading the written memorials because I always seem to learn something while doing that!)
And if you would like to support the Jessup competiton, here's information about how to become an "FOJ." The Friends of the Jessup (FOJ) offers support by judging, coaching, administering, making financial contributions, offering legal expertise, and providing general administrative help for the Jessup competition. Click here to learn more about the Friends of Jessup.
Sunday, January 8, 2017
Professor John B. Thornton of the Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law has been elected Chair of the Association of American Law Schools Section on Graduate Programs for Non-U.S. Lawyers. He succeeds Lauren Fielder, the Assistant Dean for Graduate and International Programs at the University of Texas School of Law, who now joins the Section's Executive Committee as Immediate Past President.
The Section on Graduate Programs for Non-U.S. Lawyers was founded in 1987. It promotes the communication of ideas, interests, and activities among Section members and makes recommendations to the Association on matters concerning graduate degress programs and other educational opportunities for graduates of non-U.S. law schools.
Professor William H. Byrnes of the Texas A&M University School of Law is the new Section Chair-Elect and will assume office in January 2018 when the Association of American Law School will meet in San Diego. The other section officers elected were the Section Secretary, Professor Aaron Ghirardelli (Loyola Law School, Los Angeles), and Section Treasurer, Lawrence M. Solan (Brooklyn Law School).
Members of the Section's Executive Committee include Professors David W. Austin (California Western School of Law), George E. Edwards (Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law), Gabrielle L Goodwin (Indiana University Maurer School of Law), Khary Hornsby (Director of International Programs at the University of Minnesota), Hether C. Macfarlane (University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law), and John Smagula (Temple University, James E. Beasley School of Law). Lauren Fielder is also on the Executive Committee as Immediate Past Section Chair.
Friday, January 6, 2017
The U.S. Department of Defense announced yesterday that it has transferred four Yemeni detainees from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay to Saudi Arabia: Salem Ahmad Hadi Bin Kanad, Muhammed Rajab Sadiq Abu Ghanim, Abdallah Yahya Yusif Al-Shibli, and Muhammad Ali Abdallah Muhammad Bwazir. The release followed a review of these cases by interagency task forces that determined continued detention of these four men was no longer necessary to protect against security threats to the United States.
Today, 55 detainees remain at Guantanamo Bay, but the White House has indicated that more releases are likely before President Obama leaves office later this month. President Trump is reported to have called for an end to the releases and to keep the Guantanamo Bay detention facility open.
Wednesday, January 4, 2017
Gerardo Puertas Gomez, Presidente del Consejo, Facultad Libre de Derecho de Monterrey (“FLDM”) Mexico, was today elected as Chair of the Association of American Law Schools Section on North American Cooperation. He follows outgoing Chair, Professor Mark E. Wojcik of The John Marshall Law School in Chicago, who was himself elected as Chair of the AALS Section on International Legal Exchange (making it the 10th time he has been Chair of an AALS Section).
Professor Lisa Black of the California Western School of Law was elected as the Chair-Elect of the AALS Section on North American Cooperation. She will become Section Chair in 2018 when the AALS will hold its annual meeting in San Diego and serve through January 2019, when the AALS will meet in New Orleans.
The AALS Section on North American Cooperation also elected as Secretary Cara Cunningham-Warren (University of Detroit Mercy School of Law) and as Treasurer Kim Nayyer (University of Victoria Faculty of Law). Professors Cunningham-Warren and Nayyer were also speakers at the Section's program on Legal Research in Mexico and Canada (photo at right).
Also elected to the AALS Executive Committee were Bob Brain (Loyola Law School, Los Angeles), Johanna K.P. Dennis (Northeastern University, Boston), William V. Dunlap (Quinnipiac University School of Law), Dean Jean-Francois Gaudreault-Desbiens (Universite de Montreal), Nina Farber (Brooklyn Law School), Dean Jose Roble Flores Fernandez (Facultad Libre de Derecho de Monterrey, Mexico), William B.T. Mock (The John Marshall Law School-Chicago), and Carol A. Needham (Saint Louis University School of Law).
The American Bar Association requires at least six credit hours of meaningful experiential opportunities for each student. Some state bars have considered an even larger requirement. But how can we create opportunities for foreign law students in the United States or U.S. students in foreign countries? Experiential opportunities can include: local clinical opportunities for foreign law students and the equivalent for U.S. law students in foreign countries, field placements, externships, student trainee exchange programs (STEP) pursuant to the ELSA model, and a host of other creative solutions. They may also include practice-based experiential coursework within the curriculum. Challenges faced include: sourcing enough meaningful externships for incoming international and post-graduate students and securing for outgoing exchange JD students, and managing these and the other placement opportunities; developing field placement templates that address labor issues within and outside the U.S.; and outcomes and assessment for placements such as rubrics and other instrument for assessment among others.
The Association of American Law Schools Section on International Legal Exchange and the AALS Section on Post-Graduate Legal Education presented a joint program on how to create and find these opportunities in an international context. The half-day program was co-sponsored by the AALS Section on Clinical Education, the AALS Section on East Asian Law and Society, and the AALS Section on Graduate Programs for Non-U.S. Lawyers.
Speakers on the first part of the program (first photo above) were Gillian Dutton (Seattle University School of Law), Jessica Burns (Vice President of Global Programs, Global Experiences), Carole Silver (Northwestern University), Charlotte Ku (Texas A&M University School of Law), and William H. Byrnes (Texas A&M University School of Law and Chair of the AALS Section on International Legal Exchange).
Speakers on the second panel (pictured at left) were Aric K. Short (Texas A&M University), Srividhya Ragavan (Texas A&M University), Susan B. Schechter (University of California, Berkeley School of Law), and Jeffrey Ellis Thomas (University of Missouri Kansas-City School of Law).
Monday, January 2, 2017
The Board of Editors of Trade, Law and Development invites original, unpublished manuscripts for publication in the Summer 2017 Special Issue of the Journal on "Recent Regionalism." Manuscripts may be in the form of Articles, Notes, Comments, or Book Reviews.
TL&D aims to generate and sustain a democratic debate on emerging issues in international economic law, with a special focus on the developing world. Towards these ends, we have published works by noted scholars such as Professors Petros Mavroidis, Mitsuo Matsuhita, Raj Bhala, Joel Trachtman, Gabrielle Marceau, Simon Lester, Bryan Mercurio, E.U. Petersmann, and M. Sornarajah among others.
TL&D is ranked as the best journal in India across all fields of law and the 10th best trade journal worldwide by Washington and Lee University, School of Law for five consecutive years (2011-15) [The Washington & Lee Rankings are considered to be the most comprehensive in this regard].
The last date for submissions is February 15, 2017.
Hat tip to Rhea Jha, Editor-in-Chief
Wednesday, December 28, 2016
Save the Date! The U.S Department of State, Office of the Legal Adviser, also known as L, will present its seventh annual "Live from L" on February 16, 2017 at noon (ET). The event is being co-sponsored by the American Bar Association, the American Society of International Law, and the George Washington University School of Law. The focus of the discussion will be on international law and the South China Sea. The program will take place in the Jacob Burns Moot Courtroom at the George Washington School of Law in Washington, D.C. and will be available via webcast. More details will be available shortly.