Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Here's a link to an article of mine from the ILSA Journal of International and Comparative Law that may include some useful career advice. It's on the Social Science Research Network (an often-overlooked and highly useful source for legal research if you don't know it). Create a free account and download the article to read it.
Practical Career Advice for Young International Lawyers: How to Build a Killer Resume, Network Effectively, Create Your Own Opportunities, and Live Happily Ever After
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
ICJ to Deliver Judgment in Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Croatia v. Serbia)
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has announced it will deliver its judgment in the case concerning the Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Croatia v. Serbia) on Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015.
A public sitting will take place at 10 a.m. (The Hague time) in the Great Hall of Justice at the Peace Palace, The Hague, seat of the Court, during which the President of the Court, Judge Peter Tomka, will read the Court’s Judgment.
More information may be found on the ICJ website.
Following a request from Canada and the United States, two of the participants in “United States – Certain Country of Origin Labelling (COOL) Requirements – Recourse to Article 21.5 of the DSU by Canada and Mexico” (WT/DS384, WT/DS386), the WTO Appellate Body has decided to open the oral hearing on 16 and 17 February 2015 to public observation via simultaneous closed-circuit broadcast to a separate viewing room in the WTO headquarters in Geneva. Space is limited, so persons wishing to view the hearing must pre-register here by February 4. Space will be allocated on a first come, first serve basis.
Sunday, January 25, 2015
The American Bar Association Section of International Law will present the fifth annual "Live from L" program, a unique opportunity for international lawyers and students of international law to hear directly from the Office of the Legal Adviser of the U.S. Department of State. The program will be held on Thursday, February 12th, 2015 from 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM US Eastern Standard Time.
The focus of the program will be on "The Role of the Law in the Fight Against ISIL: Use of Force, Sanctions, and Foreign Terrorist Fighters"
The webcast with the Office of the Legal Adviser will be held at the Jacob Burns Moot Courtroom of the George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C. The event with the ABA Section of Internaitonal Law is also cosponsored by the American Society of International Law, the George Washington University Law School, and the Women's Bar Assoication of the District of Columbia
- Mary E. McLeod, Acting Legal Adviser, U.S. Department of State
- Joshua L. Dorosin, Assistant Legal Adviser, Office of Political-Military Affairs
- David M. DeBartolo, Attorney Adviser, Office of United Nations Affairs
- Michael J. Gilles, Attorney Adviser, Office of Economic and Business Affairs
- Samuel W. McDonald, Attorney Adviser, Office of Law Enforcement and Intelligence
- Susan L. Karamanian, Associate Dean for International and Comparative Legal Studies, George Washington University Law School
You can attend the program in person at George Washington University Law School or from anywhere by webcast or by teleconference. Click here for registration information.
Lord’s Resistance Army Commander Dominic Ongwen is Transferred to the International Criminal Court for Prosecution on Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes in Uganda
Following his surrender on January 6, 2015, Senior Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) commander Dominic Ongwen has been transferred to the International Criminal Court (ICC). In 2005, 6he ICC had issued a warrant for his arrest for war crimes committed in Uganda.
Mr. Ongwen is being brought to the ICC detention centre in the Netherlands. Upon arrival, Mr. Ongwen will receive a medical visit and will appear with defense counsel before the court.
In a statement released by the U.N. Secretary-General’s spokesperson, Mr. Ban highlighted that Mr. Ongwen's transfer to the ICC marks an ‘important milestone in accountability,’ with the first LRA commander being brought before the Court. “It is a step forward in efforts to bring justice to the thousands of victims of LRA violence in Uganda, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and CAR [Central African Republic] over the past 28 years,” the UN chief said.
The Secretary-General welcomed the cooperation among the Governments of the Central African Republic, Uganda, the United States, Belgium, and the Netherlands, and the support provided by the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), the African Union Regional Task Force (AU-RTF), and the ICC in facilitating the expeditious transfer of Mr. Ongwen to The Hague.
Mr. Ban also paid tribute to the efforts of the AU-RTF and urged all troop-contributing countries of the region to remain committed to ending the threat posed by the LRA and bringing to justice LRA leader Joseph Kony. He called on the LRA to immediately disarm.
Mr. Ongwen, who was transferred to ICC custody on January 17, 2015, was the alleged Commander of the LRA's Sinia Brigade. On July 8, 2005, ICC Judges issued an arrest warrant against Mr. Ongwen for these crimes:
- three counts of crimes against humanity (murder; enslavement; inhumane acts of inflicting serious bodily injury and suffering), and
- four counts of war crimes (murder; cruel treatment of civilians; intentionally directing an attack against a civilian population; pillaging)
allegedly committed in 2004 within the context of the situation in Uganda.
During the initial appearance hearing, the Judges of Pre-Trial Chamber II will verify the identity of the suspect and the language in which he can follow the proceedings. Mr Ongwen will be informed of the charges against him. The Judges will also schedule a date for the opening of the confirmation of charges hearing, a preliminary step to decide whether the case will be referred to a trial or not.
In a statement from ICC, the President of the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) to the Court’s founding Rome Statute, Minister Sidiki Kab, said that Mr. Ongwen’s transfer to the custody of the Court constituted an important success for the Rome Statute system.
“The affected communities will have the opportunity to see international justice address the horrific violence that took place in Uganda. I join the Court in its appreciation to all those States and organizations whose cooperation made possible the successful implementation of the Court's decisions,” Mr. Kaba emphasized.
(mew) (adapted from a UN press release; Photo: ICC-CPI/Max Koot courtesy of the United Nations)
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has nominated an Advisory Group of Experts to conduct a policy and institutional review of the peacebuilding architecture and then to develop recommendations based on this work. The seven experts named to the group are:
- Mr. Anis Bajwa (Pakistan);
- Saraswathi Menon (India);
- Ms. Funmi Olonisakin (Nigeria);
- Mr. Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah (Mauritania);
- Mr. Charles Petrie (France);
- Mr. Gert Rosenthal (Guatemala); and
- Ms. Edith Grace Ssempala (Uganda).
On 15 December, the Presidents of the General Assembly and the Security Council asked the Secretary-General to nominate up to seven experts to form an Advisory Group on the review of the peacebuilding architecture. In accordance with the Terms of Reference endorsed by both the General Assembly and the Security Council, the Advisory Group of Experts will undertake country studies in these countries:
- Central African Republic,
- Sierra Leone,
- South Sudan, and
The Advisory Group of Experts is expected to submit a report to the General Assembly and the Security Council for consideration through an intergovernmental process managed by co-facilitators appointed by the two principal organs. The intergovernmental process should be concluded with a concurrent decision by both organs before the end of 2015.
(mew) (adapted from a UN press release)
French Constitutional Council Upholds Loss of French Citizenship for a Dual National Convicted of Participating in a "Criminal Conspiracy with a Terrorist Undertaking"
The Constitutional Council of France (the Conseil Constitutionnel) is the highest constitutional authority in France. It was established in 1958 by the Constitution of the Fifth Republic. The main activity of this council is to determine a priori whether proposed statutes conform to the French Constitution after they have been approved by Parliament and before they are signed into law by the President of the Republic. It also provides constitutional review of European Community Primary and Secondary Legislation. Since March 1, 2010, individual citizens who are party to a trial or lawsuit can also ask for the Council to review whether the law applied in the case is constitutional. The Constitutional Council has also reviewed treaties, such as whether France could join international treaties such the Rome Statute establishing the International Criminal Court. Click here to read more about decisions of the Constitutional Council (some of the decisions are translated into English).
Last week the Constitutional Council ruled that Ahmed Sahnouni, a Moroccan man who became a French national in 2003, could be deprived of his French nationality because he had been sentenced to seven years in prison for participating in "a criminal conspiracy with a terrorist undertaking." Because he lost his French nationality, he can be deported to Morocco where he may face a 20-year prison sentence on similar charges.
French law allows authorities to strip a dual national of French citizenship "if he or she has been convicted on charges of terrorism either before becoming a citizen, or within 15 years of becoming a citizen." Maia de la Baume, France: Loss of Citizenship Upheld in Terrorism Case, N.Y. Times, Jan. 24, 2015, at A7.
The opinion in Décision n° 2014-439 QPC du 23 janvier 2015 (M. Ahmed S. [Déchéance de nationalité]) can be found by clicking here.
Here's an excerpt:
17. Considérant qu'aux termes de l'article 8 de la Déclaration de 1789 : « La loi ne doit établir que des peines strictement et évidemment nécessaires, et nul ne peut être puni qu'en vertu d'une loi établie et promulguée antérieurement au délit, et légalement appliquée » ; que les principes énoncés par cet article s'appliquent non seulement aux peines prononcées par les juridictions répressives mais aussi à toute sanction ayant le caractère d'une punition ;
18. Considérant que l'article 61-1 de la Constitution ne confère pas au Conseil constitutionnel un pouvoir général d'appréciation et de décision de même nature que celui du Parlement, mais lui donne seulement compétence pour se prononcer sur la conformité des dispositions législatives soumises à son examen aux droits et libertés que la Constitution garantit ; que, si la nécessité des peines attachées aux infractions relève du pouvoir d'appréciation du législateur, il incombe au Conseil constitutionnel de s'assurer de l'absence de disproportion manifeste entre l'infraction et la peine encourue ;
19. Considérant que les dispositions contestées subordonnent la déchéance de nationalité à la condition que la personne a été condamnée pour des actes de terrorisme ; qu'elles ne peuvent conduire à ce que la personne soit rendue apatride ; qu'eu égard à la gravité toute particulière que revêtent par nature les actes de terrorisme, les dispositions contestées instituent une sanction ayant le caractère d'une punition qui n'est pas manifestement disproportionnée ; que, dès lors, le grief tiré de la méconnaissance des exigences de l'article 8 de la Déclaration de 1789 doit être écarté ;
. En ce qui concerne les autres griefs :
20. Considérant qu'il est à tout moment loisible au législateur, statuant dans le domaine de sa compétence, de modifier des textes antérieurs ou d'abroger ceux-ci en leur substituant, le cas échéant, d'autres dispositions ; que, ce faisant, il ne saurait toutefois priver de garanties légales des exigences constitutionnelles ; qu'en particulier, il méconnaîtrait la garantie des droits proclamée par l'article 16 de la Déclaration de 1789 s'il portait aux situations légalement acquises une atteinte qui ne soit justifiée par un motif d'intérêt général suffisant ;
21. Considérant qu'en fixant les conditions dans lesquelles l'acquisition de la nationalité peut être remise en cause, les dispositions contestées ne portent pas atteinte à une situation légalement acquise ;
22. Considérant que la déchéance de la nationalité d'une personne ne met pas en cause son droit au respect de la vie privée ; que, par suite, le grief tiré de l'atteinte au respect de la vie privée est inopérant ;
23. Considérant que les dispositions contestées, qui ne sont en tout état de cause pas entachées d'inintelligibilité, ne sont contraires à aucun autre droit ou liberté que la Constitution garantit ; qu'elles doivent être déclarées conformes à la Constitution,
D É C I D E :
Article 1er.- Les mots « ou pour un crime ou un délit constituant un acte de terrorisme » figurant au 1° de l'article 25 et l'article 25-1 du code civil sont conformes à la Constitution.
Article 2 - La présente décision sera publiée au Journal officiel de la République française et notifiée dans les conditions prévues à l'article 23-11 de l'ordonnance du 7 novembre 1958 susvisée.
Professor Ken Gallant notes this decision applies only to naturalized citizens (para. 19) and only when they will not be rendered stateless. It does not appear to apply to denationalizing persons born to French nationality.
Friday, January 23, 2015
Professor David A. Gantz, Director of the International Trade Law Program at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law and Professor Ralph H. Folsom of the University of San Diego School of Law are speaking today at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago. Their topic is the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP). The program is sponsored by The John Marshall Law School Center for International Law. This year's presentation marks the 14th Annual Folsom Lecture on International Business and Trade Law.
Given the problems in mulitlateral trade negotiations through the World Trade Organization, international trade negotiations in the next years may focus more on regional trade agreements and unilateral market opening measures. More than 400 Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and Customs Unions (CUs) have been concluded and many more are under negotiation, including the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Partnership (CETA), the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP), the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
The well-attended presentation and discussion focused on CETA and T-TIP, including the negotiations, political risks, effect of Chinese participation, rules of origin, data protection, intellectual property issues, agricultural market access, labor and enforcement issues, and dispute resolution.
Nepal has failed to meet a deadline for drafting a new Constitution. Reports from Nepal are that a late-night session of parliament had to be ended when politicians started throwing microphones and shoes at each other, and that authorities have deployed more than a thousand police officers to guard the parliament builing. A report from Al-Jazeera describes some of the background of the constituional crises:
A new constitution is widely seen as crucial to ending the instability that has plagued Nepal since the end of a civil war in 2006, when Maoist guerrillas entered politics, ending a decade-long insurgency that left an estimated 16,000 people dead.
Six prime ministers and two elections later, discord between the opposition Maoists and ruling parties has intensified, paralysing the drafting process.
Landlocked Nepal has been in political limbo since 2008, when it's 239-year-old monarchy was abolished. An interim constitution was put in place a year earlier at the end of a civil war fought by Maoist rebels.
Thomas Buergenthal, a former judge of the International Court of Justice, shares his astonishing experiences as a young boy in his memoir A Lucky Child. He arrived at Auschwitz at age 10 after surviving two ghettos and a labor camp. Separated first from his mother and then his father, Buergenthal managed by his wits and some remarkable strokes of luck to survive on his own. Almost two years after his liberation, Buergenthal was miraculously reunited with his mother and in 1951 arrived in the U.S. to start a new life.
Now dedicated to helping those subjected to tyranny throughout the world, Buergenthal writes his story with a simple clarity that highlights the stark details of unimaginable hardship. Considered one of the world’s leading international human rights experts, Professor Buergenthal served as a judge on the International Court of Justice from 2000 to 2010 and was Dean at the Washington College of Law from 1980 to 1985. He was a Judge and President of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights as well as President of the Administrative Tribunal of the Inter-American Development Bank, and a member of the UN Human Rights Committee and the UN Truth Commission for El Salvador. He is a member of the Ethics Commission of the International Olympic Committee and the honorary president of the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights in San José, Costa Rica.
His book A Lucky Child: A Memoir of Surviving Auschwitz is available in English and German (and possibly other languages, but I've only seen it in English and German.
Judge Buergenthal will discuss his book and his experiences at the American University Washington College of Law on February 2, 2015 from 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm. The law school is located at 4801 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC, 20016 and the event will be held on the 6th Floor in Room 603
Claudio Grossman, Dean of the American University Washington College of Law, will do the welcome and introduction. Professor Peter Jaszi of the American University Washington College of Law will lead the questions. Contact the law school for information on how to register for and attend the event.
Thursday, January 22, 2015
Gay Men Thrown to Their Deaths from the Top of Building After Being Accused of Homosexual Acts; Woman Stoned to Death for Alleged Adultery; Other Punishments of Unlawful Courts Under the Control of Islamic State
The United Nations human rights office has confirmed this week that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has established unlawful, so-called ‘shari’a courts’ in the territory under its control that have been carrying out cruel and inhuman punishments against men, women and children.
Those who are punished are accused of ‘violating the group’s extremist interpretations of Islamic shari’a law or for suspected disloyalty,’ said Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), at a Geneva briefing earlier this week.
“The ruthless murder of two men, who were thrown off the top of a building after having been accused of homosexual acts by a so-called court in Mosul, is another terrible example of the kind of monstrous disregard for human life that characterised ISIL’s reign of terror over areas of Iraq that were under the group’s control,” she added.
Last week, ISIL also posted photos on the web of two men being ‘crucified’ after they were accused of banditry. The men were hung up by their arms and then shot dead. Photos were also posted of a woman being stoned to death, allegedly for adultery.
OHCHR has received numerous other reports of women who had been executed by ISIL in Mosul and other areas under the group’s control, often immediately following sentences passed by its ‘shari’a courts.’
“Educated, professional women, particularly women who had run as candidates in elections for public office seem to be particularly at risk. In just the first two weeks of the year, reports indicated that three female lawyers were executed,” said Ms. Shamdasani.
Other civilians who are suspected of violating ISIL’s rules, or who are suspected of supporting the Government of Iraq, have also been victims. Four doctors were recently killed in central Mosul, allegedly after refusing to treat ISIL fighters. On 1 January, ISIL reportedly executed 15 civilians from the Jumaili Sunni Arab tribe in al-Shihabi area, Garma district, Fallujah.
“They were apparently shot dead in front of a large crowd for their suspected cooperation with Iraqi Security Forces. In another incident, on 9 January, ISIL executed at least 14 men in a public square in Dour, north of Tikrit, for refusing to pledge allegiance to it,” Ms. Shamdasani confirmed.
OHCHR has also been following reports of the release of a group of sick and elderly Yazidis, which included accounts that a ransom was paid. There are also reports that a ransom has been demanded made for Japanese hostages. The Japanese Government is in the process of verifying whether the video of the hostages is authentic, she said in response to questions.
Finally, she said OHCHR will continue to document human rights abuses and violations taking place in Iraq and is expected to present a report to the Human Rights Council in March.
(Adapted from a UN press release)
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Representative Charles Rangel of New York has introduced HR 403, a bill that would lift the trade embargo on Cuba. The bill was referred to the House Committees on Foreign Affairs, Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce, Judiciary, Financial Services, Oversight and Government Reform, and Agriculture. Congressional Record H412 (Jan. 16, 2015). The Constitutional Authority invoked for the legislation is Article 1 Section 8, the Congressional Power to regulate commerce with foreign nations.
Hat tip to the ABA Governmental Affairs Office.
The World Trade Organization (WTO) Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) held a meeting on Friday at which it adopted the Appellate Body's report addressing the impostion by the United States of countervailing duties (CVDs) on certain products from China (WT/DS437/AB/R). In that report, the Appellate Body addresses the proper methodology for determining what constitutes a "public body"; how to evaluate a market distortion in deciding whether the provision of a financial contribution has conferred a benefit; adverse facts available determinations; and the issue of specificity.
Both the United States and Canada, participating as a third party, expressed concern regarding the delay in the completion of the proceedings and the procedures followed by the Appellate Body. Canada suggested a need to address the Appellate Body's workload.
Also at that meeting, the United States outlined its plans to implement the recommendations of the DSB in the dispute “United States — Countervailing Measures on Certain Hot-Rolled Carbon Steel Flat Products from India (DS436)”. For more information regarding both these matters, visit the WTO website.
Monday, January 19, 2015
The 11th Annual Conference of the European Society of International Law will take place in Oslo, Norway, from 10 to 12 September 2015. The conference will be hosted by the Pluricourts Center on the Legitimate Roles on the Judiciary in the Global Order, University of Oslo.
Entitled “The Judicialization of International Law - A Mixed Blessing?”, the conference will address the international law aspects of the increased judicialization from an interdisciplinary perspective.
The conference will feature plenary sessions with invited speakers, and a number of agorae with speakers selected on the basis of a call for papers and agora proposals. The event will also offer poster sessions for early career scholars following a call for posters. The deadline for the submission of abstracts and proposals is 31 January 2015.
For more information, click here.
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Applications for the 2015 Helton Fellowships are being accepted until Monday, January 19, 2015, or until the first 50 completed applications have been received, whichever comes first. The Helton Fellowship Program, established in 2004, recognizes the legacy of Arthur C. Helton, a lawyer, refugee advocate, teacher, and author who died in the August 19, 2003, bombing of the UN mission in Baghdad, where he was working to assess humanitarian conditions. Helton was an active member of the American Society of International Law, the American Bar Association Section of International Law, and other groups. He was a great man whose memory lives on in the Fellowships named for him and in the impressive work that the Helton Fellows pursue with these grants.
Funded by contributions from members of the American Society of International Law, interest groups, and private foundations, Helton Fellowships provide financial assistance in the form of "micro-grants" for law students and young professionals to pursue field work and research on significant issues involving international law, human rights, humanitarian affairs, and related areas. Click here for more information.
Hat tip to Sheila Ward.
The Saint Louis University School of Law Center for International and Comparative Law and the
Saint Louis University Law Journal will present a symposium on "Perspectives on Fighting Human Trafficking" on Friday, January 30, 2015 at the St. Louis University School of Law. Check-in is at 8:30 a.m. and the program starts at 9:00 a.m. Here's a description of the program for the day:
Human trafficking has been called “the modern day slavery.” Trafficking victims are forced to have sex or to work long hours against their will, often in dangerous situations and facing threats of violence or deportation. Many times the victims of trafficking do not see themselves as victims or are afraid to speak out, fearing that they themselves might be prosecuted. This year’s symposium focuses on the role of the victim in combating human trafficking. Two panels will focus on finding and working with victims in prosecuting trafficking, and two major talks will highlight global trends in human trafficking.
Contact the law school or the law journal for more information.
UN Security Council Affirms Critical Importance of Peacebuilding for Sustainable Peace and Development
Peacebuilding is of “critical importance” as the foundation for sustainable peace and development in countries emerging from conflict, the United Nations Security Council declared today, unanimously adopting its latest measure reaffirming commitment to the practice.
In a presidential statement adopted as part of a briefing by the Chair of the UN Peacebuilding Commission (PBC), the Council recognized peacebuilding’s role as an “important element” of the UN’s efforts in post-conflict nations and reaffirmed that sustainable peace and security requires “an integrated sustained approach based on coherence among political, security and developmental approaches.”
“The Security Council underscores that peacebuilding, in particular, institution building, the extension of State authority and the re-establishment of core public administration functions, requires sustained international and national attention, and financial and technical support in order to effectively build and sustain peace in countries emerging from conflict,” the statement declared.
The PBC, an intergovernmental advisory body created in 2005 with a mandate to support peace efforts in countries emerging from conflict, plays a “unique role” in UN peacebuilding efforts, according to its website.
Principally, it is tasked with bringing together all of the relevant actors, including international donors and financial institutions, national governments, troop contributing countries; marshalling resources and advising on and proposing integrated strategies for post-conflict peacebuilding and recovery and where appropriate, highlighting any gaps that threaten to undermine peace.
Addressing the Council members, Ambassador Antonio de Aguiar Patriota, Permanent Representative of Brazil to the United Nations and Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission, pointed to the vast swathe of crises afflicting nations around the globe as indicative of the need for “further sharpening the tools at the disposal of the United Nations with a view to preventing relapse into violent conflict.”
“The crises in the Central African Republic, South Sudan and Libya, as well as the risks posed by the Ebola crisis, remind us that our response must be multifaceted, carefully sequenced and sustained over the long term,” Mr. de Aguiar Patriota told the Council Members.
“Attention and support to nationally-owned and inclusive political, socio-economic development and institution-building processes should be prioritized,” he added.
Nonetheless, he warned, peacebuilding is still being not granted “the sustained attention and commitment that is required by the international community to meet the complex and long-term challenges to sustainable peace.” In particular, he added, the implementation of peacebuilding was still being deprived of the critical financing mechanisms necessary for the fulfilment of its ambitions.
“Early investment in peacebuilding activities, including security sector and justice reform as well as socio-economic development, is a necessary complement to political and security focused mandates,” Mr. de Aguiar Patriota continued.
“The Commission will continue to support regional and national efforts aimed at catalysing greater international commitment to address this challenge.”
UN Press Release and UN Photo/Loey Felipe
Friday, January 9, 2015
- Matthew Charity, Western New England School of Law, Chair (pictured here)
- Anatasia Telesetsky, University of Idaho College of Law, Vice Chair
- Shalanda Baker, University of Hawaii School of Law, Secretary
- Milena Sterio, Cleveland Marshall College of Law, Treasurer
- Thomas McDonnell, Pace Law School, Newsletter Editor
- Cindy Buys, Southern Illinois University School of Law, Immediate Past Chair and Mentor Coordinator
Members of the AALS International Law Executive Committee include:
- George Edwards, Indiana University School of Law
- Andrew Strauss, Widener University School of Law
- Ved Nanda, University of Denver, Strum College of Law
- Mark Wojcik, The John Marshall Law School, Chicago
- Claudio Grossman, American University Washington College of Law
We look forward to continued excellent programming from the Section in 2015!
(cgb and mew)
Thursday, January 8, 2015
At the annual conference of the American Association of Law Schools (AALS), the International Law Section
sponsored a very interesting discussion of how, when and to what extent lawyers and policy makers in the U.S. government take international law into account when engaging in decisionmaking. The panel included Mary McLeod, Principal Deputy Legal Adviser at the U.S. Dept. of State, Sandra Hodgkinson of DRS Technologies, formerly Deputy Director, Office of War Crimes Issues and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Detainee Affairs, and Professor Ralph Steinhardt of George Washington University. Matthew Charity, Professor at Western New England School of Law and Vice Chair of the International Law Section moderated.
All the panelists agreed that international law plays a critical role in U.S. foreign policy. Ms. Hodgkinson stated that while the United States does not undertake treaty obligation lightly, she believes U.S. compliance is exceptional once it belongs to a treaty. Ms. McLeod also talked about how international law is something she works with every day.
Professor Steinhardt presented his paper, “International Law and the Administrative State,” which was selected from a call for papers. He talked about the role of administrative agencies and how administrative rulemaking is hardening international soft law. He suggested that to ignore the work of international bodies drafting voluntary guidelines is dangerous because those non-binding guidelines often end up being implemented by other bodies with rulemaking authority. He suggested a broadening of accepted sources of international law under Article 38 of the Statute of the International Court of Justice to take into account this administrative law, as well as the adoption of a Charming Betsy principle for administrative regulations similar to statutes (i.e., administrative regulations should be interpreted consistently with international obligations whenever possible).
Ms. McLeod and Ms. Hodgkinson both talked about the relationship of academic scholarship to their work at government decisionmakers. Both suggested that academics can be helpful to government lawyers, particularly when academics research and write about topical issues. The government attorneys often don't have time to do in-depth historical research, for example, and rely on work by academics in helping to formulate policy positions and to find precedent to support legal arguments. Ms. McLeod stated that she often reads blogs by international law professors that analyze issues on which she is working.
The AALS Section on International Law is grateful to all the panelists for their participation in this very interesting and informative discussion.
Sunday, January 4, 2015
Mark Wojcik, a professor at John Marshall Law School in Chicago and co-editor of this blog, received a lifetime achievement award today from the Association of American Law Schools Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research. The Section Award is given to an individual who has made "a significant lifetime contribution to the field of legal writing, reasoning, and research."
Mark is known for his many contributions to the field, including spearheading international conferences, serving as a past Chair of the AALS Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Reearch, serving three terms on the Board of Directors of the Legal Writing Institute, helping to create the LWI One-Day Workshops, serving as Treasurer of Scribes--The American Society of Legal Writers, and working with the Law Library of Congress.