Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Yemen filed its "Instrument of Acceptance" with the World Trade Organization (WTO) today and is about to become the 160th member of the trade organization. Its membership is expected to be effective June 26, 2014.
Yemen applied for membership in 2000 and completed the accession process in 2013. It is one of the least developed countries to join the WTO. Yemen hopes to benefit from technical assistance and capacity building from the WTO Secretariat.
For more information, visit the WTO website.
Monday, May 26, 2014
The 9th annual Global Legal Skills (GLS) Conference held in for the first time in Verona, Italy has come to a close. It was the largest GLS conference to date with more than 180 participants from over 20 countries.
GLS-9 was held on May 21-23, 2014 at the University of Verona Faculty of Law, with an additional day (May 24) as an excursion to Vicenza, Italy, where participants heard presentations from a member of the City Council of Vicenza, the President of the Bar Association of Vicenza, and from three Italian lawyers who described various aspects of the Italian legal system and Italian legal education. Professor David Austin of California Western School of Law in San Diego, California was an additional commentator and translator for some of those presentations.
The conference opened on the evening of Wednesday, May 21, with a reception across from the Roman Arena in Verona, a complex built in the 1st Century A.D. Family members and friends joined the conference participants that evening for an enjoyable and memorable evening.
The opening plenary session included the Conference Founder and Co-Chair, Professor Mark Wojcik of The John Marshall Law School (a co-editor of this blog, pictured below left with Professor Cindy Buys of Southern Illinois University School of Law, who is also a co-editor of this blog). Also speaking on the opening Plenary were other Conference Co-Chairs Professor Stefano Troiano of the University of Verona Faculty of Law, Professor Kimberly Holst (Chair-Elect of the Association of American Law Schools Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research), Professor William B.T. Mock, Jr. (Secretary of the American Bar Association Section of International Law, one of the co-sponsoring organizations), Mr. Leonard Amari (President of the Board of Trustees of The John Marshall Law School), Gerardo Puertas Gomez (Presidente del Consejo, Facultad Libre de Derecho de Monterrey, Mexico, the institution that hosted GLS-3 and GLS-5), and the other GLS-9 Conference Co-Chairs Professor David Austin (California Western School of Law), Lurene Contento (The John Marshall Law School-Chicago), and Paolo Butturini (University of Verona).
Professors Contento, Butturini, and Wojcik presided over the GLS "Parade of Nations," which introduced national delegations from the following countries participating in GLS-9:
- Republic of Georgia
- South Africa
- United Kingdom
- United States
Delegates expected from other countries including Japan, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and the Islamic Republic of Iran were unable to attend.
Many great presentations and ideas for improving teaching students from around the globe were shared, including one session of international law professors from around the world who exchanged information on teaching opportunities and on cutting-edge issues in international law. As many as six concurrent panels were held in nine different session time slots over the two days that the conference presentations were made at the University of Verona Faculty of Law.
Mark Wojcik deserves a huge amount of praise for the great work he and his planning team did to make the conference such a great success. And many thanks for the University of Verona Law School for hosting!
Thursday, May 22, 2014
Since 2000, May 22 has been designated by the United Nations General Assembly as the International Day of Biological Diversity. The 2014 theme is Island Biodiversity. This theme was chosen to coincide with the UN General Assembly's designation of 2014 as the International Year of Small Island Developing States (A/Res/67/206).
From 1993-2000, the day was celebrated on December 29 in commemorationof the entry into force of the Convention on Biological Diversity. In 2000 the UN General Assembly shifted the date to May 22 to commemorate the adoption of the text of the Convention at the Rio Earth Summit on 22 May 1992.
The UN General Assembly also has declared 2011-2020 to be the UN Decade on Biodiversity. The purpose is to promote implementation of the objectives of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity.
Saturday, May 17, 2014
The International Law Prof Blog is six years old on Monday, May 19, 2014. Since we started we've had more than 276,350 visits and more than 473,600 page views. We have regular readers in more than 100 countries. Thank you for your continued support and for your commitment to the promotion of international law.
Mark and Cindy
Friday, May 16, 2014
The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that an associate professor of English at Central Connecticut State University was approved for a promotion this week by the state’s Board of Regents for Higher Education while he was in prison for a probation violation.
Yes, seriously. Look who is hiring. The Department of Law at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth (perhaps better known as Ollscoil na hEireann, Ma Nuad) (oh wait, it's probably NOT better known that way . . .)
They are looking for two Professors/Senior Lecturers in Law. The closing date is this Thursday May 22, 2014 so don't wait. Click here for more information.
Hat tip to Michael Doherty
Thursday, May 15, 2014
The conference is organized by The John Marshall Law School of Chicago and is co-sponsored by a number of bar associations and other organizations, including:
- American Bar Association Section of International Law (ABA-SIL)
- International Bar Association (IBA)
- Law Society of England and Wales (International Division)
- International Law Students Association (ILSA)
- Scribes—The American Society of Legal Writers
- Teaching International Law Committee of the American Branch of the International Law Association (ABILA)
If you're attending the GLS-9 Conference in Verona, click on the link at the end of this paragraph for a helpful guide that gives tips on your arrival in Verona from either the airports in Verona (VRN) or Venice (VCE). Download GLS-9 Arrival Info
We look forward to seeing many of you next week in Verona at the Global Legal Skills Conference. Registration information and a schedule of panels is available by clicking here.
If you are taking the train to Verona (from Milan, Venice, Rome, or someplace else equally fabulous), you should know that there are TWO train stations in Verona. You will most likely want the train station for Verona Porto Nuovo.
Prof. Mark E. Wojcik , Conference Co-Chair
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.
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
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.”
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.
UPDATE from Blog Reader Comments (Thank You)
Maya Brehm said:
Applying 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.
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
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 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 Shipping and maritime law
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.
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
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 email@example.com 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.
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.
Saturday, May 10, 2014
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.
Friday, May 9, 2014
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)
The 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.