Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Argentina Held in Contempt of Court

ArgentinaWe're pleased to share a guest post from Djenita Svinjar of Chicago.

In between 1998-2002, Argentina suffered a horrible secession that weakened its economy and resulted in the country defaulting on billions of sovereign bonds they owed. The country began a debt restructuring in between 2004-2005 allowing it to resume payments on the bonds but at a lower rate than the face value that the bonds initially were. According to news sources, 93% of the bonds were to be paid through restructured payments whereas the remaining 7% of bondholders would be paid in full. The repayments were to be handled through a NY corporation under US law. Argentina drafted agreements but omitted preferential treatment against bondholders (when the 7% should technically be treated preferentially). The bondholders then sought (and later won) an injunction that prohibited Argentina from paying the 93% of renegotiated bonds without also paying the 7% in full. There are currently two hold out funds that demand repayment in full- NML Capital and Aurelius Capital Management.

Argentina has been arguing that these claims for full repayment are known as vulture funds and thus should not be allowed (i.e. large companies taking advantage of struggling companies and forcing repayment plus interest). However, earlier in July of this year, U.S. Judge Thomas Griesa has ruled Argentina MUST repay these funds before repaying other bondholders. Argentina has not done so, and thus finds itself  in contempt of court as a result. (Note: It has been alleged that Judge Griesa is the first judge to hold a sovereign state in contempt for its indebtedness. )

Last week, the Argentine ambassador to the U.S. warned State Department officials that the ruling is an unlawful interference, and other Argentine government officials have echoed similar opinions. This particular situation made me reflect back to last week's class in evaluating the Greenland case where we spoke of officials and their binding authority in foreign affairs issues. The letter sent earlier this week also made me consider the consequences the judge's ruling may have in the future in regard to relations with Argentina; both through the perspective of an ally, as well as a financial /trading partner. I am not sure as to the extent of the effects when speaking in terms of foreign policy, but the financial consequences already seem to be bearing down upon Argentina, since its access to foreign credit markets is quite limited in recent times.

Djenita Svinjar

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

International Civil Litigation: Another Successful Use of the Hague Service Convention

SwitzerlandWe're pleased to share this guest post from Jaimin Shah of Chicago:

A pending patent case shows a successful use of the Hague Service Convention to serve process on two Switzerland-incorporated corporate defendants.

In a case initiated last year, Chiesi USA, Inc. v. Sandoz Inc., No. 1:13-cv-05723 (D.N.J. filed Sept 25, 2013), plaintiffs Chiesi USA, Inc., Cornerstone BioPharma, Inc., and EKR Therapeutics, LLC (collectively “Chiesi”) sued Sandoz Inc. Later in the litigation, Cheisi sought to add Sandoz AG and ACS Dobfar Info S.A. as defendants. For whatever reason, the defendants’ lawyers refused to accept service on behalf of Sandoz AG and ACS Dobfar Info S.A. Both these corporations are organized and existing under the law of Switzerland.

As its next move, Chiesi wrote a letter to the district court judge protesting that because of the defendants’ lawyers refusal to accept service, Chiesi had "no choice but to proceed with service through the Hague Convention [on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters].” The Hague Service Convention allows a competent judicial officer of one State to forward a judicial document to the central authority of another State. 

The court first determined that Switzerland is a signatory to the convention. Next, the court found that Chiesi had complied with the requirements of the formal procedure that the Hague Convention has set up for forwarding judicial documents. The court also noted that the Swiss authority to whom Chiesi wants the court to transmit the documents is the same authority that is designated by Switzerland under the Hague Service Convention. Having found that Chiesi has met all the requirements of the treaty, the court ordered that service be executed in accordance with the Hague Service Convention.

Jaimin Shah


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

Monday, October 6, 2014

From Ebola to the Ukraine: U.N. General Assembly Debate Covers a Wide Range of Issues

UN General AssemblyThe theme of this year’s annual high-level meeting of the United Nations General Assembly was the post-2015 agenda of global sustainable development but it was by no means the only subject of the speeches as kings, presidents and prime ministers mounted the podium to speak on behalf of 193 Member States and two Observer delegations.

From countering climate change – which received equally high billing thanks to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s decision to hold a summit of leaders on the crisis on the eve of opening the Assembly’s 69th General Debate – to combating terrorism, to addressing regional issues of interest to particular States, such as the Ukraine crisis, and the Syrian and Israeli-Palestinian conflicts, the topics this year ran the gamut of dilemmas facing the world.

“The General Debate is indeed the world’s premier political global stage. It serves as a unique opportunity to recall the intrinsic value of our mutual engagement in the work of this Organization,” Assembly President Sam Kutesa said in his closing address last week.

Virtually all leaders referred to the post-2015 development agenda, the fight against poverty, climate change and terrorism, with those States considered among the more powerful tending to dwell on political issues. Nearly all highlighted the terrorist threat from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

While flagged as a pressing issue by nearly all speakers, Ebola, the deadly epidemic sweeping West Africa, was a particular concern for African leaders, who appealed for global help in combating the scourge, but it was also referenced by most speakers. The outbreak was also the subject of a ministerial-level meeting convened by the Secretary-General last Thursday.

Climate change, also a major subject for virtually all Members, received particular attention, and pleas for help, from the least developed countries and small island States who face the prospect of bearing the brunt of global warming as rising sea levels threaten to swamp them out of existence, or lingering droughts and massive floods endanger further their already imperilled economic base.

The richer and more powerful countries all mentioned the need for a more equitable distribution of wealth in the new sustainable development agenda, but it was these poorer States who brought home the message with their pleas for a multifaceted global approach to eliminate poverty and its attendant and interrelated impact on health, education and development in their aspirations to rise to middle-level economies.

In all, of 117 Heads of State and Government, three Vice-Presidents, eight Deputy Prime Ministers, 56 Ministers as well as delegation chairpersons, took the podium in the freshly-renovated Assembly hall.

“The General Debate continues to serve as an opportunity for the international community to come together under one roof to explore the world’s current state of affairs,” Mr. Kutesa said in his closing remarks. “It is a one-of-a-kind opportunity for Member States to share with a worldwide audience their accomplishments, ambitions, hopes and fears.”

(Adapted from a UN Press Release)

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

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Ending Homophobia and Transphobia is "A Great Human Rights Cause"

Bringing homophobia and transphobia to an end is “a great human rights cause,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on September 25, adding that the fight against discrimination “lies at the core of the mission of the United Nations.”

In his video message to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Core Group Ministerial Event, the Secretary-General stressed his strong support for equal rights for LGBT people everywhere, underlined the UN’s own efforts towards eliminating discrimination within the Organization and voiced concern over the widespread harassment members of the LGBT community continue to face around the world.

“I speak out against the appallingly high levels of stigma, discrimination and violence people suffer because of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” he said.

More than 76 countries still criminalize consensual adult same-sex relationships, while in many more countries discrimination against LGBT people is widespread – including in the workplace and in the education and health sectors.

A study carried out by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) drew on almost two decades worth of work by UN human rights mechanisms and found a “deeply disturbing pattern of violence and discriminatory laws and practices” affecting people on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity.

The Secretary-General noted that although many Member States disagreed with the concept of LGBT rights, the world “cannot back off from human rights protection just because governments differ on certain issues.”

“It may be tough – but that will never stop us from pressing ahead,” Mr. Ban continued.

“We are not here to tackle only easy matters, or to discuss only what everyone agrees on already. We are here to protect the rights of all people, everywhere.”

(Adapted from a UN Press Release)

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

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Guest Blog Post: The Situation in Hong Kong

We are pleased to share with you a guest blog post from Victor Cerda of Chicago, on the situtaiton in Hong Kong.

Hong KongThe international community should have its ears perked because the events in Hong Kong have global implications. The demonstrations in Hong Kong are a direct result of what China has labeled “one country, two systems.” In the past, a 1,200 member electorate of Hong Kong voted to elect the Chief Executive, but recent policy changes would allow five million eligible voters in Hong Kong to elect the new leader. The problem arises in that Beijing will choose the eligible candidates and will veto any unfavorable result.

Protesters of this “reformatory” measure challenge the policy as more of the same. They call for true reform where the people elect the leader that best reflects their voice, not the voice of those loyal to Beijing. The protest have lasted seven days while many have been arrested and hospitalized. Counter-protesters have also surfaced dawning blue ribbons as a show of solidarity for law enforcement.

Beijing has issued a deadline for protest to cease by Monday. It has also warned the United States to respect its sovereignty in dealing with internal affairs, and states that it will not tolerate any “illegal acts.” The United States has expressed its desire for universal suffrage for Hong Kong residents, and claims to watch the situation very closely.

Coincidentally, the United States has lifted an armament ban in the south Asian sea claiming that it has concerns with Vietnam’s ability to defend itself from maritime aggression. Of course, Vietnam, a former American foe, is strategically close to Hong Kong. The United States has not revealed what weaponry will arrive in the area, but the move is obviously a statement in light of the Hong Kong situation.

Why does this situation matter?

China is a signatory to the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) but has not ratified it. So, although it has an international obligation not to defeat the purpose of the treaty under Article 18 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, China is not legally bound to the same standards as Nation States that are parties to the treaty, like the United States or the United Kingdom.

Hong Kong was previously a British colony held under a 99-year lease. Before the United Kingdom returned Hong Kong to China, China had sent assurances to the U.N. Secretary-General that China would apply the ICCPR to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

News reports suggest that China might resort to extreme measure to suppress the protest occurring in Hong Kong. Unfortunately, the international community must consider the next level of progression that this internal conflict can reach, an armed conflict.  I hope that China can reconcile the differences between the protesting parties for the sake of security and stability, even if that means that the United States will lose some influence on China’s next move. More than anything, I hope against all doubt that the “deadline” does not become deadly.

Victor Cerda

October 4, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Happy World Space Week

he United Nations spotlighted the benefits of satellite navigation and its contribution to the betterment of humankind today in preparation for the observance of World Space Week – an annual global celebration of the contributions of space science and technology to humanity.

In a statement released yesterday, Simonetta Di Pippo, the Director of the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), welcomed the upcoming celebrations that will take place around the world, including a ceremony to be held at the UN offices in Vienna where the Organization will be presented a rare Tiuterra Crystal.

Tiuterra is a composite of a Mars meteorite found in Morocco and rock samples collected globally by individuals and institutions. Three smaller versions of the crystal will accompany Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti on her journey to the International Space Station in November 2014.

Proclaimed by the General Assembly in 1999, World Space Week, observed each year during the week of 4-10 October, aims to provide unique leverage in space outreach and education; educate people around the world about the benefits that they receive from space; encourage greater use of space for sustainable economic development; demonstrate public support for space programs; excite young people about science, technology, engineering, and math; and foster international cooperation in space outreach and education.

The dates recall the launch, on 4 October 1957, of the first artificial satellite, Sputnik I, and the entry into force, on 10 October 1967, of the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies.

The theme of this year’s World Space Week is Space: Guiding Your Way. It highlights the benefits of satellite navigation to society which, Ms. Di Pippo said, are of “great importance” to her Office, particularly as UNOOSA also functions as the Executive Secretariat to the International Committee on Global Navigation Satellite Systems (ICG) – a body which promotes voluntary cooperation on civil satellite-based positioning navigation, timing and value-added services.

(Adapted from a UN Press Release)

October 4, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

UN Marks "International Day of Non-Violence"

Non-ViolenceIn these dramatic and perilous times, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson urged the international community to reaffirm the power and potential of bringing about change through peaceful means, following in the footsteps of Mahatma Gandhi, who inspired the International Day of Non-Violence celebrated earlier this week.

“The response to violence is all too often more violence when, in fact, reconciliation and dialogue is needed,” Mr. Eliasson said in a special event for the occasion, held at UN Headquarters in New York.

He called for embracing the fundamental values embodied by Mr. Gandhi: passion, compassion, and belief in the dignity and equal worth of all human beings.

Mr. Eliasson recalled Mr. Gandhi’s warning that “an eye for an eye ends up making the whole world blind.”

The International Day, marked annually on Mr. Gandhi’s birthday, celebrates his non-violent philosophy and tactics have been adopted by leaders around the world. It was established by the General Assembly as an occasion to “disseminate the message of non-violence, including through education and public awareness,” and has been observed annually since 2007.

Mr. Gandhi’s historic “Salt March” against unfair colonial taxation, and his other non-violent resistance inspired change in countries from the Georgia to South Africa, Northern Ireland and the United States, Mr. Eliasson said.

This year’s event is particularly relevant given the resurgence of exceptionalism and sectarianism in parts of the world, the senior UN official said. He added that many minorities find themselves under attack, and civilizations are being displaced as conflicts force them to flee.

“We must reject violence as the futile and default means to bring about change,” Mr. Eliasson said. “We must embrace the path to non-violence and peaceful settlements as the road to sustainable and equitable transformations of societies.”

The UN is strengthening its efforts to bring non-violence to concrete action through preventive diplomacy and the recent “Human Rights up Front” initiative which highlights the need for early action, and the crucial role of responding early to human rights violations.

In his message Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948, the year of Gandhi’s death, owe much to Mr Ghandi’s beliefs.

At this time of increased sectarian violence and the wanton destruction of cultural sites and heritage, “We have to foster a culture of peace, built on dialogue and understanding, for living together in harmony while respecting and celebrating humanity’s rich diversity,” the UN chief said.

Stressing that there is no greater tool than education to enhance human dignity, promote a culture of non-violence, and build lasting peace, Mr. Ban said: “Through education, we can craft new ways of living with each other and the planet. Education can also lay the foundation for developing new forms of global citizenship and solidarity that are so essential in today’s world.”

(Adapted from a UN Press Release)

October 4, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, October 3, 2014

Security Council Wants "Swift Neutralization" of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR)

UN Security CouncilThe United Nations Security Council today reiterated that the “swift neutralization” of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) armed group is a top priority in bringing stability to and protecting the civilians of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the Great Lakes region.

The 15-member body noted in a press statement that 2 October marked the half-way point of the six-month timeframe for the voluntary surrender of the FDLR as set out by the joint International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and Southern African Development Community (SADC) meeting of Ministers of Defence on 2 July.

Since that date “no further voluntary surrenders of members of the FDLR have happened and the FDLR have failed to deliver on their public promise to voluntarily demobilize,” the Council noted with deep concern.

Leaders and members of the FDLR are among the perpetrators of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, during which Hutu and others who opposed the genocide were also killed, the Council recalled. Indeed, the FDLR is a group under UN sanctions and which has continued to promote and commit ethnically based and other killings in Rwanda and in the DRC.

Council members reaffirmed support for regional commitments made by the ICGLR and SADC to end the threat of armed groups and undertake a three-month review of the FDLR disarmament process.

It was important to conclude this process swiftly, have a clearly defined end-state and support the process through credible military action by the DRC, with the support of the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO).

They stressed that “only substantial progress toward the full demobilization called for by the region and committed to by the FDLR could justify any further reprieve from military action against the FDLR.”

The Council said it would assess the process through the number of surrenders, the number of working weapons handed over, the agreement of those surrendering to be transferred to holding areas determined by the DRC government in coordination with MONUSCO, and the transfer of control over territory to the DRC authorities.

The Council reiterated its call on the Government of the DRC, in coordination with MONUSCO, to undertake military action against those leaders and members of the FDLR who do not engage in the demobilization process or who continue to carry out human rights abuses. There was no need for political dialogue with the FDLR, Members said, reaffirming the need to arrest and bring to justice those responsible war crimes.

(UN Press Release)

October 3, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Raj Bhala Television Interview

Professor and scholar Raj Bhala did a television interview on the "Not So Late Show" in Lawrence, Kansas. He spoke about his impressive international law scholarship in a television format that you'll certainly enjoy.  Click here to see the interview.


October 3, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Successful Treaty Event at the United Nations; Arms Trade Treaty Gets Enough Ratifications and Will Enter Into Force on Christmas Eve 2014

Fifty-two States participated in the this year’s United Nations treaty event, held annually on the margins of the UN General Assembly’s high-level segment, as they signed or ratified a range of treaties on issues spanning human rights, disarmament, the environment, transnational organized crime and world trade, the Organization announced at the conclusion of the week-long process.

“The success of the treaty event this year serves to underline the continued commitment of all UN Member States to address global challenges through internationally agreed norms and standards,” stated Miguel Serpa Soares, Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and UN Legal Counsel who flagged, in particular, the milestone reached on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).

“The upcoming entry into force of the Arms Trade Treaty in particular provides a tangible example of how the multilateral treaty framework can be harnessed by States to collectively combat global threats to peace, security and the rule of law,” Mr. Serpa Soares said.

Adopted by the UN General Assembly in April 2013, the ATT regulates all conventional arms within the categories of battle tanks, armoured combat vehicles, large-calibre artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, missiles and missile launchers and small arms and light weapons. To enter into force, it required 50 ratifications, which it obtained at the latest treaty event session. The ATT will now enter into force on 24 December 2014.

Welcoming the news, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon remarked that the international community could now “look ahead with satisfaction to the date of this historic new Treaty’s entry into force.”

“Now we must work for its efficient implementation and seek its universalisation so that the regulation of armaments – as expressed in the Charter of the United Nations – can become a reality once and for all,” Mr. Ban declared.

During the course of the treaty event, which ran from 23 September to 1 October, some 81 actions were completed by Member States. A number of issues were spotlighted, including the protection of the environment, as Djibouti, Gabon, Guyana, Monaco, and Uruguay joined the United States in signing the Minamata Convention on Mercury.

The Convention, which was adopted on 10 October in the Japanese city of Kumamoto, was named after the place where thousands of people were poisoned by mercury in the mid-20th century. Twenty other States also signed the Convention, bringing the total number of signatories up to 122, with the US the first country to ratify it.

At the same time, the event saw Latvia, Poland, and Spain ratify the Kampala amendments to the Rome Statute, the founding treaty of the International Criminal Court (ICC) – setting a definition and framework for the prosecution of the crime of aggression.

(UN Press Release)

October 3, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Swiss National Dies in Ukraine

ICRCA Swiss national working for International Committee of the Red Cross was killed on Thursday in Donetsk, in eastern Ukraine.   Laurent DuPasquier, a 38-year-old Swiss national, was an administrator in the organization’s office in Donetsk.  He was killed when a shell landed near the ICRC offices there.

A spokesperson for U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said that the incident followed the “appalling” shelling of a school in eastern Ukraine on Wednesday, which resulted in the death of a number of civilians. Mr. Ban is also seriously concerned over the “dangerous surge” in fighting in recent days and mounting civilian casualties. “These recent, tragic incidents underscore the fragility of the current cease-fire and the importance of ensuring a secure environment in south-eastern Ukraine that will allow humanitarian actors to carry out their work and deliver critical assistance to those most in need,” he said in a statment.

The Secretary-General called on all parties to adhere to their commitments under the Minsk Memorandum agreed on 19 September in order to ensure a sustainable cease-fire.

Political and diplomatic efforts must be urgently redoubled toward this end. A return to full-scale fighting could be catastrophic for Ukraine, the region and beyond, the Secretary General reiterated in his statement.

Click here for more information from the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Adapted from press releases of the United Nations and the ICRC.



October 3, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

United Nations and the International Criminal Court Mark a 10-Year Anniversary

Moon SongThe United Nations and the International Criminal Court today recommitted to their decade-long relationship calling it “indispensable for a strong international community and the protection of the interests of humanity.” In a joint statement, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the President of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Judge Sang-Hyun Song, welcome the tenth anniversary of the entry-into-force of the Relationship Agreement between two organizations. “The conclusion of the Relationship Agreement was a significant milestone in the collective efforts of the international community to end impunity for the most serious crimes of international concern,” according to the statement.

The Relationship Agreement entered into force on 4 October 2004, following its signing by then ICC President Judge Philippe Kirsch and the former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Under the accord, the ICC and the UN recognize each other’s mandates and status, and agree to cooperate and consult with each other on matters of mutual interest. The Agreement was founded “on a shared belief that peace can only be served if those responsible for the suffering of the victims of unimaginable atrocities are brought to justice,” according to Mr. Ban and Mr. Song.

It has also provided a solid basis for cooperation between the UN and the ICC in a wide range of fields.

The Hague-based ICC is an independent international body that is not part of the UN and tries those accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Any of the currently 122 States Parties to the 1998 Rome Statute which set up the Court can ask its Prosecutor to carry out an investigation, a non-State Party can accept its jurisdiction for crimes committed in its territory or by its nationals, and the Council may also refer cases to it. Its mandate is to try individuals, rather than States.

(UN Press Release)

October 3, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Number of Applicants to U.S. Law Schools Has Dropped 45 Percent Since 2004

The October 3, 2014 issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education reminds us that the number of applicants to U.S. law schools has plummeted 45 percent from 2004 to 2014, citing preliminary figures from the American Bar Association. The Chronicle states that law schools were reaching deeper into the applicant pool and that bar pass rates were taking a hit.

Some U.S. law schools have shown particularly large enrollment drops. Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, notes the article, went from 422 entering students in 2010 to only 242 students in 2014. That's a drop of 43 percent. See Katherine Mangan, Struggling Law School May Be a Canary in the Coal Mine, Chronicle of Higher Education, Oct. 3, 2014, at A8. Another school cited in the aritcle is Thomas Cooley, which saw a drop of 41 percent in its enrollment. Citing a report from the National Jurist, the Chronicle reports that Thomas Cooley had 3,931 enrollments in 2010 but only 2,334 in 2013.

The number of ABA-accredited law schools has grown in the past 15 years, growing from 182 schools in 1999 to 204 today (three of which are provisionally accredited).


October 3, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, October 2, 2014

U.S. Supreme Court Grants Cert in Din v. Kerry

US Supreme CourtThe U.S. Supreme Court this morning granted certiorari in Din v. Kerry, 718 F.2d 856 (9th Cir. 2013), a suit filed against U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, the U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan, the U.S. Consul General in Islamabad, and the U.S. Ambassador in Afghanistan. A U.S. citizen filed the acction against those government officials alleging that they violated her right to due process by refusing to provide her or her husband (a citizen and resident of Afghanistan) a bona fide reason for denyuing his visa petition.

The district court dismissed the action on the basis of consular non-reviewability. (2010 WL 2560492). By a 2-1 vote, in an opinion by Judge Murguia, the Ninth Circuit reversed and remanded, holding that the government had to do more than to cite a broad section of the Immigration and Nationality Act and that the U.S. citizen had standing to seek a declaratory judgment that her right to due process to limited judicial review of the statute as applied to her violated due process.  Judge Clifton filed a dissenting opinion.

The U.S. Supreme Court granted the petition for certiorari on October 2, 2014. The respondents are represented by Mark Haddad and Heidi Larson Howell of Sidley Austin LLP in Los Angeles.


October 2, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New Faces at ITLOS, but Gender Diversity Still Lacking

The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) held a swearing-in ceremony for two new members yesterday (Oct. 1, 2014). Mr. Alonso Gomez-Robledo Verduzco (Mexico) and Mr. Tomas Heidar (Iceland) were elected at the twenty-fourth Meeting of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea to serve nine-year terms.  More information, including the curricula vitae for these gentlemen, may be found on the ITLOS website.

In other news yesterday, the members of the Tribunal elected Judge Golitsyn (Russian Federation) as the new President of the Tribunal and Judge Gouguetaia (Algeria) as the Vice President for the term 2014-2017.  More information about these elections may be found here.

While congratulations are certainly due to these gentlemen, it also must be noted that out of 21 members of the Tribunal, there is currently only one woman (Elsa Kelly of Argentina).  The States Parties should be encouraged to do a better job of identifying qualified women and ensuring gender diversity on the Tribunal.



October 2, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Happy National Day to the Republic of Palau

PalauThe Republic of Palau (Belau) became an independent country on October 1, 1994.  Palau had previously been a Strategic Trust Territory of the United Nations administered by the United States. I had the honor of serving as Court Counsel for the Republic of Palau during the year that it became an independent country. In many ways, it was the best year of my life.  Thank you, Palau, and happy national day.

Mark E. Wojcik (mew)



September 30, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, September 29, 2014

China Tells UN that Sustainable Development Agenda Should Advance People's Wellbeing na

Wang Yi (China)The new sustainable development agenda should advance people’s wellbeing, promote inclusivity and ensure implementation, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told the United Nations General Assembly, delivering his country’s annual address to the world body. One of the top priorities for China and the 192 other Member States will be to define a new roadmap that will guide development work staring in January 2016, after the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). “The international community should, building on past progress and breaking new ground, adopt more effective plans and take more robust actions to advance the common development of mankind,” Mr. Wang said.

He noted also that the agenda should aim to enhance global partnerships on development and improve implementation tools and mechanisms. One of the priority areas of the current MDGs is environment, which Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon highlighted with his Climate Summit earlier in the week at which China was represented by Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli.

In his address last week, Mr. Wang voiced optimism that the political momentum generated by the Summit will translate into “effective actions to step up international cooperation” on climate change leading to talks next year on a successor to the Kyoto Protocol. Among other issues raised in his remarks, Mr. Wang called for renewed efforts to resolve the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula in an “objective and impartial way.”

“The Six Party Talks remain the only viable and effective way to resolve the nuclear issue,” the Foreign Minister said in reference to talks involving also the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), the Republic of Korea, Japan, Russia and the United States. “The pressing task now is to restart the talks as soon as possible,” Mr. Wang said.

He is one of 196 world representatives addressing the UN body this month under the theme of “Delivering on and Implementing a Transformative Post-2015 Development Agenda” as well as urgent crises ranging from the ongoing conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Ukraine and South Sudan.

(adapted from a UN press release)


September 29, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, September 28, 2014

A Peaceful Transition of Power in Afghanistan

Ashraf Ghani has been sworn in as the new president of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, following the 13-year term of Hamid Karzai. In a power sharing agreement, Abdullah Abdullah has also been sworn in as the Chief Executive of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Dignataries from various countries are in Kabul attending the ceremony.


September 28, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Ukraine's Prime Minister Tells United Nations that His Nation Will Remain United

Ukraine at UNTelling the United Nations General Assembly that his country knows what terrorism is; “not merely in words but in practice,” Arseniy Yatsenuk, Prime Minister of Ukraine, reiterated his Government’s commitment to restore law and order and urged Russia to adhere to its international obligations and seek a diplomatic path out of the current crisis.

The conflict in Ukraine was not domestic; its origin had been an “invasion” by the Russian Federation. “A P-5 member violated the United Nations Charter,” he said, underscoring that such actions are “absolutely and entirely unacceptable.” Twenty years ago Ukraine abandoned its nuclear arsenal, the third largest in the world at the time.

In return, it had been guaranteed territorial integrity and sovereignty. Russia signed the memorandum to that effect, yet it had since broken that promise. “We are committed to our nuclear non-proliferation programme but we need guarantees of territorial integrity, security and independence,” Mr. Yatsenuk said.

A few months ago, Russia had “annexed” Crimea, he said, commending those Member States that supported the General Assembly resolution supporting Ukraine’s territorial integrity and condemning Russia’s actions. Yet today, Russian troops were deployed in eastern Ukraine. In addition, Russia violated several multilateral and bilateral agreements. He urged Russia to pull out its forces and to start real talks. “We are the country that needs peace. It’s difficult to hammer out any kind of peace deal at the barrel of a gun made in Russia,” he said.

Mourning the victims of the Malaysian Airliner that he said had been downed a few months ago by Russia, Mr. Yatsenuk urged everyone to help Ukraine bring to justice those responsible for “this despicable crime against humanity”. Every day, despite the ceasefire, Ukraine was losing soldiers and civilians. Ukraine needs peace. The military option is not the best option, he said, calling for a comprehensive diplomatic and political solution.

“Sanctions are the way to start real talks and hammer out a peace deal,” he said, urging those States that had imposed such measures not to lift them until Russia fully withdrew from eastern Ukraine, including Crimea. “Mr. Putin, you can win the fight against the troops. But you will never win the fight against the nation, the united Ukrainian nation.”

(adapted from a UN press release)

September 25, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

British Prime Minister at UN General Assembly Outlines Plan to Defeat Extremist Ideology

UK David Cameron at UNThe world must come together to form a comprehensive plan to defeat the ideology of extremism that is the root cause of terrorism in order to win the battle of ideas and not just the battle of military might, said British Prime Minister David Cameron as he took to the General Assembly podium on Wednesday evening.

“Of course it is absolutely right that we should learn the lessons of the past, especially of what happened in Iraq a decade ago,” he said. “But we have to learn the right lessons. Yes to careful preparation; no to rushing to join a conflict without a clear plan.”

Yet, Mr. Cameron continued, “We must not allow past mistakes to become an excuse for indifference or inaction,” he said, adding that the right lesson is that “we should act – but act different.”

The poisonous ideology spewed by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has nothing to do with Islam, which is peaceful religion that inspired countless acts of generosity every day. To defeat ideology of extremism, world leaders must deal with all forms of extremism, not just violent extremism, he said.

“For Governments, there are some obvious ways we can do this. We must ban preachers of hate from coming to our countries. We must proscribe organisations that incite terrorism against people at home and abroad. And we must work together to take down illegal online material like the recent videos of ISIL murdering hostages,” said Mr. Cameron.

He acknowledged that some will argue this is not compatible with free speech but people should ask themselves: “Would we sit back and allow right-wing extremists, Nazis or Klu Klux Klansmen to recruit on our university campuses?” Muslims around the world must reclaim their religion from “these sick terrorists.”

Governments are responsible with showing young people the path to a better, more open and democratic future. The failure to meet people’s aspirations can create a breeding ground where extremist and even terrorist insurgency can take root.

In Iraq, this means supporting the creative of a new and genuinely inclusive Government capable of uniting all Iraqis – Sunni and Shia, Kurds, Christians and others. In Syria, it must mean a political transition and an end to Assad’s brutality through a democratic government that looks after the interests of all its people.

Recalling his meeting earlier today with Iranian President Rouhani, Mr. Cameron said that while there are some “severe disagreements,” Iran’s leaders could help in defeating the threat of ISIL. For its part, the United Kingdom is strengthening its ability to seize passports and strip British identity from dual nationals and enabling security services to apply strong constraints on those who pose a risk.

(adapted from a UN press release)




September 25, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)