Wednesday, March 31, 2010
The European Union has extended its sanctions against Fiji for another six months, until October. Radio New Zealand reported that the EU move is designed to continue pressure on the military coup regime to respect human rights and return the country to democracy.
The EU said that its decision to extend sanctions followed the delay in implementing commitments the Fiji authorities made to the EU, notably concerning the abrogation of the constitution, human rights violations, and the postponement of parliamentary elections. The EU froze its development aid to Fiji and cut off the payment of subsidies to Fiji sugar farmers in October 2007 after the military commander ousted the elected government. The EU says it considers the extension of the measures as an opportunity for new discussions with the government of Fiji. The EU also said that its 27 member nations will maintain humanitarian operations and direct support to civil society and democracy building. The Fiji regime says there will be no election before 2014.
The Fiji Times reported this week that the EU was donating FJ$2 million (US$1 million) to help 90 schools damaged in Cyclone Tomas. Half of the money spent will be sued to repair damaged buildings and the other half to replace damaged school equipment such as copiers, computers, and laboratory equipment.
Hat tips to Radio New Zealand and the East-West Center
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
The case they were watching involved a suit by Australian investors to challenge statements made by Australia's largest bank.
Got that? The plaintiffs are Australian, the defendants are Australian, and the fraud alleged took place in Australia. The case was described as a "Foreign-Cubed" Securities Fraud Class Action.
Although it seems everything happened in Australia, the suit was filed in the United States.
The federal district court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit both ruled in favor of the bank, holding that there was no federal jurisdiction.
The plaintiffs argued that there is a connection to the United States because the inaccurate information that misled Australian investors was from Florida, where a bank allegedly overvalued mortgages that were part of the portfolio that the subject of the case.
Justice Sotomayor recused herself because she was sitting on the Second Circuit when the case was decided there.
We don't know what the Canadian justices thought of it all, but it certainly was an interesting case for them to watch. A decision is expected before the end of June.
Monday, March 29, 2010
The United Nations Human Rights Council called on the Israeli Government and the Palestinian side to carry out independent and credible investigations into the deadly conflict in the Gaza Strip that ended early last year. Those inquiries, the Council said, must look into the serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law reported by the fact-finding mission into the Operation Cast Lead, the three-week Israeli military offensive starting at the end of 2008 that had the stated aim of ending rocket attacks by militants operating in the area. The fighting left more than 1,400 people dead, injured 5,000 others and reduced homes, schools, hospitals and marketplaces to rubble.
The Goldstone Report found that both Israeli forces and Palestinian militants were guilty of serious human rights violations and breaches of humanitarian law during the Gaza conflict, which began in late December 2008. The General Assembly has endorsed the mission’s findings. The four-member fact-finding team headed by former UN war crimes prosecutor Justice Richard Goldstone, set up at the request of the Human Rights Council, called on the two sides to carry out independent investigations into their actions during the conflict.
The Human Rights Council last week also called on the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, to look into setting up an escrow fund to provide reparations to Palestinians who suffered losses as a result of unlawful Israeli actions during the conflict. It also decided to establish a committee of independent experts to monitor the independence, effective and genuineness of the investigations and their conformity with international standards.
Earlier this month, the U.N. General Assembly also appealed for independent investigations by Israel and the Palestinians, reiterating a call by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a follow-up report to the Goldstone Report that they must conform with “international standards into the serious violations of international humanitarian and international human rights law reported by the fact-finding mission, towards ensuring accountability and justice.”
(adapted from a UN press release)
Australian National University prevailed in the World Championship Round of the 2010 White & Case International Rounds of the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition.
The final bench was comprised of former International Court of Justice Judge Stephen M. Schwebel, presided Dame Rosalyn Higgins (another ICJ judge and also a former President of the International Court of Justice), and Professor Harold Koh, the Legal Advisor to the U.S. Department of State. Talk about a panel!
A record number of teams attended this year's International Rounds - 127 teams altogether (105 competing, 22 exhibition), representing 76 countries from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe.
The International Law Students Association (ILSA) announced that the 2011 Compromis for the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition will address the legality of the use of unmanned drones and international anti-corruption law. Click here for more information.
The U.S. Senate passed HR 4573, urging the secretary of the Treasury to instruct the U.S. executive directors at the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and other multilateral development institutions to use the voice, vote, and influence of the United States to cancel immediately and completely Haiti’s debts to those institutions.
Hat tip to the ABA Government Affairs Office
The United Nations is investigating a massacre of civilians in the remote northeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The murders were reportedly committed by the Lord’s Resistance Army in the village of Mabanga. Human rights groups say at least 320 people were murdered with machetes, axes, and heavy wooden sticks.
Martin Nesirky, the U.N. Secretary-General’s spokesperson, told reporters in New York that the UN cannot confirm the exact number of victims until the formal investigation by the UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC has been completed. He said that the extreme remoteness of the area and the fact that witnesses may have moved were delaying efforts to gather reliable information. Some reports are that the Lord's Resistance Army had kidnapped new child soldiers. The group has already been indicted by the International Criminal Court on war crimes charges.
(adapted from press reports and a UN press release)
The United Nations Security Council unanimously voted to extend the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) for another year. The Council also voted to expand UNAMA's mandate to include support for the parliamentary elections scheduled for September 2010.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Of the most important international law events held each year, I rank near the very top the Spring and Fall Meetings of the American Bar Association Section of International Law. These simply are amazing gatherings that should not be missed by any international law practitioner (or someone who aspires to practice international law). And these meetings are extremely rich for the substantive content that drives international law scholarship in new directions.
The next such meeting will be April 13-17, 2010 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City. It simply one of the world’s most important gatherings of international lawyers. (To give you an idea of how many people agree, the section's last meeting in New York in 2008 attracted almost 1400 attendees from 49 countries.)
So here's some information about the meeting from Glenn Hendrix, Chair of the ABA Section of International Law. This 2010 Spring Meeting promises to be even bigger than ever with over 70 substantive programs. Click here to see the full list of programs and speakers.
The meeting will kick off on Tuesday, April 13th, with a full slate of programming, including a day-long series of “Fundamentals” programs on the nuts and bolts of handling cross-border matters. Those sessions are organized in cooperation with the International Section of the New York State Bar Association and will qualify for “bridge the gap” CLE credit. The day’s programming will be capped by the ever-popular “speed networking” event (where the section guarantees that you will walk away with new friends and a fist full of business cards) and the opening reception at the Grand Hyatt.
The programming shifts into high gear on Wednesday, April 14, with five concurrent sessions per time slot. The overwhelming offering is divided into useful program tracks (twelve consecutive programs over the course of three days) that help you decide which sessions to attend. Some of these program tracks are dedicated exclusively to dispute resolution, business/transactional, corporate counsel, regulatory, and public international law/rule of law. In addition, there will be a series of “mini-tracks” – a clustering of programs over the course of one or two days – on customs/trade law, antitrust, employment/human resources, and cross-border real estate. Our single-day registration rates should be very attractive to practitioners in the fields covered by these mini-tracks.
Building on the successful “Managing Partner Roundtable” at the Fall Meeting in Miami, the section will present its first-ever full-day “Managing Partner Summit” on Wednesday, April 14. Leaders of more than twenty law firms – representing not only some of the world’s largest multinationals, but also top regional and niche practice market leaders – will share their insights on a series of panels on the following topics: “Law Firm Strategy after the Recession”, “Managing an International Law Firm -- The Opportunities & Challenges of Operating in Multiple Jurisdictions”, and “The Secrets of Attracting and Leading the Best People”. Paradigms are changing in the legal industry, and these sessions will provide a fresh perspective on where things are headed.
Here are some of the other programs of broader interest for international law practitioners and professors:
- Legal Process Outsourcing -- A Reality Check: [How] Has It Affected Your Practice?
- CEDAW Turns 30: Much Accomplished and More to Come
- Legal Issues in the Creation of a Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: What Are They and How Can They Be Resolved?
- A New World Order for Corporate Governance? Issues, Trends and the Creeping Role of Government in the Boardrooms of the World
- Is "Buy American" Best for America? The Rise of Protectionism and Its Effects. PPPs (Public Private Partnerships) in a Turbulent Market: Views from around the world
- Global and Cross-Border Pro Bono Service: Opportunities and Models for Feasible Participation
- Harmonization of Law: North America, Europe, and Latin America -- Developments and Future Prospects
- Seventh Annual “What's New In International Commercial Dispute Resolution?”
- Renewable Energy – Legal Framework Comparison: U.S. versus the Rest of the World
- Executive Compensation in the Wake of the Financial Crisis: What Next?
- Libel Tourism: Should the U.S. Be Exporting the First Amendment?
If getting a year’s worth of cutting edge CLE credit weren’t enough, attendees will enjoy unparalleled opportunities to network at such venues as Astor Hall in the New York Public Library (the term “breathtaking grandeur” is often used in describing the space), Charlie Palmer’s Metrazur (a quintessentially New York space overlooking Grand Central), and the historic Yale Club of New York.
The Spring Meeting will also showcase an exhibition with the title, “Lawyers Without Rights”. Mounted by the German Federal Bar, the exhibition features detailed and poignant accounts of the lives and fates of Jewish lawyers who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime. Extensive photographic material is used to present lively biographies of the subjects. “Lawyers Without Rights” demonstrates what can happen when the rule of law is trampled by the state.
There will also be numerous opportunities to become more engaged in the activities of the Section. Most of the Section’s 60 committees will be holding business meetings and a committee dinner at the Yale Club. These sessions represent the ultimate networking opportunity – face time with your peers from around the world who share your area of interest. Sitting across the table from your colleagues in a committee business meeting discussing upcoming plans for programs, publications, policy initiatives, and projects can be a great way to break the ice. More importantly, committee involvement represents an opportunity to effect change in the legal sphere. Most of the “big ABA’s” initiatives bubble up from the committee-level. Getting involved in one or more committees gives you a chance to become part of the action.
The pre-Registration Final Deadline is March 31, 2010. You will still be able to register on-site, but it is really much better to have your name listed among the attendees.Click here to see the full program agenda for the Spring Meeting. You'll notice some pretty cool stuff in there -- like having lunch with Harold Koh, the Legal Advisor of the U.S. State Department.
If you have questions about the meeting, you can click here to see a list of frequently asked questions (and, of course, the answers!)
And to register for the meeting, click here. See you in New York!
Mark E. Wojcik (mew)
Hat tip to Jenny Abreau.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
On April 9-10, 2010 the University of California, Berkeley Law School and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) will convene the first West Coast Teaching International Humanitarian Law (IHL) Workshop at the University of California, Berkeley. The Workshop is targeted at law professors interested in teaching an IHL course for the first time, integrating IHL modules into their current courses and/or rethinking their current teaching of this important subject. Topics covered will include: - Defining the scope and content of an IHL class; - Exploring the intersection between international human rights law, international humanitarian law, and international criminal law; - Incorporating IHL modules into the teaching of classes such as public international law, national security law, immigration law; constitutional law; administrative law and more; - Identifying strategies for developing curricula, responding to current events, and gaining support from school administrations for the teaching of IHL. The Workshop provides an opportunity for law faculty to think creatively about their teaching of IHL and network with others to support and expand their teaching of the topics. Speakers include Geoffrey Corn, Marci Hoffman, Kate Jastram, Eric Jensen, Larry Johnson, Paul Kong, Gabor Rona, Trevor Rush, Gary Solis, Beth van Schaack, and Jamie Williamson. The cost of the two-day seminar is $250 per person and includes breakfast and lunch for both days as well as all materials. To register, click here.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
LipDub réalisé durant la semaine d'initiations avec 172 étudiants en communication de l'Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). Tourné le 10 septembre 2009 en 2h15min.
This LipDub was produced during the integration week of UQAM (Quebec, Canada) with 172 communication students. Made on September 10, 2009 in 2h15min.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Here's a chance for you to publish a paper in India.
The Indian Journal of International Economic Law (IJIEL) invites submissions for its special issue on ‘Space Law and International Economic Law,’ covering all areas of intersection between Space Law and International Economic Law.
IJIEL is a peer-reviewed journal produced by the National Law School of India University (NLSIU), Bangalore, funded by the Indian government sponsored chair on WTO law at NLSIU. The mandate of the journal encompasses all aspects of international economic law, especially from a developing country perspective. Its Editorial Board includes renowned and respected academics such as Professor Andrew Guzman, Ms. Jayashree Watal and Professor Yuji Iwasawa. Professor Jagdish Bhagwati wrote the foreword for our first issue. The journal has published its second issue in October 2009.
As a young journal, the JIEL tries to focus on new, contemporary and interesting areas and issues. One such area is the interface between international economic law and space law, particularly topics such as the umbrella of common benefit and interest which covers international trade in space products and information, or the international financial implications of multilateral space operations, or the extension of competition law and intellectual property rights to space operations, etc.
Submissions are sought in three categories: long Articles of 10,000-12,000 words, short articles of 5,000-8,000 words and notes or comments of 2,000-4,000 words. The deadline for submissions is May 31, 2010. The issue will be published by the end of August, 2010. Citations should conform to the Bluebook system.
To see the first two issues of the journal, please click here. For questions about the special issue, send an email to ijiel [at] nls.ac.in, or to the Chief-Editor (Abhimanyu George Jain) at abhimanyugeorgejain [at] gmail.com.
Hat tip (and good wishes) to the IJIEL Editorial Board
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
The Bangladesh Parliament ratified the Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court (ICC) yesterday, which should allow it to become the 111th State to join the ICC. Bangladesh had signed the Statute in 1999, but did not immediately ratify it. To complete the ratification process, Bangladesh must deposit its instrument of ratification by April 1, 2010.
The ICC's jurisdiction currently extends to three major categories of crimes: gencide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. Its jurisdiction is prospective, so it will not hear cases involving any crimes that may have been committed in Bangladesh before the Statute took effect.
A new post on the Legal Writing Prof Blog shares a video (created by Professor Karin Mika) about what happens when Hitler finds out there is a new edition of the Bluebook Citation Manual. Click here to see that post and to watch the short (humorous) video.
Monday, March 22, 2010
Shi Jiuyong has served on the International Court of Justice since 1994. He was Vice President of the Court from 2000-2003 and President of the ICJ from 2003-2006. Judge Shi announced that he would retire from the Court on May 28, 2010. Pursuant to Article 14 of the Statute of the International Court of Justice, the U.N. Security Council has now set June 29 as the date for the election to fill his vacancy on the court. Under Article 8 of the Statute of the International Court of Justice, the General Assembly and the Security Council proceed independently of one another to elect members of the court.
The election gives international law professors a chance to review with their classes Chapter 1 of the ICJ Statute (on organization of the Court).
The American Society of International Law (ASIL) holds its 104th Annual Meeting at the Ritz Carlton in Washington, D.C. from Wednesday, March 24-Saturday, March 27. This year's theme is "International Law in a Time of Change." Among many interesting programs, my own interest group - Teaching International Law - is sponsoring a program on Thursday morning, March 25, from 9-10:30 am on the benefits and challenges of teaching international law students. Speakers include Professors Diane Edleman of Villanova University and Jill Ramsfield of the University of Hawaii. Professor Tom McDonnell of Pace Law School will moderate. The Teaching International Law Interest Group also will be holding a business meeting following the program and we welcome new members and ideas. I hope to see you in DC!
Saturday, March 20, 2010
On Tuesday March 23, 2010, the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee will mark up several bills, including these:
- S. 1382 (to improve and expand the Peace Corps);
- S. 2839 (to amend the Torture Victims Relief Act of 1998 to authorize appropriations to assist programs and centers that treat torture victims); and
- S Res. 409 (calling on members of the parliament in Uganda to reject the "Anti-Homosexuality Bill" that imposes the death penalty on gay and lesbian persons in Uganda)
The mark-up session will be on March 23, 2010 at 2:15 p.m. in S-116 of the Capitol. SEE UPDATE BELOW
UPDATE: This meeting has been postponed. Click here for more information.
Friday, March 19, 2010
The White & Case International Rounds of the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition begin on Sunday, March 21, 2010 in Washington, D.C. The competition finishes with the World Championship Round on March 27, 2010. Click here for more information.
The Appellate Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has affirmed the conviction and 15-year sentence of a famous Rwandan singer and composer for his role during the mass killings that engulfed the country in 1994.
Simon Bikindi was a former singer, composer, and leader of a ballet troupe. In 2008, he was found guilty by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda of a single count of direct and public incitement to commit genocide based on public exhortations to kill Tutsis, which he made on the Kivumu-Kayove road in Gisenyi prefecture in late June 1994. This week the Appellate Chmaber dismissed his appeal from that conviction.
(Adapted from a UN Press Release)
World Trade Organization Director-General Pascal Lamy has warned in a speech made in Costa Rica that “the Doha Round is not an island in a sea of alternative opportunities — failure on Doha would spill over into other present and future cooperation efforts, and not only in the trade policy domain. In our joined-up world, countries simply cannot go their own way and disregard the costs of neglecting international cooperation.” Click here for the full speech.