Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Libya's Deputy Ambassador to UN Calls on International Community to Protect Libyan People

Mr. Ibrahim Dabbashi, Libya's Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations, held a press conference last night in which he called on the international community to protect the people of Libya in accordance with international law.  Mr. Dabbashi charged Mr. Qaddifi with declaring war on the people of Egypt, the commission of genocide, crimes against humanity and crimes of war.  Mr. Ibrahim called on the Inernational Criminal Court to investigate these crimes.  Mr. Ibrahim called on the United Nations to impose a no flight zone over Tripoli and to intervene to protect the people of LIbya by invoking the principle of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P).  He also asked that the UN Human Rights Council convene in emergency session to study the situation in Libya and to make recommendations to protect the people. Mr. Ibrahim asked for safe passage for humanitarian aid entering Libya from Egypt and Tunisia.  He also called on other countries to prevent Mr. Qaddafi's escape and his ability to transfer funds out of Libya.  The New York Times has posted a video of the news conference. 


February 22, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Situation in Libya

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the United Nations human rights chief have both called on the Libyan authorities to immediately end their violent crackdown on protesters, and the Security Council is meeting today to discuss the situation in the North African nation.  In a statement issued by his spokesperson on Monday, Mr. Ban said he was “outraged” at press reports that the Libyan authorities have been firing at demonstrators from war planes and helicopters.  Mr. Ban, who had a 40-minute telephone conversation with Muammar Qaddafi yesterday, said he urged the Libyan leader to stop the violence and strongly underlined the importance of respecting human rights and heeding the aspirations and calls of the demonstrators.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay today called for an immediate cessation of the “grave” rights violations committed by the Libyan authorities and urged an independent investigation into the violent suppression of protests.  “The callousness with which Libyan authorities and their hired guns are reportedly shooting live rounds of ammunition at peaceful protestors is unconscionable. I am extremely worried that lives are being lost even as I speak,” she stated in a news release.  “The international community must unite in condemnation of such acts and make unequivocal commitments to ensure justice is rendered to the thousands of victims of this repression.”

Citing the reported use of machine guns, snipers and military planes against demonstrators, Ms. Pillay said such extremely serious allegations of acts committed in brazen defiance of international law must not go without a full and independent investigation. 

“Protection of civilians should always be the paramount consideration in maintaining order and the rule of law. The authorities should immediately cease such illegal acts of violence against demonstrators. Widespread and systematic attacks against the civilian population may amount to crimes against humanity,” she stated.

Meanwhile, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said today that it has become increasingly concerned about dangers for civilians and especially for asylum-seekers and refugees in Libya as many may inadvertently be caught up in this violence.

“We have no access at this time to the refugee community. Over the past months we have been trying to regularize our presence in Libya, and this has constrained our work,” Melissa Fleming, UNHCR’s spokesperson in Geneva, told a news conference.  “Some of the reports we are getting from third-party sources are very worrying. A journalist has passed information to us from Somalis in Tripoli who say they are being hunted on suspicion of being mercenaries. He says they feel trapped and are frightened to go out, even though there is little or no food at home,” she said.

Prior to the current unrest, UNHCR had registered over 8,000 refugees in Libya and a further 3,000 asylum-seekers having pending cases. The agency is asking all countries to recognize the humanitarian needs at this time of all people fleeing targeted violence, threats, and other human rights abuses in Libya.

(Adapted from a UN Press Release)

February 22, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

International Law Reports Blog Goes Offline

We note with some sadness that the editor of the International Law Reports Blog, Professor Jacob Katz Cogan from the University of Cincinatti, retired his blog yesterday after 4,850 posts.  We appreciate his contributions to the field of international law, including his many posts about upcoming international law conferences and new publications in our field.  Click here for a quick visit.


February 22, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Ukraine Initiates Dispute Settlement Proceeding Against Moldovia

Proving that the World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement process is not just for the international heavy-weights, Ukraine filed a request for consulations with Moldova yesterday concerning the importation and sale of goods in Moldova (WT/DS421/1).  This is the first time Moldova has been involved in a WTO dispute settlement proceeding since it joined the WTO in 2001 and only the second time for Ukraine (both times as complainant).

The request for consultations formally initiates a dispute settlement proceeding at the WTO. Mandatory consultations are intended to give the parties an opportunity to settle the matter without resort to further litigation. After 60 days, if consultations have failed to resolve the dispute, Ukraine, as complainant, may request the establishment of a WTO dispute settlement panel.


February 18, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Somali Pirate Sentenced to 34 Years in U.S. Prison

Skull and crossbones In an update to earlier posts, a U.S. District Court Judge for the Southern District of New York sentenced the Somali pirate, Abduwali Muse, to 34 years in prison for his involvement in the hijacking of the Maersk Alabama, as well as two other attacks on ships in the Indian Ocean in March and April 2009.  Muse had pled guilty in May 2010 and had requested lenience from the court in sentencing due to his youth.  The judge, however, agreed with the U.S. government that a longer sentence was necessary to deter piracy.  In November, in the first piracy trial in the U.S. in over a hundred years, a federal district court in Virginia sentenced another Somali pirate, Jama Idle Ibrahim, to 30 years in jail for an attack on a U.S. Navy vessel, the USS Ashland.


February 17, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Some Jessup Results

The 2011 Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition is underway.  Super-Regional Rounds have started in the United States (some rounds were held last weekend and some will be held this coming weekend). 

In the Midwest U.S. Super-Regional Rounds, the regional champion was Case Western Reserve University and the Runner-up was the University of Michigan.  Both teams advance to the International Rounds in Washington D.C. 

The other semifinalist teams were Loyola University of Chicago and Thomas M. Cooley Law School.  The quarter finalist teams were Ohio Northern University, the University of Detroit Mercy, the University of Tennessee, and Wayne State University.

Tyler Talbert of Case Western Reserve University won the best oralist award in the Final Round.  The winner of that award receives a copy of the book Careers in International Law, donated to the Jessup Competition by its publisher, the American Bar Association Section of International Law.

Click here for more Jessup Results.

Click here for more information about the book, Careers in International Law.


February 16, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

U.S. News Rankings of Law Schools

It is everyone's favorite subject to hate -- but why do U.S. law schools give so much power to A MAGAZINE???  As much as people complain about law school rankings, the only remedy for them is . . . more rankings.  Have other magazines (Time, Newsweek, etc.) come up with law school ranking systems and that will dilute the power of U.S. News and World Report.

But in the meantime, U.S. News announced that it is thinking of changing its "third tier" schools to a format that would number each of the schools in that list.  Click here to read more about that.


February 16, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Future of International Law

A program on Saturday, February 26, 2011 in Los Angeles will consider the future of international law.  The program is sponsored by the Southwestern Journal of International Law, in conjunction with International Law Weekend West (organized by the American Branch of the International Law Association--ABILA).  The lineup of speakers is impressive -- it is the sort of program where you wish it would have gone for three days instead of just one so you wouldn't have to make difficult choices about which session to attend.  The site will be the Southwestern Law School, 3050 Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles.


February 15, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Special Tribunal for Lebanon

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today marked the 6th anniversary of the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri by stressing United Nations support for the court set up to uncover the truth despite the reported attempts by Hizbollah to close it down.

Lebanon’s previous government, led by Mr. Hariri’s son, Saad, collapsed in January  after 11 Hizbollah and allied ministers resigned, reportedly over the Government’s refusal to cease cooperation with the tribunal, which the media says was about to indict Hizbollah members for the murders.

At the end of last month, Mr. Ban called on the newly designated Government led by Najib Mikati to continue to cooperate with the Tribunal, set up following a probe by the International Independent Investigation Commission after an earlier UN mission found that Lebanon’s own inquiry into the massive car bombing that killed Mr. Hariri and 22 others was seriously flawed.  The Commission also found that Syria was primarily responsible for the political tensions that preceded the attack. The court received its first indictment in January, but the contents remain confidential at this stage.

Today’s statement said Mr. Ban “stands with the people of Lebanon in commemorating the life and achievements of Mr. Hariri and renews his condolences to the families of the victims of this crime.” He also called for the full implementation of all Security Council resolutions pertaining to Lebanon. These include resolution 1701, which ended a month-long war between Israel and the Hizbollah militia in 2006. It calls for respect for the Blue Line separating Israel and Lebanon, the disarming of all militias in Lebanon, which would include Hizbollah, and an end to arms smuggling in the area. The UN has repeatedly condemned Israeli over-flights of Lebanese territory since then and, according to media reports, Hizbollah has received thousands of new missiles and other arms.

(Adapted from a UN Press Release)

February 15, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Implementation of the United Kingdom's Bribery Act Will be Delayed

The United Kingdom has enacted what appears to be the world's most comprehensive bribery statute.  The Unlike other statutes that criminalize payments only to foreign government officials, the UK Bribery Act extends the prohibition on bribery to many others, including individuals.  Questions arose on a large number of topics, including (for example) whether taking a client to dinner would now constitute bribery under the new law.

The Bribery Act was supposed to enter into force in April, but the Financial Times informs us that the British Ministry of Justice failed to meet a January deadline to produce essential supporting guidance.  The British government has accordingly delayed the effective date of the UK Bribery Act until three months after the guidance is published.

If you would like to read more about the UK Bribery Act, click here for a summary of its provisions by Pulina Whitaker from the law firm King & Spaulding.



February 15, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Anti-Gay Police Brutality in Lima

This video shows some pretty amazing police brutality this past weekend against demonstrators in Lima, Peru.



February 14, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Ninth Circuit Rules Russia Entitled to Broad Discovery under Bilateral Treaty with U.S.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently issued a ruling interpreting the obligations of the United States to cooperate with a Russian request for discovery in connection with a criminal case in U.S. v. Global Fishing, Inc., Case No. 09-35096 (Jan. 31, 2011).

In 2007, Arkadi Gontmakher, President of Global Fishing Inc., was arrested and criminally charged by Russian authorities with illegal crabbing.  Russia authorities then sought the assistance of the U.S. government in obtaining information and documents that were in the possession of Global Fishing in the U.S. in connection with the investigation.  The Russian request was made pursuant to the 2002 U.S.-Russia mutual assistance treaty and the implementing federal statute, 28 U.S.C. sec. 1782, which generally authorizes requests for legal assistance in the collection of evidence for use in a foreign proceeding.  Global Fishing resisted turning over the requested information and documents and asked the U.S. courts to quash the subpeona in its discretion.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the Russian authorities are entitled to broad discovery under the treaty, which severely limits the court's usual discretion in these matters.  Despite these limitations, however, the court stated that it could still deny a request if it was unconstitutional (e.g., if it violated due process), but that was not the case here.  The full text of the opinion may be found here.



February 14, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

ICJ Announces Public Hearings in Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia v. Greece

ICJ The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has announced that it will hold public hearings in the Peace Palace at the Hague on March 21-30, 2001 regarding the Application of the Interim Accord of 13 September 1995 (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia v. Greece).  By way of background, in 2008, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYRM) initiated these proceedings with a complaint that Greece had violated Article 11 of their 1995 Interim Accord.  The FYRM claims that Greece has improperly vetoed FYRM's application for membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on the basis that a name other than FYRM was used in the membership application.  The FYRM claims that it used the proper name and Greece's veto was therefore contrary to their international agreement.  Both parties filed written pleadings during 2010, but those pleadings have not been made available to the public. 

More information may be found in the ICJ press release.


February 13, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Independent South Sudan will be the 193rd Member of the United Nations

North and South Sudan have made “significant” progress on a wide range of follow-up arrangements between the two States following the southern region’s vote for independence, the top United Nations envoy in the country said today.   “Much of the ground work has already been completed. Both parties are engaging seriously and making progress,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative Haile Menkerios told the Security Council, citing agreement in principle on open borders, good neighbourly relations, non-interference in each other’s affairs, a framework for non-aggression and military cooperation, citizenship, residency and property ownership.  The two sides are also working towards mutually beneficial arrangements on oil revenue sharing and other economic matters, he said.

Mr. Menkerios was briefing the Council following the 7 February announcement of the official results of the South’s referendum showing that an overwhelming majority opted for secession from what until now has been Africa’s largest country.  The vote was the culminating point of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) ending two decades of civil war between the North and the South that killed some 2 million people and drove an estimated 4.5 million others from their homes, and Mr. Menkerios noted that “against the odds” the Sudanese Government not only contributed to holding the referendum but accepted its outcome.  “Indeed, 7 February will have to be remembered and celebrated in Sudan’s and Africa’s history as a day when the longest running civil war in the continent’s recent history came to a definitive end, when the spirit of peace and cooperation prevailed over the spirit of war,” he said, voicing the hope that “the goodwill generated by the referendum will translate into increased momentum and finalization soon” of all post-referendum arrangements.  He noted that both sides have committed to resolve by the end of March the status of Abyei, an area straddling northern and southern Sudan, that was due to have voted in a separate but simultaneous referendum on which side it would join. But a referendum commission has yet to be established there, and there is still no agreement on who would be eligible to vote.

Throughout the referendum period, the nearly 10,500-strong UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) intensified its peacekeeping patrols in Abyei after reports of clashes between Arab Misseriya nomadic cattle-herders linked to the North and the Dinka ethnic group linked to the South.

Mr. Menkerios noted that Abyei police have committed to withdraw its units from the field into the town, allowing the seasonal Misseriya migration to start, while the Misseriya have agreed to remove roadblocks currently preventing traffic from entering Abyei from the north.  “Serious challenges remain, however,” he warned. “Despite tireless efforts by UNMIS to support improved inter-tribal relations, tensions in the area continue. Given the delicacy of the current environment, I urge all parties to redouble their efforts to keep the peace on the ground, while taking advantage of the political momentum they have built in other areas to conclusively address the deeper issues driving the conflict in Abyei.”

As for the future of UNMIS, Mr. Menkerios said the South has indicated it would welcome UN engagement to consolidate peace and capacity building of the new State’s institutions, while discussions are continuing with the North on areas where they may seek future cooperation with the UN.

In a presidential statement, the Council called on the international community to lend its full support to help all Sudanese people build a peaceful and prosperous future, saying it looked forward to welcoming an independent South Sudan as the UN’s 193rd member after its expected formal declaration of independence on 9 July.

(Adapted from a UN Press Release)

February 9, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Teaching International Law Beyond the Classroom: Engaging Students in Experiential Learning, in Web 2.0, and in Historical and Empirical Research

The Teaching International Law Interest Group (TILIG) of the American Society of International Law (ASIL) will host a conference on "Teaching International Law Beyond the Classroom:  Engaging Students in Experiential Learning, in Web 2.0, and in Historical and Empirical Research" on Friday, May 6, 2011.  The one-day conference will be held at Pace University School of Law in New York.

The purpose of the conference is to raise awareness regarding different modalities of teaching and researching in the area of international law--to expand beyond the traditional classroom and the standard law review article. Law schools around the country have initiated international law and human rights clinics, international law faculty have increasingly used blogs (such as this one!) and the Internet to carry out their scholarly work, and the legal academy has begun to recognize the contribution that historical and empirical research can make. The workshop explores each of these modalities and attempts to help the participants expand their teaching and research accordingly.  It also focuses on how we can use students to assist in this work for the benefit of both teachers and students.

The conference is being co-sponsored by the American Branch of the International Law Association.

To view the full agenda and to register, click here.


February 9, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Teaching International Humanitarian Law Workshop

On February 25-26, 2011, the International Humanitarian Law Clinic at Emory University Law School and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) will convene the semi-annual Teaching International Humanitarian Law (IHL) Workshop in Atlanta. The Workshop is targeted at law professors in the United States and Canada interested in teaching an IHL course for the first time (otherwise known as the Law of Armed Conflict), 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. The cost of the two-day seminar is $250 per person and includes breakfast and lunch for both days, dinner Friday night, as well as all materials.

For more information or to register, click here.


February 8, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New START Treaty Enters Into Force

The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty between the U.S. and Russia entered into force on February 5, 2011 with the exchange of instruments of ratification by the parties.  The treaty creates the following limits on weapons: 

Deployed Strategic Nuclear Warheads: 1,550

Deployed and Non-Deployed Strategic Launchers and Heavy Bombers: 800

Deployed Strategic Launchers and Heavy Bombers: 700

According to the U.S. State Department, an exchange of treaty-required notifications now begins. Within 45 days, the Parties must exchange databases including information on numbers, locations, and technical characteristics of weapons systems and facilities that are subject to the Treaty. The Parties have the right to conduct on-site inspections beginning 60 days after the Treaty’s entry into force.


February 8, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Early Bird Registration for the ABA Section of International Law Spring Meeting

One of the "must-attend" events for international lawyers is the Spring Meeting of the American Bar Association Section of International Law.  The Spring Meeting is being held in Washington, D.C. this year from April 5-9, 2011.  

Click HERE for a full program agenda including eight Program Tracks and six Mini-Tracks.

February 8, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

US Senate Resolution on Egypt

Senator Kerry (D-Massachusetts) has introduced Senate Resolution 44 to support democracy, universal rights, and the peaceful transition to a representative government in Egypt. It was considered and agreed to. Congressional Record S544 (Feb. 3, 2011).

Hat tip to the ABA Governmental Affairs Office


February 5, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

A Quick Video Explains the Differences Between Italians and Germans

Back by popular demand, here is again a short cartoon that illustrates some differences between Italians and Germans.  These are all cultural stereotypes of course . . . well, maybe.  You decide.

Hat tips to Yadi Narimani (Germany) and David Austin (Italy).


February 5, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)