Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Guatemala Ratifies the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT)

Guatemala has ratified the United Nations-backed international treaty banning nuclear tests, bringing the number of State parties to 156.  Out of a total listed number of 195 States, 182 have so far signed the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).

For the treaty to enter into force ratification is required from the so-called Annex 2 States. Of these China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, Pakistan, and the United States have yet to ratify it. The Indonesian parliament took the decision to ratify the treaty on 6 December 2011.

Guatemala’s Foreign Minister, Haroldo Rodas Melgar, handed over the instrument of his country’s ratification at a ceremony last week at UN Headquarters in New York.  Welcoming this move, Tibor Tóth, the Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), said Guatemala’s ratification is an important building block towards a world free of nuclear weapons.  “It underlines Guatemala’s commitment to outlaw nuclear testing and to enhance non-proliferation and disarmament worldwide,” he stated.

Latin America and the Caribbean was the first region in the world to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone with the Treaty of Tlatelolco in 1967.

“Guatemala’s ratification of the CTBT is a boost for the Treaty of Tlatelolco, which will soon celebrate 10 years of being the world’s first nuclear-weapon-free zone to include all countries in the region,” noted Mr. Tóth. “This bodes well for the CTBT.” Among the 33 States in the Latin America and the Caribbean region, 31 have now ratified the CTBT, with Cuba and Dominica being the only countries that have not yet signed or ratified.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged all remaining States to sign and ratify the CTBT, with the aim of bringing it into force by 2012. “My message is clear: Do not wait for others to move first. Take the initiative. Lead. The time for waiting has passed,” he told a high-level conference last September on facilitating the treaty’s entry into force. “We must make the most of existing – and potentially short-lived – opportunities.”  In the meantime, Mr. Ban has urged all States to honour all existing moratoria on nuclear-weapon-test explosions, and to refrain from acting in a manner that undermines the purpose of the treaty.

(Adapted from a UN Press Release)

January 17, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

Representatives of Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia have wrapped up two days of United Nations-mediated talks on the dispute over the official name of the latter country, the Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General announced today.  Matthew Nimetz said the discussions in New York were helpful and focused on the optimal way to move the process forward in a constructive manner.  He added that he was given firm assurances that each Government is sincere in its interest in finding a solution and that they fully respect the UN process.

A UN-brokered interim accord in 1995 details the differences between the two countries over the name of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. It obliges both Athens and Skopje to continue negotiations under the auspices of the Secretary-General to try to reach an agreement, but so far they have not succeeded.  Mr. Nimetz met separately with Ambassador Adamantios Vassilakis of Greece and Ambassador Zoran Jolevski of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia over the two days. Both sides presented the positions of their respective Governments on the name issue as they stand at the present time.   He said he will consult further with the representatives regarding arranging a visit to the two capitals to continue the discussions.  

“As we move forward, I have asked the parties to demonstrate their commitment to the resolution of their difference by promoting a positive atmosphere through their actions and public statements,” he stated.

(UN Press Release)

January 17, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Job Opening at Indiana University Maurer School of Law

The Indiana University Maurer School of Law is seeking applicants for appointment as a full-time Lecturer to teach in the LLM program, including legal research and writing, beginning with the 2012-2013 academic year. Applicants must possess a J.D. degree, a strong academic record, an interest in teaching writing, and a sensitivity to the needs of international law students. Applicants with substantial practice experience and/or previous law teaching experience preferred. Initial appointment is for two years, renewable annually thereafter with the possibility of promotion and a long-term contract after six years. Applications from minority group members are welcomed. Salary range, depending on qualifications and experience, is in the mid-$50,000s for a 10-month appointment. The position also includes a generous benefits package.

The committee will begin to consider applications on February 13 and will continue to accept applications until the position is filled. To apply, please submit a statement of interest, resume, writing sample, and contact information for three references to Julia Lamber, Professor of Law at [email protected] (or mail an application to Professor Lamber, Indiana University Maurer School of Law, 211 S. Indiana Ave, Bloomington, IN 47405).  Indiana University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

1.  The position advertised may lead to successive long-term contracts of five or more years.

2.  The professor hired will be permitted to vote in faculty meetings.

3.  The school anticipates paying an annual academic year base salary in the range $50,000 - $59,999. 

4.  The number of students enrolled in each semester of the courses taught by the legal research & writing professor will be 36 - 40 

Website: http://www.law.indiana.edu/
Position Type: long-term

Submission Deadline: 2012-02-13

January 17, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, January 16, 2012

US Continues to Pressure Iran through Sanctions

On the same day US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton denied US involvement in the killing of an Iranian nuclear scientist last week, she also announced that the US is turning up the pressure on Iran by imposing sanctions on three companies for conducting business with Iran’s energy sector. These three firms are Zhuhai Zhenrong Company (Zhenrong) of China, Kuo Oil (S) Pte. Ltd. (Kuo) based in Singapore and FAL Oil Company Limited (FAL) of UAE.

The sanctions were imposed under the Iran Sanctions Act, as amended by the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act (CISADA) and in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1929, which recognized the potential connection between Iran’s revenues derived from its energy sector and the funding of its proliferation sensitive nuclear activities.

The sanctions apply only to the sanctioned companies, and not to their governments or countries.

Zhenrong is the largest supplier of refined petroleum product to Iran. The US determined that Zhenrong brokered the delivery of over $500 million in gasoline to Iran between July 2010 and January 2011, with individual deals entered into worth significantly more than the $1 million threshold under U.S. law and the total values of the transactions well above the $5 million threshold for sanctionable activities within a 12-month period.

Kuo is an energy trading firm based in Singapore. The US has determined that Kuo provided over $25 million in refined petroleum to Iran between late 2010 and early 2011.

FAL is a large independent energy trader based in the UAE. The US has determined that FAL provided over $70 million in refined petroleum to Iran over multiple shipments in late 2010.

Under the new sanctions, all three of these companies are barred from receiving U.S. export licenses, U.S. Export Import Bank financing, and loans over $10 million from U.S. financial institutions.


January 16, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

IMO Secretary-General Calls for Investigation into Cruise Ship Accident

IMOA senior United Nations official today called for a thorough investigation into the incident involving the Costa Concordia cruise ship that ran aground off the coast of Italy over the weekend.  “In the centenary year of the Titanic, we have once again been reminded of the risks involved in maritime activities,” Koji Sekimizu, Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), said in a speech to the agency’s Sub-Committee on Stability, Load Lines, and Fishing Vessel Safety.

Mr. Sekimizu expressed his condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in the tragic incident that occurred on Friday near Giglio Island.  Six people reportedly died and at least 16 are missing after the Costa Concordia’s hull was torn open after it ran aground. A total of 4,200 passengers and crew were on board the vessel, according to media reports. 

“Causes of this accident are still not yet established,” noted Mr. Sekimizu. “We must wait for the casualty investigation and should not pre-judge or speculate at this stage. “I would like to urge the Flag State administration to carry out the casualty investigation covering all aspects of this accident and provide the findings to the IMO,” he added.

Mr. Sekimizu voiced his appreciation to the Italian Coast Guard for their rescue operations over the night of the accident, adding that the IMO must not take this accident lightly.  “We should seriously consider the lessons to be learnt and, if necessary, re-examine the regulations on the safety of large passenger ships in the light of the findings of the casualty investigation,” he stated.

The International Maritime Organization, based in London, is the a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for measures to improve the safety and security of international shipping and to prevent marine pollution from ships. It is also involved in legal matters, including liability and compensation issues and the facilitation of international maritime traffic. It was established by means of a Convention adopted under the auspices of the United Nations in Geneva on 17 March 1948 and met for the first time in January 1959. It currently has 170 Member States. IMO's governing body is the Assembly which is made up of all 170 Member States and meets normally once every two years. It adopts the budget for the next biennium together with technical resolutions and recommendations prepared by subsidiary bodies during the previous two years. The Council acts as governing body in between Assembly sessions. It prepares the budget and work programme for the Assembly. The main technical work is carried out by the Maritime Safety, Marine Environment Protection, Legal, Technical Co-operation and Facilitation Committees and a number of sub-committees.

(mew)(Adapted from a UN Press Release with additional material from the IMO website)

January 16, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Myanmar (Burma): Largest Release of Political Prisoners in Asia

The United Nations independent expert on the human rights situation in Myanmar today welcomed the recent decision by President Thein Sein to grant another amnesty and set free a significant number of prisoners of conscience.  “I welcome the release of many prisoners of conscience, individuals who have been imprisoned for exercising their fundamental human rights or whose fair trial or due process rights have been denied,” said Special Rapporteur Tomás Ojea Quintana.  “This is an important and necessary development to advance national reconciliation and deepen Myanmar’s transition to democracy,” he added in a press release.

While the exact number of prisoners of conscience released has yet to be confirmed, among those released last Friday were prominent figures whose cases have been previously addressed by Mr. Ojea Quintana, as well as individuals he visited in jail.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday also commended the authorities in Myanmar on the long-awaited release of the political prisoners, as well as other important efforts being made to advance democracy and national reconciliation. He described the release – reportedly of 651 prisoners – as “the most significant release to date.”

Mr. Ojea Quintana termed the developments in Myanmar, coming in the lead-up to by-elections slated for April, as “critical.”  “It is fundamental that all citizens, including those just released from prison, are allowed to play an active and constructive role in political and public life,” he said.  The Special Rapporteur also voiced concern that a number of prisoners of conscience remain in detention and urged the Government to immediately release all of them without conditions.

Separately, Mr. Ojea Quintana took note of preliminary agreements that have been reached between the Government and the Karen National Union, and with other ethnic groups. He expressed hope that there would be further progress in resolving conflicts with armed ethnic groups throughout Myanmar and called on all parties to ensure the protection of civilians and respect for international human rights and humanitarian law.  “I renew my call on the Government to develop a comprehensive plan to officially engage ethnic minority groups in an inclusive dialogue to resolve long-standing grievances and deep-rooted concerns,” he added. “All parties to this dialogue must ensure that investigations and accountability for past gross and systematic human rights violations are on the agenda.  “Ending discrimination and ensuring fundamental rights for Myanmar’s ethnic minorities is essential for national reconciliation and will contribute to Myanmar’s long-term political and social stability,” he said.

(Adapted from a UN Press Release)

January 16, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

UN Secretary General Urges Syria's President to Stop Killing His People

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon again called on the Syrian leadership to end the ongoing bloodshed in the country, stating that the era of one-man rule and the perpetuation of family dynasties are crumbling.

"I say again to President Assad of Syria: Stop the violence. Stop killing your own people. The path of repression is a dead end," Mr. Ban said in a keynote address at the High-Level Meeting on Reform and Transitions to Democracy, held in Beirut.

He said that the "remarkable" events of the past year transformed the region and changed the world, and their lessons are clear.  "The winds of change will not cease to blow. The flame ignited in Tunisia will not be dimmed," he stated, referring to the popular uprising that one year ago brought down that country's president-for-life, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.  Tunisia's revolution set off a wave of uprisings across North Africa and the Middle East, later described as the Arab Spring, which also led to the toppling of long-standing regimes in Egypt, Libya and Yemen.

"None of these great changes began with a call for a regime change," noted the Secretary-General. "First and foremost, people wanted dignity. They want an end to corruption. They want a say in their future. They want jobs and justice? a fair share of political power. They want their human rights.

"The old way, the old order, is crumbling -- one-man rule and the perpetuation of family dynasties ? monopolies of wealth and power? the silencing of the media? the deprivation of fundamental freedoms that are the birthright of men, women and children on this planet," he added.

For democracy to succeed in the Arab world, Mr. Ban cited four prerequisites: real and genuine reform inclusive dialogue ensuring that women are at the centre of the region's future and heeding the voices of the young.  He pledged the UN's firm commitment to help Arab countries through their transition.

(Adapted from a UN Press Release)

January 16, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Upcoming Symposium: Our Courts and the World: Transnational Litigation and Civil Procedure

On Friday, February 3, 2012, Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles and the Southwestern Journal of International Law are hosting a symposium titled Our Courts and the World: Transnational Litigation and Civil Procedure.  The purpose of the symposium is to explore issues related to transnational litigation.   

Panelists include (in alphabetical order):

  • Samuel P. Baumgartner, Professor of Law, University of Akron School of Law
  • Vaughan Black, Professor of Law, Dalhousie University Schulich School of Law
  • Gary B. Born, Partner, WilmerHale, Lecturer on Law, Harvard Law School
  • Stephen B. Burbank, David Berger Professor for the Administration of Justice, University of Pennsylvania Law School
  • Montré D. Carodine, Associate Professor of Law, University of Alabama School of Law
  • Donald Earl Childress III, Associate Professor of Law, Pepperdine University School of Law
  • Paul R. Dubinsky, Associate Professor of Law, Wayne State University Law School
  • Allan Ides, Christopher N. May Professor of Law, Loyola Law School, Los Angeles
  • Thomas Orin Main, Professor of Law, University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law
  • Erin O’Hara O’Connor, Professor of Law and Director of Graduate Studies, Law & Economics PhD Program, Vanderbilt Law School
  • Cassandra Burke Robertson, Associate Professor, Case Western Reserve University School of Law
  • Linda J. Silberman, Martin Lipton Professor of Law, New York University School of Law
  • Linda Sandstrom Simard, Professor of Law, Suffolk University Law School
  • Adam N. Steinman, Professor of Law and Michael J. Zimmer Fellow, Seton Hall University School of Law
  • Janet Walker, Professor of Law, Osgoode Hall Law School      
  • Rhonda Wasserman, Professor of Law, University of Pittsburgh School of  Law                                                                             

Moderators include:

  • William E. Thomson, Partners, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP
  • James H. Broderick, Jr., Partner, Squire, Sanders & Dempsey LLP
  • Marcus S. Quintanilla, Counsel, O’Melveny & Myers LLP
  • Ray D. Weston Jr., Vice President and General Counsel, Taco Bell Corp.

Symposium Co-Chairs:

  • Austen Parrish, Professor of Law and Vice Dean, Southwestern Law School
  • Christopher A. Whytock, Acting Professor of Law and Political Science, University of California, Irvine

The symposium is co-sponsored by the American Society of International Law, the Junior International Law Scholars Association (JILSA), the Los Angeles County Bar Association -  International Law Section, and the State Bar of California - International Law Section.  A brochure with more information may be found here.


January 15, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tenth Anniversary of Guantanamo Bay Detentions

January 11, 2012, marks the tenth anniversary of the opening of Guantanamo Bay as a place to hold detainees in the post 9/11 war on terror. Despite President Obama's campaign promise to close Guantanamo Bay, Congress has made that impossible, leaving 171 detainees still there. Many of the detainees are potentially eligible for release, but some cannot be returned to their home countries, such as Yemen, due to unstable conditions. Other detainees are awaiting trial by military commission. News reports indicate that several of the detainees plan to protest their continued detention in recognition of the anniversary. Protests are also planned in other parts of the world.


January 10, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Update on Private International Law - Wednesday

The Private International Law Coordinating Committee of the American Bar Association Section of International Law will have a phone conference update on Private International Law on January 11, 2012 at 11:00 a.m. EST time.  The speaker will be Hal Burman from the U.S. State Department, who always gives a great presentation filled with information.

If you're a members of the ABA Section of International Law and would like to receive the toll-free call-in number and access number for your country, please email me at mwojcik [at] jmls.edu.  I am a co-chair of the Private International Law Coordinating Committee.  The committee invites you to join this informative phone conference.

If you're not a member of the ABA or its Section of International Law, now is a good time to remedy that.  Click here for more information.

Mark E. Wojcik, Co-Chair, ABA Section of International Law Private International Law Coordinating Committee 

January 9, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Japan Celebrates Coming of Age Day

If you turned 20 in the last year, today you would be celebrating "Young Adults Day" or "Coming of Age Day" in Japan. Congratulations!

Hat tip to the Box Turtle Bulletin


January 9, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

UN Expresses Concern Regarding Executions in Saudi Arabia

The United Nations (UN) Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has expressed alarm at the significant increase in Saudi Arabia’s use of capital punishment in the past year. According to the OHCHR, the number of executions in the country almost tripled last year compared with 2010.

“We call on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to respect international standards guaranteeing due process and the protection of the rights of those facing the death penalty, to progressively restrict the use of the death penalty and to reduce the number of offences for which it may be imposed,” OHCHR spokesperson Rupert Colville told reporters in Geneva.

“What is even more worrying is that court proceedings often reportedly fall far short of international fair trial standards, and the use of torture as a means to obtain confessions appears to be rampant,” Mr. Colville added.

Saudi Arabia applies the death penalty for a wide range of offences, including the charge of sorcery and witchcraft, for which a woman was executed last month.

OHCHR also expressed grave concern at the recent sentencing of six men convicted on charges of highway robbery. The men were condemned to “cross amputation” – a form of punishment which involves the amputation of the men’s right hands and left feet.

“We call on the authorities to halt the use of such cruel, inhuman, degrading punishment,” Mr. Colville continued, noting that as a party to the Convention against Torture, Saudi Arabia is “bound by the absolute prohibition” against the use of torture and other forms of cruel punishment.

Last October, OHCHR voiced deep distress over the execution of 10 men who were publicly beheaded in the country’s capital, Riyadh, while underscoring that about 140 of the 193 UN Member States are now believed to have either abolished the death penalty or introduced a moratorium.

(cgb) (adapted from a UN press release)

January 7, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Interactive Legal Education in Egypt

Here's a description of a program I did last year in Egypt on interactive teaching methods.  In some Egyptian law schools, there may be up to a thousand or more students in a lecture hall.  How can law professors handle such large classes?  Click here to read the story about our seminar in Egypt. 

For my friends in Egypt, a special message of courage and hope for good things in the coming year.


January 5, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Update on Private International Law - Next Wednesday

The Private International Law Coordinating Committee of the American Bar Association Section of International Law will have a phone conference update on Private International Law on January 11, 2012 at 11:00 a.m. EST time.  The speaker will be Hal Burman from the U.S. State Department, who always gives a great presentation filled with information.

If you're a members of the ABA Section of International Law and would like to receive the toll-free call-in number and access number for your country, please email me at mwojcik [at] jmls.edu.  I am a co-chair of the Private International Law Coordinating Committee.  The committee invites you to join this informative phone conference.

If you're not a member of the ABA or its Section of International Law, now is a good time to remedy that.  Click here for more information.

Mark E. Wojcik, Co-Chair, ABA Section of International Law Private International Law Coordinating Committee 

January 4, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

International Law Events at AALS This Week

This is a reminder for law faculty members attending the annual meeting of the American Association of Law Schools (AALS) this week in Washington, DC.  Don't forget the all-day program on "North American Legal Developments - 2011 and Beyond" on Thursday, January 5 or the breakfast for international law professors sponsored by the Pacific McGeorge School of Law on Saturday, January 7.  Also, the international law section will have its business meeting directly after the program on Thursday. We hope to see you there.


January 3, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Thursday at AALS: Pedagogy for International Law Practice

AALS logoWhat preparation do practicing lawyers and policy-makers believe today's law graduates should have in international law, foreign law and legal systems, and skills training?  A panel of lawyers in private practice, government service, and international organizations will share their views on this subject on Thursday, January 5, 2012 at the upcoming Annual Meeting of the Association of American Law Schools.  Click here for more details about the panel from our friends at intlawgrrls.

Hat tip to Stephanie Farrior


January 2, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)