Saturday, March 31, 2012

Moscow State University Wins the 2012 Jessup Competition

Jessup 2012 Moscow State UJessup 2012 Moscow TeamThe team from Moscow State University has won the 2012 Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition, beating out Columbia Law School of New York in the final round arguments held today in Washington, D.C.

As noted in our earlier post, this year's competition marked the first time that the final bench was comprised of three sitting judges of the International Court of Justice.

A DVD recording of the final round will be available for purchase from the International Law Students Association (ILSA), the organization the puts on the Jessup Competition.  This year's international rounds appear to have been the largest in the organization's history.



March 31, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Jessup Final Round

Jessup Final RoundJessup Mai-TocaoThe final rounds of the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition are taking place right now . . . here's a photo of the Applicant Team from Russia arguing before three judges of the International Court of Justice.  Judge Hishashi Owada, a former president of the International Court of Justice, is the president in today's Jessup panel.  With him are Judges Kenneth Keith (from New Zealand) and Jane Donoghue (from the United States).

Get more information about the Jessup Competition from the International Law Students Association (ILSA) at  A video of the final round arguments will be available for purchase from ILSA (for those of you who plan to compete next year and for those of you who participated in the regional, national, or internaitonal rounds this year).




March 31, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, March 30, 2012

Donald Donovan is the New President of ASIL

ASIL PresidentsPictured here (from left to right) are the new President of the American Society of International Law, Donald Donovan (a partner in the New York office of Debevoise & Plimpton), Baroness Rosalyn Higgins, DBE, QC (the first female judge elected to the International Court of Justice, and its former president, and now an honorary president of the American Society of International Law), and Judge Charles N. Brower (Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal in the Hague).


March 30, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Pathways to Employment in International Law

ILSA-SIL Career PanelThe International Law Students Association (ILSA) and the International Law Section of the American Bar Association (ABA-SIL) presented a program on Friday March 30, 2012 on international law careers. 

The audience was comprised of law students from around the world who are competing this week in the international rounds of the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition. 

Speaking on the international legal careers panel were (from left to right) Professor Mark E. Wojcik (The John Marshall Law School-Chicago), Vivian Shen (International Law Students Association), Susan Notar (U.S. State Department), and Reid Whitten (Sheppard Mullin).




March 30, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

UN Human Rights Office Urges Chile to Pass Anti-Discrimination Law

The United Nations human rights office today urged the Government of Chile to pass a law against discrimination, including on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, following the recent killing of a young gay man in the capital, Santiago.

“We also urge Chile to enact hate crime legislation that establishes hatred based on various grounds, including sexual orientation and gender identity, as an aggravating factor for the purposes of criminal prosecution,” said a spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Rupert Colville.

Speaking at a news conference in Geneva, Mr. Colville said that the killing of 24-year-old Daniel Zamudio is just the latest reminder of the gravity and prevalence of homophobic violence that exists in all regions.

“The case should be seen in the wide context of hate-motivated violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender person around the world,” he said. “This time it happened in Santiago, Chile, but it happens every day on the streets of towns and cities all over the world.”

Mr. Zamudio died on Tuesday, 25 days after being viciously assaulted by a group of alleged neo-Nazis in a Santiago park, according to OHCHR.

“He was reportedly tortured for an hour by his attackers, who stubbed cigarettes out on him, carved swastikas into his body, and mutilated him in other ways,” said Mr. Colville. “We deplore the violent criminal act that took the life of this young man and urge the Chilean Congress to pass a law against discrimination, including on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, in full compliance with relevant international human rights standards.”

In addition to sparking a public outcry in Chile, the attack has also provoked a debate about homophobia and hate crimes, as well as calls for the country’s Parliament to pass an anti-discrimination law which was initially presented in 2005 and is currently before lawmakers, awaiting approval by the lower house.

(UN Press Release)

March 30, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Jessup Final Round Bench Consists of Three Sitting ICJ Judges

Judge OwadaJessupFor the first time in the history of the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition, the final round bench will consist entirely of judges currently sitting on the International Court of Justice. 

On the final round bench will be Judge Joan Donoghue (from the United States, she joined the International Court of Justice on September 9, 2010), Judge Hisashi Owada (from Japan, he also served as President of the ICJ from February 2009 to February 2012; he is pictured here on the right), and Judge Kenneth Keith (from New Zealand, he joined the ICJ in February 2006).

The Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition engages students from more than 600 schools around the world, representing more than 80 countries.  Jessup is the largest moot court competition in the world.  It is now in its 52nd year.

The World Championship Rounds will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 31, 2012, in the Presidential Ballroom of the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C.


March 30, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

International Law Weekend - Call for Proposals

The American Branch of the International Law Association (ABILA) and the International Law Students Association (ILSA) have issued a call for proposals to be presented at the 2012 International Law Weekend, which will be October 25-27, 2012.  Proposals are due by Friday, April 13, 2012.  Click here for more information.


March 30, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

ASIL Annual Meeting Plenary Session on Hague Courts

ASIL PlenaryASIL Meeting 2There was standing room only for much of the program last night on "Confronting Complexity in the Hague: The View from the Courts and Tribunals," a program sponsored by the CIty of the Hague and the Royal Netherlands Embassy and co-sponsored by the ASIL International Courts and Tribunals Interest Group.  Jozias van Aartsen, Mayor of the Hague, offered introductory remarks.  Willem van Genugten of the Hague Institute for Global Justice served as moderator.  Speaking on the panel were Peter Tomka (President of the International Court of Justice), Sang-Hyun Song (President of the International Criminal Court), Theodor Meron (President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and Presiding Judge of the Appeals Chambers of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the ICTY, and Honorary President of the American Society of International Law), and Brooks W. Daly (Acting Secretary-General of the Permanent Court of Arbitration).



March 30, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

ASIL Academic Partners

ASIL Meeting 1The American Society of International Law held a special reception to thank its patrons and partners, including its growing list of Academic Partners.  Pictured here are Virginia Russell (Associate Director of the Center for International Law at The John Marshall Law School), Elizabeth (Betsy) Andersen (Executive Director and Executive Vice President of the American Society of International Law), and Mark E. Wojcik (Professor at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago).  The John Marshall Law School in Chicago is one of the 45 Academic Partners listed in this year's ASIL Program.  Click here to learn more about the ASIL Academic Partnership Program (and to check to see whether YOUR school is on the list).


March 30, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Photos from the ASIL Annual Meeting

Corell Schwebel and CrawfordSome of the greatest personalities of international law are attending the annual meeting of the American Society of International Law this week in Washington, D.C.  Pictured here (from left to right) are Ambassador Hans Corell (former Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and the Legal Counsel of the United Nations, and current Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at Lund University, Sweden), Judge Stephen M. Schwebel (who served as a judge of the International Court of Justice from 1981 to 2000, including a term as its President from 1997 to 2000), and James Crawford (Whewell Professor of International Law at the University of Cambridge, former Director of the Lauterpacht  Centre for International Law at Cambridge, and a former member of the United Nations International Law Commission, including service as the Commission's Special Rapporteur on State Responsibility).


March 30, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Judge Evan Wallach

Judge Evan Jonathan Wallach of the U.S. Court of International Trade has been named to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.  The investiture ceremony will be held in Washington D.C. on April 20, 2012.

March 29, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

American Society of International Law

Mark Wojcik at ASILThe American Society of International Law (ASIL) holds its 106th Annual Meeting this week in Washington, D.C.  More than 1,200 practitioners, academics, and students travel will meet to discuss and debate the latest developments in international law.

Speakers today include JudgeJoan E. Donoghue and Judge Peter Tomka from the International Court of Justice, Associate Justice Stephen G. Breyer of the U.S. Supreme Court, Don K. Anton from the Australian National University College of Law, Jacqueline Bhabha from Harvard, Anne-Marie Slaughter of Princeton University, Sir Michael Wood of 20 Essex Street Chambers, Theordor Meron from the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, Sang-Hyun Song from the International Criminal Court,

See you there!


P.S. Save the Dates for next year!  The 107th Annual Meeting of the ASIL will be April 3-6, 2013 in Washington, D.C.

March 29, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

U.S. Foreign Relations Legislative Updates

The Foreign Relations Committee of the U.S. Senate has favorably reported the following legislation:

  • S Res 356 expressing support for the people of Tibet, as amended;
  • S Res 397 promoting peace and stability in Sudan, as amended;
  • S Res 80 condemning the government of Iran for its state-sponsored persecution of the Baha’i minority and continued violations of the International Covenants on Human Rights;
  • S Res 391 condemning violence by the government of Syria against journalists and expressing the sense of the Senate on freedom of press in Syria, as amended; and
  • S Res 344 supporting the democratic aspirations of the Nicaraguan people and calling attention to the deterioration of constitutional order in Nicaragua, as amended.

Meanwhile, the House Foreign Affairs Committee of the U.S. Representatives this week ordered reported as amended HR 1940, the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act of 2011, and HR 3605, the Global Online Freedom Act of 2011.

Hat tip to the ABA Governmental Affairs Office


March 29, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

US Supreme Court Postpones Decision on Foreign Relations Question in Zivotofsky v. Clinton

Yesterday, the US Supreme issued its first decision in Zitofsky v. Clinton, No. 10-699, involving a power struggle between Congress and the President over recognition of Jerusalem as part of Israel. It has long been executive branch policy not to take an official position regarding the disputed territory of Jerusalem. Accordingly, when a child is born to a US parent in Jerusalem, US State Department policy forbids recording Israel as the place of birth. However, in 2002, Congress passed the Foreign Relations Authorization Act allowing US parents to request that Israel be listed on the record of birth for a child born in Israel. When a parent exercised this option, the State Department refused to comply on the basis that recognition of foreign states and governments is the prerogative of the executive branch, not the legislative branch. Therefore, the executive is not bound by the statute.

When the case reached the courts, a threshold issue was whether the courts could even reach the merits of the case or whether they were barred from consideration by the political question doctrine. That doctrine holds that certain issues are committed to the political branches and are inappropriate for judicial resolution.

In Zivotofsky, the Supreme Court held the political question doctrine to be inapplicable because there is no textual commitment of the issue to the political branches. The Court reached this conclusion despite the executive branch argument that the president is given the express authority to appoint and receive ambassadors. This express authority has long been viewed as the including the authority to establish or break off diplomatic relations and to recognize foreign sovereigns. See, e.g., US v. Pink and Belmont. The Supreme Court rejected the lower court's characterization of the issue as one requiring the courts to substitute their judgment for that of the political branches in determining whether Jerusalem is part of Israel.  Instead, the Supreme Court characterized the issue as whether the legislation is constitutional and controls the issue or whether it improperly infringes on the executive power. It stated that determining the constitutionality of a statute is familiar territory for the Court. This, it held the case to be justiciable and remanded to the lower court to develop a full factual record on the merits. Stay tuned for the next round . . .


March 27, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Modern Slavery

A comprehensive approach through laws, education and international cooperation is needed to end modern-day slavery, the President of the United Nations General Assembly Nassir, Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, said this week.  “The terrible impacts of slavery and the slave trade are still felt to this day,” Mr. Al-Nasser said in remarks delivered on his behalf to a General Assembly meeting to commemorate the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. “They have devastated continents and countries. They have led to profound social and economic inequalities, and have given rise to hatred, racism and prejudice.”

In 2007, the General Assembly designated 25 March as the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade to honour the 28 million estimated Africans who were violently removed and cast into slavery, mainly in colonies in North America, South America and the West Indies.  In his remarks, Mr. Al-Nasser emphasized that Member States must work tirelessly to eradicate modern slave-like practices that have emerged in the forms of racism, human trafficking, sexual exploitation, child labour, forced marriage, and the forced recruitment of children for use in armed conflict.

The U.N. General Assembly President also underlined that existing international instruments on slavery “should be fully utilized to bring about necessary change in attitudes and customs, to punish the offenders, and to support innocent victims in re-gaining their lives and dignity.” 

(mew) (adapted from a UN Press Release)

March 27, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

ICTR Refers a Case to the Rwandan High Court

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has referred the case of Charles Sikubwabo to the authorities in Rwanda, who will in turn send it for trial by the Rwandan High Court.  Mr. Sikubwabo, a former mayor of Gishyita in the western Kibuye prefecture, is charged with genocide or complicity in genocide, as well as conspiracy to commit genocide and crimes against humanity. In November 2010, the ICTR’s Prosecutor had requested that the court refer the case to Rwanda.

The ICTR judges ordered that Mr. Sikubwabo’s case be handed over to the Prosecutor-General of Rwanda, as soon as possible and no later than 30 days after the ICTR decision has become final.  The referral chamber expressed its hope that Rwanda, in accepting referrals from the ICTR, will put into practice commitments it has made about its good faith, capacity and willingness to enforce the highest standards of international justice in the referred cases.

The ICTR judges requested Rwanda to provide the tribunal or the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals with quarterly reports on efforts taken to apprehend Mr. Sikubwabo until the time when the accused is arrested or Rwanda receives news and confirmation of his death.

(mew) (Adapted from a UN Press Release)

March 27, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

ICJ News

ICJThe International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued two press releases today regarding upcoming public hearings.

The first press release relates to the Frontier Dispute between Burkina Faso and Niger.  The Court will hold public hearings in that case between October 8-17, 2012.  The ICJ has jurisdiction in this matter pursuant to a Special Agreement between the parties.

The second press release states that the ICJ will hold public hearings in the Martime Dispute between Peru and Chile from December 3 to December 14, 2012.  Peru initiated this matter in January 2008 by filing a complaint against Chile regarding the delimitation of the boundary between the maritime zones of the two States in the Pacific Ocean.  Peru has invoked Article XXXI of the Pact of Bogotá of 30 April 1948 as the basis for jurisdiction.




March 22, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Research Grants

Grants on research on international educational systems are available from the Internaitonal Educational Research Foundation in Culver City, California.  Get more information by clicking here.


March 21, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

International Family Law: Italy

The Corte Suprema di Cassazione in Italy has ruled that a same-sex couple who married outside of Italy could not be considered legally wed in Italy, but that they did have a "right to a family life."  Click here to read more.

Hat tips to the Law Library of Congress.


March 21, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Call for Papers: Collective Redress in the Cross-Border Context: Arbitration, Litigation, Settlement and Beyond

The Hague Institute for the Internationalisation of Law (HiiL), along with the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIAS), are convening a two-day event on the theme, “Collective Redress in the Cross-Border Context:  Arbitration, Litigation, Settlement and Beyond.”  The event is intended to address issues relating appropriate means of providing collective redress, particularly in the cross-border context, for large-scale international legal injuries that may arise in the context of consumer, commercial, contract, tort or securities law.

The event includes two different elements – a workshop on June 21-22, 2012, comprised of invited speakers from all over the world as well as a works-in-progress conference on June 20-21, 2012, designed to allow practitioners and scholars who are interested in the area of collective redress to discuss their work and ideas in the company of other experts in the field. 

Persons interested in being considered as presenters for the works-in-progress conference should submit an abstract of no more than 500 words to the organizer, Professor S.I. Strong, the Henry G. Schermers Fellow for 2012, of the University of Missouri School of Law, on or before May 1, 2012.  Decisions regarding accepted proposals will be made in early May, and those whose proposals are accepted for the works-in-progress conference will need to submit a draft paper by June 4, 2012, for discussion at the conference.  All works-in-progress submissions should explore one or more of the various means of resolving collective injuries, including class and collective arbitration, mass arbitration and mass claims processes, class and collective litigation, and large-scale settlement and mediation, preferably in a cross-border context.  Junior scholars in particular are encouraged to submit proposals for consideration. 

Persons presenting at the works-in-progress conference will have to bear their own costs, since there is no funding available to assist with travel and other expenses.  The works-in-progress conference will be held on June 20 and 21, 2012, at NIAS, Meijboomlaan 1, 2242 PR Wassenaar, The Netherlands.  Wassenaar is approximately 20 minutes from The Hague by car.  The workshop of invited speakers will be held on June 21 and 22, 2012, also at NIAS.

Both the Schermers workshop and the works-in-progress conference are open to the public, although advance registration is required.  For contact information and other details, click here.


March 20, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)