Friday, March 15, 2013

Updates from Washington D.C.

The following legislation has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate:

  • HR 1039 (Fitzpatrick, R-PA), to rescind unobligated amounts for foreign assistance to Egypt and to appropriate funds for the Department of Defense tuition assistance program; to Appropriations. CR 3/11/13, H1330.
  • HR 1130 (Davis, D-CA), to authorize further assistance to Israel for the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system; to Foreign Affairs. CR 3/13/13, H1395.
  • HR 1195 (Moran, D-VA), to establish a program to provide grants to nonprofit organizations to enable such organizations to assign and support volunteers to assist foreign countries in the administration of their natural resource in an environmentally sustainable manner; to Foreign Affairs. CR 3/14/13, H1427.
  • S 559 (Isakson, R-GA), to establish a fund to make payments to the Americans held hostage in Iran, and to members of their families who are identified as members of the proposed class in case number 1:08-CV-00487 (EGS) of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia; to Foreign Relations. CR 3/13/13, S1786

The following hearings have been scheduled in the U.S. House of Representatives

  • The Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade Subcommittee, House Foreign Affairs Committee, will hold a hearing titled “Hezbollah's Strategic Shift: A Global Terrorist Threat.” 3/20/13, 1:30 pm, 2172 Rayburn.
  • Asia and the Pacific Subcommittee and Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, House Foreign Affairs Committee, will hold a joint hearing titled “After the Withdrawal: The Way Forward in Afghanistan and Pakistan.” 3/19/13, 1 pm, 2172 Rayburn.

The following notices were issued by the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Trade Representative, and the Office of Foreign Assets Control:

  • On 3/14/13, the United States State Department announced the waiver of restriction on assistance to the Central Government of Somalia in accordance with Section 7031(b)(3) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2012. FR16356.
  • On 3/12/13, the Office of the United States Trade Representative announced redesignation, under the United States-Israel Free Trade Area Implementation Act (IFTA Act), of qualifying industrial zones (QIZs) encompassing portions of Israel and Jordan or Israel and Egypt that are eligible to receive duty-free treatment. FR15802.
  • On 3/15/13, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control announced that it is amending the Iranian Financial Sanctions Regulations (the IFSR) to implement Sections 503 and 504 of the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012, which amended Section 1245 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012; and Section 1, portions of section 6, and other related provisions of Executive Order 13622 of July 30, 2012. FR16403.

Hat tip to the American Bar Association Government Affairs Office


March 15, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Human Rights Watch Statement on the Cambodia Trials

Human Rights Watch in New York has issued the following statement on the Death of Ieng Sary. HRW Says that His Death Shows Khmer Rouge Court Failings, and that Cambodian Government Obstruction and Non-Cooperation Sabotage Justice. Here is their press release:
(New York, March 14, 2013) – The death of Ieng Sary, on trial before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia after indictment for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, means that another senior leader of the Khmer Rouge has not been held accountable for his crimes, Human Rights Watch said today. Ieng Sary, the foreign minister of the Khmer Rouge regime that ruled Cambodia from 1975 to 1979, died in a Phnom Penh hospital on March 14, 2013.
“Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen asked the United Nations in 1997 for assistance in holding Khmer Rouge leaders accountable – and since then has done everything in his power to stymie the tribunal’s work,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Hun Sen bears primary responsibility for denying justice to the victims of Ieng Sary’s atrocities.”
Khmer Rouge rule under the leadership of Pol Pot, Nuon Chea, Ieng Sary, Khieu Samphan, and others resulted in the deaths of at least 1.7 million Cambodians, about one-quarter of the population. Pol Pot, known as Brother Number One, died in 1998 after years of protection from Thailand and China.
Ieng Sary’s responsibility for the regime’s crimes derived from his position as a Permanent Member of the Khmer Rouge Standing Committee, which formulated policy and oversaw its implementation nation-wide. As Khmer Rouge minister of foreign affairs, he also directly oversaw the purge of ministry officials, sending many accused of treason for torture and execution. He repeatedly endorsed the Khmer Rouge policy that he helped formulate of “smashing” to death all those deemed to be enemies of the radical Khmer Rouge revolution, making baseless claims that those executed were agents of the US Central Intelligence Agency, Soviet KGB, or the Vietnamese Communists. He blamed those who were executed for the policies that brought about mass starvation and death from disease. He also defended the Khmer Rouge’s abusive policies in speeches and communications to the UN.
“It is a sad indictment of the Khmer Rouge tribunal that after more than six years, only one person has been convicted and only two others, Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, remain on trial for Khmer Rouge-era crimes,” Adams said. “Cambodians now face the prospect that only three people will be held legally accountable for the destruction of their country.”
The Tribunal’s Genesis
Negotiations for the establishment of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal began in 1997 when Hun Sen wrote to then-UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan asking for help in establishing a court similar to the International Criminal Courts for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. However, after a UN Group of Experts provided detailed suggestions about how this could be done in order to ensure judicial independence from Cambodia’s politically controlled judiciary, Hun Sen insisted that trials could only be conducted by Cambodian courts. He also rejected a UN proposal for an independent, international prosecutor.
The slow pace of establishing the Tribunal reflected a longstanding policy articulated by Hun Sen during internal discussions with other former Khmer Rouge members at the highest levels in his ruling Cambodian People’s Party. For example, Hun Sen explained in a February 2000 Central Committee meeting of the party that stalling would be his main tactic to assert control over the UN and the tribunal. This allowed the government to play what Cambodian analyst Lao Mong Hay rightly predicted in 2000 would be a long-term “cat and mouse game” to “delay to wear out the patience of the UN.”
In 2002 the UN announced that it was pulling out of negotiations with Hun Sen to create a tribunal. Annan concluded that “interference by the executive with the independence of the judiciary” in Cambodia meant that “established international standards of justice, fairness and due process might therefore not be ensured.” The UN was fully aware that the government would use delaying tactics in negotiations to obtain a court it could control. In February 2002, Hans Corell, the chief UN negotiator, warned that foot-dragging and convoluted judicial decision-making procedures meant the Tribunal would be a “monster court … unable to produce a final judgment” since it was likely that key figures among the accused would die before that happened, given their already advanced age. He also foresaw that this would make it inevitable that the Tribunal would be “extremely costly.”
However, UN member states, led by the US, Japan, France, and Australia, forced the UN to resume negotiations. This led to an agreement to create the Tribunal with a majority of Hun Sen-appointed and controlled judges and a minority of judicial officers nominated by the UN secretary-general. Judges would make some decisions according to a complicated “super-majority” formula that recognized but sought to mitigate the inevitability of government interference in the court.
The UN’s concerns have been proven to be accurate, Human Rights Watch said. Government-installed Cambodian court personnel have obstructed investigations. The government has failed to require its members to provide evidence to the Tribunal’s judicial investigation and trial proceedings. Serious corruption allegations affecting the proceedings have never been adequately investigated. 
Justice Denied
Only one trial of the five people that Hun Sen allowed to be indicted has been completed: Kaing Guek Eav alias Duch, the chairman of the Khmer Rouge S21 Security Office in Phnom Penh known as Tuol Sleng, who confessed to overseeing mass murder and torture there and was convicted of crimes against humanity and war crimes and sentenced to life imprisonment in February 2012. Ieng Thirith, the wife of Ieng Sary and the former Khmer Rouge minister of social action, was ruled unfit for trial in November 2011 due to worsening dementia. She was subsequently released from detention under judicial supervision. Only former Khmer Rouge Deputy Communist Party Secretary Nuon Chea and Central Committee member Khieu Samphan remain on trial.
Meanwhile, Cambodian judges and prosecutors are continuing successfully to block the arrest and indictment of five additional suspects whom UN prosecutors have named as responsible for serious crimes during the Khmer Rouge period. Hun Sen has publicly called for no further trials. For instance, in a March 2009 speech he stated that if attempts were made to expand the number of suspects beyond those he wanted prosecuted, he would instead have the tribunal fail, even if this meant completion only of the trial of Duch and the death of the other four during subsequent proceedings. He also said if such efforts to expand the scope of prosecution persisted, he would “pray for the court to run out of money” as a result of donor country dissatisfaction, and would prefer the departure of the international prosecutor and international judges to trials of additional suspects.
“There are real questions about the purpose of continuing international UN involvement and donor support for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal,” Adams said. “Hun Sen has run circles around the UN and donors while successfully denying justice for the Cambodian people.”
(Human Rights Watch Press Release)

March 14, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Executions by Firing Squad in Saudi Arabia

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has strongly condemned the executions on Wednesday of seven people in Saudi Arabia, saying that “they clearly violate international safeguards in the use of the death penalty.”  The seven men were reportedly arrested in January 2006 and charged with organizing a criminal group, armed robbery and breaking into jewellery stores. They were sentenced to death by a court in Asir province in August 2009, and the sentences were carried out yesterday by firing squad.

“I strongly condemn the execution of these seven men,” High Commissioner Navi Pillay said in a news release.  “Under international safeguards adopted by the United Nations Economic and Social Council, and reaffirmed by the General Assembly, capital punishment may be imposed only for ‘the most serious crimes’ and only after the most rigorous judicial process. As I pointed out to the Government of Saudi Arabia before the men were executed, neither of those fundamental criteria appear to have been fulfilled in these cases.”

“The term ‘most serious crimes’ has been interpreted to mean that the death penalty – in the relatively few countries where it is still used – should only be applied to the crime of murder or intentional killing,” she said.  “In this particular case, no crime of murder or intentional killing was committed. Thus, the use of the death penalty in these seven cases constitutes violations of the international safeguards in the use of the death penalty.”

Ms. Pillay said she is also extremely concerned that the death sentences were imposed largely based on initial confessions allegedly extracted under torture, and that the allegations of torture were not investigated.  Information she had received suggested that the seven accused men had reportedly only made brief appearances before the court, and were not allowed to speak or given adequate opportunities to conduct their defence, she noted. The defendants claimed they were not present at all during the appeal stages and had no defence counsel representing them.  “These serious failings in the process, if confirmed, would constitute violations of international safeguards in the use of death penalty, especially those related to the right to a fair trial and the right to appeal,” Ms. Pillay said.

She urged the Saudi authorities to join the worldwide trend against the death penalty and, as a first step, establish a moratorium on its use.

According to the High Commissioner’s office (OHCHR), a growing number of States – around 150 in all – have either abolished capital punishment or do not practise it. Also, several UN General Assembly resolutions include a call to all States to establish a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty.

In addition to murder, Saudi Arabia applies the death penalty for crimes not considered “serious” under international norms, including drug offences, apostasy, heresy, sorcery and witchcraft. At least 27 people are believed to have been executed so far in 2013, including another two men reportedly executed on Wednesday in Riyadh and Mecca provinces, representing “a major upsurge” compared to recent years, said OHCHR.

(UN Press Release)

March 14, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Recreational Use of Cannabis in United States

Implementing the decisions of popular votes held in the United States in Colorado and Washington to allow for the recreational use of cannabis would be a violation of international laws, the United Nations body tasked with monitoring the production and consumption of narcotics worldwide said today.  The move “would be a violation of international law, namely the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961, to which the United States is party,” the President of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), Raymond Yans, told the 56th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs.

In November 2012, the electorate in Colorado and Washington voted to legalize recreational marijuana use in their states. Medical marijuana businesses operate in Colorado, Washington and 16 other states, but the US Government continues to oppose any decriminalization of the drug. The Office of the U.S. Attorney General said in December 2012 that regardless of any changes in state law, growing, selling or possessing any amount of marijuana remained illegal under federal law.

Mr. Yans called the statement “good but insufficient” and said he hoped that the issue would soon be addressed by the U.S. Government in line with the international drug control treaties.

Based in Vienna, the INCB is an independent and quasi-judicial monitoring body mandated to implement UN international drug control conventions.

(UN Press Release)

March 14, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

ICC Prosecutor Drops Charges Against Muthaura Because Witnesses Have Died, Are Too Afraid to Testify, or Have Been Bribed

The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has filed to drop charges against Francis Muthaura, who was accused of crimes against humanity and other offences allegedly committed following general elections in late 2007, but reiterated that charges remain against the president-elect, Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta.  “This is an exceptional decision.  I did not take it lightly, but I believe it is the right thing to do,” Fatou Bensouda said in a statement.

She said that she had explained to the judge that several people who may have provided important evidence in the case have either died or are too afraid to testify for the Prosecution. Ms. Bensouda also noted that the Prosecution lost the testimony of its key witness “after this witness recanted a crucial part of his evidence, and admitted to us that he had accepted bribes.” In addition, the Prosecutor said it was “disappointing” that the Government of Kenya failed to provide her office with important evidence and failed to facilitate access to critical witnesses.  

More than 1,100 people were killed, 3,500 injured and up to 600,000 forcibly displaced in the violence that followed the December 2007 elections. In January of last year, the ICC said it had established substantial grounds to believe that the crimes of murder, deportation or forcible transfer, rape, other inhumane acts and persecution were committed in an attack on the civilian residents of Nakuru and Naivasha towns between 24 and 28 January 2008.

The Court named Mr. Muthaura criminally responsible for the alleged crimes as an indirect co-perpetrator, alongside Mr. Kenyatta, the deputy Prime Minister and winner of last week’s presidential election.

“Let me be absolutely clear on one point – this decision applies only to Mr. Muthaura. It does not apply to any other case,” the Prosecutor said in her statement. She added that, while aware of political developments in Kenya, “these have no influence, at all, on the decisions that I make as Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.”

Ms. Bensouda said she remained committed to justice for the victims of the 2007-2008 post-election violence. “The real victims of the terrible violence in Kenya five years ago are the men, the women, and the children, who were killed, injured, raped, or forcibly displaced from their homes – and whose voices must not be forgotten,” she noted.

(Adapted from a UN Press Release)

March 14, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

U.N. Expert on Torture Calls for Investigation of Use of Solitary Confinement

The United Nations expert on torture has called on the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to investigate the practise of solitary confinement and its harmful effects in the Americas, particularly in Latin America, and urged stronger regulation of its use.  “I am concerned about the general lack of official information and statistics on the use of solitary confinement,” the Special Rapporteur on torture, Juan E. Méndez, told the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in its first-ever briefing on solitary confinement in the Americas.  “The use of solitary confinement can only be accepted under exceptional circumstances, and should only be applied as a last resort measure in which its length must be as short as possible,” the Special Rapporteur added at the meeting in Washington D.C.

Mr. Méndez warned that there are insufficient safeguard mechanisms in the region for preventing, detecting, and responding to the use of solitary confinement, such as making sure that the prisoners held in solitary confinement retain access to legal counsel and medical assistance.  He also called for the absolute prohibition of solitary confinement for juveniles and persons with mental disabilities and for an equally absolute prohibition on indefinite or prolonged solitary confinement lasting longer than 15 days. “It is important for States to advance in modifying their legislation, policies and practices that are not in accordance with these standards,” he urged.

Mr. Méndez spoke to the Commission, which is part of the Organization of American States, in his capacity as an unpaid independent expert appointed by the UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back on thematic issues.  In a 2011 global report to the UN General Assembly, Mr. Méndez called solitary confinement a “harsh measure which is contrary to rehabilitation, the aim of the penitentiary system.”

(From a UN Press Release)

March 14, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Cambodia Tribunal Defendant "Brother Number Two" Dies

The trial chamber of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) has terminated the proceedings against former foreign minister Ieng Sary, who died this morning after being hospitalized since March 4, 2013. He was on trial on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity committed during the Khmer Rouge regime in the late 1970s.  He had been hospitalized several times since being detained by the Court, and an assessment of his fitness to stand trial by local and international medical experts was scheduled for later this month, according to a statement by the Court.

The ECCC has terminated all criminal and civil actions against him, the ECCC Trial Chamber stated in its decision.

Mr. Sary, former so-called Brother Number Two Nuon Chea, was on trial along with his wife, Ieng Thirith, who formerly served as Social Affairs Minister for the Democratic Kampuchea – as Cambodia was known during the Khmer Rouge regime’s leadership of the country – as well as former head of State Khieu Samphan.

Last September, the Court found Ms. Thirith unfit to stand trial owing to medical reasons and granted her a provisional release. Expert psychiatrists who examined diagnosed her with clinical dementia, most likely Alzheimer’s, which would hinder her participation in court hearings.

Nearly two million people are thought to have died during the Khmer Rouge regime between 1975 and 1979.

(mew) (adapted from a UN Press Release)

March 14, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Chicago International Dispute Resolution Association Board Member Roderic Heard has Died

We have been informed that H. Roderic Heard died last week.  He was a partner in the Chicago office of Barnes & Thornburg, and for many years before that, a partner at the lawfirm Wildman, Harrold, Allen & Dixon.  Rod was an enthusiastic advocate for alternative dispute resolution and an engaged participant in programs of the Chicago International Dispute Reoslution Association (CIDRA). With his wife Susan Walker, he was a dedicated teacher of ADR at Northwestern University Law School.  Rod and Susan were also authors (with another CIDRA stalwart, Jack Cooley) of the 2011 treatise, International Commercial Arbitration Advocacy.  

We extend our sympathies to his wife Susan, their family, and to the many friends and colleagues who knew him.  Thank you to Peter Baugher who shared the news with us.



March 14, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Women's Political Rights Around the World

In honor of the International Women's Day, check out this interactive map of the world which depicts women's poltical rights in various countries, such as when women received the right to vote, when women gained the right to stand for an election and when the first woman was elected to public office.

The map can be found here.


March 9, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, March 8, 2013

Program for Global Legal Skills Conference in Costa Rica

San Jose Opera House PhotoThe 8th Global Legal Skills Conference is being held next week at the Holiday Inn Aurola in Downtown San José, Costa Rica (Central America).  Participants are expected from Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Italy, Japan, Mexico, and from across the United States. The conference is organized through The John Marshall Law School in Chicago, where it first originated.  

This year's Global Legal Skills conference (the second to be held in Costa Rica) includes a "legal field trip" with visits to:

Other special features of this year's conference include a plenary session to introduce law and legal education in Costa Rica and Central America and two contract negotiations workshops (one in Spanish for English speakers and one in English for Spanish speakers).  The conference is being held during the week of the Central American Games, so it will be an especially exciting time to be in Costa Rica.

Click here to Download the latest version of the Conference Program.   Download GLS-8 Program Version 2.2

Conference registration information is available by clicking here.

The 2014 Global Legal Skills Conference will be held in Verona, Italy.

Mark E. Wojcik

March 8, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Happy International Women's Day

We wish all of our blog readers a happy International Women's Day!


March 7, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Guantanamo Bay Symposium Examines Future for Detainees

2013-2-22-1_0522On February 22, the Southern Illinois University School of Law was privileged to host a distinguished panel of scholars and attorneys who considered the continuing legal issues surrounding Guantanamo Bay.  Professor Cindy Buys of Southern Illinois University School of Law began the symposium with a discussion of the case of Djamel Ameziane, an Algerian who has been held at Guantanamo for over 11 years without formal charges or a trial.  She considered the potential impact of his petition to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on U.S. detention policies.  Professor Michael Strauss of the Center for Diplomatic and Strategic Studies in Paris, France spoke next. He provided a history of the lease agreement between the United States and Cuba for Guantanamo Bay and raised questions regarding Cuba's responsibility under international law for U.S. activities at Guantanamo in light of Cuba's ultimate sovereignty over the land.  Professor Eric Jenson of Brigham Young University rounded out the first panel with a discussion of the impact of President Obama's State of the Union speech in which he declared that the conflict in Aghanistan would be over in 2014.  Given that internaiotnal law allows detainees to be held for the duration of hostilities, Professor Jenson questioned what the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan would mean for detainees who were captured as part of that conflict.

Professor Benjamin Davis of the University of Toledo College of Law led off the second panel with a discussion of his impressions as an offical Department of Defense Observer of the military commission trials at Guantanamo Bay.  He raised questions regarding the legitimacy of those processes.  He was followed by Professor David Frakt, Visiting Professor at the University of Pittsburg School of Law.  Professor Frakt highlighted separation of powers issues connected to Congressional attempts to tie the President's hands with respect to what he may do to close down Guantanamo Bay.

William Lietzau, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Rule of Law and Detainee Policy at the U.S. Department of Defense was the keynote speaker.  Assistant Secretary Lietzau (pictured here) described the view of the U.S. government regarding the dichotomy between international humanitarian law, which applies to armed conflict, and international human rights law, which applies in time of peace.  2013-2-22-1_0518 

The third and final panel began with Capt. Edward White, U.S. Navy JAGC, who is head of the Motions and Appeals Section of the Chief Prosecutor, Department of Defense Office of Military Commissions.  Capt. White provided a brief historical perspective on military commission trials and reviewed some of evidentiary and procedural rules governing the current trials at Guantanamo Bay.  Professor Christopher Behan of Southern Illinois University spoke next and also addressed some of the evidentiary rules and their impact on the conduct of the military commission trials.  Finally, Professor David Glazier of Loyola Law School of Los Angeles, concluded the symposium with critiques regarding the failings of the military commission trials.

For those interested in learning more, the speakers' papers will be published in an upcoming issue of the Southern Illinios University Law Journal.  Many thanks to the speakers, moderators, students and staff who made this important and timely event possible.



March 7, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Grants for Law Librarians

The Foreign, Comparative and International Law Special Interest Section (FCIL-SIS) of the American Association of Law Libraries is now accepting applications for the 2013 FCIL Schaffer Grant for Foreign Law Librarians.  The application deadline for the 2013 FCIL Schaffer Grant for Foreign Law Librarians has been extended to March 15, 2013. 

The FCIL Schaffer Grant for the AALL Annual Meeting in Seattle, Washington (July 13-16, 2013) provides a waiver of the AALL Annual Meeting full registration fee and a grant of a minimum $2,000 to assist with accommodations and travel costs.  Applicants must be law librarians or other professionals working in the legal information field, currently employed in countries other than the United States, and with significant responsibility for the organization, preservation, or provision of legal information. The new application deadline is March 15, 2013. The Grant Committee will not consider late or incomplete applications.

Details regarding the FCIL Schaffer Grant for Foreign Law Librarians as well as the application form can be found by clicking here.

Hat tip to Gabriela Femenia.


March 7, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Latvia Submits Request to Join Euro in 2014

LatviaFlagThe Latvian government has formally requested the European Union (EU) Commission to assess its readiness to join the euro as of January 1, 2014.  Latvia's economy suffered badly during the recent recession, but it has now recovered to the point where it has the highest GDP growth rate (5.5% in 2012) and the second highest export rate in the EU.  Its budget deficit was 1.5 percent of its gross domestic product in 2012 and is predicted to fall further.  If Latvia is accepted into the eurozone, it will become the 18th member state.

The economic picture is not entirely rosy, however.  Latvia's GDP shrank by approximately 20% between 2008 and 2010 and still has not recovered to pre-recession levels. While the unemployment rate has fallen from a high of 20% during the recession, it remains high at 14%.  There is significant internal opposition to joining the Euro as well.  According to news reports, as much as two-thirds of the population is opposed to adopting the euro due to concerns about higher prices and less local control over the economy.  While Latvia is not required to hold a public referendum on the issue, the level of public support is a factor taken into consideration in assessing the bid.

The EU Commission and the European Central Bank are expected to publish a report on Latvia's readiness to join the euro in June.  A decision could come as early as July.


March 6, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Amann Speaks on International Criminal Law

AmannDiane Marie Amann, the Woodruff Chair in International Law at the University of Georgia, spoke today at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago on the topic of international criminal law.  She compared judgements from various criminal trials focusing on the different verdicts, opinions, and evidentiary standards.  The program was well attended, particularly considering that Chicago is being hit right now by a major snow storm.  

Diane Marie Amann teaches Public International Law, International Criminal Law and the Laws of War at the University of Georgia. She also serves as the International Criminal Court Prosecutor’s Special Adviser on Children in Armed Conflict.  The author of more than four dozen publications in English, French and Italian, Amann focuses her scholarship on the ways that national, regional and international legal regimes interact as they endeavor to combat atrocity and cross-border crime. She joined the Georgia Law faculty in 2011 from the University of California-Davis, where she was a professor of law, the founding director of the California International Law Center and a Martin Luther King Jr. Hall Research Scholar, and from which she received the Distinguished Teaching Award and the Homer Angelo Award for Outstanding Contributions to International Law. She has also served as a visiting professor at the University of California-Berkeley, at the University of California-Los Angeles and at the Irish Centre for Human Rights at the National University of Ireland-Galway, and as a professeur invitée at the Université de Paris 1 (Panthéon-Sorbonne).

In 2010, Professor Amann received the prestigious Mayre Rasmussen Award for the Advancement of Women in International Law, an award presented by the American Bar Association Section of International Law.  She also previously chaired the Association of American Law Schools Section on International Law.

Professor Amann is pictured here with me (Mark Wojcik), Professor Shahram Dana, and Associate Dean Ralph Ruebner of The John Marshall Law School in Chicago.

Mark E Wojcik (mew)

March 5, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

St. Petersburg (Russia) International Legal Forum

The third St. Petersburg International Legal Forum (being held from May 15-18, 2013) will explore the role of law in ensuring the development of society, the state and the economy. More than 40 discussion sessions, politicians, lawyers, and economists from around the world will debate key questions in the domains of law, business, politics and culture.  And they'll probably have a pretty good time doing all of that.  Click here for more details.



March 5, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, March 4, 2013

ASIL Reports on International Organizations

The International Organizations Interest Group (IOIG) of the American Society of International Law (ASIL) announced the release of the ASIL Reports on International Organizations (RIO) for 2012.  These 11 new reports provide insights into significant recent developments in international organizations. Click here to have a look.

Hat tips to Tania Voon, Richard Burchill, Djurdja Lazic, Devon Whittle, Konstaninos Magliveras, Diego German Mejía-Lemos, Claudia Nannini, Martin Aquilina, Bridie McAsey, Sharifah Sekalala, Jillian Blake, Kathleen Clausen, and John Carey.


March 4, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Free Legal Research on the Internet

The Blog for the Law Library of Congress ("In Custodia Legis") has a useful post on "How to Locate Free Caselaw on the Internet."  Click here.

Mark E. Wojcik (mew)

March 3, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, March 2, 2013

International Journal for Court Administration

The latest issue of the International Journal for Court Administration has just been published online.  Have a look at the contents by clicking here.  Articles include:

If any of those article links don't work, go to the website of the International Association for Court Administration. You might want to get involved in the group now -- they are planning a conference in 2014 in Australia.  Click here for more information about the IACA and their 2014 Conference.

Hat tip to IJCA Executive Editor Markus Zimmer.


March 2, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, March 1, 2013

Friday Fun: Law School Parody Music Video

Chocolate Ghost House has produced a "Law School" parody of the song "Payphone" by Maroon 5.  You don't need to know that song to enjoy this video (4 minutes, 18 seconds of non-stop smiles for you!). Congratulations to Tyler Murray and all of the students at West Virginia University College of Law who made this video.  

A challenge to international law students: how about a video on doing international moot court?


Hat tips to Law School Memes and Grace Wigal.


March 1, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)