Saturday, January 31, 2015

Free Webinar from the Office of the Legal Adviser of the U.S. Department of State

The American Bar Association Section of International Law will present the fifth annual "Live from L" program, a unique opportunity for international lawyers and students of international law to hear directly from the Office of the Legal Adviser of the U.S. Department of State.  The program will be held on Thursday, February 12th, 2015 from 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM US Eastern Standard Time.

The focus of the program will be on "The Role of the Law in the Fight Against ISIL: Use of Force, Sanctions, and Foreign Terrorist Fighters"

The webcast with the Office of the Legal Adviser will be held at the Jacob Burns Moot Courtroom of the George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C.  The event with the ABA Section of Internaitonal Law is also cosponsored by the American Society of International Law, the George Washington University Law School, and the Women's Bar Assoication of the District of Columbia


  • Mary E. McLeod, Acting Legal Adviser, U.S. Department of State
  • Joshua L. Dorosin, Assistant Legal Adviser, Office of Political-Military Affairs
  • David M. DeBartolo, Attorney Adviser, Office of United Nations Affairs
  • Michael J. Gilles, Attorney Adviser, Office of Economic and Business Affairs
  • Samuel W. McDonald, Attorney Adviser, Office of Law Enforcement and Intelligence


  • Susan L. Karamanian, Associate Dean for International and Comparative Legal Studies, George Washington University Law School 

You can attend the program in person (free!) at George Washington University Law School or from anywhere by webcast (free!) or by teleconference (hey, sorry, that's $15.00, but that's not so much). Click here for registration information.


January 31, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

UN Security Council Keeps an Eye on Haiti

Members of the Security Council heard briefings this week from the co-leads of a trip taken by the body to Haiti, where they saw first-hand the critical work being done by the United Nations Mission there in support of a better future for the country’s people.

Ambassador Samantha Power, Permanent Representative of the United States, said the visit, which Council members carried out from 23 to 25 January, included meetings with political leaders, civil society and United Nations representatives, and had shed important light on the situation as the country headed towards elections.

“Checks and balances are key,” Ms. Power said, as she described how encouraged she was by President Michel Martelly’s efforts in leading a multi-party Government and noted that Council members had been impressed by the newly-formed provisional electoral council’s commitment to independence.

She said she remained concerned about the loss of the check on presidential power and called on all sides to redouble their efforts for constructive dialogue with an aim to ensure free and fair elections.

Ambassador Cristián Barros Melet, Permanent Representative of Chile, which holds the Council presidency for January, echoed Ms. Powers’ views on the contribution made by the UN stabilization mission (MINUSTAH) through its various projects to the prospect of a brighter future for Haitians.

He said the “fundamental goal” of the Council’s trip was to underscore the importance of an inclusive atmosphere for stability and to promote the prevention of conflict. Council members urged the various actors to work together to hold legislative elections that were free, fair, inclusive, transparent and in the interests of the people of Haiti.

Members also had the chance to assess initiatives undertaken to strengthen the national police of Haiti and to promote more responsibility in the State and national authorities. They had recognised progress achieved while also stressing that it remains one of main areas where challenges remain, with particular significance as elections approach.

The visit to a women’s prison in Pétionville showed Council members how clear the need for progress in guaranteeing the rule of law, including access to justice, was for Haitians, Mr. Barros Melet said, noting that the trip had also given members a chance to evaluate the implementation of resolution 2180 (2014).

Both briefers discussed the visit to the country’s national memorial for all those who lost their lives during the 2010 earthquake, with Ms. Powers noting how moving the tribute – “a large piece of rubble which stands as a stark symbol of all that was destroyed” – was, and Mr. Barros Melet stressing how the Haitian people had shown resilience in the five years since the devastation of the earthquake.

(adapted from a UN press release) 



January 31, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Call for Presenters: Global Legal Skills Conference

The Global Legal Skills conference, in its 10th year, will be held in Chicago, the city of its origin. The Conference began in Chicago at The John Marshall Law School, where it was held three times. It has also traveled to Mexico (twice), to Costa Rica (twice), to Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C., and most recently to the University of Verona Faculty of Law in Verona, Italy.

This year’s conference (GLS 10) will be held at The John Marshall Law School for the first two days and will be hosted at Northwestern University School of Law for its final day. The two schools are within walking distance and are also served by subway line.  The conference is also co-sponsored this year by the Facultad Libre de Derecho de Monterrey.

This message invites proposals for presentations. Proposals should be for a 25-minute presentation (for one or two people) or an interactive group panel presentation (no more than four panelists) of 75-minutes (including audience participation).

The conference audience will include legal writing professionals, international and comparative law professors, clinical professors and others involved in skills education, law school administrators, law librarians, and ESL/EFL professors and scholars. Also attending will be faculty members teaching general law subjects with a transnational or international component. Attendees have also included judges, lawyers, court translators, and others involved in international and transnational law. Attendees come from around the world, and as many as 35 countries have been represented in past conferences.

Please submit a proposal on any aspect of Global Legal Skills, including experiential learning, distance education, comparative law, international law, course design and materials, teaching methods, and opportunities for teaching abroad and in the United States. However, because the conference focuses on legal skills for a global audience, please tailor your proposal accordingly.

The schedule for GLS 10 will allow for professional networking opportunities and development and also a chance to take in the many sites (and excellent restaurants!) Chicago has to offer. Chicago is served by two airports, O’Hare and Midway, making travel to the city easy. The timing of the conference (the week before Memorial Day weekend) is intended to allow you to spend extra time exploring Chicago and its environs at a time when the temperatures are moderate and the skies are clear.

This is a self-funded academic conference, and as in past years, presenters will be asked to pay the registration fee of $225.00. A small number of need-based scholarships will also be available, especially for participants from outside the United States. Additional tickets for family members and friends will also be available for the walking tour, law school reception, and Union League Club Gala Dinner. Chicago in the springtime is a great travel destination for families where they can enjoy Millennium Park, two world class zoos, and the amazing Museum Campus.

You may submit more than one proposal but because of high demand for speaking slots you will only be allowed to speak on one panel.

Please send program proposals to [email protected]. You can also send a copy to Lurene Contento (Program Chair of GLS 10). Her email is [email protected].

Please include “GLS 10 Proposal” in the subject line. Then, list the names and institutional affiliations of presenters, the title of your presentation, a brief summary of your presentation, the format you would prefer (25 minutes or 75 minutes), and the target audience.

The first deadline for submitting a proposal is February 12, 2015. If you submit your proposal by this date, the program committee will notify presenters of acceptance no later than March 6, so that you can make appropriate travel and hotel arrangements. You will find travel information and more conference information on our website, Additional proposals will be accepted through April 15 if additional speaking slots are available.

Spanish Language CLE Proposals

You may also submit proposals for CLE presentations in Spanish. A Spanish-language CLE track will include sessions for attorneys, law students, and court translators. Persons submitting proposals for presentations in Spanish may also submit a proposal in English as an exception to the single presentation rule. Proposals are sought on topics such as “Introduction to Mexican Law,” “Understanding the Amparo,” and “Latin American Corporation Law.”

Scholars’ Forum (Tues. May 19, 2015)

A one-day scholars’ forum is also planned for May 19th, the day before the GLS conference begins. Participation in this forum will be limited to 16 persons and will include special sessions on international legal research as well as the presentation of papers and works-in-progress. For more information about the Scholars’ Forum, send an email to Prof. Mark E. Wojcik at [email protected] with the title of your proposed work. Registration for the scholars’ forum is at this link:

We hope to see you in Chicago this May for the 10th anniversary of the Global Legal Skills Conference!

Thank you,

Prof. Mark E. Wojcik, Chair, Global Legal Skills Conference
Prof. Lurene Contento, Chair GLS 10 Program Committee, The John Marshall Law School

January 29, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

French Court of Cassation Rules that French Marriage Equality Law Trumps a Treaty with Morocco

The French Court of Cassation ruled yesterday that the French Equal Marriage Law--which recognizes same-sex marriage--trumps a treaty that France has with Morocco in which France agreed to be bound by Moroccan marriage laws. 

One media report says that Morocco is one of 11 nations that have similar treaties with France and that do not recognize same-sex marriage.  Those nations include Laos and Poland.  Click here to read more.

The case isArrêt n° 96 du 28 janvier 2015 (13-50.059) - Cour de cassation - Première chambre civile - ECLI:FR:CCASS:2015:C100096. Click here to read more about the case (in French).


h/t rw




January 29, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

WTO DSB Adopts Appellate Body Report on Argentina-Import Measures

On January 26, the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) adopted the Appellate Body report in the case “Argentina –Measures Affecting the Importation of Goods” (DS438, DS444, DS445). The co-complainants in this case were the European Union, Japan and the United States. 

The  co-complainants welcomed the  finding that Argentina's measures were in clear breach of its WTO  obligations. The measures at issue were "the unwritten trade-related  requirements measure (such as a request to  importing companies to export at least as much as they import or to increase the local content of products made in Argentina), and the Advance  Sworn Import Declaration procedure (which does  not automatically lead to a right to import and constitutes an import  restriction)."  These measures were found to constitute restrictions on the importation of goods and to be inconsistent with the General  Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) 1994.

Several of the complainants and third party states also expressed concern once again about the delays in the Appellate Body's work and its failure to consult the parties regarding the delays, which is a departure from previous practice. This is an issue that will require further consideration and action.



January 29, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

2015 Jessup Results: Chile

ChileResults are starting to come in for the 2015 National and Regional Rounds of the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition, the world's largest moot court competiition.

Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile has won the  2015 Chile Round. 

See you in Washington D.C. for the White & Case international rounds!


January 28, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Career Advice for Intenational Lawyers and Law Students

Here's a link to an article of mine from the ILSA Journal of International and Comparative Law that may include some useful career advice.  It's on the Social Science Research Network (an often-overlooked and highly useful source for legal research if you don't know it).  Create a free account and download the article to read it.

Practical Career Advice for Young International Lawyers: How to Build a Killer Resume, Network Effectively, Create Your Own Opportunities, and Live Happily Ever After


January 28, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

ICJ to Deliver Judgment in Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Croatia v. Serbia)

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has announced it will deliver its judgment in the case concerning the Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Croatia v. Serbia) on Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015.

A public sitting will take place at 10 a.m. (The Hague time) in the Great Hall of Justice at the Peace Palace, The Hague, seat of the Court, during which the President of the Court, Judge Peter Tomka, will read the Court’s Judgment.

More information may be found on the ICJ website.


January 27, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Public Able to View Oral Hearing in WTO US-COOL Dispute

Following a request from Canada and the United States, two of the participants in “United States – Certain Country of Origin Labelling (COOL) Requirements – Recourse to Article 21.5 of the DSU by Canada and Mexico” (WT/DS384, WT/DS386), the WTO Appellate Body has decided to open the oral hearing on 16  and 17 February 2015 to public observation via simultaneous closed-circuit broadcast to a separate viewing room in the WTO headquarters in Geneva.  Space is limited, so persons wishing to view the hearing must pre-register here by February 4.  Space will be allocated on a first come, first serve basis.


January 27, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Live From "L" -- The Role of Law in Fighting ISIL

The American Bar Association Section of International Law will present the fifth annual "Live from L" program, a unique opportunity for international lawyers and students of international law to hear directly from the Office of the Legal Adviser of the U.S. Department of State.  The program will be held on Thursday, February 12th, 2015 from 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM US Eastern Standard Time.

The focus of the program will be on "The Role of the Law in the Fight Against ISIL: Use of Force, Sanctions, and Foreign Terrorist Fighters"

The webcast with the Office of the Legal Adviser will be held at the Jacob Burns Moot Courtroom of the George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C.  The event with the ABA Section of Internaitonal Law is also cosponsored by the American Society of International Law, the George Washington University Law School, and the Women's Bar Assoication of the District of Columbia


  • Mary E. McLeod, Acting Legal Adviser, U.S. Department of State
  • Joshua L. Dorosin, Assistant Legal Adviser, Office of Political-Military Affairs
  • David M. DeBartolo, Attorney Adviser, Office of United Nations Affairs
  • Michael J. Gilles, Attorney Adviser, Office of Economic and Business Affairs
  • Samuel W. McDonald, Attorney Adviser, Office of Law Enforcement and Intelligence


  • Susan L. Karamanian, Associate Dean for International and Comparative Legal Studies, George Washington University Law School 

You can attend the program in person at George Washington University Law School or from anywhere by webcast or by teleconference. Click here for registration information.


January 25, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Lord’s Resistance Army Commander Dominic Ongwen is Transferred to the International Criminal Court for Prosecution on Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes in Uganda

International Criminal CourtFollowing his surrender on January 6, 2015, Senior Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) commander Dominic Ongwen has been transferred to the International Criminal Court (ICC).  In 2005, 6he ICC had issued a warrant for his arrest for war crimes committed in Uganda. 

Mr. Ongwen is being brought to the ICC detention centre in the Netherlands. Upon arrival, Mr. Ongwen will receive a medical visit and will appear with defense counsel before the court.

In a statement released by the U.N. Secretary-General’s spokesperson, Mr. Ban highlighted that Mr. Ongwen's transfer to the ICC marks an ‘important milestone in accountability,’ with the first LRA commander being brought before the Court.  “It is a step forward in efforts to bring justice to the thousands of victims of LRA violence in Uganda, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and CAR [Central African Republic] over the past 28 years,” the UN chief said.

The Secretary-General welcomed the cooperation among the Governments of the Central African Republic, Uganda, the United States, Belgium, and the Netherlands, and the support provided by the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), the African Union Regional Task Force (AU-RTF), and the ICC in facilitating the expeditious transfer of Mr. Ongwen to The Hague.

Mr. Ban also paid tribute to the efforts of the AU-RTF and urged all troop-contributing countries of the region to remain committed to ending the threat posed by the LRA and bringing to justice LRA leader Joseph Kony. He called on the LRA to immediately disarm.

Mr. Ongwen, who was transferred to ICC custody on January 17, 2015, was the alleged Commander of the LRA's Sinia Brigade. On July 8, 2005, ICC Judges issued an arrest warrant against Mr. Ongwen for these crimes:

  • three counts of crimes against humanity (murder; enslavement; inhumane acts of inflicting serious bodily injury and suffering), and
  • four counts of war crimes (murder; cruel treatment of civilians; intentionally directing an attack against a civilian population; pillaging)

allegedly committed in 2004 within the context of the situation in Uganda.

He is part of a case that is also filed against Joseph Kony, Vincent Otti and Okot Odhiambo.

During the initial appearance hearing, the Judges of Pre-Trial Chamber II will verify the identity of the suspect and the language in which he can follow the proceedings. Mr Ongwen will be informed of the charges against him. The Judges will also schedule a date for the opening of the confirmation of charges hearing, a preliminary step to decide whether the case will be referred to a trial or not.

In a statement from ICC, the President of the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) to the Court’s founding Rome Statute, Minister Sidiki Kab, said that Mr. Ongwen’s transfer to the custody of the Court constituted an important success for the Rome Statute system.

“The affected communities will have the opportunity to see international justice address the horrific violence that took place in Uganda. I join the Court in its appreciation to all those States and organizations whose cooperation made possible the successful implementation of the Court's decisions,” Mr. Kaba emphasized.

(mew) (adapted from a UN press release; Photo: ICC-CPI/Max Koot courtesy of the United Nations)

January 25, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Experts to Review UN Peacekeeping

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has nominated an Advisory Group of Experts to conduct a policy and institutional review of the peacebuilding architecture and then to develop recommendations based on this work. The seven experts named to the group are:

  • Mr. Anis Bajwa (Pakistan);
  • Saraswathi Menon (India);
  • Ms. Funmi Olonisakin (Nigeria);
  • Mr. Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah (Mauritania);
  • Mr. Charles Petrie (France);
  • Mr. Gert Rosenthal (Guatemala); and
  • Ms. Edith Grace Ssempala (Uganda).

On 15 December, the Presidents of the General Assembly and the Security Council asked the Secretary-General to nominate up to seven experts to form an Advisory Group on the review of the peacebuilding architecture. In accordance with the Terms of Reference endorsed by both the General Assembly and the Security Council, the Advisory Group of Experts will undertake country studies in these countries:

  • Burundi,
  • Central African Republic,
  • Sierra Leone,
  • South Sudan, and
  • Timor-Leste.

The Advisory Group of Experts is expected to submit a report to the General Assembly and the Security Council for consideration through an intergovernmental process managed by co-facilitators appointed by the two principal organs. The intergovernmental process should be concluded with a concurrent decision by both organs before the end of 2015.

(mew) (adapted from a UN press release)

January 25, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

French Constitutional Council Upholds Loss of French Citizenship for a Dual National Convicted of Participating in a "Criminal Conspiracy with a Terrorist Undertaking"

The Constitutional Council of France (the Conseil Constitutionnel) is the highest constitutional authority in France. It was established in 1958 by the Constitution of the Fifth Republic.  The main activity of this council is to determine a priori whether proposed statutes conform to the French Constitution after they have been approved by Parliament and before they are signed into law by the President of the Republic. It also provides constitutional review of European Community Primary and Secondary Legislation.  Since March 1, 2010, individual citizens who are party to a trial or lawsuit can also ask for the Council to review whether the law applied in the case is constitutional.  The Constitutional Council has also reviewed treaties, such as whether France could join international treaties such the Rome Statute establishing the International Criminal Court.  Click here to read more about decisions of the Constitutional Council (some of the decisions are translated into English).

Last week the Constitutional Council ruled that Ahmed Sahnouni, a Moroccan man who became a French national in 2003, could be deprived of his French nationality because he had been sentenced to seven years in prison for participating in "a criminal conspiracy with a terrorist undertaking."  Because he lost his French nationality, he can be deported to Morocco where he may face a 20-year prison sentence on similar charges. 

French law allows authorities to strip a dual national of French citizenship "if he or she has been convicted on charges of terrorism either before becoming a citizen, or within 15 years of becoming a citizen." Maia de la Baume, France: Loss of Citizenship Upheld in Terrorism Case, N.Y. Times, Jan. 24, 2015, at A7.

The opinion in Décision n° 2014-439 QPC du 23 janvier 2015 (M. Ahmed S. [Déchéance de nationalité]) can be found by clicking here.

Here's an excerpt:

17. Considérant qu'aux termes de l'article 8 de la Déclaration de 1789 : « La loi ne doit établir que des peines strictement et évidemment nécessaires, et nul ne peut être puni qu'en vertu d'une loi établie et promulguée antérieurement au délit, et légalement appliquée » ; que les principes énoncés par cet article s'appliquent non seulement aux peines prononcées par les juridictions répressives mais aussi à toute sanction ayant le caractère d'une punition ;

18. Considérant que l'article 61-1 de la Constitution ne confère pas au Conseil constitutionnel un pouvoir général d'appréciation et de décision de même nature que celui du Parlement, mais lui donne seulement compétence pour se prononcer sur la conformité des dispositions législatives soumises à son examen aux droits et libertés que la Constitution garantit ; que, si la nécessité des peines attachées aux infractions relève du pouvoir d'appréciation du législateur, il incombe au Conseil constitutionnel de s'assurer de l'absence de disproportion manifeste entre l'infraction et la peine encourue ;

19. Considérant que les dispositions contestées subordonnent la déchéance de nationalité à la condition que la personne a été condamnée pour des actes de terrorisme ; qu'elles ne peuvent conduire à ce que la personne soit rendue apatride ; qu'eu égard à la gravité toute particulière que revêtent par nature les actes de terrorisme, les dispositions contestées instituent une sanction ayant le caractère d'une punition qui n'est pas manifestement disproportionnée ; que, dès lors, le grief tiré de la méconnaissance des exigences de l'article 8 de la Déclaration de 1789 doit être écarté ;

. En ce qui concerne les autres griefs :

20. Considérant qu'il est à tout moment loisible au législateur, statuant dans le domaine de sa compétence, de modifier des textes antérieurs ou d'abroger ceux-ci en leur substituant, le cas échéant, d'autres dispositions ; que, ce faisant, il ne saurait toutefois priver de garanties légales des exigences constitutionnelles ; qu'en particulier, il méconnaîtrait la garantie des droits proclamée par l'article 16 de la Déclaration de 1789 s'il portait aux situations légalement acquises une atteinte qui ne soit justifiée par un motif d'intérêt général suffisant ;

21. Considérant qu'en fixant les conditions dans lesquelles l'acquisition de la nationalité peut être remise en cause, les dispositions contestées ne portent pas atteinte à une situation légalement acquise ;

22. Considérant que la déchéance de la nationalité d'une personne ne met pas en cause son droit au respect de la vie privée ; que, par suite, le grief tiré de l'atteinte au respect de la vie privée est inopérant ;

23. Considérant que les dispositions contestées, qui ne sont en tout état de cause pas entachées d'inintelligibilité, ne sont contraires à aucun autre droit ou liberté que la Constitution garantit ; qu'elles doivent être déclarées conformes à la Constitution,

D É C I D E :

Article 1er.- Les mots « ou pour un crime ou un délit constituant un acte de terrorisme » figurant au 1° de l'article 25 et l'article 25-1 du code civil sont conformes à la Constitution.

Article 2 - La présente décision sera publiée au Journal officiel de la République française et notifiée dans les conditions prévues à l'article 23-11 de l'ordonnance du 7 novembre 1958 susvisée.

Professor Ken Gallant notes this decision applies only to naturalized citizens (para. 19) and only when they will not be rendered stateless. It does not appear to apply to denationalizing persons born to French nationality.



January 25, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, January 23, 2015


David Gantz Ralph FolsomProfessor David A. Gantz, Director of the International Trade Law Program at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law and Professor Ralph H. Folsom of the University of San Diego School of Law are speaking today at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago.  Their topic is the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP).  The program is sponsored by The John Marshall Law School Center for International Law. This year's presentation marks the 14th Annual Folsom Lecture on International Business and Trade Law.

Given the problems in mulitlateral trade negotiations through the World Trade Organization, international trade negotiations in the next years may focus more on regional trade agreements and unilateral market opening measures. More than 400 Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and Customs Unions (CUs) have been concluded and many more are under negotiation, including the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Partnership (CETA), the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP), the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

The well-attended presentation and discussion focused on CETA and T-TIP, including the negotiations, political risks, effect of Chinese participation, rules of origin, data protection, intellectual property issues, agricultural market access, labor and enforcement issues, and dispute resolution.


January 23, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Nepal Fails to Meet Deadline for Drafting New Constitution

Nepal has failed to meet a deadline for drafting a new Constitution.   Reports from Nepal are that a late-night session of parliament had to be ended when politicians started throwing microphones and shoes at each other, and that authorities have deployed more than a thousand police officers to guard the parliament builing.  A report from Al-Jazeera describes some of the background of the constituional crises:

A new constitution is widely seen as crucial to ending the instability that has plagued Nepal since the end of a civil war in 2006, when Maoist guerrillas entered politics, ending a decade-long insurgency that left an estimated 16,000 people dead.

Six prime ministers and two elections later, discord between the opposition Maoists and ruling parties has intensified, paralysing the drafting process.

Landlocked Nepal has been in political limbo since 2008, when it's 239-year-old monarchy was abolished. An interim constitution was put in place a year earlier at the end of a civil war fought by Maoist rebels.

Click here to read the full story.


January 23, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Former ICJ Judge Talks About His Experiences as a Child Who Survived Auschwitz

Thomas Buergenthal, a former judge of the International Court of Justice, shares his astonishing experiences as a young boy in his memoir A Lucky Child. He arrived at Auschwitz at age 10 after surviving two ghettos and a labor camp. Separated first from his mother and then his father, Buergenthal managed by his wits and some remarkable strokes of luck to survive on his own. Almost two years after his liberation, Buergenthal was miraculously reunited with his mother and in 1951 arrived in the U.S. to start a new life. 

Now dedicated to helping those subjected to tyranny throughout the world, Buergenthal writes his story with a simple clarity that highlights the stark details of unimaginable hardship. Considered one of the world’s leading international human rights experts, Professor Buergenthal served as a judge on the International Court of Justice from 2000 to 2010 and was Dean at the Washington College of Law from 1980 to 1985.  He was a Judge and President of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights as well as President of the Administrative Tribunal of the Inter-American Development Bank, and a member of the UN Human Rights Committee and the UN Truth Commission for El Salvador. He is a member of the Ethics Commission of the International Olympic Committee and the honorary president of the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights in San José, Costa Rica.

His book A Lucky Child: A Memoir of Surviving Auschwitz is available in English and German (and possibly other languages, but I've only seen it in English and German. 

Judge Buergenthal will discuss his book and his experiences at the American University Washington College of Law on February 2, 2015 from 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm. The law school is located at 4801 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC, 20016 and the event will be held on the 6th Floor in Room 603

Claudio Grossman, Dean of the American University Washington College of Law, will do the welcome and introduction. Professor Peter Jaszi of the American University Washington College of Law will lead the questions.  Contact the law school for information on how to register for and attend the event.



January 23, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Gay Men Thrown to Their Deaths from the Top of Building After Being Accused of Homosexual Acts; Woman Stoned to Death for Alleged Adultery; Other Punishments of Unlawful Courts Under the Control of Islamic State

The United Nations human rights office has confirmed this week that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has established unlawful, so-called ‘shari’a courts’ in the territory under its control that have been carrying out cruel and inhuman punishments against men, women and children.

Those who are punished are accused of ‘violating the group’s extremist interpretations of Islamic shari’a law or for suspected disloyalty,’ said Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), at a Geneva briefing earlier this week.

“The ruthless murder of two men, who were thrown off the top of a building after having been accused of homosexual acts by a so-called court in Mosul, is another terrible example of the kind of monstrous disregard for human life that characterised ISIL’s reign of terror over areas of Iraq that were under the group’s control,” she added.

Last week, ISIL also posted photos on the web of two men being ‘crucified’ after they were accused of banditry. The men were hung up by their arms and then shot dead. Photos were also posted of a woman being stoned to death, allegedly for adultery.

OHCHR has received numerous other reports of women who had been executed by ISIL in Mosul and other areas under the group’s control, often immediately following sentences passed by its ‘shari’a courts.’

“Educated, professional women, particularly women who had run as candidates in elections for public office seem to be particularly at risk. In just the first two weeks of the year, reports indicated that three female lawyers were executed,” said Ms. Shamdasani.

Other civilians who are suspected of violating ISIL’s rules, or who are suspected of supporting the Government of Iraq, have also been victims. Four doctors were recently killed in central Mosul, allegedly after refusing to treat ISIL fighters. On 1 January, ISIL reportedly executed 15 civilians from the Jumaili Sunni Arab tribe in al-Shihabi area, Garma district, Fallujah.

“They were apparently shot dead in front of a large crowd for their suspected cooperation with Iraqi Security Forces. In another incident, on 9 January, ISIL executed at least 14 men in a public square in Dour, north of Tikrit, for refusing to pledge allegiance to it,” Ms. Shamdasani confirmed.

OHCHR has also been following reports of the release of a group of sick and elderly Yazidis, which included accounts that a ransom was paid. There are also reports that a ransom has been demanded made for Japanese hostages. The Japanese Government is in the process of verifying whether the video of the hostages is authentic, she said in response to questions.

Finally, she said OHCHR will continue to document human rights abuses and violations taking place in Iraq and is expected to present a report to the Human Rights Council in March.

(Adapted from a UN press release)

January 22, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

U.S. Legislation Introduced to End Cuban Trade Embargo

Representative Charles Rangel of New York has introduced HR 403, a bill that would lift the trade embargo on Cuba.  The bill was referred to the House Committees on Foreign Affairs, Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce, Judiciary, Financial Services, Oversight and Government Reform, and Agriculture. Congressional Record H412 (Jan. 16, 2015).  The Constitutional Authority invoked for the legislation is Article 1 Section 8, the Congressional Power to regulate commerce with foreign nations.

Click here to read an op-ed by Congressman Rangel on restoring trade relations with Cuba.

Hat tip to the ABA Governmental Affairs Office.


January 20, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

WTO Adopts Appellate Body Report in US-China CVD Dispute

WTOThe World Trade Organization (WTO) Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) held a meeting on Friday at which it adopted the Appellate Body's report addressing the impostion by the United States of countervailing duties (CVDs) on certain products from China (WT/DS437/AB/R).  In that report, the Appellate Body addresses the proper methodology for determining what constitutes a "public body"; how to evaluate a market distortion in deciding whether the provision of a financial contribution has conferred a benefit; adverse facts available determinations; and the issue of specificity.

Both the United States and Canada, participating as a third party, expressed concern regarding the delay in the completion of the proceedings and the procedures followed by the Appellate Body.  Canada suggested a need to address the Appellate Body's workload. 

Also at that meeting, the United States outlined its plans to implement the recommendations of the DSB in the  dispute “United States — Countervailing  Measures on Certain Hot-Rolled Carbon Steel Flat Products from India (DS436)”.  For more information regarding both these matters, visit the WTO website.


January 20, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, January 19, 2015

Deadline Approaching for 2015 ESIL Oslo Conference Submissions

The 11th Annual Conference of the European Society of International Law will take place in Oslo, Norway, from 10 to 12 September 2015.  The conference will be hosted by the Pluricourts Center on the Legitimate Roles on the Judiciary in the Global Order, University of Oslo.

Entitled “The Judicialization of International Law - A Mixed Blessing?”, the conference will address the international law aspects of the increased judicialization from an interdisciplinary perspective.

The conference will feature plenary sessions with invited speakers, and a number of agorae with speakers selected on the basis of a call for papers and agora proposals. The event will also offer poster sessions for early career scholars following a call for posters.  The deadline for the submission of abstracts and proposals is 31 January 2015.

For more information, click here.


January 19, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)