Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Helton Fellowship Deadline is Monday

Arthur HeltonApplications for the 2015 Helton Fellowships are being accepted until Monday, January 19, 2015, or until the first 50 completed applications have been received, whichever comes first.  The Helton Fellowship Program, established in 2004, recognizes the legacy of Arthur C. Helton, a lawyer, refugee advocate, teacher, and author who died in the August 19, 2003, bombing of the UN mission in Baghdad, where he was working to assess humanitarian conditions. Helton was an active member of the American Society of International Law, the American Bar Association Section of International Law, and other groups. He was a great man whose memory lives on in the Fellowships named for him and in the impressive work that the Helton Fellows pursue with these grants.

Funded by contributions from members of the American Society of International Law, interest groups, and private foundations, Helton Fellowships provide financial assistance in the form of "micro-grants" for law students and young professionals to pursue field work and research on significant issues involving international law, human rights, humanitarian affairs, and related areas. Click here for more information.

Hat tip to Sheila Ward.


January 14, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Symposium on Human Trafficking

The Saint Louis University School of Law Center for International and Comparative Law and the
Saint Louis University Law Journal will present a symposium on "Perspectives on Fighting Human Trafficking" on Friday, January 30, 2015 at the St. Louis University School of Law.  Check-in is at 8:30 a.m. and the program starts at 9:00 a.m.  Here's a description of the program for the day:

Human trafficking has been called “the modern day slavery.” Trafficking victims are forced to have sex or to work long hours against their will, often in dangerous situations and facing threats of violence or deportation. Many times the victims of trafficking do not see themselves as victims or are afraid to speak out, fearing that they themselves might be prosecuted. This year’s symposium focuses on the role of the victim in combating human trafficking. Two panels will focus on finding and working with victims in prosecuting trafficking, and two major talks will highlight global trends in human trafficking.

Contact the law school or the law journal for more information.


January 14, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

UN Security Council Affirms Critical Importance of Peacebuilding for Sustainable Peace and Development

UN Security CouncilPeacebuilding is of “critical importance” as the foundation for sustainable peace and development in countries emerging from conflict, the United Nations Security Council declared today, unanimously adopting its latest measure reaffirming commitment to the practice.

In a presidential statement adopted as part of a briefing by the Chair of the UN Peacebuilding Commission (PBC), the Council recognized peacebuilding’s role as an “important element” of the UN’s efforts in post-conflict nations and reaffirmed that sustainable peace and security requires “an integrated sustained approach based on coherence among political, security and developmental approaches.”

“The Security Council underscores that peacebuilding, in particular, institution building, the extension of State authority and the re-establishment of core public administration functions, requires sustained international and national attention, and financial and technical support in order to effectively build and sustain peace in countries emerging from conflict,” the statement declared.

The PBC, an intergovernmental advisory body created in 2005 with a mandate to support peace efforts in countries emerging from conflict, plays a “unique role” in UN peacebuilding efforts, according to its website.

Principally, it is tasked with bringing together all of the relevant actors, including international donors and financial institutions, national governments, troop contributing countries; marshalling resources and advising on and proposing integrated strategies for post-conflict peacebuilding and recovery and where appropriate, highlighting any gaps that threaten to undermine peace.

Addressing the Council members, Ambassador Antonio de Aguiar Patriota, Permanent Representative of Brazil to the United Nations and Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission, pointed to the vast swathe of crises afflicting nations around the globe as indicative of the need for “further sharpening the tools at the disposal of the United Nations with a view to preventing relapse into violent conflict.”

“The crises in the Central African Republic, South Sudan and Libya, as well as the risks posed by the Ebola crisis, remind us that our response must be multifaceted, carefully sequenced and sustained over the long term,” Mr. de Aguiar Patriota told the Council Members.

“Attention and support to nationally-owned and inclusive political, socio-economic development and institution-building processes should be prioritized,” he added.

Nonetheless, he warned, peacebuilding is still being not granted “the sustained attention and commitment that is required by the international community to meet the complex and long-term challenges to sustainable peace.” In particular, he added, the implementation of peacebuilding was still being deprived of the critical financing mechanisms necessary for the fulfilment of its ambitions.

“Early investment in peacebuilding activities, including security sector and justice reform as well as socio-economic development, is a necessary complement to political and security focused mandates,” Mr. de Aguiar Patriota continued.

“The Commission will continue to support regional and national efforts aimed at catalysing greater international commitment to address this challenge.”

UN Press Release and UN Photo/Loey Felipe

January 14, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, January 9, 2015

New Officers Elected for AALS Section on International Law

Congratulations to the new officers of the Association of American Law Schools Section on International Law who were elected at the 2015 annual meeting in Washington D.C.: Charity

  • Matthew Charity, Western New England School of Law, Chair (pictured here)
  • Anatasia Telesetsky, University of Idaho College of Law, Vice Chair
  • Shalanda Baker, University of Hawaii School of Law, Secretary
  • Milena Sterio, Cleveland Marshall College of Law, Treasurer
  • Thomas McDonnell, Pace Law School, Newsletter Editor
  • Cindy Buys, Southern Illinois University School of Law, Immediate Past Chair and Mentor Coordinator

Members of the AALS International Law Executive Committee include:

  • George Edwards, Indiana University School of Law
  • Andrew Strauss, Widener University School of Law
  • Ved Nanda, University of Denver, Strum College of Law
  • Mark Wojcik, The John Marshall Law School, Chicago
  • Claudio Grossman, American University Washington College of Law

We look forward to continued excellent programming from the Section in 2015!

(cgb and mew)

January 9, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 8, 2015

How much does international law influence US government decisionmaking?

At the annual conference of the American Association of Law Schools (AALS), the International Law AALS Intl Law Panel 14Section
sponsored a very interesting discussion of how, when and to what extent lawyers and policy makers in the U.S. government take international law into account when engaging in decisionmaking.  The panel included Mary McLeod, Principal Deputy Legal Adviser at the U.S.  Dept. of State, Sandra Hodgkinson of DRS Technologies, formerly Deputy Director, Office of War Crimes Issues and  Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Detainee Affairs, and Professor Ralph Steinhardt of George Washington University.  Matthew Charity, Professor at Western New England School of Law and Vice Chair of the International Law Section moderated.

All the panelists agreed that international law plays a critical role in U.S. foreign policy.  Ms. Hodgkinson stated that while the United States does not undertake treaty obligation lightly, she believes U.S. compliance is exceptional once it belongs to a treaty. Ms. McLeod also talked about how international law is something she works with every day.

Professor Steinhardt presented his paper, “International Law and the Administrative State,”  which was selected from a call for papers.  He talked about the role of administrative agencies and how administrative rulemaking is hardening international soft law.  He suggested that to ignore the work of international bodies drafting voluntary guidelines is dangerous because those non-binding guidelines often end up being implemented by other bodies with rulemaking authority.  He suggested a broadening of accepted sources of international law under Article 38 of the Statute of the International Court of Justice to take into account this administrative law, as well as the adoption of a Charming Betsy principle for administrative regulations similar to statutes (i.e., administrative regulations should be interpreted consistently with international obligations whenever possible).

Ms. McLeod and Ms. Hodgkinson both talked about the relationship of academic scholarship to their work at government decisionmakers.  Both suggested that academics can be helpful to government lawyers, particularly when academics research and write about topical issues.  The government attorneys often don't have time to do in-depth historical research, for example, and rely on work by academics in helping to formulate policy positions and to find precedent to support legal arguments. Ms. McLeod stated that she often reads blogs by international law professors that analyze issues on which she is working.

The AALS Section on International Law is grateful to all the panelists for their participation in this very interesting and informative discussion.


January 8, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Professor Mark Wojcik Earns Lifetime Achievement Award

WojcikMark Wojcik, a professor at John Marshall Law School  in Chicago and co-editor of this blog, received a lifetime achievement award today from the Association of American Law Schools Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research.  The Section Award is given to an individual who has made "a significant lifetime contribution to the field of legal writing, reasoning, and research."

Mark is known for his many contributions to the field, including spearheading international conferences, serving as a past Chair of the AALS Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Reearch, serving three terms on the Board of Directors of the Legal Writing Institute, helping to create the LWI One-Day Workshops, serving as Treasurer of Scribes--The American Society of Legal Writers, and working with the Law Library of Congress.

Congratulations, Mark!




January 4, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, January 2, 2015

Reminder: International Law Programs at the AALS Annual Meeting

For law professors attending the American Association of Law Schools (AALS) Annual Meeting in Washington, DC this weekend, be sure to participate in the programs sponsored by the Section on International Law. 

The first program is “Adding Foreign and Comparative Law to Your Courses: Guidelines, Materials, and Practical Advice for Law Professors” and will be held on Saturday, January 3, 2015 from 5:15-6:30 pm. 

The second program is “The Influence of International Law on U.S. Government Decision-Making” and will be held on Sunday, January 4 from 10:30 am -12:15 pm.

See you soon!


January 2, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)