Thursday, August 27, 2015

ICC Trial of DRC Military Commander Bosco Ntaganda to Begin Next Week

Bosco-NtagandaThe trial of the military commander Bosco Ntaganda for grave crimes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is scheduled to begin on September 2, 2015, at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. Bosco Ntaganda is the former Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Force patriotiques pour la libération du Congo [Patriotic Force for the Liberation of Congo] (FPLC). He is accused of thirteen counts of war crimes (murder and attempted murder, attacking civilians, rape, sexual slavery of civilians, pillaging, displacement of civilians, attacking protected objects, destroying enemy property, and rape, sexual slavery and enlistment and conscription of child soldiers under the age of 15), as well as five crimes against humanity (murder, attempted murder, rape, sexual slavery, persecution, and forcible transfer of population), allegedly committed in Ituri, DRC, in the years 2002 and 2003.

For more information, see this ICC case summary.


August 27, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

ABA Section of International Law Fall Meeting in Montreal - Early Bird Registration Only Until September 8

The American Bar Association Section of International Law will hold its Fall Meeting in Montreal, Canada from October 20-24, 2015.  Early bird registration ends September 8, 2015. Click here for more information about the Fall Meeting. It's one of those not-to-be-missed events for people who work (and who want to work) internationally or in the field of international law.


August 26, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 21, 2015

ABA Section of International Law

The American Bar Association Section of International Law installed its new leadership earlier this month during the ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago. 

Lisa SavittThe new Section Chair is Lisa J. Savitt (pictured left), who takes over for Marcelo Bombau of Argentina, who was the first non-U.S. attorney to lead a section of the American Bar Association.

Lisa is a Partner in the Axelrod Firm's Washington, DC office, where she handles international and domestic litigation and alternative dispute resolution, representing foreign and domestic companies in matters involving complex legal, regulatory, and technical issues. Much of her international work involves issues relating to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), application of various treaties, jurisdictional challenges, the doctrine of forum non conveniens, and enforcement of foreign judgments. Her industry experience includes representing clients in the aviation, insurance, chemical, agriculture, and manufacturing sectors. Her work has included counseling clients  on cross border litigation and application of law from both civil and common law jurisdictions. She has worked in Belize, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, England, Ethiopia, France, Greece, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Peru, Poland, Taiwan, and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Sara SandfordThe new Chair-Elect is Sara P. Sandford (pictured right) of the law firm Garvey, Schubert & Barer in Seattle, Washington. She works with clients from around the world in all stages of establishing, acquiring, and operating businesses across borders. She concentrates her practice on representing Japanese companies and individuals in their business activities in the United States and on advising U.S. clients concerning business activities in Japan, Canada, and other Pacific Rim countries. In this U.S.-Japan context, she has worked with clients in various stages of joint ventures in industries ranging from livestock-exporting to sports equipment to internet entertainment. She has represented high-technology start-up companies in obtaining and documenting both bank and venture capital financing.

Other officers announced are:

  • Vice Chair: Steven Richman
  • Finance Officer: Adam Farlow
  • Budget Officer: Prof. William B.T. Mock, Jr. of The John Marshall Law School in Chicago
  • Secretary/Operations Officer: Lelia Mooney
  • Liaison Officer: Dixon Miller
  • Membership Officer: Marcos Rios
  • Programs Officer: Robert Brown
  • Communications Officer: Ingrid Busson-Hall
  • Diversity Officer: Lisa Ryan
  • Policy/Government Affairs Officer: David Schwartz
  • Publications Officer: Patrick Del Duca
  • Rule of Law Officer: Nancy Stafford
  • Technology Officer: Marcela Stras



August 21, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Serb War Criminal Has Died in Portugal

Mile Mrksic, a former Serbian army officer sentenced to 20 years in prison by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), has died in Portugal at the age of 68.

Mrksic had surrendered to the tribunal on 15 May 2002 and pled not guilty to the charges against him.  In 2007, the Trial Chamber found him guilty of aiding and abetting murder, torture, and cruel treatment as violations of the laws or customs of war with respect to events at Ovcara, near
Vukovar, on 20 and 21 November 1991. He had withdrawn troops who were protecting prisoners of war who had taken shelter in a hospital. The decision to withdraw the troops allowed the prisoners to be murdered by paramilitary forces, and an estimated 264 persons died. The Trial Chamber sentenced him to a single term of 20 years of imprisonment, with credit for time served since 15 May 2002, when he had surrendered to the tribunal.  In 2009, the ICTY Appeals Chamber affirmed the sentence and dismissed his appeal. He was sent to Portugal to serve out his sentence. He applied for early release after 10 years but that request was denied.



August 18, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Call for Papers: Socio-Legal Review

The Socio-Legal Review (SLR), a student-edited, peer-reviewed journal which is published by the Law and Society Committee, National Law School of India University, Bangalore, has issued a call for papers for its twelfth volume to be published in 2016. Since it is now a biannual publication, it will be published in two issues this year.

SLR aims to be a forum that involves, promotes and engages students and scholars to express and share their ideas and opinions on themes and methodologies relating to the interface of law and society. The Journal thus features guest articles by eminent scholars as well as student essays, providing an interface for the two communities to interact. The Journal subscribes to an expansive view on the interpretation of “law and society” thereby keeping its criteria for contributions simply that of high academic merit, as long as there is a perceivable link. This would include not just writing about the role played by law in social change, or the role played by social dynamics in the formulation and implementation of law, but also writing that simply takes cognizance of legal institutions/institutions of governance/administration, power structures in social commentary, and so on. Through this effort, the Journal also hopes to fill the lacunae relating to academic debate on socio-legal matters among law students.

Articles  should not ordinarily exceed 8000 words and Short Articles should not ordinarily exceed 5000 words. The Journal also accepts Book Reviews and Notes from the Field. The latter includes shorter pieces designed to provide a glimpse into a new legal strategy, political initiative or advocacy technique applied in the field, a current problem or obstacle faced in, legal reform or development work, or a new issue that has not yet received much attention and needs to be brought to light. Such contributions should not exceed 3000 words.

The deadline for sending in submissions is November 1st, 2015.  More information may be found on the SLR website.


August 18, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Journal Quaestio Iuris Call for Papers

The Journal Quaestio Iuris (ISSN 1516-0351), quarterly electronic publication of the professors of Law School of the State University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ), classified by Brazilian Ministry of Education as Qualis A2, Law, has  announced a call for papers for its next volume  (vol. 08, nº. 02, 2015) which will be published in November 2015.

Created from the need to investigate the law from multidisciplinary matrices, the Journal Quaestio Iuris receives a continuous flow of papers on Legal Theory, Philosophy of Law, Sociology of Law, History of Law, State Theory, Philosophy, Epistemology and others disciplines that having the law by subject matter.

In order to promote greater participation and interaction between researches, the Journal invites university professors to participate by sending papers to the next issue, noting that the Journal Quaestio Iuris is seeking entries streaming, submitted to the Journal webpage or through e-mails  to the Editorial Team. Papers will be accepted in Portuguese, Spanish or English.

The Journal also has open a call for participation of university professors who want to collaborate in the Journal Quaestio Iuris as Referees Assessors in sporadic review articles, which are sent for the online submission system .

If you are interested in publishing articles or participation as an evaluator referee, contract the Journal and its Editorial Team via the website. 


August 18, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 17, 2015

WTO at 20: Critical Perspectives on an Evolving Legal System

The Center for International and Transnational Law (CDIT) of the Faculty of Law of Laval University is hosting an international conference, WTO at 20: Critical Perspectives on an Evolving Legal System, under the Honorary Presidency of Mrs. Gabrielle Marceau WTO’s Legal Affairs Division Advisor Université de Genève Faculty of Law Professor President of the Society of International Economic Law (SIEL).

Date : September 17th - 19th, 2015

Venue : Château Laurier Hotel – Québec City, Canada

Registration : 300$/regular, 50$/student

Accomodation : Château Laurier Hotel

In order to take advantage of the group discount, be sure to mention the code 160915UL when placing your reservation.

Other relevant information :

-       Live translation (English/French)

-       Recognised for 15 hours of training by the Barreau du Québec towards its mandatory continuous education requirement.

Programme and registration here.

The conference is possible with the support of the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), Laval University’s Institute for Advanced International Studies (HEI) and Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in International Trade and Investments (CEPCII), Université de Toulouse’s Institute for Comparative European and International Law Research (IRDEIC), University of Waterloo’s Center for International Governance Innovation (CRDP), Université de Montréal’s Center for Public Law Research (CRDP) and the Canadian Council on International Law (CCIL).



August 17, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 15, 2015

American Society of International Law Announces Progress on the Judge Howard M. Holtzmann Archives for International Arbitration and Conciliation

Howard was a brilliant attorney and a noted expert in the field of arbitration. He worked tirelessly in the Hague to settle claims resulting from the Iranian Hostage Crisis and served the Jewish community as a trustee of the Jewish Theological Seminary. - See more at:
Howard was a brilliant attorney and a noted expert in the field of arbitration. He worked tirelessly in the Hague to settle claims resulting from the Iranian Hostage Crisis and served the Jewish community as a trustee of the Jewish Theological Seminary. - See more at:

Judge Howard Holzmann was an original member of the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal and a U.S. Delegate to the U.N. Commission on International Trade Law. Judge Holtzmann died in December 2013.

A year later, in November 2014, the American Society of International Law launched an 18-month project to catalog and preserve the papers of Judge Holtzmann for use by researchers, educators, and students interested in the field of international arbitration and conciliation. The project will eventually make available the entire archive in physical form and selected materials accessible in digital form.

The archives will add an exciting new dimension to the programs and activities of the Holtzmann Research Center, which the American Society of International Law launched in 2012 with a generous grant from the Holtzmann family.  We've learned that the physical processing of the archives has just been completed and that plans are underway for a program and reception this fall where portions of the papers will be on display.

Hat tip (and congratulations) to the American Society of International Law


August 15, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

African Growth and Opportunity Act in 2016

The Office of the United States Trade Representative is seeking public comments on the annual review of country eligibility for benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act in 2016. Comments are due by September 16, 2015. FR48951

Hat tip to the ABA Governmental Affairs Office


August 15, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 14, 2015

Faculty Job Openings: Iowa

THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA COLLEGE OF LAW anticipates hiring several tenured/tenure track faculty members and clinical faculty members (including a director for field placement program) over the coming year. Our goal is to find outstanding scholars and teachers who can extend the law school’s traditional strengths and intellectual breadth. We are interested in all persons of high academic achievement and promise with outstanding credentials. Appointment and rank will be commensurate with qualifications and experience. Candidates should send resumes, references, and descriptions of areas of interest to:  Faculty Appointments Committee, College of Law, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa  52242-1113.

THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants are encouraged to apply and will receive consideration for employment free from discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color, national origin, age, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, religion, associational preference, status as a qualified individual with a disability, or status as a protected veteran.

August 14, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Video of the Raising of the U.S. Flag at the Embassy in Cuba

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Cuba this morning for a ceremony to formally re-open U.S. Embassy Havana. This visit marks the first time a U.S. Secretary of State has stepped on Cuban soil in 70 years.

Here's the (three-minute) video of raising the flag at the U.S. Embassy:


Hat tip to the U.S. State Department


August 14, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

ABA Statement on Arrest of More than 200 Lawyers in China

From the ABA Website

ABA President William C. Hubbard statement on Lawyers in China

In light of recent reports of the arrests, detentions, and interrogations of lawyers in China, the American Bar Association (ABA) at its Annual Meeting in Chicago [earlier in August 2015] highlighted the importance of supporting Chinese lawyers, maintaining progress on rule of law reform in China and continuing the ABA’s collaboration on that agenda. 

China's ambition to achieve government under a just rule of law has been viewed as encouraging, particularly as set forth by last year's fourth plenary session of the Communist Party's central committee, by the statements of Chinese leaders and by the sincere efforts of legal officials, judges, prosecutors and legislators, as well as by the lawyers, law professors and NGOs with whom the ABA has long collaborated in China. 

ABA leaders acknowledge that the development of a just rule of law is a continuing struggle in every nation, including the United States.  ABA President William Hubbard remarked, "In all societies lawyers are essential to realizing rights enshrined in law, whether in the U.S. or China, and true progress requires the vigorous participation of dedicated and imaginative lawyers."

For the past 17 years the ABA has worked with Chinese partners in many fields important to China's national interests and social stability, including criminal justice, legal advocacy and ethics, legislative and judicial reforms, and reduction of domestic violence, and its Sections of International Law and Criminal Justice are planning major conferences in Beijing this fall. "The ABA has engaged in robust dialogue and exchanges on legal issues with justice sector colleagues in China over the past two decades, and we have been looking forward to continuing these exchanges," remarked Hubbard. Referring to the U.S.-China Human Rights Dialogue scheduled for August 13-14, and President Xi’s scheduled visit to the United States in September, Hubbard added, “The upcoming U.S.-China bilateral meetings will provide an occasion for both countries to recommit to conditions for sustaining further people-to-people and professional exchanges that enrich our citizens, and  to recommit to the rule of law."

The ABA encourages the Chinese Government to permit lawyers to discharge their professional duty to assure achievement of the fair and just legal system that the Communist Party has promised to all its citizens.  The ABA also urges the many foreign legal organizations, universities, NGOs and government agencies that have been cooperating with Chinese counterparts in advancing the rule of law to continue their collaboration, and encourages other foreign institutions that are objecting to the current treatment of lawyers in China to join in supporting those lawyers and cooperating with China.

August 14, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

John Ralston Pate, an American Lawyer Living in Venezuela, Was Murdered This Week

John PateVenezuela is described as the second-most violent country in the world after Honduras.  That was proven true this week when John Ralston Pate, a 70-year-old American lawyer living in Caracas, Venezuela, was murdered in what some news stories suggest was a botched attempt to kidnap him and his companion.

John was an active member of the American Bar Association Section of International Law and served as Vice Chair of the Section's Committee on Latin America and the Caribbean. Although he knew Venezuela to be an increasingly dangerous place, his love of that country and its people convinced him to stay there, where he had built his life and where he was a successful partner in the law firm of De Sola, Pate, and Brown, where he chaired the international corporate and business transactions practice. His principal areas of expertise were in negotiating international business transactions, commercial and corporate law, foreign investment, licensing, franchising, international banking, project finance, commercial aviation and secured transactions.

He had received an A.B. from Brown University (1966) and his J.D. from Boston University (1969). He has also received an M.A. (1971) and an M.A.L.D. (1972) from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He was a member of the Bar of Massachusetts. In addition to his memberships in the International and Business Law Sections of the American Bar Association, he was also a member of the Inter-American Bar Association, the American Society of International Law, the Association of International Petroleum Negotiators, the Latin American Studies Association, and the Advisory Committee of the Tulane Latin American Law Institute. John was a Fellow of the Center for International Legal Studies (Salzburg, Austria), a Director of the Entrepreneurial Center for Conciliation and Arbitration – CEDCA, Director and Secretary of the Venezuelan-American Friendship Association - AVAA, Director of the Centro Venezolano Americano – CVA, a member of the Legal Affairs Committee of VenAmCham, and Director and Secretary of the Valle Arriba Golf Club.

Before joining his firm in Caracas, John was a professor of International Business and Latin American Integration at the Institute for Higher Administration Studies (Instituto de Estudios Superiores de Administración – IESA, 1974-1977), manager of the Andean Integration Department at KPMG (previously Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co., from 1977-1978), and director of GRANLAW Consultores (1978-1981).

Members of the ABA Section of International Law Committee on Latin America and the Caribbean have been sharing their condolences and memories all week. He was deeply admired and loved. John's funeral was yesterday.  He is missed.


August 14, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Islamic State, Slavery, and the Rape of Children

The front page of today's New York Times carries the horrific story of systematic rape of Yazidi women and children by fighters for the so-called Islamic State. "In the moments before he raped the 12-year-old girl, the Islamic State fighter took the time to explain that what he was about to do was not a sin. Because the preteen practiced a religiou other than Islam, the Quran not only gave him the right to rape her -- it condoned and encouraged it, he insisted." Rukmini Callimachi, Enslaving Young Girls, The Islamic State Builds A Vast System of Rape, N.Y. Times, Aug. 14, 2015, at A1. The story reports that "[t]he systematic rape of women and girls from the Yazidi religious minority has become deeply enmeshed in the organization and the radical theology of the Islamic State in the year since the group announced it was reviving slavery as an institution." Id.


August 14, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Human Rights Defenders Sentenced in Azerbaijan

A court in Azerbaijan reportedly has sentenced Leyla Yunus to eight and a half years in prison and her husband, Arif Yunus, was sentenced to seven years. The court also ordered confiscation of their assets.  Amnesty International says that the charges against them were fabricated and made in retaliation for their human rights work and criticism of the government.  Azerbaijan: Human Rights Defenders Are Sentenced, N.Y. Times, Aug. 14, 2015, at A9.


August 14, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Asian Society of International Law Conference in Thailand

Here's a reminder that the 5th Biennial Conference of the Asian Society of International Law 2015 will be held in Thailand in November 2015 at the Plaza Athénée Bangkok. Click here for more information about the conference.


August 12, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Comments Sought on China's Compliance with WTO Commitments

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative announced a public hearing and a request for comments on China’s compliance with World Trade Organization commitments. Comments are due September 23, 2015 and the hearing will take place on October 7, 2015.  FR47985

Hat tip to the ABA Governmental Affairs Office


August 11, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

International Tribunals Schedule Public Hearings

Several international tribunals have announced public hearings over the next few months as follows:

The International Law of the Sea Tribunal (ITLOS) will hold public hearings in the "Enrica Lexie" Incident (Italy v. India) next Monday, August 10 and Tuesday, August 11, 2015. More information may be found in this ITLOS Press Release.

At the request of the United States, the World Trade Organization (WTO) Dispute Settlement Body has agreed to open its meetings with the parties to the public in the United States - Certain Country of Original Labelling (COOL) Requirements: Recourse to Article 22.6 of the DSU by the United States (WT/DS384 and WT/DS386). These meetings will be held on 15 and 16 September 2015 with a session open to public viewing at the WTO Headquarters in Geneva. More information on those meetings may be found in this WTO press release.

And last but certainly not least, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) will hold public hearings from Monday, Oct. 5 to Friday, Oct. 9, 2015 on the Question of the Delimitation of the Continental Shelf between Nicaragua and Colombia beyond 200 nautical miles from the Nicaraguan Coast (Nicaragua v. Colombia). Those hearings will be held at the Peace Palace in The Hague. More information about that case may be found here.



August 5, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

IACHR Report on Closure of Guantanamo Detention Center

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has published a report entitled, "Towards the Closure of Guantanamo," which addresses the human rights situation of persons detained at the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in the aftermath of the attacks of September 11, 2001. According to a news release, the report concludes that the main human rights violations at the Guantanamo detention center are indefinite detention; the use of torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment; limited or no access to judicial protection; lack of due process; a discriminatory detention regime; and the lack of an adequate defense.  The IACHR calls on the United States once again to close the facility.  A more detailed summary is available in this IACHR press release.


August 5, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Nicaragua Ratifies WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement

Nicaragua has become the 11th nation to ratify the World Trade Organization's Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA).

The TFA will enter into force when two-thirds of the WTO membership formally accepts the Agreement. Here is the list of WTO members who have ratified the Agreement so far: Trinidad and Tobago, the Republic of Korea, Hong Kong China, Singapore, the United States, Mauritius, Malaysia, Japan, Australia and Botswana.

Concluded at the WTO’s 2013 Bali Ministerial Conference, the TFA contains provisions for expediting the movement, release, and clearance of goods, including goods in transit. It also sets out measures for effective cooperation between customs and other appropriate authorities on trade facilitation and customs compliance issues. It further contains provisions for technical assistance and capacity building in this area.

The TFA broke new ground for developing and least-developed countries in the way it will be implemented. For the first time in WTO history, the requirement to implement the Agreement was directly linked to the capacity of the country to do so. In addition, the Agreement states that assistance and support should be provided to help them achieve that capacity.

A Trade Facilitation Agreement Facility (TFAF) was also created at the request of developing and least-developed country members to help ensure that they receive the assistance needed to reap the full benefits of the TFA and to support the ultimate goal of full implementation of the new agreement by all members.

More information on trade facilitation and the TFA can be found by clicking here.

(adapted from a WTO Press Release) (mew)

August 4, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)