Tuesday, January 25, 2022

U.S. Charges Belarusian Officials with Aircraft Piracy

The United States recently charged four Belarusian officials with conspiracy to commit aircraft piracy in connection with a fake bomb threat to Ryanair Flight 4978, which led to the grounding of the plane in Minsk on May 23 and the arrest of the journalist and government critic Roman Protasevich. U.S. prosecutors filed the charges  in federal court in New York.

Under U.S. law, 49 U.S.C. 46502, aircraft piracy is defined as "seizing or exercising control of an aircraft in the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States by force, violence, threat of force or violence, or any form of intimidation, and with wrongful intent." The Ryanair Flight is not within the "special aircraft jurisdiction" of the U.S. because it was not a U.S. aircraft and was not scheduled to land in the U.S. It was traveling between Greece and Lithuania when it was diverted. However, the United States claims jurisdiction over aircraft not within its special aircraft jurisdiction if U.S. nationals are on board the aircraft or if the offender is a U.S. national. In this case, news reports indicate there were four U.S. nationals on board Ryanair Flight 4978 along with approximately 130 other passengers. Whether the actions of the Belarusian officials amount to force, violence, or intimidation, rather than trickery, is open to debate.

49 U.S.C. 46502 is part of the U.S. implementation of the 1970 Convention for the Suppression of the Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft, to which both the U.S. and Belarus are parties. States party to that Convention have a duty to prosecute or extradite defendants. However, that Convention defines the offense as being committed by a person on board the aircraft. This limitation may present problems for the prosecution under the facts of this case were the U.S. to rely on that Convention.  There are other international conventions that also may apply, such as the Chicago and Montreal Conventions, if the U.S. chooses to look to international law. But it appears that the U.S. prosecutors have decided to keep it a bit simpler by bringing only a one-count indictment under U.S. law.

The four defendants currently remain in Belarus. If convicted, they could face 20 years in prison.


January 25, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Who Owns this Pissarro?

Camille-Pissarro-824x1024The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments today regarding the ownership of the painting, Rue Saint Honoré in the Afternoon:  Effect of Rain by Camille Pissarro (left, courtesy of the Thyssen-Bornemisza museum). The Cassirer family purchased the painting from Pissarro's art dealer and displayed it at their homes in Germany. However, the Jewish family was forced to turn it over to the Nazi government in exchange for exit visas from Germany during World War II.  After the war, the Cassirers were unable to locate the painting and accepted $13,000 in reparations from the German government in 1958, but did not relinquish their right to seek the return of the painting. The painting's current value is estimated at $30 million.

Forty years later, family members living in California discovered the painting was hanging in Madrid's Thyssen-Bornemisza museum, which is state-owned. They requested the return of the painting, but the Spanish museum refused, so the family sued in California court. The main issue is whether California law or Spanish law should be used to determine the painting's ownership. In bringing suit, the Cassirer family is relying on an exception to the U.S. Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), which permits suits against foreign state entities for property that was taken in violation of international law. The California court determined that Spanish law applies, awarding the ownership of the painting to Spain and the Cassirers appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. A decision is expected later this spring.

More details can be found here and here.


January 19, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, January 16, 2022

ABA Midyear Meeting Goes Virtual

The American Bar Association's Board of Governors voted this week to move the ABA Midyear Meeting entirely online. The Midyear Meeting will be held February 9-14, 2022. Registration is free.



January 16, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Scribes Law-Review Award -- Submit Articles by January 29

Each year, Scribes—The American Society of Legal Writers—sponsors a competition to recognize an outstanding note or comment written by a law student who is associated with a student-edited law review or journal. This award has the distinction of being the only national award for student authors that places no limitation on subject matter.

Scribes hopes that your journals will enter this year’s competition by submitting an outstanding student note or comment that has been, or will be, published between June 1, 2021, and May 31, 2022. The competition will be judged by the Scribes Law Review Committee. The winning journal and the author of the winning note or comment will each receive a plaque.

The deadline to submit a nomination for this year’s award is January 29, 2022. For more information and an entry form, please contact [email protected].

January 16, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Syrian Colonel Found Guilty of Crimes Against Humanity

For the first time, a high-ranking official of the Assad regime in Syria has been found guilty of crimes against humanity,  in particular, for overseeing the torture of thousands of anti-government protestors who were detained at the Al-Khatib jail near Damascus known as "Hell on Earth." Anwar Raslan was a high-ranking security officer under Syrian President Assad. He fled to Germany and claimed asylum, but was arrested in 2019 and charged with murder, torture, sexual assault, and rape.  The German court tried him pursuant to the principle of universal jurisdiction which permits a State to exercise criminal jurisdiction over a defendant for crimes against humanity regardless of where the crimes were committed or the nationality of the defendant. Raslan was sentenced to life in prison.


January 15, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 10, 2022

AALS Section of International Law

The Section of International Law of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) elected new officers and members of its executive committee last week during the AALS Annual Meeting. Leila Sadat of Washington University School of Law in St. Louis is the new Section Chair, taking the baton from outgoing Section Chair Hari Michele Osofsky, the Dean of Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law.

AALS Section on International Law

Section Officers 2022

  • Chair: Leila Nadya Sadat (Washington University St. Louis)
  • Chair-Elect: Jason S. Palmer (Stetson University Law)
  • Secretary: Sahar Aziz (Rutgers University Law)
  • Treasurer: Victoria Sahani (Arizona State University)

Executive Committee Members 2022

  • Lisa Benjamin (Lewis & Clark University Law)
  • Cindy Buys (Southern Illinois University School of Law)
  • George E. Edwards (Indiana McKinney Law)
  • Darin Johnson (Howard University Law)
  • Charlotte Ku (Texas A&M University Law)
  • John Linarelli (Touro University Law)
  • Rachel Lopez (Drexel University Law)
  • Craig Martin (Washburn University Law)
  • Thomas M. McDonnell (Pace University Law)
  • Hari Michele Osofsky (Northwestern University Law)
  • David Sloss (Santa Clara University Law)
  • Milena Sterio (Cleveland Marshall University Law)
  • Mark E. Wojcik (University of Illinois Chicago School of Law)


January 10, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Marking 20 Infamous Years of Detention at Guantanamo Bay

This week marks the 20th anniversary of detention of suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay. At its peak, the United States held some 800 detainees in the "Global War on Terror" at Guantanamo. Today, 39 still remain and 27 of those have never been charged.

The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly held that the procedures created by the U.S. government to try the alleged terrorists fail constitutional muster in cases including Hamdan v Rumsfeld and Boumediene v Bush. Controversy continues about the so-called "forever trials" at Guantanamo Bay.

Several organizations that have been highlighting the problems with the ongoing detention operations are marking this infamous anniversary, including Human Rights Watch and the Center for Constitutional Rights. The Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs at Brown University has published a new report called, Costs of War which details the "costs of unlawful U.S. detentions and interrogations post-9/11." On this somber anniversary, it is worth taking a moment to consider the cost to the United States, not only economically but more importantly with respect to its reputation as a world leader.


January 10, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Georgetown is Hiring

Georgetown Law is seeking a new Director of Academic Success. The Director is primarily responsible for supporting the academic skills development of first-year students, oversees the Barristers' Council competition program, and participates in developing Georgetown's wellness programming.

The listing is available by clicking here.

 Hat tip to Kristen K. Tiscione.


January 9, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, January 6, 2022

LL.M. Programs and Online Learning

While not squarely within the international and comparative law wheelhouse, another panel at the AALS Annual Meeting will discuss the education of international lawyers in US law schools,  online and in hybrid programs. The panel, sponsored by the AALS Post-Graduate Legal Education Section, will be on Sunday, January 9.  There will be a panel discussion from 12:35 PM - 1:50 PM (Eastern Standard Time) followed by a section networking session from 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time).  

The panel is titled "How LL.M. Programs Adapted to Online Learning, and the Future Role of Hybrid and Online Classes."  This panel will focus on how LL.M. and other non-JD programs adapted to the online learning environment during the pandemic and explore the future role of hybrid and online classes in law school education. Panelists will discuss the teaching and learning modalities and methods employed during remote learning and compare experiences at different law schools. The panel will also examine the regulatory environment, including ABA, New York Bar, and Student and Exchange Visitor Program, and explore how programs could advocate for greater flexibility going forward.  Panelists include John Thornton (Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law), and Celeste Hammond (University of Illinois Chicago School of Law).  Ashley Sim (University of Southern California Gould School of Law) will moderate.  


January 6, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Your International and Comparative Law Dance Card for the 2022 AALS Annual Meeting

The Association of American Law Schools (AALS) will hold its 2022 Annual Meeting online from January 5-9, 2022. Most U.S. law schools have paid a flat-rate fee that allows their faculty to register and participate in the Annual Meeting at no individual costs to the professor.

This list does not include every session that you'll find to be of interest, but we hope it gives you a good start to taking full advantage of the AALS Annual Meeting.


AALS 2022 Annual Meeting

International and Comparative Law Dance Card

January 5-9, 2022 (Online)

All times are Eastern Standard Time


Wednesday, January 5, 2022

11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. (EST).  Comparative Law, Co‐Sponsored by East Asian Law & Society, International Human Rights, and Law, Medicine and Health Care, Did Democracy Stumble? Pandemic Lessons from Around the Globe

By the end of 2021, COVID-19 would have been with us for almost two years. While the pandemic may be under control at that point, legislative and policy recommendations are also needed for the long “build-back’ of a better post COVID world. How have legal and political systems responded to ongoing challenges presented by the pandemic to democracy, human rights, and rule of law? What best practices can be gleaned from a comparative perspective on how governmental authorities have responded in the face of a public health crisis?

  • Margaret Y. Woo (Northeastern University School of Law), Moderator
  • Surabhi Chopra (The Chinese University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law)
  • Pedro Villarreal (Max Planck Institute)
  • Hoi L. Kong
  • Patricia Popelier (University of Antwerp (UFSIA) Faculty of Law)
  • Mark E. Wojcik (University of Illinois Chicago School of Law)

4:45 – 6:00 p.m. (EST).  Comparative Law, Works in Progress on Comparative Law

  • Yang Yu (Shanghai University of International Business and Economics), Works-in-Progress Presenter
  • Peter K. Yu (Texas A&M University School of Law), Works-in-Progress Presenter
  • Lecia Vicente (Louisiana State University, Paul M. Hebert Law Center), Works-in-Progress Presenter
  • Jorge L. Contreras (University of Utah, S. J. Quinney College of Law), Works-in-Progress Presenter
  • Davide Zoppolato (gLAWcal - Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development), Works-in-Progress Presenter
  • Margaret Y. Woo (Northeastern University School of Law), Commentator
  • Erin F. Delaney (Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law), Commentator
  • Irene Calboli (Texas A&M University School of Law), Commentator


Thursday, January 6, 2022

11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. (EST).  Law in the Americas, Co‐Sponsored by Comparative Law, International and Comparative Legal Research

This program will provide attendees with research strategies and tools for international and comparative legal research, with a special focus on law in the Americas and the Caribbean.

  • Lauren Fielder (The University of Texas School of Law) Moderator
  • Mark E. Wojcik (University of Illinois Chicago School of Law)
  • Barbara Bavis (Law Library of Congress)
  • Peter Roudik (Library of Congress)
  • Gustavo Guerra (Law Library of Congress)
  • Eduardo Soares Law Library of Congress)
  • Katharina Boele-Woelki (Bucerius Law School, Germany)

11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. (EST). European Law, Co-Sponsored by International Law. The Future of the EU: Brexit, Covid-19, and the Rise of Inequalities.

The EU is at a crossroads. European institutions are confronting both old and new challenges, but opportunities also arise when challenges are faced. This panel offers a forum for discussion and debate on the future of the EU, the challenges it faces, and the opportunities ahead.

  • Paolo Saguato (Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University) Moderator
  • Federico Fabbrini (Dublin City University School of Law and Government)
  • Bojan Bugaric (The University of Sheffield School of Law)
  • Christy Ann Petit (Dublin City University School of Law and Government)
  • Peter L. Lindseth (University of Connecticut School of Law)

2:00 p.m. -- 3:00 p.m. (EST).  Global Engagement Networking Session

Take a break from formal programming and join your colleagues from the Section on Global Engagement for informal conversation.

  • John Smagula (Temple University, James E. Beasley School of Law)

3:10 p.m. -- 4:25 p.m. (EST). AALS Hot Topic Program -- Law Students and Faculty Rising to the Challenge: Responding to the Afghan Crisis.

We will explore the humanitarian immigration response to the fall of Afghanistan and the subsequent evacuation of thousands Afghan citizens. The panel will focus on the creative ways professors have engaged students, other faculty, alumni, and communities in crisis lawyering, including: • Changing law and policies around Afghan immigration applications; • Engaging with students and alumni on these applications as well as traveling to military bases to provide legal orientation and services; • Cultural humility and trauma stewardship; • Harnessing the lessons learned on remote lawyering during the pandemic; • Building on the community and networks established following 9/11 and the Muslim Ban.

  • Lindsay M. Harris (University of the District of Columbia, David A. Clarke School of Law), Moderator
  • Shane Ellison (Duke University School of Law)
  • Sheila I. Vélez Martínez (University of Pittsburgh School of Law)
  • Anna R. Welch (University of Maine School of Law)
  • Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia (The Pennsylvania State University – Penn State Law)


3:10 p.m. – 4:25 p.m. (EST). Legal History, Co‐Sponsored by Comparative Law, Using Historical Context Across the Law School Curriculum in Response to January 6th, 2021

Exactly one year ago on January 6th, 2021, the United States experienced a presidential transition that was not peaceful. How can law school professors help the next generation's guardians of justice and the rule of law to become aware of the fragility of those ideals? This panel gives examples from courses in Criminal Law, Business Associations, Corporate Tax, Property, Civil Procedure, and Professional Responsibility of past attempts to threaten the institutions that form the bulwark of our legal system and those elsewhere and of past efforts to neutralize those threats.

  • Tahirih V. Lee (Florida State University College of Law) Moderator
  • Jacqueline E. Ross (University of Illinois College of Law)
  • Ellen L. Yee (Drake University Law School)
  • Steven A. Bank (University of California, Los Angeles School of Law)
  • Mary Szto (Syracuse University College of Law)

4:45 p.m. -- 6:00 p.m. (EST). International Human Rights, Co-Sponsored by International Law. Works-in-Progress -- New Voices in Human Rights. 

The AALS International Human Rights Section and International Law Section present papers and works-in-progress on human rights law by untenured faculty members who have never presented a human rights paper at the AALS Annual Meeting.

  • Rachel E. Lopez (Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law), Moderator
  • Engy Abdelkader (Mitchell Hamline School of Law)
  • Bijal Shah (Arizona State University Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law)
  • Sheryl Buske (Willamette University College of Law)
  • Mara Redlich Revkin (Georgetown University Law Center)


Friday, January 7, 2022

11:00 a.m. -- 12:15 p.m. (EST). Global Engagement, Co-Sponsored by Post-Graduate Legal Education.  Increasing Global Engagement at U.S. Law Schools

US law schools must increase global engagement to prepare students for the job market, raise global awareness, and increase intercultural competency. Law schools can create a global environment that facilitates this learning by recruiting international LLM students. Many universities have participated in the #WhyUS campaign to attract these students. Meanwhile, US law schools have lost talented applicants to law degree programs in Australia, Canada, the UK, as well as English-language law degrees offered in countries where English is not the primary language. This panel will address the global competition and present the value of earning a US LLM degree.

  • John Smagula (Temple University, James E. Beasley School of Law), Moderator
  • Xiangshun Ding (Renmin University of China Law School)
  • Fernando Villarreal-Gonda (Facultad Libre de Derecho de Monterrey, Mexico)
  • George E. Edwards (Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law)
  • Susan L. Karamanian (Hamad Bin Khalifa University College of Law and Public Policy)


2:00 – 3:00 p.m. (EST). Comparative Law Section Networking Session.

Take a break from formal programming and join your colleagues from the Section on Comparative Law for informal conversation.

  • Margaret Y. Woo (Northeastern University School of Law), Outgoing Comparative Law Section Chair
  • Mark E. Wojcik (University of Illinois Chicago School of Law), Incoming Comparative Law Section Chair

4:45 p.m. -- 6:00 p.m. (EST). Emerging and New Voices in European Law: Works-in-Progress Panel.

  • Paolo Saguato (Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University), Moderator
  • Paul Linden-Retek (University at Buffalo School of Law, The State University of New York)
  • Chiara Pappalardo (Georgetown University Law Center)

Saturday, January 8, 2022

11:00 a.m. -- 12:15 p.m. (EST). Section on International Law, Co-Sponsored by Civil Rights, International Human Rights, and Minority Groups. State Responsibility to Address Racism 

December 2021 will mark the 20th anniversary of the International Law Commission's Articles on the Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts. In light of the current focus on and discussion around issues of racism, this panel will consider whether racism in state-sponsored services and institutions (e.g., lack of healthcare access leading to COVID-19 deaths among minority communities, slower vaccine distribution in majority non-white countries, the international response to white nationalist movements, etc.) is an international wrongful act and whether states have responsibilities to combat the underlying causes and effects of racism under international law, including under the ILC Articles.

  • Victoria S. Sahani (Arizona State University Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law), Moderator
  • Gay McDougall (Fordham University School of Law)
  • Anna Spain Bradley (University of California, Los Angeles School of Law)
  • Patrícia Galvão Teles (United Nations International Law Commission)

12:35 p.m. -- 1:50 p.m. (EST) AALS Discussion Group on "The Law of the Foreign Relations Bureaucracy

This Discussion Group will bring together scholars from different legal subfields to confront the question of how foreign relations law is made and to consider administrative law issues in the development of international law. The Group will examine the diffusion of authority in foreign affairs and seek to leverage administrative law expertise among those working on issues of bureaucratic authority both in the executive branch and in Congress. The overall goal of this program is to exchange views on timely policy and intellectual matters to develop a shared research agenda on topics of interest at the intersection of our subfields.

  • Anya Bernstein (University at Buffalo School of Law, The State University of New York), Moderator
  • Kathleen Claussen (University of Miami School of Law)
  • Ingrid B. Wuerth (Vanderbilt University Law School)
  • Steven Koh (Boston College Law School)
  • Daniel C. Esty (Yale Law School)
  • Edward T. Swaine (The George Washington University Law School)
  • Rebecca Ingber (Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law)
  • Jesse M. Cross (University of South Carolina School of Law)
  • Eloise Pasachoff (Georgetown University Law Center)
  • Ryan M. Scoville (Marquette University Law School)
  • Ganesh Sitaraman (Vanderbilt University Law School)
  • Jide O. Nzelibe (Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law)
  • Hannibal Travis (Florida International University College of Law)
  • Mark Wu (Harvard Law School)

2:00 p.m. -- 3:00 p.m. (EST) East Asian Law and Society Networking Session

Take a break from formal programming and join your colleagues from the Section on East Asian & Society for informal conversation.

  • Timothy Webster (Western New England University School of Law) Moderator
  • Jerome A. Cohen (New York University School of Law) Section Award Winner
  • Margaret K Lewis (Seton Hall University School of Law)
  • William P. Alford (Harvard Law School)

2:00 p.m. -- 3:00 p.m. (EST) International Law Networking Section

Take a break from formal programming and join your colleagues from the Section on International Law for informal conversation.

  • Leila N. Sadat (Washington University in St. Louis School of Law)

4:45 p.m. -- 6:00 p.m. (EST) International Law Pedagogy Session -- The Challenges and Opportunities of Teaching International Law Responses to the Climate Change Crisis (Co-sponsored by Environmental Law and Natural Resources and Energy Law)

The Biden Administration is bringing the U.S. back into the Paris Agreement and has prioritized energy justice in its climate change plan. Much additional work will need to be done globally to reach the goals outlined in the Biden plan. This panel discussion will focus on the very pressing issue of the international law responses to climate change, with a particular focus on how to best teach about these emerging developments and justice issues, and to provide opportunities for experiential engagement of our students to help make a difference.

  • Hari Michele Osofsky (Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law), Moderator
  • David Hunter (American University, Washington College of Law)
  • Deepa Badrinarayana (Chapman University Dale E. Fowler School of Law)
  • Lisa Benjamin (Lewis and Clark Law School) 


Sunday, January 9, 2022

11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. (EST). Real Estate Transactions Co‐Sponsored by Comparative Law, International Real Estate

“Finance without Law: China’s Extralegal Overseas Debt Market” - new scholarship related to the Evergrande situation, and practical perspectives on cross-border real estate transactions in the European Union.

January 1, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)