Friday, May 22, 2015
The 10th Global Legal Skills Conference attracted more than 200 participants from 25 countries, the largest GLS Conference to date. The conference was held at The John Marshall Law School (where the conference originated) and Northwestern University School of Law. The conference was also co-sponsored this year by the Facultad Libre de Derecho de Monterrey (Mexico), which previously hosted the conference on two occasions.
The conference included a Consular Reception and Award Ceremony, as well as a panel in Spanish to explain the writ of amparo and different business models for investing in Mexico. A Scholars' Forum sponsored by the Association of Legal Writing Directors (ALWD) was also held just before the GLS conference.
The sessions cover a wider range of topics relating to international legal education.
The next Global Legal Skills Conference will return to the University of Verona (Italy) on May 22-24, 2016.
In dispute resolution activity at the World Trade Organization (WTO) this week, both China and Japan filed appeals of panel reports regarding anti-dumping duties on certain steel tubes. The two cases are: “China – Measures Imposing Anti-Dumping Duties on High Performance Stainless Steel Seamless Tubes from the European Union” (DS460) and “China – Measures Imposing Anti-Dumping Duties on High Performance Stainless Steel Seamless Tubes from Japan” (DS454).
In addition, Japan initiated a new dispute resolution proceeding against Korea with respect to certain import restrictions when it notified the WTO Secretariat on 21 May 2015 that it has requested consultations with Korea regarding its import bans and additional testing and certification requirements that affect the importation of food products from Japan. This matter has been assigned case no. DS495.
Thursday, May 21, 2015
The American Society of International Law (ASIL) and its Women in International Law Interest Group (WILIG) are now launching the third year of the Women in International Law Mentoring Program.Since 2013, over 240 women have participated in ASIL’s mentoring program as both mentors and mentees in 17 cities from Tucson to Singapore.
The Women in International Law Mentoring Program is the first of its kind in international law and is designed to foster the next generation of female international lawyers. The program connects experienced female international law professionals with female law students and new attorneys interested in professional development in the field of international law. Mentoring takes place locally, in a group setting, with a maximum of four mentees for every mentor. Mentors and mentees meet in person every other month during the course of an academic year to discuss topics and engage in activities designed to help junior women enter and be successful in the field of international law. Mentors will be provided with optional pre-planned meeting topics to structure meetings for their groups. Upon finishing the requirements of the one-year program, all participants receive a certificate of completion.
More information about the program and applications for the 2015-16 year may be found here.
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
The Private International Law Interest Group (PILIG) of the American Society of International Law invites submissions for this year’s ASIL Private International Law prize. The prize is given for the best text on private international law written by a young scholar. Essays, articles, and books are welcome, and can address any topic of private international law, can be of any length, and may be published or unpublished, but not published prior to 2014. Submitted essays should be in the English language. Competitors may be citizens of any nation but must be 35 years old or younger on December 31, 2014. They need not be members of ASIL.
This year, the prize will consist of a $400 stipend to participate in the 2015 or 2016 ASIL Annual Conference, and one year’s membership to ASIL. The prize will be awarded by the Private International Law Interest Group based upon the recommendation of a Prize Committee. Decisions of the Prize Committee on the winning essay and on any conditions relating to this prize are final.
Submissions to the Prize Committee must be received by June 1st 2015.
Entries should be submitted by email in Word or pdf format. They should contain two different documents: a) the essay itself, without any identifying information other than the title; and b) a second document containing the title of the entry and the author’s name, affiliation, and contact details.
Submissions and any queries should be addressed by email to Private International Law Interest Group Co-Chairs Prof. S.I. Strong (email@example.com) and Cristian Gimenez Corte (firstname.lastname@example.org). All submissions will be acknowledged by e-mail.
Hat tip to Prof. S.I. Strong
Tuesday, May 19, 2015
The GLS-10 Scholars' Forum is continuing with presentations on secrets of foreign and international law research. Presenters pictured here are Clare WIllis (Chicago-Kent College of Law) and Anne Abramson (The John Marshall Law School-Chicago). The program includes useful international and foreign law legal research resources, including many legal research secrets.
Some of the websites recommended for international scholars included these:
- A Guide to Frequently Cited Treaties
- The Cardiff Index of Legal Abbreviations
- The U.N. Treaty Database Collection
- The Peace Palace Library
- The new Hein- Online World Treaty Library
The Scholars' Forum is being held in advance of the 10th Global Legal Skills Conference, being held in Chicago at The John Marshall Law School and Northwestern University School of Law. The Facultad Libre del Derecho de Monterrey is an additional co-sponsor of the conference.
Paolo Butturini, an Assistant Professor of Business Law at the University of Verona (Italy), is speaking at the GLS Scholars Forum on the topic of Equity-Based Crowdfunding Across the European Union. His presentation analyzes the legal frameworks for equity crowd-funding in various countries. His presentation also includes a discussion of the skills necessary for lawyers involved in crowd-funding enterprises, including knowledge of the relevant rules in various jurisdictions, drafting skills, and client counseling skills.
The GLS Scholars Forum was made possible by a grant from the Association of Legal Writing Directors. The Forum is in advance of the 10th Global Legal Skills Conference being held this week at The John Marshall Law School and Northwestern University School of Law. The conference is also co-sponsored by the Facultad Libre de Derecho de Monterrey.
Paulina E. Wilson of Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland is presenting at the GLS-10 Scholars Forum on the subject of “Comparative Legal Skills in the Context of Criminal Justice: A Call for Interdisciplinarity." Her presentation explores differences in how criminal statutes are construed in different countries, including close readings of statutory examples from the Criminal Codes of Spain, Poland, the United Kingdom, and the European Union.
The Scholarship Forum is sponsored by the Association of Legal Writing Directors and is being held at The John Marshall Law School in advance of the 10th Global Legal Skills Conference being held this week at John Marshall and Northwestern University. The conference is also co-sponsored by the Facultad Libre de Derecho de Monterrey.
Thanks to a grant from the Association of Legal Writing Directors (ALWD), the Global Legal Skills Conference this year includes a Scholars' Forum where participants are exchanging ideas about works-in-progress. The participants are also sharing information on publication opportunities in scholarly journals, bar association publications, and book contracts.
The first presenter today is Zhang Xiaomeng, a Senior Associate Librarian and Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Michigan Law School, Ann Arbor, Michigan, who presented on understanding the tension that Chinese laws and regulations face in balancing the right to know and the right to keep state secrets.
Zhang Xiaomeng ("Alex") will also present later this week at the Global Legal Skills Conference on the topic of “The Forms and Limits of English Translations of Primary Laws of China,” in which she'll demonstrate how to find and use English translations of the primary laws of Greater China in a cost-effective way. Many of the suggestions and tips offered in that session will also be helpful in finding and using English translations of primary laws in other jurisdictions.
The Global Legal Skills Conference this week is being held at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago and Northwestern University School of Law. The conference is also co-sponsored by the Facultad Libre de Derecho de Monterrey (Mexico).
WTO Appellate Body Again Upholds Panel Decision finding US Not in Compliance in COOL Measures Dispute
Yesterday, the World Trade Organization (WTO) Appellate Body again upheld the findings of a WTO panel with respect to the United States' failure to properly implement previous decisions relating to certain Country of Origin Labeling Requirements (COOL) provisions maintained by the United States.
Canada initiated this dispute in 2008 complaining that the COOL provisions are inconsistent with Articles III, IX and X of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) 1994, Article 2 of the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Agreement, (or, in the alternative, Articles 2, 5 and 7 of the Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Agreement), and Article 2 of the Rules on Origin Agreement. The original provisions at issue were contained in the U.S. Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 as amended in 2008. The WTO website describes these measures as "includ[ing] the obligation to inform consumers at the retail level of the country of origin in respect of covered commodities, including beef and pork. The eligibility for a designation of a covered commodity as exclusively having a US origin can only be derived from an animal that was exclusively born, raised and slaughtered in the United States."
The WTO dispute resolution panel determined that the COOL measures are a technical regulation under the TBT Agreement that are inconsistent with the United States' WTO obligations because they provide less favorable treatment to imported Canadian cattle and hogs as compared to like domestic products. The panel also found that the COOL provisions do not fulfill the legitimate objective of providing consumers with information on origin and therefore violate Article 2.2 of the TBT Agreement. The panel further found that the COOL measures violate Article X of GATT. The panel did not consider the other claims.
Both the United States and Canada appealed the panel's findings to the WTO Appellate Body, which issued a decision in 2012 largely upholding the panel's decision, albeit on slightly different grounds. The United States indicated its intention to implement the Appellate Body's decision within a reasonable period of time, but Canada was dissatisfied with the implementation process. Accordingly, Canada requested the establishment of a second panel under Article 21 of the Dispute Settlement Understanding to examine U.S. compliance. Proceedings relating to whether the United States has fully complied have been ongoing since that time. The Appellate Body decision issued yesterday is therefore the last in a series of decisions finding that the United States has not fully complied and requesting further U.S. action to bring its COOL measures into conformity with its WTO obligations.
Saturday, May 16, 2015
May 17 is the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. We're sharing a press release in German about the event, from the Lesben- und Schwulenverbands (LSVD) in Berlin, Germany.
Akzeptanz ohne Aber - Internationaler Tag gegen Homo- und Transphobie
Politisch und gesellschaftlich für gleiche Rechte, Vielfalt und Respekt eintreten
Am Sonntag, den 17. Mai, begehen wir den Internationalen Tag gegen Homo- und Transphobie. Dazu erklärt Axel Hochrein, Sprecher des Lesben- und Schwulenverbandes (LSVD):
Vor 25 Jahren hat die Weltgesundheitsorganisation Homosexualität aus ihrem Diagnoseschlüssel gestrichen. Homosexualität gilt seitdem offiziell nicht mehr als Krankheit. Trotzdem gehören auch in Deutschland Homo- und Transphobie noch zum Alltag von Lesben, Schwulen, Bisexuellen und Transgender (LSBT). In der vergangenen Woche hat ILGA Europe seine aktualisierte Liste über die rechtliche Situation von LSBT in den einzelnen Ländern Europas vorgelegt. Deutschland fällt jedes Jahr in dieser Liste weiter zurück. Und diese Entwicklung hat einen klaren Grund.
Seitdem die Unionsparteien die Taktgeber in der Bundesregierung sind, erleben wir eine Zeit der politischen Blockade. Zudem erleben wir den Versuch eines gesellschaftlichen Rollbacks. Pegida, „besorgte Eltern“, die AFD, religiöse Fanatiker und Teile der Medien machen offen Front gegen ein selbstbestimmtes und sichtbares Leben von LSBT. Minderheiten werden von ihnen mit minderwertig gleichgesetzt. Gesellschaftliche Vielfalt ist eine gelebte Realität. Sie muss aber auch akzeptierte und sichtbare Realität in unserem Land werden. Allen Menschen und damit auch LSBT sollten ein selbstbestimmtes, gleichberechtigtes Leben in einer vielfältigen, freien, offenen und demokratischen Gesellschaft führen können.
Der (wieder) ansteigenden Homo- und Transphobie muss daher politisch und gesellschaftlich wirksam entgegen getreten werden. Dazu muss die Bundesregierung einen nationalen Aktionsplan gegen Homo- und Transphobie erstellen und dessen Umsetzung aktiv vorantreiben. Die schulische Beschäftigung mit LSBT ist ebenfalls ein fundamentaler Bestandteil von Demokratie- und Menschenrechtsbildung. Sowohl in Unterrichtsinhalten, Lernmitteln als auch im Schulalltag muss deutlich werden: LSBT sind Teil der gesellschaftlichen Vielfalt, sie sind gleichwertig und gleichberechtigt. Daher müssen in allen Bundesländern Bildungspläne für eine Pädagogik der Vielfalt verankert werden, die LSBT ausdrücklich benennen.
Die Zwei-Klassen-Gesellschaft bei Ehe und Familie muss beendet werden. Die Liebe zwischen zwei Männern oder zwei Frauen ist nicht weniger Wert als die Liebe zwischen Mann und Frau. Regenbogenfamilien sind nicht weniger Wert als andere Familienformen. Deshalb braucht es keine zwei Gesetze für die gleiche Sache. Die Öffnung der Ehe für gleichgeschlechtliche Paare ist längst überfällig!
Thursday, May 14, 2015
The New York Times and other media outlets report today that the Vatican has announced that it would soon sign a treaty that includes recognition of the "state of Palestine." See Jodi Rudoren & Diaa Hadid, Pope Aids Push for Statehood by Palestinians, N.Y. Times, May 14, 2015, at A1. The Holy See's endorsement of statehood is seen as being particularly significant.
The New York Times reports that an army general in Burundi has announced that the army had ousted President Pierre Nkurunziza.
General Godefroid Niyombare is reported to have said that the President had killed protestors and opponents, overseen a corrupt government, and disregarded a 2000 peace agreement and the 2005 Constitution by seeking a third term. The new Constitution allows only one renewal of a presidential term. Under Article 96 of the Burundi Constitution, "The President of the Republic is elected by universal direct suffrage for a mandate of five years renewable one time." Click here for an English translation of the Burundi Constitution.
Mr. Nkurunizza and his supporters claimed that because he was not directly elected in 2005 when he took power, his first term should not count toward the constitutional limit. Isma'il Kushkush, President Has Been Removed, General Announces, N.Y. Times, May 14, 2015, at A5.
UPDATE: A story today reports that the attempted coup has been quashed and that the country could expect retaliation against the coup leaders and their supporters.
Another refugee crisis at sea has developed - this one involving primarily Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar and Bangladesh who have fled poverty, discrimination and persecution in Myanmar. About 1600 persons have been rescued in recent days, but it is feared another 6000 persons are stranded at sea near the Malacca Straights.
Yesterday, Malaysia turned away two boatloads of migrants containing 800 people who had been abandoned at sea by human traffickers fearing arrest. Indonesia and Thailand have not agreed to accept any more migrants as yet, despite pleas from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Indonesia took in 600 migrants this past Sunday, but has since turned away more. According to the UNHCR, there are already approximately 120,000 Rohingya from Myanmar living in camps in Thailand.
Although Malaysia is not a party to the UN Convention on Refugees, it is already hosting 150,000 refugees and asylum seekers, the majority of whom are from Myanmar. More than 45,000 of them are Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar. Rohingya are denied citizenship and other basic rights under the law of Myanmar and are effectively stateless.
For more information about the Rohingya refugee crisis, see this Fact Sheet prepared by the European Commission.
The number of refugees worldwide today is at its highest level since World War II. Current funding and mechanisms for assisting refugees are proving inadequate. Accordingly, the international community must come together to find better ways to solve these refugee crises before thousands more lives are lost. The European Union took a step in that direction yesterday when it unveiled a five-year plan to deal with its own refugee crisis in the Mediterranean Sea, in which it proposed a new quota system for accepting refugees to better distribute them throughout the EU, along with greater enforcement measures against human smuggling. The effectiveness of the plan remains to be seen.
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
Texas A&M University School of Law is seeking to employ an Associate Director for Distance Education Programs.
Seven years of progressively responsible management experience, including three years with Course Management Systems (e.g. Blackboard/Webcourses), webinar systems (e.g. FUZE, WebX, GoToMeeting) and multi-media production (e.g. Echo 360) in an online teaching environment.
Preferred post-graduate degree in law, such as J.D., L.L.M. or equivalent Masters degree in subject matter, such as risk management or wealth management. Licensed attorney.
Hat tip to William Byrnes
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) released its Annual Report for 2014 at the end of last week. The report contains six chapters. The first chapter gives a general overview of the Commission’s activities during the year. Chapter II provides an accounting of how cases, petitions, and precautionary measures have been handled, through a new system of interactive graphs.
Chapter III covers the activities of the Rapporteurships. It provides detailed information concerning the ongoing work carried out by the seven members of the Commission who serve as Rapporteurs. It also covers the thematic and country reports approved in 2014 and information on all the promotional activities carried out by the IACHR.
Chapter IV.A provides an overview of the human rights situation in the hemisphere in 2014, derived from the Commission’s monitoring work. In this context, the IACHR highlights four issues of concern: citizen insecurity, discrimination on the basis of nationality, discrimination on the basis of ethnic and racial origin, and the situation of migrants.
Chapter IV.B includes special reports the Commission considers necessary regarding the human rights situation in the Member States, and in the Annual Report for 2014 analyzes the situation in Cuba and Venezuela. With regard to Cuba, the Inter-American Commission maintains that restrictions on political rights, freedom of association, freedom of expression and dissemination of ideas, the lack of elections, the lack of an independent judiciary, and restrictions on freedom of movement over decades have come to shape a permanent and systematic situation of violation of the human rights of the inhabitants of Cuba and that situation did not change in 2014. With regard to Venezuela, the Commission concluded that throughout 2014 the exercise and enjoyment of human rights was affected by legal and administrative restrictions, as a result of changes in the law in recent years. The Commission also noted the judiciary’s lack of independence and autonomy from the country’s political power; violence and torture in prisons; and acts of violence against protesters, journalists and the media, as well as statements by high-level state officials that have the effect of delegitimizing the work of human rights defenders, and the use of the State’s punitive powers to criminalize human rights defenders and peaceful protest and to criminally prosecute political dissidents.
Chapter V follows up on recommendations made by the IACHR in its Country Reports on Jamaica and Colombia. In the section on Jamaica, the IACHR recognizes that the State has made some notable efforts to address human rights issues, but the Commission continues to observe deficits and pending challenges in the implementation of the recommendations made to the State in the 2012 report. With respect to Colombia, the IACHR reiterates that Colombia must continue efforts to achieve compliance with the recommendations of the report that was adopted after the 2012 on-site visit, and also to strengthen and consolidate advances being made.
Finally, Chapter VI lays out the challenges the Commission faces in terms of human and financial resources. It includes information related to the work carried out by the Executive Secretariat, in consultation with the Commission, to design a new structure to better address, in an equitable manner beneficial to all States and stakeholders, the current challenges, particularly the backlog of cases being processed.
At the latest meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Working Party on Liberia's Accession last week, WTO members agreed that Liberia should be ready to conclude the accession process at the WTO's Tenth Ministerial Meeting scheduled for December in Nairobi, Kenya. Liberia applied for accession in 2007 and hopes that joining the WTO will help its development process following the recent Ebola crisis.
For more information, see the WTO press release.
Monday, May 11, 2015
First ICC Acquitted Defendant Returned to DR Congo; Netherlands Rejected Asylum Claim Over Safety Fears
Mathieu Ngudjolo, the first defendant to be acquitted by the International Criminal Court (ICC), was deported to Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, on May 11, 2015, his lawyers said. Following his acquittal by the ICC, Ngudjolo said he feared for his safety if returned to Congo. Netherlands immigration authorities did not find grounds to grant his asylum claim, however.
“We and others will be looking to the Congolese authorities to ensure Mathieu Ngudjolo’s safety and security once he is back in Congo,” said Géraldine Mattioli-Zeltner, international justice advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. “The ICC, which has an office in Kinshasa, and the Dutch embassy should closely monitor Ngudjolo’s situation for as long as necessary.”
Ngudjolo was the former chief of staff of the Front for National Integration (FNI), an armed group involved in the local and regional conflict that ravaged the Ituri province of eastern Congo in the early 2000s. He was arrested in Kinshasa by the Congolese authorities in 2008 pursuant to an ICC arrest warrant on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity in the village of Bogoro, Ituri, in February 2003. The ICC trial chamber acquitted Ngudjolo of all charges in December 2012. The acquittal was confirmed in appeal on February 27, 2015.
Ngujdolo has filed for compensation at the ICC following his acquittal.
(Adapted from a press release from Human Rights Watch)
The biggest news this past week from Guantanamo Bay is that a court in Alberta, Canada has ruled that detainee, Omar Khadr, may be released on bail while contesting his conviction for war crimes in the United States. Khadr, a Canadian citizen who is now 28, was arrested in Afghanistan in 2002 and taken into custody at the age of 15. He was subjected to "enhanced interrogation" and spent 8 years at Guantanamo Bay before pleading guilty to five counts and being sentenced by a US military commission to eight years in prison. He was transferred to a Canadian prison in 2012. In the meantime, the US Supreme Court has ruled in the Hamden and Bahlul detainee cases that certain activities with which they were charged are not crimes under the laws of war and, thus, are not within the jurisdiction of military commissions to try. These rulings cast doubt on at least some of the charges against Khadr as well.
In other news relating to Guantanamo Bay detainees this past week, retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stephens gave a speech in which he suggested that at least some of the detainees at Guantanamo Bay should be entitled to reparations, likening the situation to the reparations for Japanese Americans who were detained during WWII. Britain has already paid reparations to several detainees.