Tuesday, July 31, 2007
The ECCC co-prosecutors recently submitted dossiers for five individuals to the court’s co-investigating judges, who will decide whom to indict. Although this list is supposed to be confidential, one of the five names is reputed to be that of Ieng (Khieu) Thirith (above), the wife of Ieng Sary—Brother Number 3 (after Pol Pot and Noun Chea). The Cambodian press has speculated that the other proposed indictees are Ieng Sary himself, the former Foreign Minister; Nuon Chea, Pol Pot’s deputy; and Khieu Samphan, former Chief of State. Kang Kech Eav (“Duch”), head of the infamous Tuol Sleng prison (a.k.a. S-21) in Phnom Penh, has already been indicted for crimes against humanity.
Thirith was educated at the Sorbonne and became the first Khmer to graduate with a degree in English literature (she majored in Shakespeare Studies). Upon returning to Phnom Penh, she established an English-language school and taught at a government lycée. Her sister, Khieu Ponnary, was Pol Pot’s first wife. Once the Khmer Rouge took power in April 1975, she was appointed Minister of Social Affairs & Education, in charge of culture and social welfare. She was also jointly responsible for Foreign Affairs with her husband, Ieng Sary, who was appointed Foreign Minister. If indicted, Thirith would be—by my count—the third woman to be prosecuted for international crimes before a modern international tribunal. Her predecessors are Biljana Plavšić and Pauline Nyiramasuhuko.
Plavšić (right) was a fulltime academic at the University of Sarajevo until 1990, when she became active in politics by joining the Serbian Democratic Party. She was later elected as a Serbian Representative to the Presidency of the Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and as a member of the Presidencies of Republika Srpska, the self-proclaimed Serbian enclave within Bosnia-Herzegovina. She was reputedly a close associate of Radovan Karadžić and Momcilo Krajisnik. The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) indicted her for genocide, complicity in genocide, and the crimes against humanity of persecution, extermination, killing, deportation, and inhumane acts for her role in planning, instigating, ordering, and aiding and abetting, and jointly executing the ethnic cleansing of the Bosnian Muslim, Bosnian Croat and other non-Serb populations of 37 municipalities in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Plavšić surrendered voluntarily to the ICTY in January 2001 and pled not guilty. Almost a year later, she pled guilty to Count 3 of the indictment—persecution. Pursuant to the plea agreement, the Prosecution dismissed the remaining counts of the Indictment. The ICTY sentenced her to 11 years’ imprisonment, which she is serving in a women’s prison in Sweden. The Swedish government recently rejected her appeal for pardon, which was based on her advanced age (she is in her late 70s) and ailing health.
Nyiramasuhuko (left), a lawyer by training, was Minister for the Family and for the Advancement of Woman during the genocide in Rwanda and a leader in the Hutu-dominated National Republican Movement for Democracy (MRND) party. The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) indicted her for her participation in organizing massacres of Tutsis during the genocide. In particular, she is accused of drawing up lists of individuals to be eliminated and incited others to exterminate Tutsis. She was also named as the minister responsible for “pacification” for the Butare prefecture. There, she allegedly tricked Tutsis into coming to a Red Cross camp set up in the local stadium, where Interahamwe ambushed the refugees. She also allegedly ordered the rape and murder of 70 Tutsi women and girls who had been abducted by Interahamwe. Once the Tutsi-led Rwandan Patriotic Front advanced into Kigali, she hid in a refugee camp and then made her way to Kenya, where she was arrested after being in hiding for three years. The ICTR indicted her for conspiracy to commit genocide, genocide, public and direct incitement to commit genocide, and various crimes against humanity, including rape. She is the first woman to be indicted for rape under international law. Her trial continues.
If Thirith joins this august group, she has a lot to answer for. The Khmer Rouge destroyed many of the country’s religious monuments and educational institutions in an effort to create a radically egalitarian and agrarian state. Individuals who were not assassinated or worked to death died by the thousands of starvation, malnutrition, and disease. For now, Thirith reportedly resides in the couple’s home in Pailin, near the Thai border. The couple also has a lovely villa in downtown Phnom Penh, in the neighborhood of the Documentation Center of Cambodia, which has spent over a decade documenting the crimes of the Khmer Rouge.
...1963, U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton (D-Ohio) was born in Barberton, Ohio.
Monday, July 30, 2007
[T]he evidence she puts forward could provide a roadmap for comprehensive prevention programs that incorporate teaching abstinence, using condoms and, most critically, emphasizing fidelity. Indeed, Epstein’s animated consideration of debates on fidelity leaves me to wonder, and not for the first time, about the virtual silence on this issue by most African leaders. (Then again, a ruler like King Mswati III of Swaziland, who has something like 13 wives and whose country has an adult H.I.V. rate of greater than 30 percent, is not about to speak up.)
... 1980, Vanuatu (flag below), a South Pacific island state about the size of Connecticut, became an independent of the British-French New Hebrides "condominium" that had ruled it since 1906. It became a member state of the United Nations a year later.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Agreement between the Guatemalan government and the United Nations was reached 7 months ago at U.N. Headquarters in New York. It would set up an International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala, through which U.N.-selected commissioners would work for 2 years. In December the Guatemalan newspaper Prensa Libre reported that "among its functions would be to determine the existence in Guatemala of illegal security forces and clandestine apparati, in order to promote criminal punishment."
The plan has the support not only of the United Nations, but also of the United States. Within Guatemala, supporters include representatives of the Supreme Court, prosecutor's office, and civil society. Among them is the sister of Guatemalan anthropologist Myrna Mack Chang, who, as Human Rights First reported, was killed in 1990 after having "been stalked for two weeks prior to her death by a military death squad" that'd "targeted her in retaliation for her pioneering field work on the destruction of rural indigenous communities." Helen Mack (right), who's fought for more than a decade to bring to justice those responsible for her sister's death, told Prensa Libre in December that establishment of the Commission would be "a step toward breaking up those criminal organizations that have infiltrated the State and that foment impunity and undermine the rule of law."
But opposition was evident even at the time the agreement was reached: Members of Congress were "skeptical," and 1 attorney told Prensa Libre that the delegation of prosecutorial authority to a foreign body was unconstitutional. That depletion-of-sovereignty argument persuaded "a key congressional committee" to oppose the Commission, the Times reports. (That vote drew criticism from the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee chair, Patrick Leahy.) On Wednesday, Guatemala's full legislature will consider the plan.
[T]he American people share my deep belief that if a danger exists in the world, it is a danger shared by all; and equally, that if hope exists in the mind of one nation, that hope should be shared by all. Finally, if there is to be advanced any proposal designed to ease even by the smallest measure the tensions of today's world, what more appropriate audience could there be than the members of the General Assembly of the United Nations.
[T]he atomic realities of today comprehend two facts .... First, the knowledge now possessed by several nations will eventually be shared by others, possibly all others. Second, even a vast superiority in numbers of weapons, and a consequent capability of devastating retaliation, is no preventive, of itself, against the fearful material damage and toll of human lives that would be inflicted by surprise aggression.
The governments principally involved, to the extent permitted by elementary prudence, should begin now and continue to make joint contributions from their stockpiles of normal uranium and fissionable materials to an international atomic energy agency. We would expect that such an agency would be set up under the aegis of the United Nations.
The more important responsibility of this atomic energy agency would be to devise methods whereby this fissionable material would be allocated to serve the peaceful pursuits of mankind.
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Cook County Clubwomen, with Aid of Merchants, Urge
That's right; it was a congressional proposal to increase tariffs on that essential undergarment that spurred the "volcano of public indignation" and this petition:
To the Congress of the United States, Washington, D.C.: We the undersigned, emphatically protest against the duties to be assessed under the new tariff bill (H.R. 1438), known as the Payne bill, on articles of wearing apparel, particularly leather gloves and cotton hosiery. The burdens these increases will place upon the women of the country, especially those who can least afford to bear them, are unjust and unwise. We therefore ask you to enact, by amendment, rates at least not higher than those prevailing under the Dingley bill.
Alas, this excerpt (p. 37) from Carolyn Rhodes' Reciprocity, U.S. Trade Policy, and the GATT Regime indicates that the "clubwomen" -- whom the Tribune identified only as "Mrs. [Husband's Name]" -- campaigned in vain, for the Payne-Aldrich tariff became law the same year.
... 1946, Fahmida Riaz (left), a "Pakistani woman poet" who "also happen[s] to be a feminist, a progressive, an iconoclast and a passionate crusader for human rights," was born. In response to the question "Can a poet, or a creative writer, truly make a difference to society, to the way people think or the way governments work?", she told a 2005 interviewer: "Everything makes a difference. It may not be immediately perceptible. How else do you think society changes?" (1996 photo by M.U. Memon)
Friday, July 27, 2007
The person-believed-to-have-information could be an unwitting eavesdropper unwilling to come forward with what he's heard, or a young relative of an operative, Brooks writes. She reminds that the latter already may have occurred: as detailed on pages 19-20 of the superb NGO report discussed in this post, 1st Pakistan, and then the United States, are said have held in detention-for-interrogation the sons of Al Qaeda leader Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. In Pakistan the boys, aged 7 and 9, reportedly were "mentally tortured by having ants or other creatures put on their legs to scare them and say where their father was hiding." Their father eventually was caught and is now at Guantánamo; Brooks reports that the boys' whereabouts are unknown.
[A] non-U.S. citizen may be secretly detained and interrogated by the CIA -- with no access to counsel and no independent monitoring -- as long as the CIA director believes the person "to be a member or part of or supporting Al Qaeda, the Taliban or associated organizations; and likely to be in possession of information that could assist in detecting, mitigating or preventing terrorist attacks [or] in locating the senior leadership of Al Qaeda, the Taliban or associated forces."
... 1789, President George Washington signed into law an act establishing a U.S. Department of Foreign Affairs, with
a principal Officer therein, to be called the Secretary for the department of foreign Affairs, who shall perform and execute such duties as shall from time to time be enjoined on, or intrusted to him by the President of the United States, agreeable to the Constitution, relative to correspondences, commissions, or instructions to, or with public Ministers or Consuls from the United States, or to negociations with public Ministers from foreign States or princes ....Of the last 3 Secretaries of executive agency now known as the U.S. Department of State, 2, Madeleine Albright (left) and Condoleezza Rice (right), are women.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
... 1956, after the World Bank refused to support the Aswan High Dam project, Egypt's President Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal Company in order to fund the project. He further blockaded Israel's outlet to the Red Sea. Later in the year, Israel would enter Egypt's Sinai peninsula, and Britain and France, whose nationals owned the Company, entered the canal zone. A a ceasefire agreement was reached in November.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Patil, the 72-year-old governor of the northwestern desert state of Rajasthan, easily had won election Saturday in a vote by the national parliament and state politicians. Apparently, there had never been any doubt that she would win, given the ruling coalition’s support. But her victory may not be the clear victory for women that she and her supporters announce. As in any campaign, the opposition claims she is unworthy of the position, and for reasons beyond simple incompetence (note that the future Belgian prime minister confused the Belgian national anthem with the French “Marseillaise”). Though Patil helped establish a bank for women, it was closed in 2003 due to bad debts and accusations of financial irregularities. The employees' union's suing Patil, claiming that loans went to her brother and other relatives rather than to the poor women for whom they were meant. Other strikes against Patil are that she:
► allegedly tried to shield her brother in a murder inquiry
► may have, while Maharashtra's health minister in 1975, said that people with hereditary diseases should be sterilized
► claimed that in a divine premonition, a long dead spiritual guru told her she was destined for higher office
Now that the premonition has come true, let’s hope Patil’s presidency brings into the public spotlight issues like dowry-related and other violence against women. It's reported that on average, 1 woman is murdered, raped or abused every 3 minutes in India.
On New Year's Day 2007, 1 woman served as President in Asia. Choose the country in which she served:
b) Sri Lanka
f) South Korea
... 1993, minutes after a U.N.-brokered ceasefire was to have gone into effect, Bosnian Serb troops fired shells in Sarajevo, at the United Nations' base there. Armed conflict would continue until conclusion of the Dayton Accords 2 years later.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
With ambassadors of the United States and Iran set to talk today about "the deteriorating security situation in Iraq" today, the 2d of the face-to-face talks we've applauded, here's the casualty count in the wartorn country: Iraq Body Count reports that as of Sunday, between 67,945 and 74,336 Iraqis, women, children, and men, had died in the conflict -- an increase of 1,138 to 1,216 deaths in the last 3 weeks. American servicemember fatalities: 3,636 persons through Sunday. Total coalition fatalities: 3,928 persons. (That's 58 servicemember deaths in 3 weeks, all but 8 of them Americans.) The Department of Defense reported a total of 26,558 servicemembers wounded, 7,949 of whom required medical air transport; the total of such transports, on account of woundings and "non-hostile" maladies, is 35,638. Military casualties in the conflict in Afghanistan stand at 412 Americans and 223 other coalition servicemembers, an increase of 5 and 14, respectively, in the last 3 weeks. Reported injuries in Afghanistan also remained where they've been for well over a month: a total of 1,636 wounded U.S. servicemembers wounded is reported, 743 of whom required medical air transport; the total of such transports, on account of woundings and "non-hostile" maladies, 6,213.
Monday, July 23, 2007
The high contracting parties solemnly declare in the names of their respective peoples that they condemn recourse to war for the solution of international controversies, and renounce it as an instrument of national policy in their relations with one another.
"[i]ndustrialized nations, including the United States and China, account for the vast majority of carbon dioxide emissions blamed for warming the planet, but poorer countries, particularly in Africa, are the most vulnerable to its effects...."For those of you in those industrialized nations: check out our Opinio Juris colleague Roger Alford for the word on your carbon footprint and how to trim it.
... 1982 (25 years ago today), the International Whaling Commission voted to enact a "pause" on commercial whaling beginning in 1985-1986. Despite controversy on which we've posted, the ban remains in place to this day.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
... 1943, U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.) was born in Galveston, Texas.
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
Saturday, July 21, 2007
In the case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties, each Party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum, the following provisions:
(1) Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed ' hors de combat ' by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.
To this end, the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:
(a) violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;
(b) taking of hostages;
(c) outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment;
(d) the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.
(2) The wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for.
An impartial humanitarian body, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, may offer its services to the Parties to the conflict. The Parties to the conflict should further endeavour to bring into force, by means of special agreements, all or part of the other provisions of the present Convention. The application of the preceding provisions shall not affect the legal status of the Parties to the conflict.
A senior administration official said that the new rules do not require that the International Committee of the Red Cross have access to CIA prisoners. Many other nations interpret international treaties as requiring such access for all detainees everywhere.
Twenty-three percent of the students reported they were born outside the United States, and another 37 percent said they have at least one parent born outside the country. Thirty-five percent said English was not their first language.
The findings reflect the diversity of California and follow UC enrollment patterns that have seen increasing numbers of Asian and, to a lesser extent, Latino students in recent years.
Friday, July 20, 2007
The Lieber Society on the Law of Armed Conflict, an interest group of the American Society of International Law, invites nominations for the 2008 Lieber Society Military Prize, awarded annually for "an exceptional writing in English by a member of or person retired from the regular or reserve armed forces of any nation that significantly enhances the understanding and implementation of the law of war." Deadline is January 2, 2008; for details contact email@example.com. Winner of the 2007 prize: Lt. Col. Eric Talbot Jensen, for "Combatant Status: It Is Time for Intermediate Levels of Recognition for Partial Compliance." Winner of the Society's 2007 Francis Lieber Prize, named in honor of the author of the 1863 Lieber Code that proved a precursor for later formulations, including the 1949 Geneva Conventions: Dr. Laura Perna, author of The Formation of the Treaty Law of Non-International Armed Conflicts. Heartfelt congratulations!
Meanwhile, Eyes on the ICC, an interdisciplinary journal produced by the Council for American Students in International Negotiations, is seeking, "from scholars, jurists, diplomats, and professionals," papers and book reviews on "the International Criminal Court (ICC), human rights, public health, children and women's issues, disarmament and development, and nuclear non-proliferation." Here for details.
Finally, Sylvia Kierkegaard (right), information technology legal expert and president of the International Association of IT Lawyers, invites research papers or oral presentations, "on all topics related to Computer law, security and privacy," for its 2d International Conference on Legal, Security and Privacy Issues in IT, set for December 5-7 in Beijing, China. Details here.
... 1936, U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) was born in Baltimore.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Every two weeks in crowded sessions of the Supreme Court, judges listen to the pleadings of women demanding to know the whereabouts of their husbands and sons and brothers, who they believe are locked up in government jails and safe houses.Under pressure from the American government, the Pakistani military and intelligence services have been rounding up and holding incommunicado men who show signs of strong religious convictions, such as wearing full beards, without charging them under applicable law. The list of missing men remains at a fairly constant 400, as released detainees are replaced by new ones. Of the 60 released so far, many report having been tortured. The reports of course get little press, but that suits most of these men, who are too frightened to speak out. In addition, there may be thousands more men being secretly held for supporting the separatist movement in Baluchistan province. Despite the suspension of Chief Justice Chaudhry (right) back in March, perhaps due to his promise to continue hearings until all the detainees are freed, the remaining justices continue to hear the cases. Chaudhry’s challenge to General Musharraf seems to have weakened the General’s standing and strengthened a popular movement to return to civilian rule. We applaud the women and other human rights defenders who are publicly demonstrating and seeking judicial resolution of these cases, as well as the judges who continue to hear them.
Presenters include: Zsuzsa Csergo, "Negotiating Boundaries: Language of Inclusion and Exclusion"; Ieva Kalnina, "Assessment of Citizenship Policy in the European Context"; Daphné Richmond, "The New New Peacekeepers? Private Military Companies and the Future of Peacekeeping Operations"; Ann Pauwels, "NATO as a Peacekeeper"; Dessislava Cheytanova, "Separatism or Legitimate Aspirations to Independence"; Agnes Hurwitz, "Where Have the Refugees Gone?"; Mercedes Guinea Llorente, "Tales of 'Civilisation': Transfer of Values through the Eastern Neighbourhood Policy"; Barbara Delcourt, "Peut-on réellement considérer que l'action de l'UE au Kosovo participe d'une stratégie de construction d'un Etat et quelle est la place réservée au droit international dans la mise en place de ce projet?"; Milica Matijević, "Multiculturalism as a Foundation for a New Legal System: The Case of Kosovo"; and Fernanda Fernandez Jankov and Vesna Čorič, "The legality of uti posseditis in the Kosovo's dissolution."
Full program here; registration here.
... 1980, the XXII Olympic Games opened in Moscow with a record-low number of countries participating, as scores of countries joined a boycott called by U.S. President Jimmy Carter to protest the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
(post by Beth Van Schaack)
In each case we're asked to return the favor by honoring 5 additional blogs. My nominee for Rockin' Girl goes backatcha to Mary's LHB, already a Thinking Blogger winner. For Thinking, my vote's for SCOTUSblog, a can't-get-this-info-anything-else resource for tracking the latest developments in domestic law and policy. I leave to others the opportunity to name 4 more in each category. 'Grrls? Readers? Weigh in.
... 1936, Gen. Francisco Franco led an uprising of troops based in North Africa, an event that marked the beginning of Spain's Civil War.