Monday, December 31, 2007
Sunday, December 30, 2007
I don’t know of an intelligence-gathering operation in the world that, when given a new toy, doesn’t use it.
... 1960, U.S. Rep. Heather Wilson (R-N.M.), a member of the Select Committee on Intelligence, was born in Keene, New Hampshire.
... 533, foundational works of law, the Digest and the Institutes, or Elements, of the Roman Law, came into effect. Complementing the the Code of Justinian, or Corpus Juris Civilis, the works were the result of a multiyear effort to codify the law of the Roman Empire.
Saturday, December 29, 2007
To assert that it is unjust to punish those who in defiance of treaties and assurances have attacked neighboring states without warning is obviously untrue, for in such circumstances, the attacker must know that he is doing wrong, and so far from it being unjust to punish him, it would be unjust if his wrong were allowed to go unpunished.
Australia let David Hicks out of prison yesterday, 7 months after he'd been transferred to serve out the balance of the 9-months' suspended sentence received at Gitmo.
Having agreed in his plea bargain not to speak to the media for another 4 months (prior posts here), on release Hicks, 32, said only, through his attorney:
I would like to recognise the huge debt of gratitude that I owe the Australian public for getting me home.
I will not forget, or let you down.
As we've posted, the 6 workers for L'Arche de Zoé (Zoe's Ark), and were arrested in October as they tried to leave Chad with 103 children who they claimed were Darfurian orphans destined for adoption in Europe. The children turned out, however, be Chadian non-orphans.
The 6 workers were convicted and sentenced to 8 years' hard labor. (A Sudanese and Chadian convicted of complicity remained in Chad.) The sentences of the 6 are expected to be "adjusted" in France, which also may open its own investigation into the incident.
As for the children, they remain in orphanages in Chad, and have yet to be reunited with their families.
... 1972 (35 years ago today), a 5-year moratorium that had been placed on executions in Canada ended. In that period support for the death penalty seemed to have increased. By a narrow vote the country abolished capital punishment in 1976. The penalty continues in Canada's neighbor to the south, of course, although abolition by New Jersey just this month (the global consequences of which our Opinio Juris colleague Peggy McGuinness posted here and here) reduced the number of U.S. retentionist jurisdictions to 38 -- 37 states plus the federal government -- though compared with prior years there were fewer executions in 2007. A reporter's even envisioned what a United States without the death penalty would look like.
Friday, December 28, 2007
Efforts to try to process this news have recalled parts of her essay. She wrote:
Pakistan is truly at a turning point. Almost a decade of military dictatorship has devastated the basic infrastructure of democracy. Political parties have been assaulted, political leaders arrested, and the judicial system manipulated to force party leaders into exile. NGOs have been under constant attack, especially those that deal with human rights, democratic values and women's rights. ... And in the battle against terrorism, we look on with dismay as the government of Pakistan ceded sections of our nation that previously had been governed by the rule of law to Taliban sympathizers and to Al Qaeda ....
She wrote of
a growing sense of hopelessness of the people of Pakistan, and a total disillusionment with the political system's ability to address their daily problems.
that extremism has been making inroads against moderation amongst the Pakistani polity. I have always believed that the battle between extremism and moderation is the underlying battle for the very soul of Pakistan. Yet moderation can prevail against the extremists only if democracy flourishes and the social sector improves the quality of life of the people.
She wrote of relations with incumbent President Pervez Musharraf:
I had a choice. Engage in dialogue, or turn toward the streets. I knew that street protests against the Musharraf dictatorship could lead to the deaths of hundreds. I thought about the choice before me very carefully. I chose dialogue; I chose negotiation; I chose to find a common ground that would unite all the moderate elements of Pakistan for a peaceful transfer to a workable political system ....
Are we making progress towards that goal? I still am unable to say.
She returned to her country, and persevered despite immediate violence, despite Musharraf's declaration of a state of emergency in which human rights lawyers were among those detained. Before returning, she recalled her father's fate:
When my democratically elected father, Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was arrested in 1977 and subsequently murdered, the mantle of leadership of the Pakistan Peoples Party, our nation's largest, nationwide grassroots political structure, was suddenly thrust upon me. It was not the life I planned, but it is the life I have. My husband and children accept and understand that my political responsibilities to the people of Pakistan come first, as painful as that personally is to all of us.
I didn't choose this life. It chose me.
Not nearly enough said by this woman, who in 1988 had become "the first woman to lead a modern Muslim country."
... 1694, England's Queen Mary II died from smallpox in London, where she'd been born 32 years earlier. Brought up as a Protestant notwithstanding her parents' conversion to Catholicism, at age 15 Mary (right) married her cousin, William of Orange, and lived with him in Holland. After William invaded England and deposed her father, she and her husband became co-rulers of England. The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, was chartered by the couple in 1693.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
... 1985, a few weeks before she would have turned 54, the San Francisco-born woman who had devoted her life to the study and preservation of the mountain gorillas, Dr. Dian Fossey, was found dead from machete wounds in her cabin in Karisoke, Rwanda. The crime never was solved. A Fund continues the work of Fossey, pictured above with the gorilla she named Puck.
Moreover, interdisciplinary work on the issue of climate change (and other environmental issues for that matter) is not a recent development. The IPCC has for many years brought together interdisciplinary work on climate change in its series of reports, and few would question that this problem requires serious collaborative work. From the science to the policymaking, climate change involves multiple scales--from the individual to the global—and a vast array of vexing intellectual quandaries. As the just-concluded dialogue in Bali reflected, meaningful conversations about emissions and impacts require a fluency in science, social science, and law/politics that it’s difficult for people to individually attain.
And yet the article has a point that there’s clearly something unusual happening around the issue of climate change right now which is reinforcing interdisciplinarity. I often marvel at the sudden explosion of new public, private, and academic attention. Only two years ago, I had someone question the relevance of studying climate change litigation during a faculty workshop. It was hard to imagine Al Gore and the IPCC collaborators winning a Nobel Peace Prize, not to mention the Supreme Court's decision in Massachusetts v. EPA. As universities establish sustainability institutes and leading law schools expand their environmental faculties, my hope is that this energy translates into the innovative solutions and political will that climate change and many other challenging multiscalar environmental problems demand.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
The occasion for the debate was the 7th anniversary of Security Council Resolution 1325 on that subject, Harvard Law Lecturer Cora True-Frost (left) writes. Adopted unanimously in October 2000, the resolution
recognizes women's role in preventing and resolving conflict, and calls for the equal participation and full involvement of women in efforts to maintain and promote peace and security.
Among the resolution's good effects:
► [T]he Council’s situation-specific resolutions increasingly address issues relating to women’s involvement in conflict and peace operations.
► [S]ome UN Member States have developed national action plans to monitor implementation ... including by tying aid delivery to the goals of 1325.
As might be expected, though, implementation has not been 100%. True-Frost suggests that "new 'soft law' norms regarding women in armed conflict may be developing," but that that development's "likely to remain controversial."
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Monday, December 24, 2007
In the public's mind the facts have become irrevocably mythologized, and perhaps this is the most important legacy of the Christmas Truce today. In our age of uncertainty, it comforting to believe, regardless of the real reasoning and motives, that soldiers and officers told to hate, loathe and kill, could still lower their guns and extend the hand of goodwill, peace, love and Christmas cheer.
backs policies that focus on human rights and 'international solidarity.' She also opposes Nato membership and has called herself a 'relative pacifist,' where she is against disarmament but is still for a strong military.
In April, Finland appointed the world's most female-dominated cabinet; 60%, or 12 of the 20 ministers, are women.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
She said herself two years ago that she was not yet a millionaire, but hoped to be some time, not that she wanted the money for herself, but for the good she could do with it. She spent $10,000 every year for the education of young negro men and women in Southern colleges and sent six youths to Tuskegee Institute every year. She recently gave $5,000 to the National Conference on Lynching.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
presidential election cycle closely.
Very soon, on January 3, 2008, Iowans will kick off the New Year by caucusing to choose their top candidate in each of the 2 main political parties. A handful of states will follow up with primaries the same month, as detailed in this calendar. Then comes so-called Super-Tuesday, February 5, when the following states hold primaries or caucuses: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, and West Virginia. It's likely that the nominations well may be sewn up on that date, even though the national conventions at which nominees formally are chosen won't take place till summer 2008.
Seems high time, then, to highlight some election resources.
The American Society of International Law has compiled the candidates' views on international law and foreign policy. Included are responses to candidate surveys (kudos to the 4 Democratic candidates who took time to respond (no Republican did so)) and, from ASIL officers and Executive Council members, thoughts on U.S. restoration of global status (note that more than half the "ASIL Leaders" respondents are women).
Keep an eye out at ImmigrationProf blog, which has started to post on immigrant roots of various candidates (2 posts already, here, here, here, and here; more to come).
Opinio Juris wants to hear from academics who've been giving IntLaw advice this cycle. (We IntLawGrrls would, too.)
And here at IntLawGrrls, we've posted a number of times on various candidates:
We've posted on 'em all: Joseph Biden, Hillary Clinton, Christopher Dodd, John Edwards, Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich, Barack Obama, and Bill Richardson.
We've posted on Rudoph W. Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, Duncan Hunter, John McCain, Ron Paul, and Mitt Romney. (Not a word in IntLawGrrls, till today, on Alan Keyes or Fred Thompson.)
... 1812 (195 years ago today), at age 25, the Native American woman who guided Lewis & Clark through the American West, Sacagawea, died after giving birth to her 2d child at at Fort Manuel, fur-trading post in what is now South Dakota. With her was Toussaint Charbonneau, the French-Canadian soldier to whom she was sold as a slave, at about age 12, and claimed as wife. Selling her was a band of Indians who had kidnapped her from her people, the Shoshones. She is inspiration to IntLawGrrls' Kristine A. Huskey.
Friday, December 21, 2007
... 1937 (70 years ago today), movie icons like Charlie Chaplin, Judy Garland, Shirley Temple, John Barrymore, Clark Gable and Carole Lombard converged at Carthay Circle Theatre in Los Angeles for world premiere of Walt Disney Co.'s 1st-ever feature-length animated film, "Snow White." Disney recounts:
[C]hildren were paying a dime to get into the theaters in 1937, and the film, of course, had great appeal to that age group. The original worldwide gross was $8.5 million, a figure that would translate into several hundreds of millions of dollars today. In England, the film was deemed too scary for children, and those under 16 had to be accompanied by a parent.
... 1947 (60 years ago today), U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Cal.) was born in San Mateo, California.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
This was my mother's response to articles yesterday, by the Associated Press and Página/12, reporting that an Argentine court had convicted 7 former military officers and one ex-police official of crimes against humanity for acts of kidnapping, torture, and disappearances committed during Argentina’s 1976-1983 military regime. The men were sentenced to 20-25 years in prison.
Not sure if she meant it that way, but I took the “at least” as a reference to my own quixotic quest for accountability in the United States of today. The comparison may seem severe to some – but probably not to many Latin Americans. Having been born under that dictatorship and raised hearing stories of torture, disappearances, habeas suspension, surveillance, secret trials of subversives, and (of course) amnesty laws, I have never found the association so far-fetched. (For a more developed comparison between 1970s Argentina and today’s US, see Charles H. Brower II, Nunca Más or Déjà Vu?, 47 Virginia Journal of International Law 525 (2007).)
So maybe this is a preview of the justice that we, too, might see 30 years from now – but only if we lay the groundwork now. As is always the case, we will have no transition because (haven’t you heard?) we are already a democracy. We will get no truth commission because those are reserved for the brown people south of the equator, not civilized societies like ours. Instead, we get Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, soon, maybe, Hillary Clinton – or, if we’re “really” lucky, Barack Obama. And life will go on as it used to in the Bill Clinton years, easy to ignore the torture neatly tucked away under the rug. Mainstream Democrats play nice and ignore the crimes they now reserve the power to commit, clumsily trying (and failing) to win political points by pursuing petty misdemeanors instead. (Proof of their pusillanimity's here, here, here, and here.)
As advocates, we fight the legal battles and sweat hard for the New York Times coverage. These are important, but not nearly enough. Without protest, without emotion, without people, we get nowhere. The Argentine courts did not wake up one day and realize that amnesty was unconstitutional. It took politics to change the courts, and it took people to change politics. In Argentina, a generation of angry youth took to the streets, organized communities, and raised a collective voice to shame the torturers when the law fell silent. Those youths played a small but tangible part to wake the country from its stupor.
To translate, roughly, Pascual Guerrieri, the words of one of the convicted officers:
' I reject the term repressor. We were soldiers paid by the people, those who stand behind me and around me. We went out there to restore order. We do not look like murderers. We look like soldiers who fulfilled their duty.'
I’m eerily reminded of John Kiriakou, the former CIA agent whom the Times described as a "43-year-old father of four," and of all those nice-looking torturing CIA agents and lawyers whose reputations and careers Professor Jack Goldsmith, in the same article, mourns in advance.
The choice is yours, mine, all of ours: Will we be agents of change? Or the ones whom the torturer thinks he serves?
(See below for details on today's guest blogger, Deborah Popowski.)
A 3d-year law student at Harvard, Deborah (left), along with fellow student Fernando Delgado, cofounded Stop Torture: The Harvard Anti-Torture Coalition. This Anti-Torture Group's a division of HLS Advocates for Human Rights, a student organization of which Deborah's also co-president. The group provides volunteer support to the Harvard International Human Rights Clinic, coordinates its own projects under faculty supervision, and engages in public education, lobbying, and direct action. Additionally, Deborah's worked on human rights issues in Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East. She interned for Manfred Nowak, the United Nations' current Special Rapporteur on Torture; for Gitanjali Gutierrez, staff attorney for the Guantánamo division of the Center for Constitutional Rights; and for Justiça Global, a Brazilian NGO that litigates before the Inter-American human rights system.
After receiving a degree in political science and social though from the University of Virginia, Deborah worked in journalism and in international development -- including 2 years' service with the Peace Corps. An Argentina-born naturalized U.S. citizen, she is proficient in 5 languages.
Deborah dedicates her post to her own IntLawGrrls inspiration, the suffragist Alice Paul.
Heartfelt thanks for your contribution, Deborah!
... 1988, the U.N. Convention against the Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances was adopted in Vienna, Austria. "This Convention provides comprehensive measures against drug trafficking, including provisions against money laundering and the diversion of precursor chemicals. It provides for international cooperation through, for example, extradition of drug traffickers, controlled deliveries and transfer of proceedings," as stated by its monitoring agency, the International Narcotics Control Board (logo above).
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
There is some garbage in international politics that holds back development and seriousness in international relationships.
'This president may be a woman, but she’s not going to allow herself to be pressured,' Mrs. Kirchner said in a televised speech. She said she would 'continue affirming our friendship with all Latin American countries and also with the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.'
... 1848, at age 30, "as she stood with one hand on the mantlepiece of the living room in the Haworth parsonage" in Yorkshire, England, Emily Brontë died of tuberculosis just 1 year after publishing the romantic tragedy, Wuthering Heights. Still a classic, that novel has been translated into 30 languages. (The portrait of Emily Brontë at right is by her brother, Branwell Brontë.)
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
1st is Nora V. Demleitner (left), who moves on New Year's Day from incoming to permanent Dean at the Hofstra University School of Law, Hempstead, New York.
As detailed here, Nora earned a J.D. from Yale and an LL.M. with distinction in International and Comparative Law from Georgetown, and clerked for the Hon. Samuel A. Alito, Jr., then a federal appellate judge, now a Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. She "teaches and has written widely in the areas of criminal, comparative, and immigration law." Recent publications, among them The Avena Case in the International Court of Justice -- Crime and Immigration: Domestic, Regional and International Consequences and Abusing State Power or Controlling Risk?: Sex Offender Commitment and Sicherungsverwahrung, evince that interest.
The 2d, just announced this morning, is David Wippmann (right), Vice Provost for International Relations and Professor of Law at Cornell. He's to be the new Dean at the University of Minnesota Law School. As detailed here, David, who earned a J.D. from Yale and clerked for 2d Circuit Chief Judge Wilfred Feinberg, worked as Director of the National Security Council's Office of Multilateral and Humanitarian Affairs from 1998-99. His scholarship focuses on international law, human rights, and ethnic conflict. His most recent publication is Can Might Make Rights? Building the Rule of Law after Military Interventions (2006), co-authored with our colleagues Jane Stromseth and Rosa Brooks.
(Thanks to Brian Leiter for the head's up.)
... 1944, the U.S. Supreme Court issued 2 decisions respecting the country's internment of more than 100,000 U.S. citizens and residents of Japanese ancestry during World War II. In Ex parte Endo, the Court unanimously granted the habeas petition of Mitsuye Endo (right), who had been a typist for the Department of Motor Vehicles in Sacramento and was interned notwithstanding her undisputed loyalty to the United States. In Korematsu v. United States, the Court affirmed, by a vote of 7 to 2, the conviction of Fred Korematsu (above left), a 22-year-old Bay Area welder, for having violated the exclusion order that preceded detention. "[P]ressing public necessity" justified the deprivation of liberty, Justice Hugo Black wrote for the Court. The conviction would be voided in 1984 via the order by which U.S. District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel (left) granted Korematsu's petition for a writ of coram nobis.
Monday, December 17, 2007
1:00 p.m. ... Developing nations led by India and China are demanding that rich countries do more to lead the way in fighting climate change. The demands arose overnight, partly after the European Union bowed to U.S. pressure and toned down calls for the final text to lay out clear 2020 guidelines for rich nations to axe greenhouse gas emissions.
1:20 p.m. - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, making an unscheduled return after leaving Bali on Friday for East Timor, enters the conference hall with Indonesian President Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
'I am disappointed at the lack of progress,' Ban said. 'Everybody should be able to make compromises.'
'The worst thing we can do is for this project to crumble because we can't find the right wording,' Yudhoyono said. 'The world is watching anxiously and I beg you not to let them down.'
1:55 p.m. - Paula Dobriansky [right], under secretary of state for democracy and global affairs leading the U.S. delegation, reaffirms U.S. opposition, bringing boos.
1:56 p.m. - ... Papua New Guinea delegate Kevin Conrad wins wild applause by addressing Dobriansky and saying:
'We ask for your leadership, we seek your leadership ... if you can't give us what we want, please get out of the way.'
2:19 p.m. - Dobriansky backs down, saying 'We will go forward and join consensus,' triggering applause.
Dobriansky said she changed her mind because the developing country speakers convinced her that they were serious about acting to fight climate change. She said she did not consult Washington before changing her mind.
Bill Hare of environmental group Greenpeace said he believed it was the first time since 1996 that Washington had won applause at a U.N. climate meeting.
... 1942 (65 years ago today), British Foreign Minister Anthony Eden read in Parliament a declaration of the United Nations, as the countries allied against Axis powers called themselves, denouncing Nazi massacres of Jewish persons in occupied Poland. The declaration
condemned 'in the strongest possible terms this bestial policy of cold-blooded extermination' and made a 'solemn resolution to ensure that those responsible for these crimes shall not escape retribution.'
Sunday, December 16, 2007
... 1966, the U.N. General Assembly adopted 2 treaties designed to make enforceable the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. They were the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). The latter treaty entered into force on January 3, 1976; the former a few months later, on March 23. Though the rights that the UDHR set forth as one were divided on the premise, in part, that not all states would subscribe to both groups of rights, today nearly all countries have ratified both treaties. An exception is the United States, which signed both but only ratified the ICCPR, and then only in 1992. A longtime holdout, Cuba, has just announced that it soon will sign both covenants, for reasons that a Cuban newspaper details here.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Earlier this month in Pretoria, "[h]undreds of women brought traffic in the capital to a standstill" as "they marched ... to hand over a memorandum demanding an equal gender representation in all state sectors." Among those who voiced their support for the proposal was the country's Minister of Communications, Dr. Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri (left), who urged the crowd: "Let's work collectively and confront hierarchy, no compromise and no going back."
The 50-50 proposal seems now to have fallen prey to the power struggle between factions of the African National Congress. Among those in the midst of that struggle is Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma (right). Appointed the 1st woman Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Republic by President Thabo Mbeki, she is a reputed candidate to succeed Mbeki, and also the ex-wife of Mbeki's rival, Jacob Zuma. At a public meeting yesterday Dlamini-Zuma slammed opponents of the equity plan. Her core point in favor of equity:
Women in the majority of countries, if not in all, form more than half the population. And they produced the other half.
... 2007 (today), the United States marks Bill of Rights Day, in recognition that on this date in 1791 the Bill (right) entered into force. In 1941, on the 150th anniversary of this date, Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed the day. The Bill of Rights is comprised of the 1st 10 amendments to the Constitution; its contents have served as a normative source for many subsequent national constitutions and international human rights instruments.
Friday, December 14, 2007
You can view here the terrifying stories of several of these migrants, as well as the touching testimony of an Italian coastguard commander haunted by the bodies of dead children he has retrieved from the sea. As the video notes, the increasingly tight borders in Europe have taken a heavy human toll, and are unrealistic in this age of globalization. While UNHCR points to the duty of States to protect the human rights of "people living outside their country of origin, whatever their legal status or their location in the world" and to protect the rights of their citizens, whether at home or abroad, it seems that these desperate migrants are increasingly falling through the cracks. Despite the particular rights that attach to refugees and those fearing torture, and the right to life endowed in all human beings, migrants face "detention and imprisonment; destitution and exploitation; trafficking and smuggling; physical abuse and harassment; racial or ethnic discrimination; interception, abandonment and drowning at sea; as well as return or transfer to remote and dangerous locations." The solution? UNHCR suggests that States and international organizations provide and promote safe, legal, and organized opportunities for migration. We've seen this already with Spain's trailblazing program to offer legal passage and a one-year renewable work visa to young Africans -- a solution that not only prevents deaths at sea but fills Spain's increasing labor needs. As Americans debate the appropriateness of immigration platforms presented by presidential candidates, let's keep in mind the many lives that are at stake on both sides of the Atlantic. (Photos courtesy of UNHCR.)