Monday, November 30, 2009

Unsettling profile of war crimes ambassador

War crimes envoy has personal touch read the headline for Colum Lynch's recent Washington Post profile of Stephen J. Rapp, who, as we've posted, became U.S. Ambassador at Large for War Crimes Issues in September.
Figured the story would talk about how Rapp's experiences as the top prosecutor at the Special Court for Sierra Leone had prepared him for this post. Fair enough.
But then came the subhead:
U.S. ambassador at large knows victimization and is a 'champion' of the brutalized
The story kicked off with a harrowing account of an all-night carjacking/kidnapping that Rapp endured 48 years ago. It then repeatedly linked this personal tragedy to Rapp's avowed self-image as "'a champion'" of the victims of crimes he's prosecuted, 1st in federal courts back home in Iowa, then at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and eventually at the Sierra Leone court.
Midway through, the story quoted criticism of the United States' policies on war crimes, levied by Fabienne Hara of the International Crisis Group, who contended

that the United States has not lived up to its commitment to stop violence as it unfolds. Its response to war crimes in three of the most serious conflict zones of the past two years, Congo, Sri Lanka and Gaza, consists of pressing for 'accountability after the crisis rather than stopping or preventing the crisis.'
Yet the reporter seems oblivious to another concern -- a concern apparent in the way that he chose to frame his story.
I've written here and here about what I call an "impartiality deficit" in international and internationalized criminal tribunals. Included within the term is concern that victims and victimization are overemphasized, to the exclusion of other interests at play in a properly balanced criminal justice system. Values of fairness and due process preclude establishment of a criminal court -- or prosecution office -- solely for the purpose of representing victims' interests. Both the court and the prosecutor have the duty to represent the larger society, to serve the interest of public safety even if that interest at times conflicts with those of victims -- as, for instance, proper adherence to defense rights often does.
That's not my own idiosyncratic view. Rather, it embodies tradition recalled in a 1935 U.S. Supreme Court opinion.
In Berger v. United States, Justice George Sutherland, a conservative Republican, wrote this in a unanimous opinion that reversed a conviction on account of misconduct by the federal prosecutor:

The United States Attorney is the representative not of an ordinary party to a controversy, but of a sovereignty whose obligation to govern impartially is as compelling as its obligation to govern at all; and whose interest, therefore, in a criminal prosecution is not that it shall win a case, but that justice shall be done. As such, he is in a peculiar and very definite sense the servant of the law, the twofold aim of which is that guilt shall not escape or innocence suffer. He may prosecute with earnestness and vigor-indeed, he should do so. But, while he may strike hard blows, he is not at liberty to strike foul ones. It is as much his duty to refrain from improper methods calculated to produce a wrongful conviction as it is to use every legitimate means to bring about a just one.
Prosecutors who assume a different mantle of responsibility, who construe their their role as the victims' lawyers, as the winners of the case, do so at a risk. 1st, identifying "victims" and "perpetrators" can be a difficult task, as is evident not only in yesterday's Los Angeles Times story about cycles of violence, but also in any consideration of how to deal with former child soldiers. 2d, feeding perceptions that international criminal justice seeks vengeance stokes already overheated claims of "victors' justice." 3d, as many pretrial proceedings at Guantánamo and the trial of Saddam Hussein demonstrated, singular equation of justice with victory does little to reduce the dangers of impartiality deficit.
It's to be hoped that the spin of the Post profile reflects reportorial choice rather than any such singular equation -- that punishment will be but 1 goal of the Office of War Crimes Issues, and that postconflict reconstruction and preconflict prevention will enjoy priorityof place.

On November 30

On this day in ...
... 1999 (10 years ago today), what had been scattered anti-globalization demonstrations the day before, of a ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization in Seattle, turned into street protests that, according to a website set up by the University of Washington libraries, "forced the delay of the WTO opening ceremonies." Soon joining in were "youthful, out-of-control, self-proclaimed 'anarchists'"; by midday local police "ran low on tear gas, bus service was suspended downtown, and many businesses closed their doors." (credit for photo of police directing pepper spray at protesters on this day) A state of emergency and curfew were declared; "forced retreat" occurred amid vandalization of local businesses. Collapsed WTO talks would be resumed in 2001 at Doha, Qatar.

(Prior November 30 posts are here and here.)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

A strategy of gender fundamentalism in Afghanistan?

(It's our great pleasure to welcome IntLawGrrls alumna Penelope Andrews, who contributes this guest post on a critical issue also addressed in today's post just below it)

As President Barack Obama prepares to give a speech this Tuesday on his administration's strategy going forward in Afghanistan, it's time to ask what role the cause of women in Afghanistan should play in reaching this decision. It's not evident that any of President Obama's advisors are giving any weight to the cause of women as a relevant factor in determining future strategy in Afghanistan.
Eight years is a long time for the prosecution of a major international war. It is therefore appropriate to ask:
What has been achieved in the cause for women and their status in Afghanistan's life?
Undeniably, there have been a few notable gains, such as the increasing number of girls who now attend school, and the presence of some female parliamentarians. But for the most part the fundamental gains required for Afghan women to achieve full citizenship have not transpired. Women continue to remain hostage to President Hamid Karzai’s equivocation and compromises -- as well as to the authoritarian traditions of warlords who support, and are supported by, President Karzai.
► from U.S. and NATO forces who drop bombs on them or raid their homes and detain indefinitely family members;
► to an unrelenting reign of terror from the Taliban groups who persist in their strategy of denying women basic rights and who act to undo the few gains and rights that Afghan women have in the interim obtained or may gain;
► to violence committed by warlords inflicting harsh punishments on women and seeking to confine them to traditional roles.
When it comes to women, the war has been another disaster, and has obscured both the continuing denial of their civil and political rights and the deleterious impact of that denial. Women's hopes, raised during the early days of the invasion, have turned into a poignant despair. With the warlords and the Taliban controlling about ninety percent of Afghanistan, it's not surprising to hear, as one notable Afghan women activist put it, that the invasion has led to “no positive change” regarding the situation of women. (credit for Office of U.N. High Commissioner of Refugees photo of Afghan women)
Given these conditions, a key issue is to provide for the basic rights of women. Given past experience, there is no reason to believe that sending more troops will secure this goal. Can this aim be achieved through negotiations and reduction of violence? That is where the focus should be, not on adding more troops to wage war. Moreover, securing the rights of women is probably the best way to aid Afghanistan's indigenous democracy.
To be sure, the Taliban in the past has been chronically against women's rights, but could the United Nations broker an agreement whereby the war would be ended in exchange for a guarantee by the Taliban and the Karzai government to respect and promote women's rights?What exactly would this entail? First, the international community, through the United Nations, should adopt a policy akin to a zero tolerance approach to the pursuit of gender equality and the eradication of violence against women, a gender fundamentalism if you will. This means that women’s equality, along with the campaign to provide democracy, would be the raison d’être for international engagement.
This must be the commitment of the international community. The role and status of women would become an important measure of the achievement of democracy in Afghanistan, perhaps a harbinger of democracy.

(A longer version of this post appears at this month's issue of Asian Currents, the e-bulletin of the Asian Studies Association of Australia, the country where Penny's taken up a Chair in Law at La Trobe University)

On November 29

On this day in ...
... 1983, meeting in the chamber at right, the U.N. General Assembly adopted Resolution 37/37, in which it called for "the immediate withdrawal of the foreign troops from Afghanistan" -- that is, for the withdrawal of Soviet troops that had been in the Central Asian country for 3 years. As we've posted, it would be another 6 years before any such withdrawal came to pass. Decades later, as further discussed in Penelope Andrews' guest post above, U.S. President Barack Obama will give a televised address Tuesday on the future of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Those troops 1st entered the country after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

(Prior November 29 posts are here and here.)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

How to End Violence?

So much of what we international lawyers do is aimed at preventing, ending, or responding to violence. Wouldn't it be lovely to make that aspect of our jobs obsolete?
Unfortunately, as illustrated by IntLawGrrls' numerous writings on the subject (including Naomi's post earlier today), violence—by states, by groups, by individuals—endures as a pervasive plague in almost every society. International legal organizations, states, and the lawyers who assist them try to prevent or constrain state violence through norms on aggression and the use of force, the conduct of war or armed conflict, human rights violations, or international crimes. But many civilians also experience violence perpetrated by non-state actors (insurgent groups, paramilitary units, terrorists, and family members). Often, they are targeted, at least in part, because of their gender, age, race, religion, sexual orientation, nationality, or other status.

Gender-Based Violence
This week marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (25 November; prior post). Rashida Manjoo, the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women (on whom we’ve posted here), issued a statement outlining plans for her mandate. Manjoo called for “timely and focused attention” on three themes:
►reparations to women for wrongs committed in contexts of peace, conflict, post-conflict and transitional justice settings;
►prevention strategies including those which promote women’s empowerment and engagement in challenging patriarchal interpretations of norms, values and rights; and
►multiple, intersecting and aggravated forms of discrimination affecting women and leading to increased levels of violence and limitation or denial of their human rights.

Roles of Men
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued parallel statements to mark the day as well. Interestingly, one of his statements focused on the roles of men in ending violence against women. The statement recognizes that men and boys must also be engaged, committed, and involved in efforts to end gender-based violence. Secretary-General Ban announced the launching of a network of male leaders charged with taking proactive steps, in collaboration with existing women’s organizations, to address gender-based violence. The new network is part of the “UNiTE to End Violence Against Women” initiative he launched in 2008.

As I launch this Network, I call on men and boys everywhere to join us. Break the silence. When you witness violence against women and girls, do not sit back. Act. Advocate. Unite to change the practices and attitudes that incite, perpetrate and condone this violence. Violence against women and girls will not be eradicated until all of us – men and boys – refuse to tolerate it….

According to a UN Press release,

he cited positive actions that men are already taking, such as judges whose decisions have paved the way for fighting abuse in the workplace, networks of men who counsel male perpetrators of violence, and national leaders who have publicly committed to leading the movement of men to break the silence.

Such efforts must begin early and locally in homes, schools, religious and community institutions. Educators and community activists must work with young people to build cross-gender and cross-cultural understanding, respect, and non-violent approaches to problem-solving. National governments must prevent the economic, social, and cultural rights violations that intersect with the causes and consequences of violence. And, at the international level, political and military leaders, diplomats, and multinational business leaders also must show that they, too, can learn such lessons. They can do so by promoting and adhering to laws against aggression, the threat or use of weapons of mass destruction, targeting of civilian populations, and the reckless trade in small arms.

(Photo: Leymah Glowee, Liberian peacebuilding activist and a subject of the documentary film, "Pray the Devil Back to Hell," about women peace activists. Photo Credit: Robin Holland.)

Children's rights against violence

This month the world duly marked the 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (prior post), to which my country of residence, France, and all countries except Somalia and the United States, are states parties. Article 19 of that Convention provides:

States Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child.
The Convention says nothing specifically about protecting children from such violence when they are out on the street. But one of its overall goals, as stated in the preamble, is to ensure that children are

fully prepared to live an individual life in society, and brought up in the spirit of the ideals proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations, and in particular the spirit of peace, dignity, tolerance, freedom, equality and solidarity.
In a radio program here last weekend, a link was vaguely made between protecting children both from suffering violence and from becoming violent. In particular, there was a discussion of whether watching violent films or playing violent video games makes children/adolescents violent.
This reminded me of a study I read over 20 years ago, which concluded that after watching a violent film, adolescents are de-sensitized to violence. I suspect this effect is more widespread than that of actually becoming violent, and should be cause for greater concern.
The psychologist interviewed on the radio said all societies need to represent violence.
But consider the recent attack on a 15-year-old girl in California's Bay Area (which I describe here in haiku in honor of a friend's new "Haiku Friday" kick):

After the school dance
For two and a half hours
They watched her gang raped.

The attack is an indicator that current representations of violence (beyond videos and films specifically labeled "violent") are not having any positive socializing effects. Indeed, they seem to run counter to the above-mentioned goal of the Children's Convention, and perhaps thus deny children their right to be raised and live in a manner that meets that goal.

Write On! Trial of Slobodan Milosevic

(Write On! is an occasional item about notable calls for papers.) Three units at Indiana University, Bloomington -- the Maurer School of Law, the Russian and East European Institute, and the Center for Western European Studies-- are seeking papers from scholars of international criminal law, transitional justice, or the former Yugoslavia for a conference entitled "The Milosevic Trial: An Autopsy," to be held February 18-21, 2010. Papers should address issues related to the trial before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia of the former Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic (below right) -- a trial that, as we've posted, ended with his death in 2005 -- or to the trial's impact on the former Yugoslavia, on international criminal law, or on transition justice. Paper topics should fall within the themes of conference:

The trial's significance and legacy are strongly contested; the conference will examine both the causes of the trial's termination and its implications for post-conflict justice. Drawing on major trial participants, experts on the former Yugoslavia, and international criminal law scholars who have written on the trial, the conference will address issues such as:
► the proper role of historical truth-telling in war crimes trials;
► measuring the impact of trials;
► prosecutorial and judicial strategy in designing trials; and
► access to trial archives.
Preliminary program and other details here. Deadline's soon: send a 500-word abstracts, a 200-word biography, and a c.v. by December 5, 2009, to (N.B. One version of this call put the deadline as early as "November 31," so better to inquire if you've any questions.)

On November 28

On this day in ...
... 1990, the BBC reported:

The woman dubbed as the Iron Lady during her premiership made her last tearful speech as the leader of the country from the doorstep of Number 10.
She was, of course, Margaret Thatcher, shown here with her political ally from across the pond, U.S. President Ronald Reagan. (photo credit) A Tory who ruled for nearly a dozen years, Thatcher's the 1st and only woman to have been the Prime Minister of Britain.

(Prior November 28 posts are here and here.)

Friday, November 27, 2009

A glimmer of hope . . .

On Wednesday, UNAIDS and the World Health Organization released a report on the AIDS epidemic. Much of the news is grim: in 2008, over 33 million people worldwide were living with HIV, nearly 3 million people were newly infected with HIV, and an estimated 2 million people died of AIDS, including nearly 300,000 children under the age of 15. While these numbers are of great concern, they represent a continuing decline in new HIV infections and HIV-related mortality. New HIV infections were 30% lower than at the epidemic's peak in 1996, and HIV-related deaths were 10% lower than at their peak in 2004. The number of children newly infected with HIV has dropped by nearly 20% since 2001, in part due to the significant increase in services to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission (from 10% in 2004 to 45% in 2008).
The continued spread of HIV has a significant gender dimension, which UNAIDS aims to address through two of its central goals for 2009 to 2011. First, UNAIDS seeks to prevent mothers from dying and babies from becoming infected with HIV. Its suggested strategies include the reduction of unwanted pregnancies among HIV-positive women, the provision of antiretroviral drugs (which can decrease the risk of mother-to-child transmission from 30-35% to 1-2%) during pregnancy and delivery as well as appropriate treatment, care, and support for mothers living with HIV.
UNAIDS also sees stopping violence against women and girls as a crucial component of ending the AIDS epidemic. This focus is particularly crucial in sub-Saharan Africa, where women account for approximately 60% of estimated HIV infections, "not only [because of] their greater physiological susceptibility to heterosexual transmission, but also to the severe social, legal and economic disadvantages they often confront." The report highlights a study from Lesotho finding that sexual and physical violence against women are key components of that country's AIDS epidemic. Unsurprisingly, the risk of contracting HIV is even higher for marginalized groups, including girls and young women and female sex workers, and in the United States, African-American women, who are more than 19 times more likely to contract HIV than Caucasian women. The social stigma that attaches to women who contract HIV may in turn lead to greater marginalization including divorce at a time when they may be in dire need of financial and emotional support. Here's hoping that the holistic approach prescribed by UNAIDS is pursued with vigor by those committed to ending the spread of HIV/AIDS.

On November 27

On this day in ...
... 1797, a Federalist by the name of John Marshall wrote a letter home to his Virginia-based wife Mary, known as Polly Marshall (right), in which he described the circumstances of his diplomatic mission to Paris:
I lived till within a few days in a house where I kept my own apartments perfectly in the style of a miserable old bachelor without any mixture of female society. I now have rooms in the house of a very accomplished, a very sensible, and I believe a very amiable lady whose temper, very contrary to the general character of her country women, is domestic and who generally sits with us two or three hours in the afternoon.
The woman who'd so bedazzled Marshall, then 42, was Reine-Philiberte de Villette (left), a 30-year-old widow with 2 children. As a girl she "had been destined for a convent" because of her family's impoverishment; instead, she'd been adopted and brought up by the aged French philosopher Voltaire. As detailed in this French account of her life, following the death of the Marquis de Villette, whom she'd married by arrangement of Voltaire, Madame de Villette became a society woman. Her salon afforded an entrée into French circles for diplomats from the new American republic -- among them Marshall, who 4 years after writing this letter would become Chief Justice of the United States.

(Prior November 27 posts are here and here.)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Holiday wish

On November 26

On this day in ...
... 1832, Dr. Mary Edwards Walker (right) was born in Oswego, New York. Twenty-two years later she graduated from Syracuse Medical College, then married a fellow medical student, though she kept her own name. The couple's attempt to set up a joint practice failed because patients would not accept a woman as their physician. When the Civil War broke out, Walker, a slavery abolitionist, volunteered as a nurse, the only position open to her. Eventually she became the 1st woman physician contrator, and treated the wonded at battles such as Bull Run, Chickamaugua, and Atlanta. Captured by Confederate troops, she was a prisoner of war for the better part of a year. Walker was a feminist and an advocate for change in "women's dress":
During the war, she wore trousers under her skirt, a man's uniform jacket and two pistols. As an early women's rights advocate, particularly for dress reform, she was arrested many times after the war for wearing men's clothes, including wing collar, bow tie and top hat.

Walker, the only woman ever to have received the Medal of Honor, the United States' highest military award, died in 1919.

(Prior November 26 posts are here and here.)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Post-hoc constitutional review à la française

Post-hoc constitutional review is finally coming to France.
As many comparatists know, constitutional review of laws has hitherto been limited to abstract review before laws are adopted, and it has only been about 20 years since the right to request such review was enlarged such that a group of 60 or more senators or deputies (members of the national assembly) may make such a request. Well, yesterday Parliament approved one of aspect of the constitutional revisions proposed by the Sarkozy government in July 2008: the right of citizens to petition the Conseil constitutionnel or Constitutional Council (above right) -- albeit indirectly -- for post-hoc review of a law they feel violates their constitutional rights.
Except in felony trials before the cour d'assises, citizens in the course of first-instance or appellate proceedings may claim a law already implemented violates her constitutional rights. If to he lower-court judget deems the complaint founded, she forwards the request for review either the Cour de cassation, the supreme court for civil actions, or the of civil jurisdiction, or to the Conseil d'État, the supreme administrative court. That court then decides whether or not to forward the complaint to the Conseil constitutionnel (Game of telephone, anyone?)
The government's original proposal included a time limit for all this forwarding, after which the citizen could petition the Conseil constitutionnel directly if the relevant supreme court hadn't responded. But fears of overloading the Conseil constitutionnel led to adopting the law without any such limit.
Defended by some as not being an "Americanization" of French law (major fear here in France) because other European states allow post-hoc review and because there will be both pre- and post-hoc review, the new law may be implemented as early as next spring. There's no telling, however, when it might actually lead to a Conseil constitutionnel ruling on a post-hoc challenge.

Sufferin' suffragettes

There's a tendency to romanticize our foremothers in what's known as the 1st wave of feminism. Back then, sometimes, they were called by the diminutive term "suffragettes"; they're known today, more often, as "suffragists."
We think of them -- indeed, we IntLawGrrls have posted on them -- as hardy women:
Women who dove under race horses to draw attention. Women who spoke and wrote about their sisters' plight. (Also here, here, here, and here.)
Women who went to jail rather than accept criminal fines for "disturbing the peace" by pressing their cause. (Also here and here and here and here.)
Women who marched till they wore down the soles of their high-heeled -- and often high-buttoned -- shoes.
But not all women, it seems. Nor all shoes.
A dispatch entitled WOMEN MUST HIKE OR PAY, published in the January 18, 1913, edition of The New York Times, reported on suffragists' fear that a planned "mandatory" march on Washington would be "a fizzle," for the simple reason that not enough women wanted to march.
The wealthy among them were permitted to buy their way out of the long haul. As The Times put it:
Those of the ardent suffragists who talk loud and do little are to be permitted to purchase immunity from the long hike from New York to Washington only by hiring a substitute and paying her expenses.
The decision to allow immunity-purchase was made by "Gen. Rosalie Jones," shown standing in the crossing-the-Delaware caricature at right (credit), at the request of one "Mrs. Travis Cochran, a wealthy woman of this city, who is interested in 'the cause,'" The Times wrote from Philadelphia, the "city" of dispatch. (One suspects the latter part of this item refers to the "well-connected" Mary Peppers Cochran.)
Guess all this oughtn't come as that much of a surprise.
Consider, for example, the unsympathetic portrait of "Mrs. Banks" in the Disney version of Mary Poppins (1964). Perhaps the best line that Mrs. B -- Winifred, that is -- has is this one, part of the rousing musical number in the clip at bottom:
Our daughters' daughters will adore us and they'll sing in grateful chorus, 'Well done, sister suffragettes.'

The script says otherwise, however; the London banker's wife is continually out the door, on her way to a suffrage meeting, leaving wee Jane and Michael in the care of ... whomever.
But let's not judge our 1st-wave foremothers too harshly.
After all, in a similar vein, a lot of Unionist men paid $300 each to buy their way out of service in America's Civil War -- men like Jay Gould, Philip Armour, Andrew Carnegie, James Mellon, J.P. Morgan, and John D. Rockefeller. The choice freed each to become a human engine of America's industrial and financial revolution.
And their Mrs.?

On November 25

On this day in ...
... 1958, a colony in West Africa known as French Sudan "gained complete internal autonomy" (flag at left). Five months later it would join with Senegal to form the Mali Federation, a fully independent entity within the French Community for a few months in the summer of 1950, until Senegal seceded. Thereafter, in September 1960, "French Sudan proclaimed itself the Republic of Mali and withdrew from the French Community."

(Prior November 25 posts are here and here.)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

IntLawGrrls now on Facebook & Twitter!

IntLawGrrls is pleased to announce that we're now on Facebook and Twitter!
If you're a Facebook user, Fan us! You can see all IntLawGrrls' daily posts on our new Facebook page by clicking here or on the Facebook badge in our righthand column.
And if you're on Twitter, you can now receive all of our posts that way too! Check out IntLawGrrls' Twitter page by clicking here or on the Twitter badge in our righthand column, and follow us!
For our readers who need a little Web 2.0 tutorial, we offer a detailed techno-post below.
Happy reading!

Lions and Tigers and Tweets...Oh, my!

You're right. It's a jungle out there. Blogs. Twitter. Facebook. What's an IntLawGrrl (or a loyal reader) to do? (We've joined them all, as announced in our post above.)
Here's a brief explanation and mini-tutorial for those who find themselves lost in the big bad world of Web 2.0.

You know what blogger is. You're here! But do you want a blog for yourself? All you need is a Google account and you can start your own blog, linking to other fabulous ones -- like IntLawGrrls, of course. Blogging is a great way to make your voice heard, and to connect with others interested in similar topics! If you're having trouble, take a look at this video tutorial.

Facebook is the essence of "social networking." When you become a Facebook user, you get a profile. (You can see ours by clicking here or on the Facebook badge in the righthand column.) This profile is your chance to describe yourself publicly. You can write about your professional affiliations and personal interests, as well as post pictures and videos. You can also post up-to-the-minute "status messages," a way to share what's on your mind with your network. Each profile has a "wall," where your status messages and updates appear. Once you have friends, they can leave public messages for you here. They can also send you private messages via your profile's message center.
To build a Facebook network, you can search for friends, family, and colleagues who are also "on Facebook." You can search by names, organizations, or e-mails. You ask them to be your friends, they accept, and your network has begun!
Facebook also allows you to join "Groups," which are networks of other users with similar interests (e.g. international law or law professors). If you have a business or other organization, you can set up a "Page" -- like a Facebook storefront -- for your organization. This is different than a personal profile; you become the "administrator" of your Page.
Security is a major concern for many new Facebook users. It's simple to change your settings and there is enormous flexibility. You can create groups of friends who can only see certain portions of your page (e.g., students or colleagues can only see the "info" section of your profile, while personal friends can see everything, like pictures and videos). It's quite handy.
And you can make yourself invisible outside the Facebook network, so your profile won't come up in a Google search.
If you need help building your Facebook profile, the Help Center page is quite useful.

Last but not least, there's Twitter. Twitter is built on the same social networking principles as Facebook, but in short form. Think of Facebook as being built for computers, while Twitter is built for mobile phones.
So, on Twitter, you also have an abbreviated profile, and you can put up a photo and links to your other websites. (You can see IntLawGrrls' very pink page on Twitter by clicking here or on the Twitterbird badge in the righthand column.)
Instead of posting a status message, you "Tweet" -- that is, you post a 140-character-or-less update to everyone on Twitter. You can protect your tweets so that only users in your network can see them.
You build your network by asking to "follow" other users on Twitter. When you follow someone, you'll receive her Tweets and know immediately what she's up to!
Twitter tends to have many more organizations and news sources Tweet-ing, so it can be a great way to get your news on your phone or computer without having to browse various sites. For more Twitter help, see the FAQ.
That wasn't so overwhelming, was it?
Once you set up your blog, Facebook & Twitter accounts, it's easy to link all three. For example, you can easily send your blog posts directly to your Facebook and Twitter accounts. You can also forward your Twitter to your Facebook, so every time you Tweet your status update changes, too. And, you can link your mobile phone to all three: you can write text-message blog posts, tweets, and status updates.
We may not be in Kansas anymore, but the world of social networking can be just as simple.

'Nuff said

(Taking context-optional note of thought-provoking quotes)

'There ain't going to be no money for nothing if we pour it all into Afghanistan.'

-- U.S. Rep. David Obey (D-Wisconsin), Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, during a television interview with ABC News, in which he makes a connection between overseas military intervention and the domestic economy -- a connection on which IntLawGrrls posted way-back-when.

On November 24

On this day in ...
... 1989 (20 years ago today), the leadership of Czechoslovakia -- 2 dozen members of the Communist Party who'd "called in the Soviet tanks in 1968 to crush the 'Prague Spring' reformers," "resigned to make way for democratic changes," the BBC reported. The move came after the party's leader acknowledged "underestimating the force of the pro-democracy movement." A month later a Czech dissident writer, Václav Havel -- shown at center in this 1988 photo (credit) -- became the country's President.

(Prior November 24 posts are here and here.)

Monday, November 23, 2009

FemInt workshop-in-progress

(IntLawGrrls is pleased to welcome back alumna Susan Harris Rimmer, who contributes this guest post)

As previously posted, The Australian National University is currently hosting a workshop on Feminist Internationalisms in Canberra, Australia. The workshop is intended to reflect on twenty years of feminist scholarship in the fields of international law and international relations, in Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific.
IntLawGrrls everywhere can follow the proceedings:
Click on the conference Twitter account here and receive tweets live from the conference floor.
The following podcasts from the workshop also are available: "You May Never Understand: Prospects for Feminist Futures in International Relations," the keynote address by Dr. J. Ann Tickner (below right), Professor of International Relations at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, is here, and the Q&A that followed is here.
Here's a taste of what Ann had to say:

While feminist research has been successful in making women visible, it has gone much deeper. Getting beyond women and IR, and even beyond gender and IR, it has successfully demonstrated -- not maybe as much as we would like to the discipline as a whole -- that IR theory is thoroughly gendered, both in the questions it chooses to ask, as well as how it goes about answering them.
One of the most creative moves feminism has made is to challenge disciplinary boundaries and bring in new issues and voices.
Rich empirical case studies –- using methodologies not normally employed by IR scholars -- have shed light on those on the margins (both women and men) whose lives are deeply impacted by global politics and economics. Feminists have sccessfully demonstrated how the lives of sex workers, domestic servants, home-based workers and those who work at unremunerated caring and reproductive labour, are intertwined with global politics and the global economy. They have also suggested that the security of states is sometimes dependent on rendering insecure the lives of certain, often marginalized, people, and how the global capitalist economy could not function without unremunerated labour, the majority of which is performed by women. IR feminists have also pointed to the inadequacies of social scientific methodologies for answering many of the questions they want to ask.
All workshop papers will appear in a special issue of the Australian Feminist Law Journal in July 2010.

Guest Blogger: Barbara Stark

It's IntLawGrrls' great pleasure to welcome Barbara Stark (left) as today's guest blogger.
Barbara is Professor of Law and John DeWitt Gregory Research Scholar at Hofstra University School of Law in Hempstead, New York, having joined that faculty in 2005. This semester she's a Visiting Scholar at Columbia Law School; in the past, she's visited at New England School of Law and the University of West Virginia. She's held leadership positions in the American Society of International Law, the Association of American Law Schools, and the International Law Association.
She holds a B.A. from Cornell University, a J.D. from New York University, and an LL.M. from Columbia University.
Barbara's published widely on matters related to international family law and to women -- not only many chapters and law review articles, but also books, including International Family Law: An Introduction (2005), Global Issues in Family Law (with Iowa Law Professor Ann Laquer Estin, 2007) and Family Law in the World Community: Cases, Materials, and Problems in Comparative and International Family Law (with Tulsa Law Professor D. Marianne Blair et al., 2009).
Barbara discusses her recent scholarship respecting women, poverty, and international economic law in her guest post below.
She dedicates her post to Virginia Leary (below left), the human rights advocate and academic, and a past recipient of the Goler T. Butcher Medal, whose passing IntLawGrrls marked last year. (photo credit) Barbara notes in particular Virginia's
groundbreaking work on economic rights and her generous hospitality, her willingness to invite and include new women in international law.
Today Virginia joins other IntLawGrrls foremothers at the list below our "visiting from..." map at right.
Heartfelt welcome!

For world's women, recession goes on

(My thanks to IntLawGrrls for the opportunity to contribute this guest post about my scholarship on women and international economic law)

Goldman Sachs may be out of the woods, but the Great Recession is not over for the world’s women.
Will it ever be?
Consider these "Facts & Figures on Women, Poverty & Economics," compiled by UNIFEM, the U.N. Development Fund for Women:

► Women perform 66 percent of the world’s work, produce 50 percent of the food, but earn 10 percent of the income and own 1 percent of the property.
► Women constitute around 60% to 80% percent of the export manufacturing workforce in the developing world, a sector the World Bank expects to shrink significantly during the economic crisis.
► The global economic crisis is expected to plunge a further 22 million women into unemployment, which would lead to a female unemployment rate of 7.4 percent (versus 7 percent of male unemployment).
The chasm between the rich and the poor has become unfathomable.
As a recent U.N. study explains, global wealth is distributed "as if one person in a group of ten takes 99% of the total pie and the others share the remaining 1%." Few argue that this is inevitable or unimportant, but there is little consensus on how to proceed.
What should be done?
Who should do it?
These questions should not be left entirely to politicians, economists, and celebrities.
In a recent article, "Theories of Poverty/The Poverty of Theory," 2009 Brigham Young Law Review 381, I consider the usefulness (or not) of legal theory. The article explains how liberal theories in particular dominate post-Cold War approaches to poverty, as shown in three major legal instruments. It then introduces other theories of poverty, those of liberalism’s 'discontents,' conspicuously absent from post-Cold War discourse. The article concludes by focusing on the limits of theory itself in a liberal international system that has neither the legal muscle to effectively address global poverty nor the political will to develop it.
A second article, "Jam Tomorrow: The Limits of International Economic Law," forthcoming in the Boston College Third World Journal, asks whether existing international economic law -- including the law governing and generated by the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization, and the World Bank -- has the capacity to realize distributive justice. The question takes on special relevance with the election of an American President explicitly committed to reducing economic inequality (at least domestically).
"Distributive justice" is an ambiguous goal. If we simply mean "more fair than what we have now," "distributive justice" is within easy reach, since we could hardly do worse. As a threshold question, accordingly, it should be established what, exactly, is required for actual "distributive justice." I take as a starting point the relatively modest objective of the Millennium Development Goals — to halve the number living in extreme poverty, i.e., subsisting on less than $1 a day, by 2015. As economist Jeffrey Sachs points out, the wealth is still there. It is just a matter of moving it around.
"Jam Tomorrow" argues that this is not going to happen, because:
► 1st, this is not an objective of international economic law; and
► 2d, even if the political will were there, it would not happen because "international economic law" is not a coherent legal subject with the capacity to make it happen. Neoliberalism cannot be relied upon to produce distributive justice, but neoliberalism is not the only game in town.
Constructive alternatives?
Microfinance is fine, but markets are no silver bullet. For further thought, see, for example:
Human Rights And The Global Marketplace: Economic, Social And Cultural Dimensions, by Jeanne M. Woods, Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, and IntLawGrrl Hope Lewis, Northeastern University School of Law;
► Dr. Martha Nussbaum, University of Chicago Law School, on the capabilities approach, in her 2001 book Women and Human Development; and
► The brilliant essay on "Exploitation" by Dr. Susan Marks, King's College London, in the 2008 collection that she edited, entitled International Law on the Left.

(credit for photo of food charity in Australia; credit for woman at handloom in India)

On November 23

On this day in ...
... 2007, Connie Hedegaard (left) became Denmark's Minister for Climate Change and Energy. For the 3 years just before that, Hedegaard served as Minister for the Environment.
A former print and broadcast journalist and a member of the Conservative People's Party, she'd been a legislator from 1984 to 1990. As detailed in a recent New York Times profile, she's now busy getting ready to host the U.N. Climate Change Conference. Called COP15, it's to be held December 7-18 in Copenhagen, the city where she was born on September 15, 1960.

(Prior November 23 posts are here and here.)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

On the job! CICC in Africa

(On the Job! pays occasional notice to interesting intlaw job notices) The umbrella for thousands of nongovernmental organizations across the planet, the Coalition for the International Criminal Court, is seeking applicants for the full-time position of Africa Situations Liaison (Francophone Region). The liaison will be based in Africa, with the precise location yet to be determined. Duties include:
► helping to provide support and direction for Coalition campaigns in certain African countries (currently, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic, and Côte d'Ivoire); and
►helping to craft Coalition policy on the African Union.
Qualifications sought include:
►master's degree or LL.M. preferred, ideally with a concentration in International Relations, Public International Law, Human Rights Law, Political Science or a related field; bachelor's degree required, preferably with substantial coursework in International Affairs, Government or Political Science, Human Rights Law, or Conflict Prevention and Peace-Building.
► 3 to 5 years' experience working on human rights issues in Africa, preferably from within a civil society organization.
► Knowledge of the history, politics and culture of Africa, including knowledge and understanding of armed conflict situations and of African regional bodies such as the African Union, Economic Community of Western African States, Southern African Development Community, and East Africa Community.
Details are available under "Employment" heading here. To apply, e-mail ( or fax (+1 (212) 599-1332), to Claire Grandison, Program Associate, Coalition for the International Criminal Court, the following documents, written in English: curriculum vitae; cover letter summarizing the candidate's background and qualifications and discussing interest in the Coalition's work; a list including the name, title, affiliation, and phone number of 3 referees.

On November 22

On this day in ...
... 1974 (35 years ago today), the U.N. General Assembly adopted Resolution 3237, which granted permanent observer status to the Palestine Liberation Organization. Fourteen years later that decision would be reviewed in an International Court of Justice advisory opinion. (credit for U.N. photo depicting (left to right) Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim, General Assembly President Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria, and Under-Secretary-General for Political and General Assembly Affairs Bradford Morse presiding as General Assembly votes on PLO status)

(Prior November 22 posts are here and here.)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

U.S. Address to the ICC Assembly

(Today IntLawGrrls reproduces in full the speech that Stephen J. Rapp, U.S. Ambassador at Large for War Crimes Issues, gave Thursday to the Assembly of States Parties of the International Criminal Court, meeting now at The Hague. We've added hypertexts to enhance thinking about these remarks, which, as posted represent a new U.S. engagement with the ICC. Our thanks to the U.S. State Department for furnishing the text.)

It is a pleasure to address you on behalf of the US Delegation, which for the first time is attending a meeting of the Assembly of States Parties as an Observer. Although we have not joined previous meetings of the Assembly, we have not been silent in the face of crimes against the basic code of humanity, crimes that call for condemnation in the strongest possible way. Far from it: We have worked shoulder to shoulder with other states to support accountability and end impunity for hauntingly brutal crimes in the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, and elsewhere. With special urgency today, we are working to end the impunity that has fostered intolerable crimes of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo and other countries. As a former prosecutor with the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and former Chief Prosecutor for the Special Court for Sierra Leone, I am especially proud of my country’s historic role in demanding justice for those who survived soul-shattering violence in their own countries — and for those who did not survive.
In recent years, we have seen extraordinary achievements of international criminal tribunals. Through their work, these tribunals have not only answered horrific crimes with historic justice, but they have done something of equal importance: they helped foster an expectation among victims that justice would be delivered at home, too, and not just in an international court. We have watched this process play out in several countries and have a deep appreciation of the role that institutions of international justice can play in helping restore accountability and the rule of law to states struggling to emerge from lawless violence. Certainly, the US Government places the greatest importance on assisting countries where the rule of law has been shattered to stand up their own system of protection and accountability — to enhance their capacity to ensure justice at home.
At the same time, the United States recognizes that there are certain times when justice will be found only when the international community unites in ensuring it, and we have been steadfast in our encouragement for action when the situation demands it. It was with this principle in mind that the United States has encouraged the investigation of the situation in Darfur.
In short, the commitment of the Obama Administration to the rule of law and the principle of accountability is firm, in line with my country’s historic tradition of support for international criminal justice that has been a hallmark of United States policy dating back at least to the time of Nuremberg.
Having been absent from previous rounds of these meetings, much of what we will do here is listen and learn. Our presence at this meeting, and the contacts that our delegates will seek with as many of you as possible, reflects our interest in gaining a better understanding of the issues being considered here and the workings of the Court.
That said, I would be remiss not to share with you my country’s concerns about an issue pending before this body to which we attach particular importance: the definition of the crime of aggression, which is to be addressed at the Review Conference in Kampala next year. The United States has well-known views on the crime of aggression, which reflect the specific role and responsibilities entrusted to the Security Council by the UN Charter in responding to aggression or its threat, as well as concerns about the way the draft definition itself has been framed. Our view has been and remains that, should the Rome Statute be amended to include a defined crime of aggression, jurisdiction should follow a Security Council determination that aggression has occurred.
Although we respect the hard work that has been done in this area by the Assembly of States Parties, we also share the concern that many of you have expressed about the need to address this issue, above all, with extreme care, and the Court itself has an interest in not being drawn into a political thicket that could threaten its perceived impartiality.
In more than eight years as an international prosecutor I have seen how challenging it can be to try persons alleged to bear the greatest responsibility for crimes that shock the universal conscience — those intentionally targeting civilians and other noncombatants. So much remains to be done to achieve justice for the victims of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. We must not fail them.
We look forward to learning from the discussions at this meeting.
Thank you.

(credit for 2008 photo of Rapp; credit for 2008 photo of U.N. Security Council approving Resolution 1820 on women and armed conflict)

On November 21

On this day in ...
... 1979 (30 years ago today), in Islamabad, a "five-hour siege" that "began as an organised student protest" turned into a mob attack that resulted in the death of one Marine at the U.S. embassy in Pakistan, which was burned to the ground. The BBC attributed the attack to a radio broadcast in which Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini contended that "Americans were behind the occupation of Islam's holiest site, the Great Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia" -- a broadcast that the U.S. State Department said contained "'irresponsible, outright, knowing lies.'" The Washington Post's 2004 retrospective on the attack is here.

(Prior November 21 posts are here and here.)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Beyond the IDP Camps

The International Committee of the Red Cross has just released an unusually critical report on internal displacement in armed conflict. The report challenges the excessive labeling of forced migrants, a phenomenon that this author attributes to the legalization of humanitarian emergencies, and questions the international community's focus on camps as the locus of humanitarian aid to victims of forced displacement in armed conflict.
In 2008, there were 26 million internally displaced, many of whom were out of sight of the world and unreached by international organizations. Forced displacement has significant gender dimensions, including increased sexual violence against women and girls, restricted access to reproductive health care, and the proliferation of households headed by a single female. Forced displacement also carries serious consequences for children, who are at greater risk of separation from their families, face forced recruitment as soldiers, servants, and sex slaves, lack access to education, and are at increased risk of death from easily preventable and curable illness.
The ICRC notes that camps for the internally displaced are just the tip of the iceberg. Looking beyond the camps, many of the internally displaced receive food and shelter from residents who themselves are struggling to meet basic subsistence needs. Moreover, not all those harmed by conflict are actually displaced; some stay to care for the ill, the disabled, and the elderly -- and then cannot access humanitarian aid because of conflict. It is in this context that the report questions the overlabeling of forced migrants, which leads to an excessive focus of resources and energy on those who reside in camps to the detriment of those who don't. In particular, the ICRC expresses concern about the increasing tendency to consider the needs of the internally displaced as separate and distinct from those of resident populations, and notes that labeling people and compartmentalizing humanitarian aid leads to the neglect of some groups.
In other words, camps soak up scarce resources that may be more urgently needed elsewhere, a situation that creates not only economic but also political problems. IDP camps provide the displaced with higher quality medical care, education, water, and food supply than local residents, creating dependency & disincentive to return home on the part of the displaced. At the same time, those not in camps drain poor local communities, worsening their economic plight and causing tension. The report suggests that resources are channeled into camps rather than communities because funding requires visibility, and communities are relatively inaccessible and invisible -- while camps are easily reachable by humanitarian organizations and highly visible to the international community
Finally, the report turns to the end game, noting again the problems created by an overly legalistic approach to humanitarian aid. According to the law, displacement lasts only as long as the reasons justifying it (military imperatives or security of civilians) require -- but in reality, return and reintegration take much longer. The report proposes that conversations about resettlement, return, or reintegration should engage IDPs themselves, and critiques the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement for failing to mention this important point. It also notes the need for greater coordination and dialogue between international organizations to ensure there's no time gap between the withdrawal of humanitarian organizations and the entry of development agencies. Indeed, the entire report seems to push for an approach to forced migration that looks more like development aid and less like emergency relief, a prioritization that might put an end to artificial hierarchies of suffering in and after armed conflict.

(Hat tip to IntLawGrrl Diane Marie Amann for sending the report my way.)