Thursday, December 31, 2009
► The decade in politics;
► Best architecture of the decade;
► Worst fashions of the decade;
► Best films of the decade;
► The stock market's worst decade;
► The decade in music; and
► A condemnatory label, "Decade from Hell."
But is it in fact the end of the decade?
Maybe, maybe not.
Counting from midnight January 1, 2000, the answer's yes -- 11:59 tonight will end 10 years.
But here in the States, at least, we count birthdays beginning at the end of the 1st 12 months of life. Counting decades the same way, this one won't end till 11:59 p.m. next December 31.
We've been here before.
Not that long ago, the popular trend was to start the "new" millennium the 1st moment of 2000, even as the purists among us marked the "real" millennium a year later. Confusion's back: letters to the editor decrying the "misinformation" of the end-of-decade stories, even as others label such complainers "bozos."
In truth, "decade" simply means 10 years. The startpoint determines the endpoint. So it seems everyone's right. Or wrong.
Here's hoping your last 10 years (however you count them) were good, and your next 10 even better.
... 1964 (45 years ago today), Indonesian President Sukarno, who in 1945 had led his country to independence from Dutch colonialism (prior post), declared that if Malaysia were to assume a seat on the Security Council, Indonesia would leave the United Nations, just as it had boycotted the Tokyo Olympic Games earlier in the year. According to The New York Times, The source of Sukarno's complaint was the 1963 formation of the Malaysian federation (prior post):
The Indonesian leader charged that Malaysia was formed from the former British territories of Malaya, Singapore, and the Borneo states of Sarawak and Sabah (North Borneo) against the will of the people in order to maintain British influence in Southeast Asia.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
...1972, the United States ended "nearly two weeks of heavy bombing" of North Vietnam by order of President Richard M. Nixon. The White House announced that National Security Adviser Henry A. Kissinger would go back to Paris to resume peace talks with Vietnamese diplomats. The Paris Peace Accords would be formally signed less than a month later, on January 27, 1973, at the ceremony depicted above right (credit).
(Prior December 30 posts are here and here.)
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
... 1934 (75 years ago today), U.S. Secretary of State Cordell Hull expressed "genuine regret" at receiving Japan's formal notice of its renunciation of the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922, in which Britain, France, Italy, Japan, and the United States had agreed to limit armaments on their naval vessels. (credit for image of diplomats at 1922 Washington Naval Conference) The withdrawal came 21 months after Japan had quit the League of Nations (prior posts here and here).
(Prior December 29 posts are here and here.)
Monday, December 28, 2009
In 2007, Mona joined the faculty in the Civil Law Section at the University of Ottawa, Canada, as an Assistant Professor, teaching, in French, courses on public international law, human rights, children's rights, and international law respecting equality and discrimination. She has published and presented on these subjects in English as well as French.
Mona is a founding member of the Laboratoire de recherche interdisciplinaire sur les droits de l'enfant, a children's rights research unit affiliated with Ottawa's faculty of law. Before entering academia Mona had worked for human rights and children's rights organizations in Asia and Europe. She also was a member of the United Nations' disability programme team during the negotiations leading to the 2006 Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the subject of her guest post below.
Holder of a Ph.D. from the University of London, Mona also earned a Diplôme d’études Supérieures en relations internationales from the Institut de hautes études internationales in Geneva, as well as 2 law degrees from Université Aix-Marseille in France.
Mona dedicates her guest post to Eglantyne Jebb (below right). Born in Shropshire, England, in 1876, Jebb helped her mother, a social worker, as a child, and so began a career aiding children in need. She taught children who lived in England's slums and helped children who'd survived war in Macedonia. Jebb was the founder in 1919 of the International Save the Children Union and author of the 1st international Declaration on the Rights of the Child. The League of Nations adopted that Geneva Declaration in 1924. Four years later Jebb died, at age 52. But her declaration inspired a movement that continues to this day, as evidenced by the United Nations' adoption in 1959 of the Declaration on the Rights of of the Child, and in 1989 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Today Jebb joins IntLawGrrls' other foremothers on the list just below our "visiting from..." map at right.
Having followed closely the negotiations on the disability convention as a member of the United Nations' disability programme team between 2003 and 2006, I was struck that this convention was rich and carried much potential for human rights and international law more generally. In this guest post I share some of my findings, based on my article “La convention relative aux droits des personnes handicapées : quel impact sur le droit international ?”, published recently in the Revue Générale de Droit International Public.
The UN General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in December 2006, after only four years of negotiations. An ambitious treaty, it aims to ensure human rights by persons with disabilities. As stated in Article 1:
The purpose of the present Convention is to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.
► First, the participation of civil society in the negotiations will certainly contribute to the development of the international legal capacity of civil society actors. The number of nongovernmental organizations that participated in the negotiations and the way their participation was facilitated and made official by General Assembly resolutions was unprecedented. It is fair to say that the major part of the text comes from NGOs.
► Second, the text of the convention and the process that led to it will no doubt result in a renewed interest in the right to development, and even international development law. Indeed, the convention was considered by many as a “development convention” or at least a “hybrid” convention, blending development, human rights and non-discrimination. Notably, it is the first human rights convention that includes an article on international cooperation, Article 32.
► Third, the convention further reinforces the fading of artificial categories of human rights, especially the dichotomy between civil and political rights, on the one hand, and economic, social and cultural rights, on the other. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities focuses on detailed implementation measures, which prove that all rights require positive measures from States. Moreover, the Disability Rights Optional Protocol supports the justiciability of all categories of rights, and this most likely helped to clear the deadlock in the negotiations for an Optional Protocol for the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. There is no doubt that the disappearance of categories of rights both will have positive impacts on equality and will empower weaker segments of society.
... 1816, Elizabeth Parsons Ware was born. Twenty-three years later, "at her parents' insistence," she married, and as Elizabeth Packard (left) gave birth to 6 children. But after she began questioning her husband's beliefs on matters of religion, child rearing, family finances, and slavery, he had her committed to a state mental asylum. It released 3 years later; in response, her husband confined her to a boarded-up room in the house, prompting the filing of a petition for writ of habeas corpus. In the 1864 trial of Packard v. Packard -- recently treated in a book, a play, and a law review article -- jurors found her sane after just 7 minutes of deliberation. Subsequently the founder of the Anti-Insane Asylum Society and advocate for reform of the mental health system, Packard died in 1897.
(Prior December 28 posts are here and here.)
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Thus, Europe is 'blessed' with two distinct but closely related fundamental rights treaties supervised by two independent European courts -- the European Court of Human Rights and the [European Court of Justice]. It remains to be seen how these two fundamental rights systems will interact with each other and how they will accommodate possibly divergent or conflicting jurisprudence.
--Netherlands-based scholar Dr. Nikolaos Lavranos, in his ASIL Insight tracing the history, evolution, and future of efforts to constitutionalize regional integration in Europe. The 2 treaties to which he refers are: respecting the ECtHR, the 1950 Convention of Human Rights, and respecting the ECJ, the 2000 Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, rendered binding by the December 1 entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, on which we've posted.
... 1934 (75 years ago today), Riza Shah renamed the country he ruled -- long called by the Greco-Roman name Persia -- Iran, the older name for the land. Although the country's official name remains Iran (flag at right), as indicated in this U.N. member state listing, the other term did not fully die out, as noted in this 1965 New York Times article.
(Prior December 27 posts are here and here.)
Saturday, December 26, 2009
The hearing, titled "The Law of the Land: U.S. Implementation of Human Rights Treaties," drew considerable attention from activists and the general public. It also warranted high-level administration testimony from both the U.S. Department of Justice (Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Division) and the U.S. Department of State (Michael H. Posner, Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor).
Elisa Massimino, President and CEO of Human Rights First (photo, left (copyright 2008, Beowulf Sheehan/PEN American Center; see also IntLawGrrls post by Diane Marie Amann ) and Wade Henderson, President and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR), testified in person and led the NGO participation.
One Step Forward, More Steps Needed
IntLawGrrls have been very active in advocating for increased U.S. recognition of, and adherence to, international human rights legal standards internally (see many individual posts and our Human Rights in the U.S. series.) As lawyers and activists celebrate the increasing administrative, legislative, and, (one can hope) prospective judicial attention to this issue, plenty of work remains to be done. Some of it will occur in legislatures (whether federal or subnational) and courtrooms, but a lot of pragmatic work can happen in classrooms and social media contexts as well. Among the framework issues are the following:
►U.S. signature and ratification of core international human rights treaties (such as those listed in my previous post);
►Reorganization of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission into a Civil Rights and Human Rights Commission (as advocated in an American Constitution Society report by Catherine Powell discussed in Diane Marie Amann’s post);
►Passage of implementing federal legislation to clarify enforcement effects of ratified treaties;
►Inclusion of human rights in childhood and adult educational and social media settings in order to build popular awareness, critical analysis, and pressure on political representatives to adhere to human rights norms (see a compendium of good practices from the Human Rights Education Association website.)
My July 2009 post noted with optimism the presidential signing of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) the first major international human rights treaty to be signed by the U.S. in 10 years. IntLawGrrl Connie de la Vega recently posted on the enormous advantages for children in the U.S. of ratifying the Convention on the Rights of the Child. And, in this, the 30th year since its adoption by the United Nations General Assembly, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) remains unratified by the U.S.
Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights in the U.S.
Further, the bitter debates and misperceptions surrounding the passage of U.S. health coverage reforms should be more fully informed by international and comparative jurisprudence and scholarship on the nature, scope, and practical implementation of economic, social, and cultural rights. (See a posthumously published essay on Health Care as a Basic Human Right: Moving From Lip Service to Reality by the late Senator Edward Kennedy here.) At a time when poverty, joblessness, homelessness, and rising health costs and disparities are a nationwide concern, U.S. ratification of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) could add a fresher and more equitable approach to social justice reform efforts.
Civil Society Participation
Ratification, legislation, judicial interpretation, and political action on human rights issues matters. Recent efforts by US-based NGOs to apply the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) to U.S. problems such as discrimination in housing, criminal justice, and education are an inspiring example (see posts in our series on CERD and Race in the U.S.) Human rights advocacy draws national, even global, attention to important problems, galvanizes social action, and if properly implemented, can help chart participatory solutions.
No Time Like the Present
The Hague is the home of numerous international courts and tribunals, including the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court, as well as the ad hoc International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the newly founded Special Tribunal for Lebanon. The Special Court for Sierra Leone and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda also make use of facilities available in The Hague. How have these institutions co-operated? Have there perhaps been conflicts of competence? What are the consequences for the development of international (criminal) law of conflict or co-operation between the different courts and tribunals?Articles of up to 10,000 words, as well as essays and casenotes of up to 3,500 words, may be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Details here.
Friday, December 25, 2009
Gomez first met these detained families as an intern at the Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center (PIRC), a non-profit organization that provides immigrants with information about their legal rights. Most families are asylum seekers, and the majority come from Latin America, but there are families from all over the world, from China to Iraq, detained at Berks. During her visits to Berks, Gomez learned about the extreme hardships that the families and their children had suffered. Many of the women suffered severe physical abuse at the hands of their husbands or families in their home country and fled to the U.S. in search of a better life. Many of the children bore witness to this violence or were themselves victims of abuse. Their journeys were often terrifying, as they passed through several countries to finally arrive in the United States.
After her internship ended, Gomez often thought about the families and children at the shelter. In her words:
In early November I started thinking that the children at the shelter would be spending Christmas away from their families, in a foreign country, and without knowing what the future will bring. I thought it would be a good idea to organize a toy drive so the children would have presents to open on Christmas. My hope is to put a smile on their face and hopefully take their worries away - at least for a day.We've blogged many times before (here, here, here, here, and here) about the situation of children in immigration detention, and we've some hope that the Obama administration may release many of these families in January. But every child in detention is one child too many, and as we celebrate this Christmas holiday with our families, let us not forget those who spend it behind bars. In Gomez's words:
I would like to thank all the people who donated toys for the children and remind everyone to have compassion for those who are less fortunate than us. In addition, I would like to encourage all not to only talk the talk but walk the walk. Advocacy entails more than voicing one's opinion, it entails action.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
'I don't think we even begin to know what would be possible if we raised just one generation of children without violence.'
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Telling of his adventures in an account entitled "Brig-adoon: Report from Guantanamo" is our colleague Gene Fidell, NIMJ's cofounder and president who'd served as a judge advocate in the Coast Guard from 1969-1972 and is currently Senior Research Scholar in Law and Florence Rogatz Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School. He's also the co-author, along with Dwight Sullivan and IntLawGrrl Beth Hillman, of a casebook on military justice.
Fidell repeats concerns raised in reports by prior NIMJ observers, including yours truly (all reports are available here): among others, the persistent problem that the law governing GTMO proceedings remains very much in flux. He stresses too the "sheer time, effort, and expense involved" in periodically transporting an entire trial apparatus to and from U.S. military base on the island of Cuba. He questions the "administrative complexity" of bringing in and retraining personnel, and expresses concern that some proceedings are "rehearsed at length behind closed doors," thus "shortchanging the public." A key paragraph:
Is it possible to dispense justice under these circumstances at such a distant location? Yes. The courtroom is entirely acceptable .... Proper decorum is carefully observed. But I have to say, as a taxpayer, that the arrangements are, overall, wildly inconvenient. I am not persuaded that the reasons for conducting military commission proceedings at Guantanamo, assuming they ever had any force, today come even close to justifying the expense in human resources and sheer out-of-pocket costs. If, as the Administration has decided, military commissions should continue to be employed, let it be done on the mainland.
Time will tell.
(credit for AP/Mark Wilson photo of Guantánamo at sunset)
... 1911, Adelaide Young was born in New York City. She went to college in Georgia, and then worked at a variety of jobs, among them as a server of tea on transatlantic cruise ship and as a cigarette girl in the New York nightclub that her father owned. As a newlywed Young --- whose prior outdoor experience had been limited to summer-camp counseling in New Hampshire -- in 1934 became the 1st American woman to explore the Himalayas:
Accompanied by her husband, brother-in-law, and an ever-changing cast of local porters, Young preserved botanical specimens for the American Museum of Natural History and slept with a loaded pistol under her pillow as protection against bandits.
(credit for photo of Adelaide, center, on the Young family expedition, along with her husband Jack and her brother-in-law Quentin) Adelaide Young then worked as a journalist for various newspapers in China. She met Ruth Harkness, the woman who brought the 1st giant panda to the United States; on arrival in 1937 at Chicago's Brookfield Zoo, the panda (right) was given Young's nickname, "Su-Lin." (photo credit) A disc jockey in Taiwan before moving back to the United States, Young died in Hercules, California, in May 2008, at age 96.
(Prior December 23 posts are here and here.)
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Before entering academia, she was an associate in the corporate department of Davis Polk & Wardwell, advising clients on domestic and cross-border mergers and acquisitions, public and private securities offerings, and corporate governance and compliance. She also served as a law clerk to Judge Rosemary Barkett, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.
I became interested in her when I was a student at Columbia Law. The Columbia Law Women's Association held an annual dinner (which continues to this day) in honor of Myra Bradwell. There are many books and articles about Bradwell's courageous activism and fight to be admitted to the Illinois bar. Her struggle to win the right to be a lawyer, as well as her activism on behalf of women's rights generally, helped lay the foundation for 20th century women's rights activists. Personally, the Myra Bradwell dinner that I attended really inspired me during my first year of law school, so much so that I became heavily involved with both the Columbia Law Women's Association (serving as President in my second year) as well as the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law.
Finance and business scholars have begun to explore outbound acquisitions by Indian multinationals, emphasizing the business and economic motivations underlying these transactions. However, there has been little analysis of the significant role of India’s legal norms and rules, including recent shifts in the country’s regulatory and legal regimes, in the rapid expansion of Indian multinationals. I believe that law plays a number of important roles in the emergence of Indian multinationals. First, legal reforms launched during the economic liberalization period spearheaded by Manmohan Singh, India’s current Prime Minister and former Finance Minister, set the stage for outbound acquisitions by Indian multinationals. Second, legal norms and legal history provide Indian multinationals with competitive advantages that are largely distinct from that of firms from other emerging economies. Third, legal constraints on mergers and acquisition activity by Indian firms impose substantial restrictions not only on the methods used by Indian multinationals in pursuing outbound acquisitions, but also on the future potential of Indian multinationals. An analysis of the role of law and legal norms not only presents a more complete picture of the environment that has both facilitated and constrained outbound acquisitions by Indian multinationals, but also explains in part why Indian multinationals have targeted firms in the west. My article presents this analysis, which I hope other scholars, as well as lawmakers, will find helpful.
... 1989 (20 years ago today), the Brandenburg Gate opened so that all Berliners could join together for the 1st time in nearly 3 decades;
"[t]housands of people spilled on to the city's streets cheering in the pouring rain to watch the historic ceremony which effectively end[ed] the division of East and West Germany." Notable among the many items published this autumn to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Germany's reunification is this commentary, in which Dr. Mary Elise Sarotte (left), Professor of International Relations at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, explained reasons for continuing tensions between Russia and other countries over the ensuant enlargement of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
(Prior December 22 posts are here and here.)
Monday, December 21, 2009
The list is complete as possible (note that some meal sessions require advance ticket purchases). The list reflects the exercise of 2 prerogatives: sessions sponsored by the Section on International Law, of which yours truly is Chair this year, are featured in pink, and all IntLawGrrls and guests/alumnae are featured by hypertext and photo.
2 sessions as part of the all-day American Society for Political and Legal Philosophy Annual Meeting:
Thursday, January 7, 2010
10:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
► The Transformative Effect of International Initiatives on Lawyer Practice and Regulation: A Case Study Focusing on FATF and Its 2008 Lawyer Guidance. Speakers: James Thuo Gathii (Albany), Thomas D. Morgan (George Washington), Ellen S. Podgor (Stetson), Kevin L. Shepherd (Venable LL.P., Baltimore), Colin Tyre (Arnot Manderson Advocates, Scotland). Moderator: IntLawGrrl guest/alumna Laurel Terry (Pennsylvania State) (right).
► Food, Law and Values. Speakers: Bret C. Birdsong (Nevada-Las Vegas), Donna M. Byrne (William Mitchell), James Ming Chen (Louisville), Marne Coit (Coit Consulting, Arkansas), Neil D. Hamilton (Drake), Gregg W. Kettles (Mississippi), Guadalupe T. Luna (Northern Illinois), Margaret E. Sova McCabe (Franklin Pierce), Susan Schneider (Arkansas-Fayetteville), Stephanie Tai (Wisconsin), Thomas Wilson (Alabama A&M).
► Adjudication in Immigration Law: Concerns and Realities. Speakers: Mathilde Cohen (Columbia), Jill E. Family (Widener), Michael C. McGoings (Immigration Judge), IntLawGrrl Jaya Ramji-Nogales (Temple) (left). Moderator: Lenni Beth Benson (New York Law).
► Habeas Corpus in War and Peace in the 18th and 19th Centuries. Speakers: Paul Finkelman (Albany), Eric M. Freedman (Hofstra), William E. Nelson (New York University). Commentator: Robert J. Cottrol (George Washington). Moderator: John P. Reid (New York University).
Saturday January 9, 2010
►The Future of OSHA Reform. Speakers: Susan Bisom-Rapp (Thomas Jefferson), Jarod S. Gonzalez (Texas Tech), John Howard (Centers for Disease Control), Jayesh Rathod (American). Moderator: Paul M. Secunda (Marquette).
Speakers: this IntLawGrrl, Diane Marie Amann (California-Davis) (below right), Julian G. Ku (Hofstra), Sanford Levinson (Texas), Nathan A. Sales (George Mason). Moderator: Michael William Lewis (Ohio Northern).
►Climate Change and Adaptation in a Federal System. Speakers: Vicki Arroyo (Georgetown), Robin K. Craig (Florida State), Daniel A. Farber (California-Berkeley), Victor B. Flatt (North Carolina). Moderator: Alejandro E. Camacho (Notre Dame).
►LL.M.s and J.D.s Together: Synergies and Problems. Speakers: Kevin L. Cole (San Diego), Dorsey D. Ellis Jr. (Washington University), Diane L. Fahey (New York Law), Jennifer Kowal (Loyola), G. Ray Warner (St. John’s). Moderator: Michael B. Lang (Chapman).
► Open Program on Globalization and Corporate Social Accountability
► Open Program on South Asia
► AALS Reception for Legal Educators From Law Schools Outside the United States
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Section on Co-Sponsored by the Sections on International Law, International Human Rights Law, and National Security Law. Paper Presenters: IntLawGrrls guest/alumna Cindy Galway Buys (Southern Illinois, left; paper: “The Untold Story of Nottebohm and the U.S.-Latin American Detention Program and Its Lessons for Today”), Eugene Kontorovich (Northwestern; paper: “‘A Guantánamo on the Sea’: The Difficulties of Fighting and Prosecuting Pirates and Terrorists”), Michael P. Malloy (Pacific McGeorge; paper: “Caught in the Cross-Currents: International Economic Sanctions in Contemporary Practice”), Milena Sterio (Cleveland-Marshall; paper: “The Modern-Day Right to Intervene Under International Law”). Moderator: this IntLawGrrl, Diane Marie Amann (California-Davis; Chair, Section on International Law). Discussants: Erika George (Utah), IntLawGrrl Stephanie Farrior (Vermont) (right), Linda A. Malone (William and Mary), Peter S. Margulies (Roger Williams), William B.T. Mock Jr. (John Marshall), IntLawGrrl Hari M. Osofsky (Washington and Lee) (right), IntLawGrrl Jaya Ramji-Nogales (Temple), Gregory C. Shaffer (Minnesota), John Cary Sims (Pacific McGeorge), and Scott Sullivan (Louisiana State).
Speakers: Robert Force (Tulane), Andrew Kent (Fordham), Garrick B. Pursley (Texas). Moderator: Joseph W. Dellapenna (Villanova).
► The Financial Collapse and Recovery Effort: What Does It Mean For Corporate Governance? Speakers: Stephen M. Bainbridge (UCLA), Alan L. Beller (Cleary, Gottlieb LLP), Jeffrey N. Gordon (Columbia), Renee M. Jones (Boston College), Hillary A. Sale (Washington University), Teresa Tritch (New York Times Magazine). Moderator: Lisa M. Fairfax (George Washington).
Speakers: Zachary R. Calo (Valparaiso), Peter G. Danchin (Maryland), W. Cole Durham Jr. (Brigham Young), Carolyn Evans (Melbourne, Australia), Malcolm Evans (Bristol, England), Gerhard Robbers (Trier, Germany). Moderator: Brett Gilbert Scharffs (Brigham Young).