Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Welcoming Charlesworth, Chinkin & Wright

We at IntLawGrrls are delighted to welcome comments from Hilary Charlesworth, Christine Chinkin, and Shelley Wright.
Today the three offer comments to wrap up our month-long series reviewing the impact of their ground-breaking article, "Feminist Approaches to International Law," 85 American Journal of International Law 613-645 (October 1991).
Hilary Charlesworth
► We've already had the pleasure of introducing Australian National University Law Professor Hilary Charlesworth as an IntLawGrrls contributor, and have welcomed numerous posts relating to her and her work.
► Christine Chinkin is Professor of International Law at the London School of Economics and a barrister. In 2005, she and Hilary won the American Society of International Law's Goler T. Butcher Medal "for outstanding contributions to the development or effective realization of international human rights law."  An Overseas Affiliated Faculty Member at the University of Michigan, Christine also has been a Visiting Professor at Columbia University and Australian National University.
Her publications cover a broad range of fields and topics, from human rights and women's rights in particular to international criminal justice to international dispute resolution to the laws of occupation. She is inter alia a co-editor of The UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women: A Commentary (2012), which IntLawGrrl Lisa R. Pruitt reviewed in this IntLawGrrls post, and a co-author of The Making of International Law (2007).
Christine Chinkin
Christine's activities, which are too numerous to list here, include being an Editor of the American Journal of International Law and a member of the Advisory Board for the Leiden Journal of International Law, the European Journal of International Law, and the British Yearbook of International Law.  Christine has been a consultant on gender issues for many organizations, including Amnesty International, the Council of Europe, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the UN Development Program, the UN Division for the Advancement of Women, and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. She has also been a member of the Kosovo Human Rights Advisory Panel and the UN Human Rights Council Fact-Finding Mission to Gaza.
Shelley Wright left Australia and the University of Sydney in 2002 to take up the Northern Directorship of the Akitsiraq Law School – a law degree program offered to Inuit students in Iqaluit, Nunavut. All but one of the graduates of this program were women. She was in the Arctic, where she's pictured below, for almost 3 years.
Shelley then moved down to Vancouver, Canada, where she is Chair of the Department of Aboriginal Studies at Langara College. In Shelley's words:
'Although I still have a strong interest in women's issues, this has been overtaken to some extent by a major interest in Aboriginal rights both within Canada (including especially Inuit) and internationally. I am no longer focusing primarily on international law or feminist perspectives, but instead incorporate all these interests into teaching courses in Aboriginal Studies (including Global Indigenous Perspectives and Aboriginal Women in Canada as well as other courses) and my current research project on the Arctic and climate change.
Shelley Wright
'The continuing interest in the work that Hilary, Chris and I did changed our lives as well as helping to change the direction of thinking about what seemed to us at the time the last bastion of male privilege in law – international law. In many ways it still is of course, but in other ways international law has changed dramatically, not only in better recognizing women's issues but also the perspectives and rights of Indigenous peoples and other vulnerable groups. I credit my own feminist background in helping make it easier for me to see the differing perspectives of Indigenous peoples, although in many ways Aboriginal women's issues and feminism are not always a comfortable fit.'
In their joint post below, Hilary, Christine, and Shelley discuss the making of their article and reflect on the piece 21 years after its publication.
Heartfelt welcome!

Looking back on Feminist Approaches

(Co-authors Hilary Charlesworth, Christine Chinkin, and Shelley Wright reflect on their 1991 AJIL article "Feminist Approaches to International Law," and so conclude IntLawGrrls' month-long series on this trail-blazing work)

We are so grateful to Jaya Ramji-Nogales for organizing this IntLawGrrls series, to Jaya and our colleagues Sari Kouvo, Aoife O'Donoghue, Fiona de Londras, Siobhán Mullally, Doris Buss, Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, and Diane Marie Amann for their generous posts, and to the readers who commented on those posts. It has been heartening to read the responses to our article and to see different ways of understanding it.
Our article, "Feminist Approaches to International Law," came to life in a haphazard way.
During a long dinner at the Australian Jessup Moot finals in February 1989, the three of us had discussed our separate interests in feminist legal theory and the difficulties in applying feminist thought to international law. A conference paper, we thought, would test and refine our fuzzy ideas. We decided to offer the paper for the mid-year annual meeting of international lawyers organized by Professor Don Greig at the Australian National University. We expected that our paper proposal would be rejected as too off-beat and provocative, so we were surprised, and rather daunted, when Professor Greig accepted it without hesitation.
We began writing the paper with no sense of where we would end up, and would regularly share bouts of long-distance panic by phone between Sydney and Melbourne. We wondered constantly whether we would ever manage to pull it all together.
In the end, facing a room full of our curious colleagues, Shelley began with a general overview of feminist legal theory; Christine followed with a discussion of legal instruments and the gender imbalance within international organizations; and Hilary (heavily pregnant) ended with a discussion of the international right to development as an example of how the gendered nature of international law serves to disempower and marginalise women. We did not see ourselves as adding anything to feminist theories, but rather as professional borrowers, using feminist insights to illuminate our discipline.
The reaction to our paper was mixed.
Several people were enthusiastic, while many of the audience looked discomfited and embarrassed (perhaps on our behalf!). One senior figure in the Australian international law community said in the discussion following the paper that the ideas were quite unrealistic, as they would mean enlarging the scope of international law and depriving our discipline of its distinctive character. Some of our colleagues advised us to get back to “real world” international law, for the sake of our careers. Another type of reaction was interest in the paper as an intriguing academic sideshow.
With some hubris, we decided to submit the revised paper to the American Journal of International Law, as it represented for us the mainstream of the discipline that we wanted to challenge. We expected a peremptory rejection, but instead received a guardedly positive response from Professor Tom Franck (left), the Editor in Chief. He was sympathetic to the topic, but he and the Journal’s readers did not think our draft was our ‘best shot’. His proposals for revision were, characteristically, insightful, and made the paper much tighter. Although we only saw this later, this interchange was typical of Tom’s openness to new ideas, his encouragement of junior scholars and his rigorous thinking.
After the article appeared in the Journal's October 1991 issue (right), we found that we began to be asked to appear at symposia and on panels to present what were seen as controversial and contentious feminist ideas – but the ideas were rarely taken up or engaged with. As the three of us became more closely associated with “feminist approaches to international law,” our colleagues were sometimes rather disconcerted if we spoke on international law issues without taking an explicitly feminist approach.
Over the years feminist work in international law has attracted both strongly negative responses and support from unexpected sources. It is striking that feminist analysis is debated mainly by feminists and is rarely taken up even by other critical scholars. The adoption of some feminist vocabulary by international institutions, such as gender mainstreaming, has by and large provided an alibi for the status quo.
Perhaps, we often think, the article created a splash without waves, but it’s been wonderful to learn through this series that it has been helpful to some members of a younger generation of scholars.
Looking back over the article, we see aspects that appear naïve or inconsistent, and we each still struggle with what feminist approaches might mean in international law. However, the impact of the article for us was as much personal and emotional as it was intellectual or academic. The article brought us into contact with a wonderful group of people across the globe. We ourselves have sometimes disagreed vigorously about the directions of our work, yet through it all have maintained close ties of friendship, a great and sustaining gift.

On October 31

On this day in ...
... 1863, 600 British troops embarked in an "armoured river fleet" to continue an invasion of the Waikato River in New Zealand, which had begun in July of the same year. The invasion was part of the Māori Wars, a conflict between British settlers and indigenous peoples that was waged from 1845 to 1872. More than a century later, in 1995, Queen Elizabeth II "agreed, in effect, to apologise for colonial injustices suffered by the Maori people in New Zealand," the Independent of London reported. Rather than leave the task of assent to her Governor-General, the queen gave her personal,
'royal assent to a New Zealand Act of Parliament explicitly acknowledging the injustices suffered by a Maori tribe whose lands were confiscated following a treaty signed by her predecessors.'
The statute also granted about $171 million in compensation. (credit for 1995 photo of British Queen Elizabeth II and Māori Queen Te Ātairangikaahu)

(Prior October 31 posts here, here, here, and here, and here.)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Welcoming Noura Erakat

It's our great pleasure today to welcome Noura Erakat (right) as an IntLawGrrls contributor.
Noura, a human rights attorney and writer, is currently a Freedman Teaching Fellow at my home institution, Temple University, Beasley School of Law in Philadelphia.  She is also the US-based Legal Advocacy Coordinator for Badil Center for Palestinian Refugee and Residency Rights.
Noura has taught International Human Rights Law and the Middle East at Georgetown University since Spring 2009. Most recently, she served as Legal Counsel for a congressional subcommittee chaired by U.S. Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (D-Ohio).
She has helped to initiate and organize several national formations, including Arab Women Arising for Justice and the U.S. Palestinian Community Network.
Noura has appeared on Fox’s “The O’ Reilly Factor,” NBC’s “Politically Incorrect,” MSNBC, Democracy Now, and Al-Jazeera Arabic and English. Her publications include: "Litigating the Arab-Israeli Conflict: The Politicization of U.S. Federal Courts" in the Berkeley Law Journal of Middle Eastern and Islamic Law, "BDS in the USA: 2001-2010," in the Middle East Report, and "U.S. vs. ICRC-Customary International Humanitarian Law and Universal Jurisdiction," forthcoming in the Denver Journal of International Law & Policy. She is a Co-Editor of You can follow her on Twitter at @4noura.
Noura's introductory post below responds to comments on the doctrine of responsibility to protect delivered by Patricia O'Brien, Under-Secretary for Legal Affairs and United Nations Legal Counsel, at the American Society of International Law Midyear Meeting earlier this month. In an IntLawGrrls post yesterday, Patricia (who'd posted on the same issue this past spring) contributed those remarks in full.
Noura dedicates her post to Hoda Shaarawi (1879-1947), an Egyptian feminist leader and the first Egyptian advocate of women’s rights. In Noura's words:
'She strove to raise awareness among Egyptian women, calling on them to claim their rights. Not only did she study in Europe and accompany her husband to many political meetings, but in 1923 she removed her face veil in public. She led the first women's first street demonstration, the first women's social service organization, and published the first feminist magazine.'
Today, Shaarawi (left) joins our list of transnational foremothers.
Heartfelt welcome!

The UN at ASIL: R2P and the Arab Uprisings

(My thanks to IntLawGrrls for the opportunity to contribute this introductory post)

I had the honor and pleasure to exchange ideas with leading international law scholars and practitioners the recent American Society of International Law Midyear Meeting at the University of Georgia School of Law. Among them was Patricia O’Brien, the Under-Secretary for Legal Affairs and United Nations Legal Counsel. In her representative capacity, O’Brien dedicated her luncheon remarks to a discussion about the still-developing concept of responsibility to protect. (She contributed the full remarks as an IntLawGrrls post.)
Also known by its shorthand abbreviation, R2P, the doctrine of responsibility to protect suggests that sovereignty is not a privilege that shields states from accountability, rather, in addition to international privileges, sovereignty entails responsibility towards a state's population. It gained increased media and diplomatic attention during the Libyan uprising, when states deliberated whether or not to use armed force to suppress regime violence directed at civilians. Proponents of humanitarian intervention prevailed, and as IntLawGrrls posts have chronicled, the rest is history.
O’Brien characterized the intervention as a “successful” exercise that marked another step in the evisceration of the “barricade of sovereignty.” In fairness, she also highlighted that moving forward in situations that implicate the concept of R2P, “sober judgment is needed before undertaking any operation which places civilians at risk.” Her overall assessment, however, did not adequately deal with the details of the Libyan intervention, details that may mute enthusiasm for similar operations in the future.
She did not dwell, for example, on the critique that the NATO operation far exceeded its UN Security Council Resolution 1973 authorization to prevent a massacre in Benghazi and became a campaign explicitly aimed at regime change. She quickly dismissed criticism of NATO’s alleged criminal violations, by citing a UN Report that hardly acquitted the North Atlantic armed forces of significant wrongdoing. Nor did she address the substantial backlash by African nations, whom supported the Libyan operation for politically expedient reasons, but quickly redoubled their efforts to assert the inviolability of African sovereignty.
O’Brien’s account captures certain critical aspects of the Libyan uprising and the international community’s response to it. However, I think it is only one side of the argument and overlooks important facts and consequences that should be considered today in similar discussions about Syria, which the UN Legal Counsel went on to discuss.
The Syrian uprising, which began in March 2011 and which the Red Cross declared a civil war, has taken the lives of an estimated 20-30,000 people. That the situation merits international attention and vigor is an understatement. The problem, however, is the particular form of this international attention.
O’Brien does not provide a prescription for the situation in Syria. She simply makes clear that “the Syrian authorities have disregarded their responsibilities,” and that the international community must find ways to “stop the violence.” She leaves for question how to do that but emphasizes that the Security Council must take “collective action in a timely and decisive manner” as part of the R2P doctrine. The vagueness of these comments, together with the discussion of the Libyan intervention, leaves open to interpretation whether human rights practitioners and diplomats should consider humanitarian intervention in Syria.
For the sake of adding clarity and to address the implicit suggestions made by the open-ended nature of O’Brien’s comments, I want to highlight why Syria is not like Libya, why intervention in Libya remains controversial, and how that should shape our thinking around what can and should be done to stop the violence there. In particular, we should consider why intervention in Syria, similar to the collective action taken in Libya, is inappropriate:

Work On! ICRC/Berkeley workshop for law students

(Work On! is an occasional item about workshops, roundtables, and other fora not resulting in publication)

Berkeley Law’s Miller Institute for Global Challenges and the Law , for which I serve as Director of Research and Programs, and the International Committee of the Red Cross are sponsoring a three-and-a-half day workshop on International Humanitarian Law Workshop for Students.
The workshop will be held on January 3-6, 2013 at the University of California-Berkeley Law School. It is free to students enrolled in U.S. law school. Because there is no registration or other fee, the only cost for students will be for travel, lodging, and meals.
This workshop combines lectures and hands-on exercises that guide U.S. law students through an intensive workshop on international humanitarian law, also known as the law of war. The workshop will be led by legal professionals from the ICRC, lawyers for the U.S. armed forces, and law professors who specialize in international humanitarian law. Featured speakers include Beth van Schaack of the U.S. Department of State, Anne Quintin and Andrea Harrison of the ICRC, and yours truly, Kate Jastram of Berkeley Law.
Topics will include:
► Introduction to International Humanitarian Law
► When Does IHL Apply?
► Human Rights and IHL
► Protected Persons
► Internment/Detention
► Armed Conflicts of a Non-International Character
► The IHL/Terrorism Interface
► Implementation and Enforcement of IHL
Registration is limited and competitive. Students are encouraged to apply early, as the workshop does fill up. A maximum of 40 students may attend. Students will receive a Certificate of Completion from the ICRC.
Application deadline is Friday, November 9, 2012. For details, see the workshop's website or contact the Miller Institute at

On October 30

On this day in ...
... 1976, in Ottawa, Canada, the 1st woman sworn in to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police resigned in order to get married. Media well versed in the RCMP's motto could not resist the quip that the woman, 21-year-old Heather Ann Phyllis, had got her man. Not found was discussion of whether she'd been compelled to quit upon marriage, let alone questioning of her choice to leave the RCMP 2 years after joining it. In a journal article published just last year, former RCMP officer Bonnie Reilly Schmidt, a researcher and doctoral student in history at Canada's Simon Fraser University, wrote of the "highly gendered terms" in which the media covered Phyllis and other women who, in Schmidt's words, "disrupted the highly masculinized image of a police force that was closely connected to ideal Canadian manhood and the formation of the nation."

(Prior October 30 posts are here, here, here, here, and here.)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Teaching Feminist Approaches

(Today IntLawGrrl Diane Marie Amann contributes to our October series celebrating "Feminist Approaches to International Law")

The first words uttered were not encouraging:
'Any time I see Catharine MacKinnon's name in an article, I know I'm not going to like it.'
So declared one of the twelve members of the first seminar I ever led, International Criminal Law, in Fall 1996. As sometimes happens in this course, students were divided almost evenly between human rights activists, mostly women, and military history buffs, mostly men. The declarant was in the latter camp. Prompting his declaration was the following quotation, drawn from a 1987 book by the University of Michigan law professor:
Catharine MacKinnon, 1995
'And Catharine MacKinnon argues: "For women to affirm difference, when difference means dominance, as it does with gender, means to affirm the qualities and characteristics of powerlessness."'
As many readers will recognize, the passage occurs early in "Feminist Approaches to International Law," written by Hilary Charlesworth, Christine Chinkin, and Shelley Wright. The article had been published five years before our seminar, in the October 1991 issue of the American Journal of International Law. It examined international law through a multifaceted feminist lens, discussing inter alia:
► Difference in voices of women and others whom tradition had deemed subordinate;
► Data that demonstrated that men overwhelmingly held the important positions; and
► A masculine normative structure that worked to exclude issues of foremost importance to women from the scope of international legal regulation.
Having found in the article much food for thought, I assigned it for our seminar session entitled "Sexual Offenses As International Crimes." My goal was to use issues raised to lay a foundation for studying how sexual violence had come to be prosecuted in the ad hoc tribunals for Rwanda and for the former Yugoslavia. (Evincing the novelty of this development, "Feminist Approaches" was the oldest reading assigned for that day. Others included a 1994 article by Kathleen M. Pratt and Laurel E. Fletcher, a 1996 news story by Marlise Simons of the The New York Times, circa-1992 Yugoslavia tribunal texts, and the 1996 debate respecting witness protection.)
My student's declaration, however, did not bode well for this goal. His categorical rejection risked polarizing the class, and so blocking the hoped-for discussion of the evolution of international jurists' approach to accountability for sexual crimes committed amid armed conflict.
I am pleased to report that reason won out.

U.N. Legal Counsel O'Brien on the rule of law, international criminal justice, responsibility to protect

(Delighted to publish the latest contribution to IntLawGrrls by Patricia O'Brien, Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and United Nations Legal Counsel – her October 20 Keynote Address to the American Society of International Law Midyear Meeting, delivered, as shown above, at the University of Georgia School of Law in Athens)

It is a great pleasure to be here today and to share with you some insights and reflections as Legal Counsel at the United Nations, and on some issues which are the focus of our work in the United Nations Office of Legal Affairs. I am honoured and grateful for the opportunity to address you this afternoon.
I will speak about three areas:
► The Rule of Law at the UN;
► International criminal justice and accountability; and
► The concept of Responsibility to Protect and the recent practice on this subject.

Rule of Law
Since joining the Organisation, it has become clear to me that international law – and the role of the UN as its champion – is central to the work of the UN and to the Secretary-General and his team.
Before I give you a sense of the centrality which I found, allow me to mention the Charter, which is of course the fundamental legal basis and primary law of the UN. The UN was established not only to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war and to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, but, as the Preamble also provides,
'to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained'.
Over the years, the UN has seen periods of great advancement in international law and jurisprudence. Addressing the American Society of International Law, it is appropriate to recall the key role played by representatives of the United States in the promotion of the rule of law on the international plane. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948 by the General Assembly, drew upon the foundational instruments at the core of the rule of law at the domestic level: the Magna Carta, the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen, and, of course, the American Bill of Rights. Eleanor Roosevelt’s tireless diplomatic efforts were instrumental in articulating the international community’s clear and uncompromising declaration of the rights to which all human beings are entitled. Mrs. Roosevelt stated to the General Assembly at the adoption of the UDHR:
Eleanor Roosevelt
'We stand today at the threshold of a great event both in the life of the United Nations and in the life of mankind. This declaration may well become the international Magna Carta for all men everywhere.'
The rule of law lies at the heart of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Its Preamble notes that
'it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse … to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law.'
Article 7 affirms the equal right of every human being, without discrimination, to have recourse to the law’s protection. Indeed, the rule of law is the bedrock upon which all of the rights enumerated in the UDHR rely for their protection and enforcement.
We live in an era in which international law is no longer only the business of international courts and institutions. In the decades following the UDHR, States have entered into numerous treaties upon which individuals can directly rely to enforce their rights: the European Convention on Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social And Cultural Rights to name a few. That States have binding obligations under such instruments has led to a greater role for international law before national and regional courts.
As Lord Bingham said in his superb book on The Rule of Law,
'International law is a body of law which complements national laws of individual states, and is in no way antagonistic to them; it is not a thing apart; it rests on similar principles and pursues similar ends.'
In many ways, the rule of law at the international level is the domestic rule of law writ large. It addresses the exercise of power and the relationship between the individual and the State. It of course goes further and regulates the relationship of States with each other.
Observance of the Rule of Law is just as important on the international plane as on the national. To quote from the 2005 SG’s report, In Larger Freedom,
'Every nation that proclaims the rule of law at home must respect it abroad and every nation that insists on it abroad must enforce it at home.'
Professor Dicey is credited for coining the expression “the rule of law” in 1885. But as Lord Bingham noted, Dicey did not apply his paint to a blank canvas. The qualities embodied in the notion of rule of law have been propounded for centuries and go back to antiquity. I will take the liberty of quoting Plato:
'Where the law is subject to some other authority and has none of its own, the collapse of the state, in my view, is not far off, but if the law is the master of the governments and the government its slave, then the situation is full of promise and men enjoy all the blessings, all the gods shower on a state.'
What vision do we in the UN have with respect to the implementation of international law for the UN as a global actor?
Under-Secretary-General O'Brien talking with law students
In essence, it is very simple. It comes down to promoting respect for the rule of law at the international level and by the UN itself as an actor.
For the United Nations, the rule of law refers to a principle of governance according to which all persons, institutions and entities, public and private, including the State itself, are accountable to laws that are publicly promulgated, equally enforced and independently adjudicated, and which are consistent with international human rights norms and standards. This principle underpins each of the issues which I will discuss today. The enormous strides taken in the field of international criminal justice in the last 20 years have been driven by the desire for accountability. And, proceedings in which Heads of State have been held accountable for serious international crimes illustrate the fundamental tenet of the rule of law that no one is above the law. The Responsibility to Protect (R2P), like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, articulates States’ moral and political responsibility to protect the rights of all of their citizens.
My Office plays a key role in promoting the rule of law at the national and international levels. Establishing respect for the rule of law is fundamental and essential for a number of reasons, including:

October 29

On this day in ...
... 2005, more than 8 months after the Valentine's Day bombing that killed former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and others dead in downtown Beirut, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad issued a decree forming a "special judicial committee" of officials in the government's law enforcement and judiciary services, and instructed it, according to a news report, "to cooperate with the independent International Investigating Committee and with the Lebanese judicial authorities in all what is linked to procedures of the investigation clarified by the decree."
That U.N. investigation commission would give rise to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. As for Assad, his crackdown in his own country this last year and a half has led to calls – some recounted in IntLawGrrls' Syria posts – that he be held accountable before some international criminal forum.

(Prior October 29 posts are here, here, here, here, and here.)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Welcoming Dorinda G. Dallmeyer

It's our great pleasure to welcome Dorinda G. Dallmeyer (left) as an IntLawGrrls contributor.
Dorinda is the Director of the Environmental Ethics Certificate Program at the University of Georgia in Athens, from which she earned bachelor's and master's degrees in geology as well as her law degree. She teaches courses in environmental dispute resolution and marine environmental ethics.
At Georgia Law she was a student of Louis B. Sohn, the inaugural Emily & Ernest Woodruff Chair in International Law, the chair yours truly is honored now to hold. Sohn moved to the law school at the invitation of Dean Rusk, the former U.S. Secretary of State who taught here after retirement, establishing Georgia Law's Dean Rusk Center for International Law & Policy, for which Dorinda is a former Associate Director, and which celebrates its 35th anniversary this year.
Formerly a Vice President of the American Society of International Law, Dorinda is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Since 2001 she and others have collaborated on the Southern Nature Project, which organizes writers workshops and conferences, as well as public radio broadcasts, aimed at promoting conservation of the environment in the South. Her publications include, most recently, Altamaha: A River and Its Keeper (2012), for which she coauthored the text, and in 2004, Elemental South, an anthology she edited. In 2005 the Southern Environmental Law Center presented gave her 2 Phillip Reed Memorial Awards for Outstanding Writing about the Southern Environment.
Dorinda contributes as her post below the remarks she made in tribute to Professor Sohn at the October 20 conference dinner that capped the ASIL Midyear Meeting held last weekend at the Coca-Cola Co. headquarters in Atlanta and at the University of Georgia School of Law in Athens.
Dallmeyer & Sohn, 1997
Also paid tribute at that meeting, in remarks at the dinner and in biographies by Georgia Law student Jackson Harris and published in the program available here, were Rusk and the late David Bederman of Emory Law.
Heartfelt welcome!

Tribute to Louis B. Sohn

(My thanks to IntLawGrrls for the opportunity to contribute my remarks in tribute to Louis Sohn delivered at the American Society of International Law Midyear Meeting dinner on October 20 in Athens, Georgia. Photos of Sohn and his wife, Elizabeth Mayo Sohn, courtesy of his former research assistant, Paige Otwell)

Because of Harvard's mandatory retirement policy, when Louis Sohn turned 70, as far as Harvard Law School was concerned, he became statutorily senile. Dean Rusk learned of Professor Sohn's situation and told him he could come to Athens and teach at the University of Georgia School of Law as long as he wanted to. And so Harvard came to me, in the form of Louis Sohn, or as he was known behind his back by some of the students,
'the brain that walks like a man.'
As was noted in the excellent biography by Jackson Harris included in tonight's program, Professor Sohn came to Harvard and studied international law at the feet of Manley O. Hudson. That's literally, not just figuratively. On a trip together, Professor Sohn told me that Manley Hudson would invite him over to his house, and they would retire to the back garden, where Professor Hudson would hold forth on international jurisprudence while Professor Sohn weeded the flowerbeds.
As many of you know, Professor Sohn did not drive. Here in Athens, he and Mrs. Sohn lived on Milledge Avenue, home to the vast majority of sorority houses. Professor Sohn became a fixture on the Milledge Avenue bus, disembarking at his chosen stop with his signature briefcase and beret, flashing that impish grin, wreathed in clouds of perfume.
Despite his deep knowledge of legal history, Professor Sohn was hardly its captive, for he had his other foot firmly planted in the future. We were waiting in the airport together to return to Athens from a meeting and I was amused to see Professor Sohn bring out from his bag reading material that was not some volume of Hugo Grotius but a science-fiction paperback. "Oh," he said,
'I read these all the time. I like to see how civilizations on other planets and galaxies go about resolving their problems. It might be helpful down here.'
Another aspect of his hope for the future was his careful nurturing of his students. We knew we were his top priorities; he never cancelled a class because he was needed in Washington or New York. The world had to wait on us. Sometimes this nurturing process could be a bit painful, as when students discovered that he not only read and made comments in the text of the first drafts of their term papers, he also corrected punctuation in the footnotes. But we sensed he was making an investment in us for the long term.
For those of use who were his students, we knew that when we went to his office, we would find him nestled among his books. Every horizontal surface in his office would be covered with books and documents and reports. It wasn't that he didn't know how to shelve them; we learned that these piles of documents were all his current projects. To answer our questions, he would zero in on a stack with the practiced eye of a stratigrapher and select a document that was directly pertinent to the problem we brought with us through the door. As I said, all the horizontal surfaces were occupied except for one: there was always a chair open and available for his students.
Those of us who were his students and who now are privileged to stand before our own students have in Professor Sohn an impeccable model for carrying out our responsibilities as educators. Those of us who now spend our professional lives practicing in the realm of international law because of his influence value his insight and encouragement of our endeavors to expand and adapt its practice.
Professor Sohn's open-minded enthusiasm for international law and for its hopeful possibilities serves as a beacon for all of us who trail along in his wake. And, like his example, we are called to go forth as he did, with joy and hope and love.

On October 28


On this day in ...
... 1962 (50 years ago today), Premier Nikita Krushchev announced that the Soviet Union would withdraw its missiles from Cuba. Thus ended the 13-day Cuban Missile Crisis. Over the years, we've recounted aspects of this crisis in posts available here, and during this anniversary year, many reporters have recalled the event. Particularly worth a listen is the BBC broadcast in which  Jo interviews eyewitnesses to that historical moment, including Krushchev's son and a U.S. military officer present at key meetings. Download the 10-minute podcast here.

(Prior October 28 posts are here, here, here, here, and here.)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

'Nuff said

(Taking context-optional note of thought-provoking quotes)
'I will not sentence a man to 50 lashes with a whip and then 50 more for getting blood on the whip.'
– Senior Judge John C. Coughenour of the Seattle-based U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, quoted by New York Times reporter Kirk Johnson in an article on Wednesday's 2d resentencing of Ahmed Ressam. Months before the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, a federal jury had convicted the Algerian-born defendant of a 1999 plot to set off a bomb at Los Angeles International Airport. Ressam cooperated with the government respecting other cases, and so his sentence was delayed until 2005, well into the aftermath of 9/11. At each sentencing hearing, the government sought higher sentences than the judge imposed, and the appeals court reverse. At Wednesday's resentencing, the government sought life in prison; the judge levied a term of 35 years. The above-quoted comment by Coughenour, an appointee of President Ronald Reagan, reflected the judge's criticism of that prosecutorial stance.  Prosecutors justified it by pointing to the defendant's recantation of incriminating statements. The judge found the recanting to be "a deranged protest" against the sentence Ressam's already served – more than a dozen years so far, much of it in solitary confinement.
The judge's position bears added note given Hamdan v. United States (October 16, 2012), in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit reversed the 1st military commissions conviction after trial. The circuit opinion was written by Judge Brett Kavanaugh, an appointee of President George W. Bush, who established the military commissions at Guantánamo. The D.C. circuit held that at the time the accused, Salim Ahmed Hamdan, acted, the sole count of conviction, material support for terrorism, was not a war crime under controlling international law.

Welcoming Julie Ayling

It's our great pleasure today to welcome Julie Ayling (right) as an IntLawGrrls contributor.
Julie is a Research Fellow in the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Policing and Security based in the Regulatory Institutions Network at the Australian National University in Canberra. Before joining the Regulatory Institutions Network in 2003, she worked for many years as a senior government lawyer, on issues of international law and communications law.
Her research interests include policing, transnational crime, criminal groups and state responses.
Among her publications is the book Lengthening the Arm of the Law: Enhancing Police Resources in the Twenty-First Century (2009), co-authored with with Professors Peter Grabosky, of Australian National University, and Clifford Shearing, of the University of Cape Town. In 2010, Julie won the Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology New Scholar Prize for her article "Criminal Organizations and Resilience," published in the International Journal of Law, Crime and Justice in 2009.
Julie recently spent time as a visiting fellow at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. She holds a BALLB degree with first class honours from Macquarie University in Sydney, and a Master of International Law degree from Australian National University.
She dedicates her post to Judith Wright (1915-2000), an Australian poet, author, and environmental and indigenous rights activist. Wright was founder and later president of the Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland, fighting for conservation of the Great Barrier Reef when oil drilling was proposed, and campaigning against sand-mining on Fraser Island, the largest sand island in the world. She also campaigned tirelessly for the rights of Aboriginal Australians. In Julie's words:
Judith Wright
'To me Judith Wright personifies persistence in the face of opposition and personal difficulties (amongst other things, she suffered deteriorating hearing loss and near blindness).  Judith’s writing was inspired by the country in which she lived. One of her constant themes was the relationship between humans and their environment. She believed that the written word has the power to alter perceptions and she put this conviction into practice.'
Julie's introductory post below aims to shape perceptions about the illicit trade in rhinoceros horns.
Heartfelt welcome!

Rhino horn trading & resilience of criminal networks

(Many thanks to IntLawGrrls for inviting me to contribute this introductory post)

Wildlife crime is a growing global problem, with major implications for biodiversity conservation.
The trafficking of rhinoceros horn provides a clear illustration of the difficulties that are encountered in attempting to combat the illegal transnational wildlife trade. All five species of rhinoceros are under threat; three of the five ((Black, Sumatran and Javan rhinos) have ‘critically endangered’ status on the Red List of Threatened Species produced by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, a Switzerland-based nongovernmental organisation. (prior IntLawGrrls posts here, here, here, here, and here)
While habitat destruction is contributing to a massive decline in numbers of rhinos worldwide, poaching for horn is the main culprit.
Recently I wrote a paper about the illegal trade in rhino horn, as part of the Transnational Environmental Crime Project being undertaken at the Australian National University. The project is funded by the Australian Research Council, and conducted in partnership with the Australian Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities.
About 80% of the remaining world rhinoceros population is in South Africa. In the last five years, the numbers of rhinoceros poached in that country alone has increased exponentially, rising from 13 in 2007 to 448 in 2011. The 2012 number is well on the way to surpassing 500.
The population growth rate for South Africa’s estimated 20,700 rhino is 6% per year, but rhino poaching escalated by 35% between 2010 and 2011 alone.
These figures have given rise to concern that extinction of the species is a real possibility, despite the limits on trade imposed by the 1973 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, known as CITES.
The main black market for rhino horn lies in Southeast Asia, particularly Vietnam and China, where demand is driven by a belief that horn has curative properties for a range of ailments (recently expanded to include cancer), and by its use as a status symbol amongst elites. Organized crime networks are taking advantage of opportunities, presented by cultural norms and by the wealth of the growing middle class in the region, to traffic rhino horn to these markets.
Greed is a powerful driver of the trade, with enormous profits to be made. But this alone does not alone determine the trade’s sustainability.
As my paper notes, the illegal trade in wildlife is increasingly meeting with resistance from states and the international community, in the form of law enforcement and regulatory initiatives. Both money and effort are going into training and deployment of personnel to patrol poaching hotspots. New technologies for monitoring rhinos and tracking and catching poachers and smugglers are being deployed. More international agreements, designed to strengthen political will and law enforcement responses, are being signed. Campaigns are under way to inform consumers that rhino horn has no medicinal qualities and make them aware of the horrendous consequences of the trade for the animals themselves.
So why does the illegal trade persist?

On October 27

On this day in ...
... 1934, Dr. Luella Gettys, a political scientist, married V.O. Key Jr., whom she'd met while he was studying for his Ph.D. in political science and she was a researcher in the political science department at the University of Chicago (having already earned her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois, as well as a master's from the flagship university in her native Nebraska). Ordinarily a wedding date is not something we'd feature, but it's the only date found online regarding Keys, who would work at the U.S. Immigration & Naturalization Service from the 1930s through to 1950s. As recorded in a study published by Dr. Alona Evans and  Carol Per Lee Plumb (prior post), by the time of her marriage Gettys already had become the 1st woman to publish an article in the American Journal of International Law. Entitled "The Effect of Changes of Sovereignty on Nationality" –  as was her doctoral thesis – it was published by AJIL in 1927. Gettys Key, whose papers are available here and here, died in 1975. (Hat tip to our colleague John Q. Barrett for this detail.)

(Prior October 27 posts are here, here, here, here, and here.)

Friday, October 26, 2012

At GTMO: edgy accused, whirl of motions, hurricane

(2d of IntLawGrrl Kathleen A. Doty's post on military commission proceedings, which she has observed this week on behalf of the National Institute for Military Justice; her 1st post is here)

GUANTÁNAMO BAY, Cuba – If I hadn’t happened to look to the side door at that moment, I might have missed it.
There was no fuss as the accused, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, walked slowly into the courtroom here at the Guantánamo Bay Office of Military Commissions court facility. Dressed in all white, Al-Nashiri wore no shackles and moved freely. He was followed closely by two guards wearing blue latex gloves, but neither appeared to touch him. He sat down next to his lawyers, one of whom handed him a suit jacket. He slipped it on over the jumpsuit.
Al-Nashiri is a slightly stalky man, with broad shoulders held closely to his neck. He is clean-shaven and, at age 47, surprisingly young-looking.
He doesn’t fidget exactly, but is always in motion, leaning from one side to another. He cocks his head to speak to his lawyer, and then motions for one of the guards. I can’t hear through the triple-paned glass, but it is soon apparent he’s asked to switch chairs. They take away the wood-framed, padded chair and replace it with a swiveling office chair on wheels. He sits back down and seems to settle in. He looks around the courtroom, and finally turns the chair to face the gallery. He rests his chin on his hand, and gazes in our direction. His face gives nothing away, but we stay fixed in his gaze for what seems like minutes. His lawyer asks him a question, and slowly he twists the chair back around.
Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri
When the judge, Army Colonel James L. Pohl, entered the courtroom Wednesday, he launched into a colloquy with the defendant about presence. The accused answers that he understands, but requests permission to speak. He rises, and winces dramatically, as if in pain. He tells the court that he has been here ten years without anyone to listen to what he has to say. He says he always has the intention to show up in court, but that there are two small problems. He tells the judge that if he orders the guards to bring him a bad chair and he is uncomfortable, that he will leave the court. He explains that he has a bad back and bad nerves. And he tells the judge that he must be transported in a good car. He tells them that he is sick and throwing up and that he has a right to a better vehicle.
Behind me a man whispers:
'Is this guy for real?'
The defendant continues.
He says that in the prison, new rules are continually created under so-called security measures, and that these are attacks on him. He informs the court that he did not attend the last sessions because of the guards’ ill-treatment, including the use of belly chains. The accused insists:
'Security must have a limit.'
The judge interrupts when the accused goes into the specifics of his complaints, informing him that his counsel can raise these issues later. Al-Nashiri responds:
'If I don’t come again, that will be my way of condemning what’s going on . . . let the world know that the judge sentenced me to death because I didn’t show up to court due to chains.'
Another man in the gallery remarks:
'This is better than HBO Comedy.'


During the morning sessions, the judge addressed a series of discovery motions (documents available here). After the recess, the court heard motion 117, Defense Motion to Dismiss for Violation of the Defendant’s Due Process Right to a Neutral Convening Authority, and motion 104, Defense Motion to Dismiss because the Convening Authority Exceeded his Power in Referring this Case to a Military Commission.

Write On! "Gender in European & International Law"

(Write On! is an occasional item about notable calls for papers)

From IntLawGrrls reader Joanna Madej, who is studying Public International Law at the Netherlands' Utrecht University (from which this 'Grrl's honored to have received an honorary doctorate), comes an invitation to contribute to Merkourios: Utrecht Journal of International and European Law. Joanna, who is the journal's Junior Solicitations Editor, writes:
'Merkourios is a student-run journal, seeking to establish itself in the academic community. We would be extremely grateful if you and your colleagues at IntLawGrrls might submit articles, or perhaps help spread the word about our publication.'
Her invitation, extended to students and law lecturers and professors alike, is particularly aimed at a forthcoming 77th edition, on "Gender in European and International Law." Papers of no more than 15,000 words including footnotes, and conforming to the Oxford Standard for Citation of Legal Authorities thus are welcome, Joanna writes,
'addressing any gender-related issue; topics may include, but are not limited to international and/or European human rights law issues such as non-discrimination, employment, corporate social responsibility, health, family life, children’s rights, hate speech, terrorism and the process to strengthen the treaty body system, as well as other areas of international law such as peacekeeping, international humanitarian law, environmental law, women and development, indigenous law, refugee and migration law, legal ethics, and international customary law.'
Deadline for abstracts is February 13, 2013; for paper submissions, March 13, 2013. For information, e-mail

On October 26

On this day in ...
... 1892 (120 years ago), Doris Stevens (right) was born in Omaha, Nebraska. Following her graduation from Oberlin College, she was a teacher, social worker, and Midwest regional organizer for the National American Woman Suffrage Association. By 1914, she was a full-time organizer for the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage; her cohorts included 4 IntLawGrrls foremothers, Lucy Burns, Crystal Eastman, Helen Keller, and Alice Paul. (photo credit) Stevens served 2 months in prison for picketing the White House, and recounted her experience in a book, Jailed for Freedom (2008). As our colleague Ed Gordon wrote at page 153 of a recent Green Bag article, Stevens was a friend of artist Jeannette Scott and so knew the artist's brother – and as a result, Stevens was instrumental in the visage of international lawyer James Brown Scott becoming the likeness of Vitoria (whose actual looks are unknown) in a portrait.

(Prior October 26 posts are here, here, here, here, and here.)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Welcoming Tess Davis

It's our great pleasure to welcome Tess Davis (right) as an IntLawGrrls contributor.
Tess is the Executive Director of the Lawyers' Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation, a not-for-profit institution based in Washington, D.C. As posted here and here, a focus of her work at the Lawyers' Committee has been to fight illicit trafficking in Cambodian antiquities – a fight that includes litigation against Sotheby's auction house. She's the author of "Supply and demand: exposing the illicit trade in Cambodian antiquities through a study of Sotheby’s auction house," published last year in the journal Crime, Law & Social Change.
In her introductory post below, Tess explains how her interests in cultural heritage and her experiences in Asia interweave with "From Plunder to Preservation: The Untold Story of Cultural Heritage, World War II, and the Pacific," the Lawyers' Committee conference set for November 8 and 9 in Washington.
Her decade-long efforts against pillage of ancient sites and trafficking of artifacts in Southeast Asia have included several projects, for example: creation of a heritage law database; establishment of a legal internship program in Cambodia; an exhibition at Angkor Wat about threats facing the temple; a hotline for the public to report archaeological discoveries or looting; and publication of a children’s book on preservation, If the Stones Could Speak.
Pleased to say that Tess earned her J.D. degree from the University of Georgia School of Law; she also received a B.A. degree in archeology magna cum laude from Boston University.
Before joining the Lawyers' Committee, Tess worked for Heritage Watch in Cambodia, first as Project Coordinator and finally Assistant Director; she now serves on that NGO's Advisory Board. Her career began at the Archaeological Institute of America.
Tess is Vice Chair of the American Society of International Law Cultural Heritage and the Arts Interest Group. She is admitted to the New York State Bar, Third Department, and is a member of the New York State Bar Association.
Heartfelt welcome!

Go On! Uncovering culture & conflict in WWII's Pacific Theater – November conference in D.C.

(My thanks to IntLawGrrls for the opportunity to contribute this introductory post)

Three years ago this month, the Lawyers' Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation held its first conference in Washington, D.C. Entitled "Culture and Conflict," the conference explored the United States' March 2009 ratification of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict. The Lawyers' Committee had reason to mark this development: the not-for-profit organization, along with the Archaeological Institute of America and U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield, had led a coalition urging the U.S. to join the treaty.
I attended the program on a whim, unaware it would have a lasting impact on me.
At the time, I'd been working in archaeology for years, and had just earned a Juris Doctor at the University of Georgia. I hoped to use this degree to preserve cultural heritage, which, though difficult to define, generally refers to the objects, places, and traditions that define us as individuals, societies, nations, and even human beings. (prior IntLawGrrls posts)
"Culture and Conflict" reaffirmed my decision.
It began with the impetus to the 1954 Hague Convention: the European Theater of World War II. There and then, modern technology fully enabled man's barbaric impulses, with horrifying results for the continent's population and all they loved. Heritage was no exception. At times, it was a direct target, as with the Nazi looting of art. At others, it was an innocent bystander, as with the bombing of Monte Cassino. Either way, the result was the same, cultural devastation. After the fighting stopped, the dead were mourned, and Europe began to rebuild, Western civilization realized many of its treasures had been lost forever. The international community swore "never again" and –  based on previous efforts like the Lieber Code, Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907, and Roerich Pact – adopted the 1954 Hague Convention.
I had an understanding of this history before the conference, but it is far from my own area of expertise. My passion has always been studying and protecting the heritage of East Asia and the Pacific. I've traveled throughout the region and worked extensively in Cambodia and Papua New Guinea. In a strange coincidence for a girl whose family hails from Kentucky and Georgia, I was the third generation to briefly call PNG home – preceded by my uncle, an engineer, and before him, my grandfather, a soldier in General Douglas MacArthur's army.
So during "Culture and Conflict," I may have been the sole one in the audience who understood the landing at Guadalcanal better than Normandy, who had visited military cemeteries in Guam but not in England. I thus find it hard to explain why I – having devoted my career to preservation – had never previously considered the impact of WWII on the Pacific's heritage. But not until that day, when presented with the wealth of research done on the subject in Europe, did my ignorance hit me.
Yes, I already knew the Empire of Japan had pillaged its way across the hemisphere, but I'd heard more about the looting of gold bullion than masterpieces. I must have realized the Japanese home front suffered greatly itself – and that countless artworks, museums, and historic buildings were destroyed in the bombings of Tokyo, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki – but I could name no examples. And I vaguely recalled a news item about the neglect suffered by Tarawa and other battlegrounds, but outside that, my knowledge was limited to the few sites I'd seen in person.
I initially believed this must be an oversight on my part alone. After all, countless books, chapters, and articles featured what has become known as "The Rape of Europa."
Surely Western scholarship had not turned its back on half the war and indeed world?
At the end of "Culture and Conflict," I took advantage of a question-and-answer session to ask that of the speakers, who included top authorities on WWII and heritage. They confirmed the topic in the Pacific had been all but ignored in the West, and possibly the East as well. A historian named Marc Masurovsky strongly encouraged me to look into it, however, and I promised him (and myself) I would.