Tuesday, January 31, 2012

ICC undercurrents in AU impasse

A South African politician's bid to become the 1st woman to lead the African Union Commission ended today -- but her male opponent wasn't re-elected, either.
Mounting the challenge was Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma (right), the South African Home Affairs Minister and the country's "first woman minister of Foreign Affairs," who was once married to the country's President, Jacob Zuma. (photo credit) A physician who earned her medical degree at Britain's University of Bristol, she served as Minister of Health during the tenure of President Nelson Mandela.
Dlamini Zuma had run for the top AU spot on a platform with planks that included "'ensur[ing] the emancipation of women," and "'consolidating democracy and good governance.'" She'd promised to "'buil[d] on the rich Pan-African tradition of consultation and consensus-building."
But in a closed-door meeting today, she failed to garner enough votes to defeat Jean Ping (left) of Gabon, who's held the chair since 2008. (photo credit)
Even after Dlamini Zuma withdrew according to AU rules, Ping failed to obtain the 2/3 vote required for re-election. Looks as if there'll be a new round of elections, in July in Malawi.
It's reported that the challenge to and non-re-election of Ping reflected "immense criticism from African leaders for the way in which he responded to the Libyan crisis."
For what, specifically?
Presumably, the report refers to Ping's condemnation of the International Criminal Court as "discriminatory" on the July 2011 day he presided over the African Union vote that refused to cooperate with the ICC arrest warrant of Muammar Gaddafi, then the leader of Libya.
That this performance provoked an African Union challenge – at a summit where Ban Ki-moon, the U.N. Secretary-General, earlier had "introduced" Fatou Bensouda of Gambia, incoming ICC Prosecutor – adds to other evidence (here and here) of what seems to be a thawing of long-chilly relations between African states and the ICC.

Former Guatemalan dictator (finally!) in the dock for genocide and crimes against humanity

Former Guatemalan Army General Efraín Ríos Montt appeared before Guatemalan Judge Carol Patricia Flores last Thursday, to answer to allegations that he committed crimes during the 1982-1983 period when he was head of state.
It’s been a long road.
Charges against Ríos were filed back in 2001 by the Centro para la Acción Legal en Derechos Humanos/Center for Legal Action on Human Rights in Guatemala (logo above), but the prosecutors’ office had dragged its feet in the investigation for years. Several things happened to change that:
► Ríos Montt lost his Congressional immunity on January 17, and, as we’ve blogged about here and here.
Attorney General Claudia Paz y Paz Bailey (prior posts) last year began aggressively prosecuting cases against military and police from the early 1980s, the period when a U.N.-sponsored Commission found that “acts of genocide” had been committed.
► Evidence and testimony produced by and for a parallel proceeding in Spanish courts (discussed here) provided useful evidence of tight command and control of forces operating in the remote Ixil region, where some of the heaviest civilian killings and destruction occurred; discoveries in the police archives showed police and military collaboration in forced disappearances in urban areas.
This is great news, and was received as a step towards justice by family members of those killed, who showed up en masse at the confirmation-of-charges hearing.
It will not be easy to gain firm convictions in these cases, despite the plethora of evidence of the crimes and of the defendants’ knowledge and participation.
Ríos Montt is now 85 years old, and may try to get the case dismissed on grounds that he is too old and ill to participate in a trial (even though until two weeks ago he was apparently capable of being a Congressman…). That was the tactic successfully used by another high-level defendant, Héctor Mejía Victores, whose case was suspended on these grounds.
Two other generals, Mauricio Rodríguez Sánchez (former head of intelligence) and Héctor Mario López Fuentes (former army chief of staff), remain under arrest in a military hospital, while former chief of operations General Luis Enrique Mendoza Garcia remains at large.
Even if the case goes forward, Ríos can be expected to mount a vigorous defense, including taking advantage of the multiple opportunities in Guatemalan law for delay as interlocutory appeals go up and down the system. He has already said that he is not guilty because he was not at the scene of the crimes nor involved in meetings to commit crimes.
Nonetheless, judges might look at the legal theories used in the prosecutions of former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori, and of the Argentine generals (prior posts available here), for Latin American examples of criminal responsibility imposed on heads of state and government for crimes under international law.
A further wild card is the attitude of the new President, Otto Pérez Molina, who took office just a couple weeks ago.

Go On! Energy security @ Georgia Law

(Go On! is an occasional item on symposia and other events of interest)

The Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law will present a symposium entitled "Striking the Right Balance: Energy Security in International Law" this Friday, February 3, here at my home institution, the University of Georgia School of Law.
Panel topics: "The Nuclear Question: How to Balance Security and Safety After Japan," "A Shift in Balance of Power? National v. Multi-National Legal Regimes Governing Energy Markets," and " Going Green: Creating a Legal Framework for Renewable Energy."
The keynote speaker will be William C. Ostendorff, a member of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Others scheduled to speak will be my Georgia Law colleague, Professor Timothy L. Meyer, along with Pace Law Professor Elizabeth Burleson (left), an IntLawGrrls contributor, and Susan Sakmar, an Adjunct Professor at the University of San Francisco School of Law.
Details and registration here.

On January 31

On this day in ...
... 1938, then-Crown Princess Juliana gave birth to a daughter (left) at Soestdijk Palace in the Dutch community of Baarn. (photo credit) The baby was named Beatrix Wilhelmina Armgard and given the titles Princess of the Netherlands, Princess of Orange-Nassau and Princess of Lippe-Biesterfeld. The mother would bear 2 more daughters, one daughter while in exile during World War II, and would become Queen Juliana upon retirement of her own mother, Queen Wilhelmina, in 1948. Decades later, Juliana likewise would abdicate in favor of her eldest, known since 1980 as Queen Beatrix I. This 'Grrl had the honor of glimpsing the reigning queen, dressed much as she is in the 2008 photo at right, during my visit to The Hague in March. (credit) The monarch earned a special tip of the tiara a couple weeks ago, when, during a visit to the United Arab Emirates, as described by the Associated Press,
'Queen Beatrix took on the fiery leader of her country's anti-Muslim party on Thursday by dismissing as "nonsense" his criticism of her decision to wear a head scarf during a recent visit to a mosque.'
(Prior January 31 posts are here, here, here, and here.)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Bloody Sunday: Testament to spirit & costs of truth

The events of January 30th 1972 uniquely shaped the Northern Ireland conflict. The loss of life and injury, the failure of the state to investigate adequately, with the continued denial of state accountability created a deep reservoir of hurt within bereaved families and the community. (credit for 2005 photo of mural in Derry)
Today marks the 40th anniversary of the events on the streets of Derry, and the images that riveted the world and in part defined the course of the conflict for decades thereafter.
Bloody Sunday was a mirror held up to the state’s own rhetoric of rule of law and democratic participation. The state was found wanting.
Following years of legal and political struggle to vindicate the innocence of 13 persons killed during the civil rights protest that day (and another who died later from injuries), the report by the Hon Lord Saville of Newdigate was released on June 15th 2010 to their families and to a watchful local and global community. The Report of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry spanned 10 volumes. As I posted at the time of its release last year, the report was unequivocal that the deaths were “unjustified and unjustifiable” and that all those shot were innocent civilians who had given no cause for the use of force again them by members of the British paratroop regiment.
Forty years on provides a space for reflection and for pause. What have we learned and what can the experience of Bloody Sunday teach?
Bloody Sunday was a traumatic and politicizing experience for many in the jurisdiction. Yet, it did not produce paralysis. Rather, family members, relatives, and community became deeply involved in the process of naming the state’s failure and sought to hold the state accountable for the murder of its own citizens.
It is easy with the Saville Report in hand to forget the costs of mobilization. The yearly march in Derry on January 30th was a symbolic reenactment of the state’s failure, its silence, and its complicity. (credit for photo from 35th anniversary march) Families and activists involved in remembering and in challenging were themselves marginalized and stigmatized – the words ‘terrorist’ and ‘fellow-traveler’ easily thrown about over decades. The events of Bloody Sunday produced and sustained compounded harms which are not undone overnight.
One lesson then is that patience, community solidarity, and some rule of law within which to frame the claims made are essential to success when the state operates in consistent denial.
Another is that we should not over-estimate the healing and reconciliation that legal documents produce. We should remain attuned to the long-term and difficult work on the personal and communal level that remains to be done – the chilly reality of living in a transitional society once the media has moved on.
Bloody Sunday also demonstrates the particular challenges for democratic states in acknowledging their responsibility for systematic human rights violations.

On January 30

On this day in ...
... 1912 (100 years ago today), a daughter, Barbara Wertheim, was born into a banking family in New York (her maternal uncle, Henry Morgenthau Jr., would become President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Treasury Secretary). After completing her bachelor's degree at Radcliffe, she 1st worked in an unpaid position with a policy group in Tokyo. In 1936 she became a journalist at The Nation, which her father had bought; year later, she covered the Spanish Civil War for that periodical. Married in 1939 to a physician who worked in a military hospital abroad during World War II, Barbara Tuchman (right) went to work for the U.S. Office of War Information in New York. (photo credit) After the war Tuchman, by then the mother of 3 daughters (we've posted on one of them here), began a writing career that would culminate in an account of the causes of World War I, titled The Guns of August (1962), that would win the Pulitzer Prize. She won a 2d Pulitzer 9 years later, for her biographical study of early 20th C. relations with China, Stillwell and the American Experience in China, 1911-1945 (1971). Tuchman died in 1989 at age 77.

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

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Introducing Andrea Ewart

It's our great pleasure to introduce Andrea Ewart (left) as an IntLawGrrls contributor.
Andrea, a Jamaican national and U.S.-trained trade attorney/trade policy expert, is an independent international trade and development consultant. She brings to her work particular interest and focus on the impact of trade policy on women and on micro enterprises. In her introductory post below, she analyzes prospects and challenges for constitutional reform in Jamaica.
As detailed at her website, Andrea's practice focuses on trade policy development and implementation, negotiation and implementation of trade agreements, legal assistance on trade-related matters, customs and trade facilitation, and other trade issues within the Caribbean and the Africa, Caribbean, Pacific, or ACP, region. Since 2009, she's written the blog DevelopTradeLaw, which today joins our "connections" list.
Prior to opening her own practice, Andrea worked with the Washington office of the law firm of Holland & Knight, where she counseled and represented clients on U.S. customs law and enforcement, U.S. export control laws, and African Growth Opportunity Act and Caribbean Basin Initiatives preferential programs. As part of the firm's public law practice, she also drafted legislation, monitored various legislative and regulatory initiatives, participated in legislative coalitions, and worked with U.S. legislative personnel.
Andrea is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia, Florida, and Maryland,as well as the bar of the U.S. Supreme Court. She is an Executive Board member of the Organization of Women in International Trade, an active member of other professional organizations, and a regular lecturer on international and trade law issues.
On considering her dedication, Andrea writes:
My transnational foremother – this was a difficult choice as my first choices have already been selected (Nanny, or Eleanor Roosevelt, for example) and then I had a difficult time choosing between Indira Gandhi and Edith Wharton (whose stories I love and courage I admire).
That said, I will choose Indira Gandhi, whose accomplishments and journey as India's first female prime minister reached and stirred me as a young girl in far-away Jamaica, leading me to begin to establish my own dreams and goals.
Today Gandhi (prior posts) joins IntLawGrrls' foremothers page. (credit for 1984 postage stamp)
Heartfelt welcome!

Opportunity for constitutional reform in Jamaica

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

At her swearing-in ceremony as Jamaica’s seventh Prime Minister a few weeks ago, Portia Simpson Miller (right) announced her government’s intention to begin the process of removing all ties with the British monarchy to make Jamaica an independent republic. (Prior IntLawGrrls post)
A product of the British-drafted Constitution handed down upon attaining independence in 1962, fifty years later the nominal head of state in Jamaica remains Elizabeth II, the Queen of England. Consequently, making good on this intention will require a Constitutional amendment. That, in turn, presents an opportunity for broader constitutional reform, which has been pending since the 1970s. (photo credit)
The British-drafted Constitution contains several provisions whose relevance to an independent Jamaica has long been questioned. Indeed, the very process by which the current Constitution was drafted highlights the need for a new Constitution, one that has evolved out of a period of consultation in which all Jamaicans have had an opportunity to participate. The following discussion highlights three particular areas, relating to the republic, the judiciary, and citizenship, that merit reform.

Establishing Jamaica as an Independent Republic
Executive authority of Jamaica is currently vested in Her Majesty the Queen (left), pursuant to Article 68 of the Constitution of Jamaica, and it is exercised by her appointed representative, the Governor-General. (image credit) Among other functions, the formal assent of the Governor-General, who is the nominal head of Parliament, is required for Bills of Parliament to become law.
As a “specially entrenched provision,” its amendment requires:
► Support of two-thirds of all the members of each of the two Houses of Parliament in the special manner prescribed under Article 49; and
► Support of the majority of those voting in a national referendum held within a two- to six-month period after passage of the Bill to amend.
Control by the People's National Party, Simpson Miller’s ruling party of the Parliament, having secured exactly two-thirds of the Parliamentary seats, makes the first criterion reasonably attainable.
However, success in a referendum will most likely require extensive public education and mobilization. There has been no recent polls to capture the opinions of the Jamaican electorate on this matter, but a 2009 attempt by St. Vincent & the Grenadines, a Caribbean neighbor in a similar position, suggests success should not be taken for granted. Only 43.13% of Vincentians voted in support of the proposal to replace the constitutional monarchy with a republic.
The question of what would take its place is also a divisive issue – a strong executive similar to what exists in the United States, or a ceremonial President appointed by the ruling Party? The political stalemate created in Caribbean neighbors that have made this transition, most notably Trinidad and Tobago, has flagged the negative consequences of taking the wrong path on this issue.

Creating a Caribbean-based Court of Final Appeal
As with many of its Caribbean neighbors, Jamaica’s court of final appeal remains, under Article 110 of its Constitution, the British-based Privy Council.

On January 29

On this day in ...
... 1897 (115 years ago today), in Ottawa, Ontario, "[d]espite fierce opposition from the medical establishment," Ishbel Maria Gordon (right), titled Lady Aberdeen and married to the Governor General of Canada, helped to form the Victorian Order of Nurses as a means to provide care in outlying regions; it continues to promote health care to this day. Its name was chosen to recognize the Diamond Jubilee, or 60th anniversary of the reign of Britain's Queen Victoria. (credit for 1897 photo at right of Lady Aberdeen becoming the 1st woman to receive an honorary degree in Canada; credit for photo below of nurses sent to Yukon in 1898, from left, Margaret Payson, Rachel Hanna, Georgina Powell, and Amy Scott) As we've posted, other founders included Henrietta Muir Edwards and Adelaide Hunter Hoodless. Establishment of the nurses' order, which now goes by its acronym, VON, came at the request of the Canadian branch National Council of Women, another of several women's organizations in which Lady Aberdeen was active even though her activism drew ridicule. As stated here,
She believed that women represented an enormous, unused capacity in Canada, and that they would be a civilizing force in an untamed country.

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

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Mapping better ICC-Africa relations

'The appointment of African officials to senior offices at the ICC reflects the important role that individual Africans are playing in contributing to the success of the court and is of great significance to promoting mutual understanding and strengthening cooperation between the ICC and the AU. Our organizations hope that African states and the AU will lend their support to the newly elected ICC prosecutor, while fully respecting her independence.'
So stated the "Letter to Foreign Ministers of African States Parties to the ICC" signed by nearly 3 dozen nongovernmental organizations based in 19 different African countries. Released Thursday, the letter seeks to prod leaders of African countries that have joined the International Criminal Court to discuss improvement of ICC-Africa relations during the 19th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union, which will take place Sunday and Monday in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital that's home to the African Union's Secretariat. (Prior IntLawGrrls posts on Africa and the ICC available here.) (credit for map showing ICC states parties in green, signatories in yellow, and states that have neither joined nor signed the ICC treaty in grey)
The incoming senior officials to which the passage refers are Fatou Bensouda of Gambia, elected the ICC Prosecutor effective mid-2012, and Chile Eboe Osuji of Nigeria, who has been serving as Legal Advisor to the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner of Human Rights and was elected an ICC judge in December.
Improvements recommended include:
► More meetings and "exchange of views" between officials of the African Union and the ICC;
► Establishment by the African Union of an ICC liaison office in Addis Ababa; and
► Fulfillment by states parties of their obligations under the ICC treaty to implement warrants and decisions of the court.
The letter urged further development of national justice systems so that they might pursue persons accused of the core crimes that ICC now prosecutes – genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes – domestically, as envisaged by the ICC Statute's complementarity principle.
At the same time, the letter expressed concern about proposals to shift the ICC's Africa docket to a regional tribunal by simple expansion of the competence of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights, an entity in the process of being established, pursuant to a 2008 agreement, by merger of 2 pre-existing regional courts. The NGOs wrote:
'Notably, the African Court already faces serious challenges implementing its current mandate and giving it jurisdiction over a distinct type of offenses (crimes under international law committed by individuals, as opposed to human rights violations by states) would require significant time to establish new expertise and a vast overhaul in the way the court is currently set-up.'

'Nuff said

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

What, then, is the significance of the Court in international life? It would be easy to conclude that a court which has no genuinely compulsory jurisdiction and which cannot turn to any of the normal apparatus of the State (on which national courts can rely) to enforce the judgments which it gives cannot play a significant role. Such a conclusion would be facile and misleading.

-- Sir Christopher Greenwood (above right), CMG, QC, Judge on the International Court of Justice since 2009, and former Professor of International Law at the London School of Economics. The passage appears in "The Role of the International Court of Justice in the Global Community," 17 U.C. Davis J. Int'l L. & Pol'y 233, 248 (2011), the recently published version of the lecture by Greenwood (above right, with Anupam Chander and IntLawGrrls contributor Andrea K. Bjorklund in background) that I was honored to help host, on March 1, 2011, at the University of California, Davis, School of Law.

Write On! Armed forces accountability

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

Organizers of a conference entitled The Self-Interest of Armed Forces in Accountability for their Members for Core International Crimes are seeking "two or three relevant papers" to round out the event, which will be held November 27, 2012, at Stanford University in California.
Among those already scheduled to take part are Richard J. Goldstone, former Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda, many military lawyers, and other experts.
Deadline for submissions is this coming Wednesday, February 1, 2012. Details here.

On January 28

On this day in ...
... 2002 (10 years ago today), Astrid Lindgren (right) died in Stockholm, Sweden. She'd been born 94 years earlier in the Swedish village of Vimmerby. Earlier in her career as a journalist, she became pregnant by her editor, whom she refused to marry, moved to Stockholm, and placed her son with a foster family. Eventually she would marry a different man and give birth to 2 more children. To amuse her often-ill daughter, Lindgren invented stories about a headstrong, pigtailed girl named Pippi Longstocking (in Swedish, Pippi Långstrump). On account of this series and other writings, Lindgren "is the world's 18th most translated author." A children's book award is given annually in her name. Meanwhile, Pippi has resurfaced in popular culture, as an inspiration for the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy by the late Swedish novelist Stieg Larsson.

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

Friday, January 27, 2012

Verdict in Haiti prison massacre case

A national judge sentenced 8 members of Haiti's national police force to some of the very same conditions over which they once reigned.
Last week's verdict and sentence arose from the officers' involvement in the 2010 prison massacre in Les Cayes.
In the chaos immediately following the January 12, 2010, earthquake, detainees in the Les Cayes prison – out of fear of returning to the inside the building – tried to sleep in the prison's courtyard. The prison's warden, Sylvestre Larack, refused to let them stay, triggering a rebellion that was quelled by excessive force, in the opinion of an independent commission that examined the event.
When detainees tried to escape the facility shortly thereafter, guards responded with a hail of gunfire and tear gas that left between 12 and 15 persons dead. Some of the victims, all of whom were unarmed, had been shot in the head or beaten to death. In the wake of the massacre, prison guards denied wounded inmates medical care and hid and rearranged bodies to mask their crimes.
Larack himself, as well as the chief of Haiti's antiriot police, Olritch Beaubrun, were accused of having participated in the killings.
The verdict and sentences cap a trial that was seen as a test of Haiti's fragile judicial system, which has long been regarded as promoting impunity for human rights abuses committed by state actors.
During the three months of trial, participants faced numerous challenges, including attempts to intimidate the presiding judge and a malfunctioning generator, which plunged the proceedings into darkness. Nonetheless, 2 years after the Les Cayes massacre, Judge Ezekiel Vaval sentenced 8 of the 14 officers accused of participating in the killings to terms of imprisonment and hard labor, ranging from 2 to 13 years. Larack was sentenced to 7 years, and Beauburn received 13.
While neither of these sentences reflects the state prosecutor's request for life imprisonment, Florence Élie (right), Director of Haiti's Office de Protection du Citoyen, speculated that the judge hoped to avoid longterm acrimony between between the judiciary and the police. (photo credit)
Moreover, the mere conclusion of the trial is being seen as a victory of sorts for the Haitian justice system. According to one defense attorney, "the fact that we had a verdict at all is a big deal for Haiti."
The proceedings might also shed renewed light on conditions in Haiti's prisons, which have long been regarded as among the worst in the world on account of extreme overcrowding, limitless pretrial detention, and nonexistent medical care. Several human rights groups have denounced such conditions as "cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment."

Go On! Buergenthal @ ASIL

(Go On! is an occasional item on symposia and other events of interest)

As part of its "leading figures in international dispute resolution series," the International Courts and Tribunals Interest Group of the American Society of International Law will host Thomas Buergenthal (left), who has served inter alia on the International Court of Justice (2000-10) and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (1979-91), and who has returned to the law faculty at George Washington School of Law, where he is the Lobingier Professor of Comparative Law and Jurisprudence. (photo credit) Buergenthal will be available for a Q&A session to discuss his work and the work of the ICJ and then take questions.
The event will take place from 6 to 7:30 p.m. next Thursday, February 2, at Tillar House, ASIL headquarters at 2223 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington D.C. A reception will follow.
Register for the event, which is free to ASIL members, here.

On January 27

On this day in ...
... 1977 (35 years ago today), as the United Press International wire service reported from Rome,
The Vatican, affirming the refusal of the Roman Catholic Church to ordain women as priests, said today that they could not qualify because Jesus was a man and His representatives on earth must have a 'natural resemblance' to him.
The 18-page statement relied on an assertion by a 13th C. pope, to the effect that the Virgin Mary surpassed all Apostles yet was denied the keys to heaven given those men. To this day, women remain excluded from the Catholic priesthood, although according to a recent announcement, a limited number of male Episcopal priests married to women will be allowed to do so.

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

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Quick Cambodia Update

David Scheffer, newly appointed special envoy to Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) by the United Nations (as we reported here) has hit the ground running. Further to our posts (here, here and here) about the impasse at the ECCC over the appointment of reserve Co-Investigating Judge, Laurent Kasper-Ansermet of Switzerland, Scheffer, who traveled to Phnom Penh this week on behalf of the United Nations, has announced that there is no impediment to the Swiss jurist assuming his position and carrying out his functions as Co-Investigating Judge. The Supreme Council of Magistracy had delayed "confirming" Kasper-Ansermet's appointment, apparently on the grounds that he was "unsuitable." The grounds: he had used his Twitter account to discuss the debate over the propriety of pursuing Cases 003 and 004. Scheffer in his remarks also encouraged Kasper-Ansermet to build "credible" case files with respect to the controversial Cases 003 and 004.
In other news, Case 002 involving the surviving regime leaders, continues. Coverage is available on the ECCC's website as well as the Cambodia Trial Monitor. The tribunal recentlyheard testimony from Peoudara Vanthan ("Dara"), deputy director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-Cam). The defendants have attacked the neutrality of DC-Cam, arguing that its vast documentary holdings should be viewed with suspicion. The questioning seemed to suggest that the Center was prejudiced against the accused and had organized its holdings to facilitate the defendants' prosecution. There were also questions challenging the provenance and subsequent chain of custody of many of the documents, which are decades old.

Introducing Hilde Coffé

It's our great pleasure to introduce Dr. Hilde Coffé (left) as an IntLawGrrls contributor.
At the beginning of next month, Hilde will take up a permanent appointment as a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Political Science and International Relations at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand.
She joins the Victoria faculty following a number of years as an assistant professor of sociology at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. She's also been a visiting professor in in the Department of Political Science and Japanese Studies at Martin-Luther-University in Halle-Wittenberg, Germany.
In 2004 Hilde earned her Ph.D. in Social Science from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel in Belgium, having completed a dissertation entitled Groot in Vlaanderen, klein(er) in Wallonië. Een analyse van het electorale succes van de extreem-rechtse partijen / Large in Flanders, small(er) in Wallonia. An analysis of the different success of the extreme right parties in Belgium. (See items about this research here and here.)
She also holds bachelor's and master's degrees from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, where she was a postdoctoral researcher from 2004 to 2006.
Hilde's research focuses on political participation and representation, partisan politics, and civic and political attitudes. In that vein is her introductory post below, which discusses "Conceptions of Female Political Representation: Perspectives of Rwandan Female Representatives," a paper she presented at a meeting of the American Political Science Association.
Heartfelt welcome!

Rwanda's women MPs on women in Parliament

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

An increasing number of women serve in parliaments across the world, and a growing body of research has studied female political representation. Within this research line, three points of focus can be distinguished:
► Study of female representation in a descriptive manner, with concentration on the number of women in Parliament;
► Exploration of substantive representation, preliminarily concerned with the effect female representation has on policy outcomes and political styles and cultures; and
► Consideration of symbolic representation.
This last research-focus suggests that female Members of Parliament (MPs) are role models for women in society, inspiring them to engage in political activity and discussion and serving to increase political trust.
Little research exists, however, on how female representatives themselves think about female political representation. And no study has empirically investigated female representatives' conceptions of female political representation. Yet, these perspectives and conceptions are important, because they may eventually indicate how female representatives behave.
My explorative case study, Conceptions of Female Political Representation: Perspectives of Rwandan Female Representatives, investigates the conceptions of female political representation held by female members of Parliament in Rwanda.
Rwanda has positioned itself on the international stage as having the most gender-equal Parliament in the world. In 2003, the country adopted a gender-sensitive constitution, including a guarantee that 30% of posts in all decision-making organs would be held by women. The Lower House of the Rwandan Parliament has 80 members, 53 of whom are directly elected by a proportional representation system. The additional seats are reserved for women (24), youngsters (2 seats), and disabled people (1 seat). (credit for February 2011 AFP photo of Rwanda's Parliament in session)
As a result of this rule, women hold at least 30% of the seats in the Lower House of the Parliament; a number that is added to by women elected through additional, openly contested seats. Women also hold at least 30% of the seats within the Senate, the Upper House of the Rwandan Parliament, as indicated by the constitution. (Prior IntLawGrrls posts here and here.)
My analyses, based on Q method exercises during interviews held with 14 female Rwandan members of the Lower and Upper Houses of Parliament, revealed three unique types of conceptions regarding female political representation. Specifically, female representatives focused on:
► (1) Symbolic and descriptive representation;
► (2) Symbolic representation and power; and
► (3) Substantive representation.
The first group treats the political representation of women mainly as a numbers game, and focuses on descriptive representation. Women in this first group also have a favorable attitude towards gender quota. As one female representative put it:
'If there would have been no quotas; we would not be here.'

'Nuff said

(Taking context-optional note of thought-provoking quotes)
Concerns about the H5N1 research have again forced scientists and policy makers to think about risks associated with well-intentioned, lawful, and potentially valuable research that might facilitate bioterrorism or result in accidental release or escape. The World Health Organization (“WHO”) captured the conundrum when it expressed concern about potentially adverse consequences of the H5N1 research but stressed that research continue “so that critical scientific knowledge needed to reduce the risks posed by the H5N1 virus continues to increase.” Balancing costs and benefits requires governance of risky research, and the international scale of such research brings international law into the picture.
-- Our colleague David P. Fidler, the James Calamaras professor of Law at Indiana University Maurer School of Law in Bloomington, in "Risky Research and Human Health: The Influenza H5N1 Research Controversy and International Law." a recent ASIL Insight. David set the stage by discussing a recent WHO decision to hold off on publishing research on a dangerous strain of bird flu. (credit for electron micrograph of the flu strain at issue, H5N1) A news story on Saturday, in fact, reported that researchers have postponed work altogether. David's essay then proceeded to demonstrate the current absence of international legal mechanisms in the area and to propose models for governance that officials might consider in planned, WHO-administered negotiations.

On January 26

On this day in ...
... 1900, in a letter to a friend, Theodore Roosevelt, then Governor of New York, wrote of the style with which he dealt with political intrigue in Albany:
I have always been fond of the West African proverb: 'Speak softly and carry a big stick, you will go far.'
Indeed, he would go far. By year's end the author would be elected President of the United States, one whose record recently was invoked by the current holder of that office. As the Library of Congress notes, the quoted phrase would "become a trademark description" of foreign policy in the administration of Roosevelt– who was also, and not coincidentally, a big-game hunter. (credit for photo of Roosevelt during 1910 African safari)

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

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Mugesera Deported

It has been a busy week for aficionados of International Criminal Law. One development that may have escaped notice concerns our neighbor to the north.

Rwandan Léon Mugesera recently lost appeals filed before provincial and federal courts in Canada seeking to prevent his deportation to Rwanda. Mugesera is known for an inflammatory speech given in 1992 that is believed to have helped trigger the genocide that engulfed Rwanda a year and a half later. After he successfully applied for permanent residence in Canada, Canadian immigration authorities commenced deportation proceedings against him. In 2005, the Supreme Court of Canada reversed an appellate court’s ruling that Mugesera did not deliberately incite murder,hatred or genocide. The Supreme Court concluded that there were “reasonable grounds to believe” that Mugesera committed crimes against humanity—the standard for deportation. The full speech is appended as appendix III to the Supreme Court opinion.
In an effort to avoid deportation, Mugesera invoked the non-refoulement principle, among other arguments, claiming that he would be subjected to persecution in Rwanda if he were returned. He filed an Article 22 individual petition before the Committee Against Torture, the body charged with enforcing the Convention Against Torture, seeking the Committee’s views on his vulnerability to torture. The Committee by letter requested Canadian officials to stay deportation so it could consider the petition. The Quebec Superior Court temporarily stayed the deportation, but then ruled that the Committee lacked the power to constrain states parties because it was limited to offering its views on individual petitions. It also determined that the responding to the Committee was an executive function, rather than a judicial one.

On January 24th, after a 16 year legal battle, Mugeserawas deported and is now in custody in Kigali. This result, while welcomed by many, remained controversial, as many in Canada argued that Mugesera should have been prosecuted for his underlying crimes (including incitement to genocide) rather than simply deported.  So far, Canada has prosecuted only two individuals under its Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act:
(See our coverage of the Munyaneza case here). The current government has indicated an intention to streamline its laws (particularly the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act) to make deportation even easier. 

For more on Canada’s Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes program, see here. Good coverage is also available on the website of theCanadian Center for International Justice). (We’ve covered the work of CCIJ before, see here (the effort to prosecute George W. Bush in Canada) and here (on Canada’s war crimes programgenerally and the prosecute v. deport debate)).

President Obama's State of the Union Address, Energy, and Climate Change

Last night, President Barack Obama delivered his annual State of the Union Address. (photo credit)
Like last year, he focused on the potential for unity over energy independence, transition to cleaner energy, and energy infrastructure rather than on addressing climate change. He continued to tie that transition to innovation, construction, and jobs.
However, the tone was somewhat different. Unlike last year, where he did not mention climate change directly, he openly acknowledged partisan divisions with respect to climate change and even energy while trying to find bipartisan ground. The President also spent time discussing the expansion of offshore drilling and natural gas as positive rather than just emphasizing the need to shift towards cleaner sources.
I liked the realism of this shift. One of the reasons I spent time in the aftermath of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill exploring the complexity of offshore drilling and oil spill regulation, and principles for moving forward and addressing environmental justice concerns, is because I believe that the desire for energy independence and security will compel us to keep drilling deep in at least the short-to-medium term. Similarly, I think that natural gas is an important transitional energy source because we are not ready to shift dramatically to cleaner sources in the near term.
I do think it's important, though, to think beyond our present constraints. I live in the Midwest, with its massive wind capacity, and was particularly heartened by two experiences I had during my Climate Change and Clean Energy capstone course last semester. First, when John Dunlop of the American Wind Energy Association visited us, he emphasized that between on-shore and off-shore wind, we have capacity to more than meet our energy needs and that intermittency is more manageable than it is often portrayed as being. Second, when we went on a tour of the MISO, the Midwestern regional transmission organization, the operator answering our questions emphasized that they try to get as much wind online as possible. This effort is not motivated by any type of environmental mandate, but out of their mission of reducing cost and maximizing reliability – the wind is cheaper than the more polluting sources. I hope that we can move beyond bipartisanship to use law as a tool for the energy transformation – through a combination of conservation, efficiency, and transitioning sources – that would be a win-win for this country.
I include the most relevant portion of the State of the Union below:

Read On! de Londras on detention

(Read On! ... occasional posts on writing worth reading)

I would strongly recommend reading the new book by IntLawGrrls contributor Fiona de Londras (below right).
The book is entitled Detention in the 'War on Terror': Can Human Rights Fight Back? (2011), and recently was published by Cambridge University Press.
The book is timely given the ongoing controversy about maintaining the detention facilities at Guantánamo Bay, and the ongoing pursuit of military commission proceedings against those detained by the United States.
Fiona's book provides a detailed and comprehensive overview of the evoluation of detention practices in both the United Kingdom and the United States, giving state-of-the-art comparative analysis on the comparators and differences between both jurisdictions.
The book places its analysis in the context of a compelling and rich discussion of moral panic theory and its relevance to a textured understanding of responses to terrorist violence post the events of 9/11.
What is wonderful about this book is that it also tells an optimistic tale, demonstrating the relative autonomy and resiliance of international law in the face of undulating pressure from partial hegemons. That analysis of resistance is an important contribution to understanding the relative strength of international human rights law norms, and their growth and traction in the face of extra-ordinary challange.
For all those interested in national security and human rights issues, this is a must-read book for 2012.

Go On! ICL, in China

(Go On! is an occasional item on symposia and other events of interest)

"Sovereignty and Individual Criminal Responsibility for Core International Crimes" will be the subject of the 2012 Li Haopei Lecture and Seminar, to be held April 2 and 3, at the China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing, China. According to its sponsor, the Forum for International Criminal and Humanitarian Law, the event will examine the theme as it plays out in 3 issue areas:
► "First, when evidence of core international crimes incriminates State officials and there are calls for criminal investigation, State immunity concerns will continue to be voiced."
► "Secondly, the closing down of the ad hoc international criminal jurisdictions is likely to shift more attention to the exercise of national criminal jurisdiction over core international crimes, which would include jurisdictional exercise by States not directly affected by the said crimes."
► "Thirdly, the amendments of the ICC Statute at the 2010 Review Conference with regard to the crime of aggression may at one stage enable the ICC to investigate and prosecute such crimes."
Delivering the 2d annual lecture in honor of Judge Li (1906-97), a Chinese jurist, diplomat and academic who served on the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, will be Judge Liu Daqun (left). (photo credit) Liu served as an Appeals Chamber Judge for the ICTY and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, will speak on "Immunity of State Officials for Core International Crimes and the ICC Statute." (Delivering the inaugural lecture, in Oslo in 2011, was International Criminal Court Vice President Hans-Peter Kaul; his speech, "Implications of the Criminalization of Aggression," is available here.)
Speakers at the seminar will include 2 colleagues who took part in IntLawGrrls' 2010 "Women and International Criminal Law" roundtable: the director of the Forum for International Criminal and Humanitarian Law, Morten Bergsmo, and Georgetown Law Professor David Luban.
Women taking part in the seminar include Professor Ling Yan (right), Judge Li's daughter and Director of the Research Center for International Criminal Law and Humanitarian Law at China University of Political Science and Law, and Dr. Zhou Lulu, Director of the Treaty Division of the Department of Treaty and Law, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China.
Details and registration (requested by March 21, 2012) for the Lecture and Seminar are available here.

On January 25

On this day in ...
... 1871, Maud Wood Park (right) was born in Boston, Massachusetts. An 1898 summa graduate of Radcliffe, "where she was one of only two students in a class of seventy-two to favor the vote for women," Park would go on to a career in social work and political activism. Initially, she worked in her own area, serving as a leader in city and state suffrage organizations; then, recruited by Carrie Chapman Catt, she became a campaigner for women's suffrage throughout the United States -- a goal achieved with the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1920. That same year, Park became the 1st President of the League of Women Voters, serving till 1924, and in that time successfully lobbying for legislation that benefited women and children. (credit for photo from Library of Congress collection of her papers) She would remain a popular lecturer till her death in 1955.

(Prior January 25 posts are here, here, here, and here.)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Introducing Sara Kendall

It's our great pleasure to welcome Dr. Sara Kendall (left) as an IntLawGrrls contributor.
Sara's a Researcher at the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies at Leiden Law’s Hague campus. There Sara assesses the extent to which International Criminal Court's judicial processes respond to the contexts in which it intervenes. In her introductory post below, written from Nairobi, she examines that issue with respect to Kenya – a situation in which, as Sara explains, an ICC Pre-Trial Chamber yesterday issued a major decision.
Sara has published frequently on international criminal justice issues.
She joined the Grotius Centre after receiving her Ph.D. from the University of California-Berkeley, where she also taught. In Berkeley’s interdisciplinary Rhetoric department, she specialized in socio-legal studies and political theory, with further reading in the field of human rights and international humanitarian law. Sara conducted a year of fieldwork in Sierra Leone for Berkeley’s War Crimes Studies Center, monitoring and reporting on the work of the Court, as field research for her dissertation, Contested Jurisdictions: Legitimacy and Governance at the Special Court for Sierra Leone.
Heartfelt welcome!

In Kenya, ICC intervention, domestic solution?

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

NAIROBI, Kenya – The International Criminal Court yesterday confirmed charges against four of six suspects in two cases regarding alleged crimes against humanity that occurred in late 2007 and early 2008 following Kenya’s disputed election.
By the votes of Judges Ekaterina Trendafilova of Bulgaria and Cuno Tarfusser of Italy, who comprised a majority of Pre-trial Chamber II, the ICC determined that trials will go forward against:
► Parliamentarian William Samoei Ruto and radio presenter Joshua Arap Sang in Case I (affiliated with the Orange Democratic Movement opposition party); and
► Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and public service head Francis Muthaura in Case II (affiliated with the Party of National Unity).
The judges declined to confirm charges against parliamentarian Henry Kosgey in Case I and former police commissioner Mohammed Hussein Ali in Case II, citing the prosecution’s failure to meet the standard of substantial grounds to believe that the crimes were committed and that the suspects were responsible.
The Pre-Trial Chamber's third member, Judge Hans-Peter Kaul of Germany, an ICC Vice President, dissented from the majority decision. He maintained that while the crimes committed were serious crimes under Kenyan criminal law, they did not meet the threshold required to be tried before the ICC. (Prior IntLawGrrls posts on these cases available here.) Among other things, the rift on the bench reveals a larger question about what ought to constitute material jurisdiction in cases before the ICC.
This post focuses not on the decisions themselves, but rather on how they have appeared in Kenyan popular discourse, and on the reactions of some civil society organizations. (map credit)
Commentators on the Kenyan situation have long noted the political dimensions of these cases and their potential for shaping the outcome of Kenya’s next election, which is currently due to be scheduled for the end of this year or for the first quarter of 2013. This is because one of the accused against whom the ICC will proceed, Uhuru Kenyatta, is the presumed successor of current Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki.
In addition to the political implications of this decision, another possible outcome of the ICC process may be a return to domestic paths to accountability.
ICC-related stories had dominated Kenya’s most widely circulated dailies well before the decisions were announced yesterday,around 1:30 p.m. East African time. On the morning of the decision, the lead stories of The Standard and Daily Nation assumed an apocalyptic tone – “Day of Judgement: Confirmed?” and “The Hague: Day of decision.” The Standard proclaimed:
'It could be the single ruling whose ink will rewrite Kenya’s history and its winds shake the political arena from today at 1:30.'