Archive for
April, 2006

Indexing the Harvard Blogging Conference

by Roger Alford

The Harvard Blogging Conference and the Future of Law Professors

by Roger Alford

Should Genocide Be a Bargaining Chip?

by Kevin Jon Heller

Quotable Quotes at the Harvard Blogging Conference

by Roger Alford

Tracking Terrorism

by Duncan Hollis

Terrorism as Performance Art

by Roger Alford

We Have a Deal! U.S.-Canada Announce Lumber Trade Settlement

by Julian Ku

From the Da Vinci Code to… the Smithy Code?

by Chris Borgen

What Did You Do This Summer?

by Roger Alford

The U.N. Stamp Scandal?

by Julian Ku

Dominica Brings ICJ Case Against Switzerland

by Julian Ku

U.S.-Canada Lumber Settlement is Near (Finally)

by Julian Ku

That Pesky First Amendment

by Kevin Jon Heller

John Bolton’s Role in SC Resolution 1672

by Kevin Jon Heller

The Struggles of Young Scholarship

by Roger Alford

Posada Carriles — U.S. Citizen?

by Kevin Jon Heller

The ICJ Gets Help — Law Clerks On the Way

by Julian Ku

Holocaust Remembrance Day

by Roger Alford

Timber Magnate on Trial for Atrocities in Sierra Leone

by Kevin Jon Heller

Urquhart Review Essay on New Books on International Law

by Chris Borgen

How to Grow Your Own Island

by Julian Ku

Is Doha Dying a Slow Death?

by Duncan Hollis

Responsible Stakeholders and Revisionist States

by Chris Borgen

The Ever Murky Political Question Doctrine – A Useful Shield for U.S. Foreign Policy

by Julian Ku

So Who Owns Juicy?

by Roger Alford

The Scramble for African Deals?

by Chris Borgen

The Global War on Terrorism – Searching for a Controlling Legal Authority

by Julian Ku

The Lebanon Special Tribunal – A New Type of International Criminal Tribunal

by Julian Ku

Solum on Blogging and Legal Scholarship

by Roger Alford

A Really, Really Bad Idea…

by Kevin Jon Heller

The Great Firewall of China

by Roger Alford

East Asia and International Tribunals: Not Gonna Happen

by Julian Ku

Sen. Frist Prepares to Run Against the U.N.

by Julian Ku

The IMF Runs a $300 Million Loss (This is a Good Thing)

by Julian Ku

ICC Update

by Kevin Jon Heller

Andrew Kent on the Case Against a Global Constitution

by Roger Alford

Hu Should China Talk To?

by Duncan Hollis

Pentagon Releases Names of Guantanamo Detainees

by Julian Ku

Law Review Citations and Blogging

by Roger Alford

Saudis to Give $92 Million to the Palestinian Authority

by Kevin Jon Heller

Environmentalist Murdered in the Philippines

by Roger Alford

Are We All Transnationalists Now? Should We Be?

by Peggy McGuinness

Witchcraft and Statecraft

by Chris Borgen

Bush Appoints New U.S. Trade Representative: Does it Matter?

by Julian Ku

Germany to Open Holocaust Archives

by Kevin Jon Heller

Central African Republic Refers Patasse and Bemba to ICC

by Kevin Jon Heller

United Nations Mired in Dental Conspiracy With City of Sacramento

by Roger Alford

ICTY Says Defendant Mentally Unfit to Stand Trial

by Kevin Jon Heller

The U.S. (Navy) Returns to Somalia

by Julian Ku

The “International” Pulitzer Prizes

by Roger Alford

The U.N. Enters the NY Real Estate Market

by Julian Ku

UN Seeks International Tribunal for Lebanon

by Kevin Jon Heller

Supreme Court Denies Cert. in Case Alleging U.S. Involvement in Chilean Coup

by Roger Alford

The Problem With Tax Evasion

by Roger Alford

When and Why States Use International Arbitration

by Julian Ku

The Lumber Fight: Another Round Goes to Canada

by Julian Ku

Pope’s Easter Message Catalogues the Woes of the World

by Roger Alford

Our Tax Dollars at Work

by Kevin Jon Heller

Baseball, Doping and International Law

by Duncan Hollis

How Law Students Shut Down the First GITMO Prison Camp

by Kevin Jon Heller

The Future Debate on Constitutional Comparativism

by Roger Alford

Poland’s Final Communist Leader Faces Charges

by Kevin Jon Heller

“I Pledge Allegiance to The Earth”

by Roger Alford

Who is Responsible for Genocide in Rwanda?

by Kevin Jon Heller

The Bush Administration’s “Good Friend” in Equatorial Guinea

by Kevin Jon Heller

House Passes Resolution on Saudi Boycott of Israel

by Roger Alford

Gas Flaring in Nigeria; McDonalds’ and Amazonian Soya

by Kevin Jon Heller

Iran Joins the Nuclear Club

by Roger Alford

Happy Birthday to the ICJ!

by Julian Ku

How to Draft a Maritime Boundary

by Julian Ku

More on Terrorism and the Geneva Conventions

by Julian Ku

Secret Agreement to Conceal Reclassification of Declassified Documents

by Kevin Jon Heller

Federal Court Rules on Lawful Combatant Status of Colombian Terrorist

by Roger Alford

Executive Federalism (a.k.a. Semi-Shameless Self Promotion)

by Duncan Hollis

African Union Investigating Peacekeeper Abuses

by Kevin Jon Heller

Does Mexico Accept Illegal Immigration?

by Julian Ku

The ICJ’s Useless Witness Testimony

by Julian Ku

International Tribunals as a Growth Industry

by Julian Ku

Immigration Reform and National Security

by Roger Alford

FDLR Commander Arrested in Germany

by Kevin Jon Heller

Review of Joshua Sobol’s “iWitness”

by Roger Alford

Posada Carriles Demands Release

by Kevin Jon Heller

German Commission to Investigate BND Activities During the Iraq War

by Kevin Jon Heller

Consulting Congress in Foreign Affairs, Even When You Don’t Have To – The India Nuclear Deal

by Julian Ku

Hersh on the Risks of War–or Not Going to War–With Iran

by Chris Borgen

College Students Raise Money to Aid Darfur… With Mercenaries?

by Chris Borgen

Suing Libya and Khaddafi for Involvement in IRA Bombings

by Chris Borgen

NAFTA as a Super-Statute-Treaty

by Julian Ku

Court of Bosnia & Herzegovina Imposes First Sentence

by Kevin Jon Heller

China Teaches Japan that Possession is 9/10ths of Ownership

by Julian Ku

The Best Arbitrator in The World

by Roger Alford

The Social Awareness of Corporations

by Roger Alford

Envisioning a More Democratic Global System at Widener Law School

by Duncan Hollis

The Final Frontier… in Insurance Coverage

by Chris Borgen

U.S. Will Not Run for U.N. Human Rights Council (Updated)

by Julian Ku

Symposium on the Financing of International Terrorism

by Chris Borgen

“War, Terror, and Human Rights: Setting the Agenda”

by Julian Ku

USA Today Interviews Gorbachev

by Kevin Jon Heller

Why Has Suharto Never Been Prosecuted?

by Kevin Jon Heller

UN and Burundi Discuss Transitional Justice Mechanisms

by Kevin Jon Heller

“Institutionalizing the War on Terror”

by Julian Ku

What Does Google Think of Harold Koh?

by Roger Alford

USTR Releases Annual Trade Report

by Roger Alford

The Campaign for U.N. Secretary General

by Julian Ku

The World Bank as Defender of a Free Press, the Environment, Peace, Justice, etc.

by Julian Ku

Man Removed from Plane for Singing Along with The Clash

by Kevin Jon Heller

Chapman University Law Conference: “Are We at War?”

by Chris Borgen

Ranking International Law Programs

by Duncan Hollis

The Problem with Saddam’s “The Executions Were Legal” Defense

by Kevin Jon Heller

CBS Cameraman Acquitted in Iraq

by Kevin Jon Heller

Peru Intends to Extradite Fujimori

by Kevin Jon Heller

What Was Saddam Thinking?

by Roger Alford

The “Fighting Dems”

by Kevin Jon Heller

Let’s Get Tough With Pirates – How About a Military Commission?

by Julian Ku

Crisis Watch — April Report

by Kevin Jon Heller

Venezuela Makes a Play for Oil Primacy

by Chris Borgen

Case of the Month: Garb v. Poland

by Roger Alford

Why the Palestinian Authority is Not a State (Says a U.S. Court)

by Julian Ku

Genocide Charges Against Saddam

by Kevin Jon Heller

More Signs of the Apocalypse: Brit Barristers Consider Getting Rid of Their Wigs

by Julian Ku

Australia Signs Uranium Sales Agreement with China

by Julian Ku

Campaign Begins for a Seat on the New U.N. Human Rights Council

by Julian Ku

The Forgotten World of Nuclear Arms Control

by Julian Ku

Efficient Breach of An Agreement to Publish?

by Roger Alford

Taylor Claims Nigeria Double-Crossed Him

by Julian Ku

A Law Prof’s Report on Oral Argument in the Latest Supreme Court Vienna Convention Case

by Julian Ku

“Excuse Me, the Secretary of State Needs Me”

by Roger Alford

The NY Times on the ICC and Darfur

by Chris Borgen

Daylight Saving Time and International Law

by Roger Alford

When I teach the introductory international law class to my students, one of the more difficult aspects of the discussion is the line between customary state practices that rise to the level of binding norms, and those that do not. We all teach Paquete Habana, and the students’ eyes glaze over as we passionately discuss the law of prize and the vexing problem of whether coastal fishing vessels must be left alone to ply their trade. When the students ask for modern examples of state custom that is not obligatory, we struggle for examples and cite to emerging human rights norms that are not yet obligatory, but should be. But even those examples do not illuminate a custom that most of us would say should remain non-binding. Where are the examples of state practices that are widely respected, but not out of a sense of legal obligation? There is one obvious example. It is daylight saving time (DST).

Humor me if you will and look at DST from the perspective of customary international law.

Emergence of the Custom. When did the custom of DST first emerge? We know the precise moment: April 30, 1916, at 11:00 p.m. (GMT). Actually, in 1784 while living in Paris, Ben Franklin proposed the idea of shifting work hours in the summer months to maximize the use of daylight (the Parisians slept until noon), but his idea was not to change the clocks, but rather to ration candles and levy a tax on the use of shudders. In 1907, a Londoner by the name of William Willett vigorously campaigned for the adoption of DST, lamenting that everyone regrets that the “bright light of an early morning during Spring and Summer months is so seldom seen or used.” Germany adopted the practice of DST as a wartime measure to conserve energy in April of 1916, and over a dozen countries quickly followed suit.

General and Consistent Practice. Ninety years later over 70 countries have adopted the practice of DST. There is a clear consensus among states to accept this custom, as exhibited by widespread conduct among the nations of the world. Almost every industrialized nation of the world now employs the practice, affecting over one billion people. Its goal, to use daylight to its maximum advantage, is generally recognized to be of universal benefit.

No Opinio Juris. But there is quite clearly no suggestion that states adhere to this practice out of a sense of legal obligation. For example, China never adhered to DST until 1986, tried it for a few years, and then abandoned the idea in 1991. There is no suggestion that China was a consistent objector prior to 1986, or that it violated customary international law when it dropped the practice in 1991.

Regional Custom. Finally, there is one other aspect of DST that is interesting: it is clearly divided into three regional customs. Go to this link and scroll across the globe you will see why. The Northern Hemisphere adopts the practice of DST in their spring and summer (April to October), the Southern Hemisphere adopts the practice in their spring and summer (October to March), and the equitorial tropics, having no need for it, do not adopt the practice at all.

To invert the language of Paquete Habana, this review of the precedents and authorities on the subject appears to abundantly demonstrate that at the present day, by the general consent of the civilized nations of the world, daylight saving time is not an established rule of international law. But perhaps “the period of [another] hundred years … [will prove] amply sufficient to … enable[] what originally … rested in custom or comity, courtesy or concession, to grow, by the general assent of civilized nations, into a settled rule of international law.”

Court Declares Use of “Nonconsenting” Troops in Iraq Unconstitutional

by Roger Alford