Archive for
November, 2007

Do IHT Death Sentences Have to Be Ratified — And If So, by Whom?

by Kevin Jon Heller

American Criminal Justice Exceptionalism

by Peggy McGuinness

Smith-Mundt and the Battle for Hearts and Minds

by Chris Borgen

Say It Ain’t So — Ken Anderson Takes A Break from Blogging

by Duncan Hollis

Ackerman on Congressional Participation in Iraq Accord

by Peter Spiro

Defining “Habitual Residence” Under Child Abduction Convention

by Roger Alford

Khulumani Cert. Petition Pending

by Roger Alford

National Antipathy and Judicial Bias at the WTO

by Roger Alford

Building in Baja

by Mason Alford

[Mason Alford is an eighth-grader at Viewpoint School in California. The Baja building project was sponsored by Malibu Presbyterian Church, which lost its building to fire five weeks ago, on October 21, 2007. More than two dozen photos of the construction are available here.]

It was November 10, 2007, and a dirty little car rumbled over a dirt road. It was hot, and the sun seemed to fry everyone and heat the air to the point that it was frustrating. As the car drove by, old, wrinkled women missing most of their teeth walked up to the windows of the car and advertised dirty, plastic bottles filled with old juice for money to support their families. The vehicle continued to slowly stroll through the market, dodging stray, mangy dogs lying about the street and ignoring people shouting about their products from all sides. Finally, the car drove into what was supposed to be the neighborhood. Ten people stepped out of the car and greeted twenty others standing on a square establishment of cement. We were in Mexico, and we were here to build houses for the less fortunate.

I, among the ten in the car, greeted a poor Mexican family with the Spanish I knew and walked to the top of a hill to get a better view of the neighborhood. At the top I looked out into a valley to see thousands of shacks, poorly built and made from planks of wood inefficiently nailed together. Most lacked roofs, and the walls that were there had no nails but simply leaned against each other. The children walked barefoot and wore clothes they had worn for months at a time. I realized how fortunate I was; how many things I took for granted. I looked at the family we were building a house for and saw tears rolling from their eyes. They had nothing, their previous “house” had no roof or nails.

The building began. The pounding of nails echoed through the valley. Men shouted orders to each other and asked for a tool or piece of wood. Dust rose and filled the air, making breathing difficult. Being thirteen, I was permitted to assist the adults in construction, and for awhile I did. What I really liked, though, was being with the kids. Aging from six to fifteen, the kids would sit in the dirt and talk under the burning sun for their Saturday fun. A few would burn a pile of trash or beg from us for water, but that was all. The only exception to this was that the children would often go down to their soccer field, which was a dirt lot with two sticks on each side that served as goals. All the kids, no matter what age, scrambled onto the soccer field and joined the game for awhile. This was all that the kids had, a dirt lot, and they made the best of it, playing for up to three hours each day. I believe this game was especially heated because it was “Mexico vs. United States.” I realized that no one in California would ever play on this excuse for an athletic facility.

As I explored the poor village I picked out the nicest wooden shack I could find and imagined it on a street in America. It really was incredible, because by the second day, the worst, most run-down houses began to seem like quite an appealing place to live in. All of those thoughts went away when I compared it to any house in the United States. These houses had been built by the fathers of the families from spare wood they found on the ground as well as nails (if any) that they could find. I never realized how well-constructed houses and other buildings in America were. Also, being around the Mexicans and discussing their financial situation with them made me stop thinking it was normal to own the land you live on.

The smell of dust and dirt was in the air, a beautiful sunset was beginning, and a nice house had been built. I conversed with the poor Mexican family, and we left for home. Home. That was something I would always have. As we crossed the border, it began to rain. A man who had helped build the house but still hadn’t left the build site called and said it was raining back in the valley where we had constructed the home. I thought of the Mexican family, and it came to me that they would have a roof for the first time to keep them from getting wet in the rain. After the trip I thought differently, finding it satisfying to know when I would have my next meal and sleep in a bed under a roof in a real house. The trip to Mexico challenged me to thank God for every shoe I wore and every meal I ate.

Australia to Apologize to the Aborigines

by Kevin Jon Heller

Theorizing Bono

by Peter Spiro

Taser Can Be Torture says UN Committee Against Torture

by Julian Ku

ICC Stands Firm: Will Not Retract Uganda Arrest Warrants

by Julian Ku

Welcome to the Blogosphere, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad!

by Kevin Jon Heller

Selling Our Wares in the Marketplace of Ideas

by Roger Alford

Claim Against Rumsfeld Dismissed… Because of Immunity?

by Kevin Jon Heller

Eldar on Vote Trading in International Institutions

by Chris Borgen

Is There a International Right to Bear Arms? Will the United States Supreme Court Care?

by Julian Ku

Do Leiter’s Rankings Underestimate the Scholarly Impact of International and Comparative Law Scholars?

by Kevin Jon Heller

Coroner Concludes Balibo 5 Were Murdered

by Kevin Jon Heller

Harvard Law Review on Massachusetts v. EPA

by Roger Alford

Another Gem from Fox News (Updated)

by Kevin Jon Heller

The Monopoly Board of Citation Rankings

by Roger Alford

Cambodia Hybrid Court Arrests Khmer Rouge Head of State

by Julian Ku

Forty Lashes and a Wedding

by Roger Alford

U.S. Jurisdiction over Genocide, Human Trafficking, and Child Soldiers

by Kevin Jon Heller

The Department of State(-Building) and the Rhetoric of War

by Chris Borgen

One more thing

by John Knox

Universal Treaty Law

by John Knox

Brooklyn Law School Conference Considers Corporate Liability for Grave Breaches of International Law

by Julian Ku

Whale Wars, Part XXII: Japan Targets Humpback Whales

by Julian Ku

Tabloid Crime Goes Transnational

by Peter Spiro

UN Committee Supports Death Penalty Moratorium (Updated)

by Kevin Jon Heller

Sebok on Khulumani v. Barclay National Bank

by Kevin Jon Heller

Iraq Moves Forward with Ending Contractor Immunity

by Kevin Jon Heller

¿Por Qué No Te Callas?

by Roger Alford

Presidential Candidates and International Law

by John Knox

Federalist Society Meeting and International Law Panels

by Roger Alford

Ninth Circuit Rules that Severe Beatings Are Not Torture

by Roger Alford

Is There a Republican Torture Litmus Test? Nope.

by Julian Ku

Easily Digestible GTMO Data

by Duncan Hollis

Yahoo Settles China Suit

by Peter Spiro

FBI Concludes that Blackwater Shootings Violated Deadly Force Rules

by Julian Ku

United Kingdom, Ltd.

by Roger Alford

Brammetz Appointed New ICTY Prosecutor. Will Senior Staff Resign?

by Kevin Jon Heller

International Lawyer to be Next President of Slovenia

by Chris Borgen

On File With Author

by Roger Alford

Empirical Legal Studies and International Law

by Roger Alford

Treaties Aren’t That Funny

by Duncan Hollis

Veterans Day: Students and the War in Iraq

by Peggy McGuinness

A Human-Rights Duty to Regulate Corporations?

by John Knox

Call for Papers — Leiden Journal of International Law

by Kevin Jon Heller

Opinio Juris Be Really Smart

by Kevin Jon Heller

Religious Freedom By Religious Background

by Roger Alford

Jose Alvarez on the Internet, Blogging, and the Democratization of the “Invisible College” of International Lawyers

by Peggy McGuinness

Mary Ann Glendon’s Conflict of Interest?

by Roger Alford

Horizontal Human Rights Law

by John Knox

Is Waterboarding Torture? Try it Yourself!

by Duncan Hollis

Pakistan Crisis: Blogosphere Round-up

by Peggy McGuinness

When Does Justice Scalia Love International and Foreign Laws?

by Duncan Hollis

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights [and Duties]

by John Knox

Global Contentment on the Rise

by Roger Alford

Judge Kavanaugh on the Relevance of the Legal Academy

by Roger Alford

Lecture on the Iraqi High Tribunal at LSE

by Kevin Jon Heller

The Mafia Branches Out

by Kevin Jon Heller

Bolton Memoir Out (Don’t Bother)

by Peter Spiro

Human Rights/Duties

by John Knox

Welcome to Guest Blogger John Knox

by Peggy McGuinness

Phillippe Sands Debates John Bellinger on Waterboarding

by Julian Ku

Is an Amended War Powers Resolution Part of the Answer?

by Peter Spiro

The Wall Street Journal Defends Customary International Law!

by Kevin Jon Heller

Keep Away From the Lawyers! Keep Away From the Courts!

by Roger Alford

Catching Up with the Other WTO

by Peter Spiro