Weekend Roundup: May 26 – June 1, 2012

by An Hertogen

This week on Opinio Juris, Roger Alford marked Memorial Day with the Battle of Blenheim poem, and Deborah Pearlstein weighed in on the discussion about Chris Hayes’ controversial suggestion that the label of “hero” is too often used to refer to US service personnel.

Deborah also posted a snippet from the NY Times report on Obama’s “Kill List” in the conflict with al-Qaeda. A few days after the report was published, Julian Ku asked whether the mild fallout can be seen as a solidifying of the legal framework for the US War on Terrorism. Prompted by a second NY Times report, this one on Obama’s authorization of cyberattacks against Iranian nuclear facilities, Julian questioned whether the President has the constitutional authority to do so.

Julian also looked forward to the hearings on the US ratification of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and posted a list of questions by Professor Craig Allen.

Kevin Jon Heller discussed the conviction in Pakistan of Dr. Afridi who ran a fake vaccination program to collect DNA evidence to assist the CIA in its search for the bin Laden family. Kevin suppressed snarky comments about Moreno-Ocampo’s new appointment as FIFA’s chief investigator into allegations of match-fixing and corruption. He was shocked to read that Yale University offered a course by Gen. Stanley McChrystal in which students could only take notes on a non-attribution basis, which led to a discussion whether the Chatham House Rule belongs in the classroom. Kevin also argued that the Special Court for Sierra Leone’s decision to sentence Charles Taylor to 50 years’ imprisonment is disproportionate, given that Taylor was not found guilty on the basis of ordering the crimes or of joint criminal enterprise.

Roger Alford updated us on the steps taken by the plaintiffs to enforce the Ecuadorian judgment against Chevron through the Ontario Superior Court in Canada. A guest post by Stephen A. Pitel discussed the relevant precedents in Ontario law.

This week we hosted a symposium on three articles from the latest issue of the Virginia Journal of International Law, introduced here. The first article was Andrew Woods’ Moral Judgments & International Crimes: The Disutility of Desert. Jonathan Barron commented how international criminal law is in transition from second-party to third-party punishment and Adil Haque questioned whether Andrew’s suggestions would make the international criminal law regime no longer a criminal regime or no longer a legal regime. Jens Ohlin debated Andrew’s assumption that international criminal law is fundamentally retributive and his application of social science insights about the power of moral sentiments to crowd out consequentialist calculations. Andrew’s response can be found here.

The second article, by Alvaro Santos, discussed how developing countries can carve out regulatory space in the WTO. Robert Howse’s comments described how NGOs are increasingly challenging the conventional wisdom on the limits on regulatory autonomy that is perpetuated by the lack of independent expertise and by uncritical journalists. Andrew Lang emphasized the need to make the WTO dispute settlement bodies more receptive to developing countries’ arguments. Alvaro’s response can be found here.

Jason Webb Yackee’s article on Investment Treaties and Investor Corruption: An Emerging Defense for Host States? was third in the symposium’s line-up. Andrea Bjorklund’s and Daniel Litwin’s criticized the article’s focus on the “supply side” of corruption and its disregard of the demand side of corruption within the state and his preference to deal with corruption as a jurisdictional issue. Jarrod Wong raised similar issues in his comments and questioned whether a defense had already crystallized in international law. Jason’s response is here.

Roger’s post on the three international law scholars in the list of “most-cited law reviews of all time” may inspire you in your own scholarship, in which case you may want to have a look at our listing of upcoming events.

Finally, if you want to catch up with this week’s news, our Weekday News Wraps can help you with that.

Thank you very much to our guest contributors and have a nice weekend!

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