Weekend Roundup: August 17-23, 2013

by An Hertogen

This week on Opinio Juris, Harold Koh, Bill Dodge and Hannah Buxbaum wrote an obituary for Professor Detlev Vagts, who passed away on August 20.

As part of our ongoing Emerging Voices symposium, Peter Stockburger provocatively asked whether the R2P doctrine is the greatest marketing campaign international law has ever seen? Tamsin Paige shared some of the findings of her field work on piracy enforcement in the Seychelles. Laura Salvadego discussed the obligation to protect witnesses in the fight against transnational organized crime, whereas Sven Pfeiffer examined the feasibility of an international convention to ensure cooperation in the domestic prosecution of international crimes. HJ van der Merwe discussed the transformative influence of international criminal law on domestic law, and looked at the South African experience post-Apartheid.

Apartheid South Africa was also central to the first ATS decision post-Kiobel, discussed by Julian, in which the Second Circuit rejected the plaintiffs’ argument. Julian further wrote about the Faroe Islands’ decision to start an UNCLOS arbitration against the EU over the latter’s decision to impose sanctions after the Faroe Islands unilaterally increased herring quota, and expressed concern about a trend by states to reopen historical treaties ceding territory.

Kevin disagreed with James Stewart about whether the specific direction requirement would have led to the acquittal of the Zyklon-B defendants. He also lamented the sad state of journalism after a Michael Grunwald tweet wanting to defend a drone strike on Julian Assange. Further on drone strikes, Michael Lewis argued in a guest post that they reduce civilian casualties in counterinsurgency operations.

International law’s response to the use of chemical weapons in Syria was raised in posts by Kevin and Julian. Following Dapo Akande’s analysis at EJIL:Talk! on the possibility of an ICC prosecution, Kevin perceived a lack of coherence in the VCLT, as the “ordinary meaning” could allow an interpretation that goes against the drafting history. Julian looked at whether international law can provide a legal basis for a US intervention in Syria.

Margaret Lewis contributed a guest post on the contribution of criminal law to China’s economic development, and asked whether this example will be followed in other development contexts.

Chris recommended David Kaye’s article on Stealth Multilateralism, but as Julian pointed out with the example of the Maritime Labor Convention, it is not always the US Senate slowing down the process in the US.

As always, Jessica provided her weekday news wraps and a listing of events and announcements.

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


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