- UN investigators found ”clear and convincing evidence” that chemical weapons were used on a relatively large scale in an attack last month in Syria that killed hundreds of people though the report did not say who launched the attack in rebel-held Damascus suburbs.
- Kenya is canvassing support for a possible walk-out by African states from the ICC, whose prosecution of elected Kenyan leaders has revived accusations on the continent that the court unfairly targets Africans.
- War crimes blamed on the Syrian opposition are predominantly being carried out by foreign fighters, according to a member of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria.
- Turkey will provide the UN Security Council and fellow members of the NATO military alliance with details of the circumstances of its shooting down of a Syrian helicopter.
- Bangladesh’s highest court has sentenced to death a leader of the main Islamist party convicted of crimes against humanity during the war for independence from Pakistan in 1971.
Author Archive for
- UN chemical weapons inspectors have handed their report into an alleged gas attack in Syria to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
- Secretary Ban stated in a UN meeting that an expert team’s report will likely confirm the use of chemical weapons in the August 21 attack on Damascus.
- At PhD Studies in Human Rights, a post discusses Secretary Ban’s comments and the presumption of innocence.
- French President Francois Hollande called for a U.N. resolution on Syria backed by the threat of punitive action to be voted by the end of this week.
- The joint Kaesong industrial zone between North and South Korea has reopened, five months after it was closed by military tensions and threats of war.
Calls for Papers
- A call for papers has been issued for the 2014 Barcelona Workshop on Global Governance, happening January 9-10, 2014. The theme is Networks in Global Governance and the call is here.
- The Society of International Economic Law has posted a call for papers ahead of its Fourth Biennial Global Conference, to be held in Bern, Switzerland and hosted by the World Trade Institute (WTI) of the University of Bern, Switzerland on 10-12 July 2014. The Conference Theme will be Regulatory Challenges in International Economic Law: Convergence or Divergence? Paper, poster and panel proposals must be submitted by Monday 4th November by Noon GMT via email to siel14 [at] wti [dot] org.
- RGNUL Financial and Mercantile Law review, is a student run, peer review online review, published bi-annually. We have issued a call for papers, which can be accessed on our website (rfmlawreview.org). Our review primarily focuses on South Asian, International and South East Asian laws. We are looking for articles (25 to 30,000 words), notes (8-10,000 words), reviews (10,000 words) and essays (5,000 words). The last date for submissions is the 15th of November. The review is published by Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Patiala, India. You can find out more on the website here.
- On September 20th, Fordham University Law School will host a symposium on the complex and shifting nature of citizenship rights in a post 9/11 world, which will address the following questions: How have the post 9/11 legal and policy battles affected the legal rights of citizens and non-citizens? How can we best understand the tensions between the state’s duty to protect its citizens and its desire to protect individual rights and liberties? Has the vigilance about terrorism weakened the protections associated with citizenship, particularly with respect to ethnic and religious minorities? One of the panelists is our own Peter Spiro. More information can be found here and you can register here.
- On September 27-28, 2013, the World Trade Institute will host World Trade Forum 2013. The theme is Trade Cooperation: The Purpose, Design and Effects of Preferential Trade Agreements and the program is here.
- On November 15, iCourts will host a conference on The Future Role of the European Court of Human Rights in Copenhagen. The program is here.
- ASIL’s Lieber Society on the Law of Armed Conflict has announced its call for the Richard R. Baxter Military Writing Prize (.pdf). Deadline for submission is December 31, 2012.
- The Lauterpacht Centre for International Law is currently accepting applications for the 2014 Brandon Research Fellowships. Details are here.
Last week’s events and announcements can be found here. If you would like to post an announcement on Opinio Juris, please contact us.
- Residents in northeast Nigeria say at least 13 vigilantes and five Boko Haram members have been killed after the group launched attacks on the town of Benisheik.
- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad denied that he was behind a chemical weapons attack on the Syrian people, as the White House pressed ahead with the effort of persuading Congress to approve a military strike to punish Assad.
- Over at Arms Control Blog, there is a contribution on Syria commenting on Peter’s recent post on OJ.
- US Secretary of State John Kerry has urged the European Union to postpone a planned ban on EU financial assistance to Israeli organizations in the occupied Palestinian territories.
- Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi announced that he would file a petition with the European Court of Human Rights seeking to overturn his October 2012 tax fraud conviction.
- EJIL: Talk! has a post on last week’s Dutch Supreme Court ruling on Dutchbat’s acting unlawfully in Srebrenica.
Syria dominated (and continues to dominate) the headlines this week, and we featured many takes on the developing situation through our Syria Insta-Symposium.
From our regular contributors, Julian pondered whether President Obama would reveal the international law justification on his position regarding intervention in Syria and Kevin questioned US Secretary of State John Kerry’s classification of Syria as the United States’ “Munich Moment.”
Peter and Deborah both discussed US domestic/constitutional implications at length. Peter called President Obama’s decision to consult Congress on military intervention a “watershed moment” and wondered if his lawyers were consulted in this apparent about-face move, while Deborah classified it as a wise decision by Obama. They both offered commentary on the text of the Senate draft AUMF (Peter here, and Deborah here) and Deborah also pointed to a discussion she took part in among scholars on the Huffington Post. Julian also weighed in on the AUMF, concluding that the UN Charter does not matter to the US Senate’s deliberations on authorizing force in Syria and Ken discussed the role of the Security Council in light of his recent ASIL Insight and posting at Lawfare.
From our guest contributors, Jennifer Trahan started off the symposium by taking on contentious subject matter in a post discussing the legality of a strike by the United States. John Quigley weighed in with his thoughts on intervention while Andre Nollkaemper sketched out the two paths States might choose to take for intervening: either acting inside or outside of international law. Marty Lederman weighed in with a two-part posting, the first talking about the intersection of the UN Charter and the US Constitution, and the second addressing the role of the UN Charter in the US Congressional debate. The former theme of Marty’s two posts was also featured in Charlie Kels‘ contribution discussing the intersection of the two legal regimes. Stephanie Carvin urged readers to bring practical judgment back in rather than solely relying on legal solutions, while Sondre Torp Helmersen crafted a reply to Stephanie’s post. Krista Nelson offered an analysis on the significance of using chemical weapons in international law.
Otto Spijkers offered a perspective on whether states could stand idly by in the Syria situation by comparing bystander obligations at the international level to Dutch domestic law. Ezequiel Heffes and Brian Frankel talk about the decision-making process in R2P situations, and Mark Kersten wonders whose R2P it is, anyway.
And in non-Syria news this week, Julian pointed out that Japan has threatened to take Korea to the ICJ over victims’ compensation claims in the Second World War, Kevin described why Kenya won’t withdraw from the ICC and Kristen covered Friday’s verdict in the Dutchbat case from the Dutch Supreme Court holding the Netherlands responsible for the deaths of three men at Srebrenica.
- According to the Philippines’ top diplomat, China plans to occupy a disputed chain of reefs and rocks in the South China Sea to expand its territory before regional rules on maritime behavior come into effect.
- Justice must run its course in the cases against Kenya’s president and deputy president, according to ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, ahead of a vote in Kenya’s parliament on whether to withdraw from the ICC.
- Furious about a report that the U.S. government spied on her private communications, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff may cancel a planned White House visit and downgrade commercial ties unless she receives a public apology.
- Human Rights Watch has more on what it calls the “obstruction” by the Cambodian government on the work of the ECCC.
- The Vatican has recalled its ambassador to the Dominican Republic and relieved him of his duties pending an investigation, after local media accused him of pedophilia.
- The Syrian government is currently using cluster munitions in its ongoing conflict, according to Landmine and Cluster Munition Moniter.
- The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee has approved a resolution authorizing the use of force against the Syrian government for its alleged use of chemical weapons.
- Foreign Policy has written a guide to the jargon in the foreign policy circles, explaining what it means when we hear “we can’t rule anything out” or “all options are on the table,” for example.
- And if “all options are on the table,” FP also wonders whether we could bribe our way to peace in Syria.
- The Senate Foreign Relations Committee in the US has agreed upon a draft AUMF, authorizing President Obama to carry out strikes in Syria. Foreign Policy has a post warning that this 60-day authorization may be just a prelude to intervention in the Middle East as well as a piece entitled The Syrian Abyss.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin said his country may approve a military operation in Syria if evidence shows that Damascus carried out chemical weapons attacks, but only if the operation is conducted with U.N. approval.
- Kenya’s parliament debated ending the country’s membership in the ICC yesterday, ahead of the impending trial of Vice President William Ruto and others.
- According to a government negotiator, Colombia’s peace talks with Marxist FARC rebels have reached a “critical” stage, with discussions over the next couple of months a key gauge of whether an end to five decades of war is likely or not.
- ECHR Blog has more here on yesterday’s 60 years of the European Convention on Human Rights.
- Over at Spreading the Jam, more critique on the latest developments with ICTY’s Judge Harhoff.
- The UN chemical weapons inspection team in Syria is set to begin transferring samples that it has collected from the country to the laboratories for testing.
- More than 2 million refugees have now fled Syria’s civil war, piling pressure on neighboring host countries according to the UN. Sweden is set to change its asylum law and grant permanent residency to those approved from Syria instead of three-year temporary permits.
- Another sampling of the discussion happening around the web with regard to Syria: a post on Lawfare about how the 9/11 Commission Report may be relevant to the crisis, one from Arms Control Blog on the use of force, and one at EJIL: Talk! discussing the use of force as a reprisal.
- The official Bahrain News Agency\ reported that the kingdom would host the permanent headquarters of the Arab Human Rights Court following its approval at an Arab League meeting in Cairo.
- Brazil assailed the US after new allegations that Washington spied on President Dilma Rousseff, complaining that its sovereignty may have been violated and suggesting that it could call off Rousseff’s planned state visit to the White House next month.
- British army officials have dismissed what they called “baseless rumours” that troops mutilated the bodies of dead Iraqi fighters after a 2004 battle, as a public inquiry heard its first evidence from military witnesses.
- Today marks the 60th anniversary of when the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms entered into force.
- Just as Syria has been our main focus the last few days with our Insta-Symposium, there has been a lot written elsewhere on the developing situation. Just a sampling of a couple other articles of note: one from William Schabas on intervention as aggression and one from Charli Carpenter urging us not to use the term “humanitarian” for this intervention. Foreign Policy urges Congress to think hard about Obama’s plan. Additionally, Reuters covers Syria’s request to the Security Council to intervene on the potential US intervention.
- In other news, A 92-year-old who served in the Waffen-SS, Adolf Hitler’s elite Nazi troops, goes on trial starting today in the western German city of Hagen on charges of having shot in the back and killed a Dutch resistance fighter at the end of the Second World War.
- Human Rights Watch has issued a Q&A on the ICC trial of Kenya’s Deputy President, William Ruto, scheduled to begin next week.
- The Japanese Prime Minister has promised that the Japanese government will take prompt, comprehensive steps to clean up the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant amid growing concerns about the plant operator’s ability to handle it.
- The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia faces an uncertain future with more than 100 employees going on strike in response to their not having been paid since June.
Calls for Papers
- The University of Liege Law School will host Nudging Europe: What Can EU Law Learn From Behavioural Sciences? December 12-13, 2013. They have put out a call for papers for this event. Papers addressing the implications of behavioral sciences for contract law, competition law and risk regulation will be particularly welcome, but all areas of EU law are of interest. Where relevant, a comparative dimension (comparison between how behavioral insights are used in various jurisdictions) will also be welcome in full papers. The event will consist of a one-day workshop to be held at the University of Liege Law School on December 12-13, 2013. Invited speakers will be reimbursed for reasonable travel and accommodation expenses. The workshop is supported by the University of Liege and the Jean Monnet Chair in EU Law & Risk Regulation at HEC Paris. Please submit an abstract of between 300 and 500 words, including a title, to Alberto Alemanno (alemanno [at] hec [dot] fr) and Anne-Lise Sibony (alsibony [at] ulg [dot] ac [dot] be) by October 1, 2013.
- The Younger Comparativists Committee of the American Society of Comparative Law is pleased to invite submissions for its third annual conference, to be held on April 4-5, 2014, at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon. The purpose of the conference is to highlight, develop, and promote the scholarship of new and younger comparativists. Submissions will be accepted on any subject in public or private comparative law from scholars who have been engaged as law teachers, lecturers, fellows, or in another academic capacity for no more than ten years as of June 30, 2014. Submissions from graduate students enrolled in master’s or doctoral programs will also be accepted. To submit an entry, scholars should email an attachment in Microsoft Word or PDF containing an abstract of no more than 750 words no later than November 1, 2013, to the following address: ycc [dot] conference [dot] 2014 [at] gmail [dot] com.
- The Cyprus Human Rights Law Review has issued a call for papers on the theme Recourse to the European Human Rights Law Framework in Response to the Economic Crisis, which will result in a special issue of the journal. The deadline is November 30, 2013.
Last week’s events and announcements can be found here. If you would like to post an announcement on Opinio Juris, please contact us.
We have invited several academic luminaries to post here at Opinio Juris over the next few days about the ongoing situation in Syria. We also are going to follow in our own footsteps from our Kiobel symposium, by inviting young academics and practitioners to submit guests posts for possible publication.
We can’t guarantee we will publish every post submitted, but we would love to broaden the discussion to include new and emerging voices. So if you want to write a guest post for Opinio Juris about Syria of approximately 500 to 1000 words, please do so in the next couple days and send it to me and An Hertogen at opiniojurisblog [at] gmail [dot] com. Our editorial team will review the posts and publish as many as we deem appropriate.
- The UK has put a proposed resolution before the Security Council on Syria calling for military action to protect civilians, perhaps delaying US action. China has also called for restraint and calm in the situation, saying any intervention in the region would only make the turmoil worse.
- Human Rights Watch has a statement on possible intervention in Syria calling on all parties to follow international humanitarian law and for the situation to be referred to the ICC, and the Arms Control Blog offers an analysis of a new potential rationale for intervening in Syria.
- The Panama government has said that the undeclared shipment of Cuban weapons found on board a North Korean ship are a “violation” of UN sanctions against arms transfers to North Korea.
- Rwanda blocked a joint US-French proposal to impose UN sanctions on two senior commanders in the M23 rebel group in the eastern DRC, arguing that the evidence against the men was weak.
- In related news, a UN peacekeeper from Tanzania was killed and three others were wounded in an operation with the Congolese army to drive back M23 rebels from the city of Goma.
- The Paris prosecutor’s office has launched a preliminary investigation into the US NSA’s Prism surveillance program after French rights groups complained it was snooping on citizens’ emails and phone calls.
- Spreading the Jam has a post about the recent disqualification of ICTY Judge Harhoff and analyzes the letter that states: “[Judge Harhoff] has demonstrated a bias in favour of conviction such that a reasonable observer properly informed would reasonably apprehend bias.”