- UN Special Rapporteur Richard Falk urged Israel to stop construction of a highway that would cut off the local roads of Palestinian community Beit Safafa.
- A Swiss court is trying Belgians and Czechs in one of the biggest money laundering scandals dating back to central Europe’s post-communist privatization boom.
- Major U.S. retailers including Gap Inc. declined to endorse an accord on Bangladesh building and fire safety backed by Europe’s two biggest fashion chains (Sweden’s H&M and Spain’s Inditex SA).
- The US government reportedly secretly seized telephone records of reporters and offices belonging to Associated Press news agency for a two-month period last year.
- ASIL has a new Insight: The Indus Waters Kishenganga Arbitration (Pakistan v. India) (.pdf).
- Former Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt was found guilty of genocide, torture and rape of 1,771 indigenous Ixil Mayans during his rule in 1982-1983.
- Bangladeshi authorities have arrested Jamaat-e-Islami party leader AKM Yusuf on charges of crimes against humanity allegedly committed during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War.
- Taiwan’s government has issued a 72-hour ultimatum to the Philippines’ government, demanding an apology over the fatal shooting of a Taiwanese fisherman.
- Turkey accused a group with links to Syrian intelligence of carrying out car bombings that killed 46 people in a Turkish border town, and said it is time for the world to act against the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
- Malian troops headed for the remote northeastern town of Kidal ahead of a mid-May deadline set by the government to wrest it from the control of Tuareg separatist rebels.
This week on Opinio Juris, the discussion of Kiobel continued with guest posts by Jordan Wells asking whether corporate liability is jurisdictional, and Anthony Colangelo arguing that Kiobel actually contradicts Morrison – the case on which it is supposedly based. Kevin asked whether the Al Shimari v. CACI case could be a model for post-Kiobel ATS cases.
We also returned to last week‘s discussion of the decision by the Court of Appeals in Versailles on corporate liability for involvement in the construction of Jerusalem Light Rail, with an assessment of the case by Milena Sterio.
Another guest post this week was by Ingrid Wuerth on Yousuf v Samantar.
Kevin discussed the finding of the Commission of Inquiry on Syria that the rebels, rather than the government, may have been responsible for deploying chemical weapons against civilians. Despite his past forays in reality TV, Kevin was still surprised by The President – a Palestinian TV show to (mock-)pick a new President.
Kristen discussed the transformation of the Permanent Court of Arbitration. She also drew our attention to a new case filed at the European Court of Human Rights, alleging that Poland violated its human rights obligations due to its involvement in the CIA’s black sites and the extraordinary rendition of Abu Zubaydah.
Ken predicted that autonomous cars could force us to dust off the 1949 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic, and discussed a new bill to be introduced to increase congressional oversight over kill-or-capture missions conducted by the US military outside of Afghanistan. Further on the war on terror, Chris recommended reading Harold Koh’s speech at Oxford Union.
Julian worried that China was playing a dangerous game floating claims about sovereignty over Okinawa.
Kristen posted a call for papers for the 2013 ASIL Research Forum, which she co-organizes. Other calls for papers can be found in our events and announcements. Finally, Jessica also provided you with weekday news wraps.
Have a nice weekend!
- Another clothing factory has caught fire in Bangladesh, killing eight; this news comes after a recent factory collapse with a death toll now over 900, with both tragedies putting international safety standards in the spotlight.
- In other Bangladesh news, the war crimes tribunal is poised to hand down its fourth verdict today over a senior member of the Jamaat-e-Islami political party; authorities are posed for clashes and unrest.
- The oldest brother of Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng has said he was beaten up by what he calls government-hired thugs.
- The UN Conference on Trade and Development has decried the rising levels of poverty in East Jerusalem, blaming what it terms Israeli “segregation policies” for deepened economic isolation for Palestinians. The full report can be found here.
- US Secretary of State, John Kerry, is pushing for renewed talks between Israel and Palestine ahead of his next visit to the middle east in two weeks.
- Internet communications companies have reported that Syria has been cut off of “internet communication with the rest of the world.”
- The World Trade Organization has a new Director General: Roberto Azevedo.
- The ICC postponed Kenyan Vice President William Ruto and journalist Joshua Arap Sang’s trial as the Prosecutor is seeking to add five witnesses and the Defense has requested to vacate the trial date.
- Suspected members of Boko Haram have attacked a prison in the town of Bama, freeing over 100 inmates and killing 55 people.
- The Obama administration explicitly accused China’s military of attacking American government computer systems and defense contractors.
- Foreign Policy features a post about the outsourcing of lethality by the US in its conflict with al-Qaeda and affiliated forces.
- Human Rights Watch has called on Saudia Arabia to allow all girls to participate in sports in the Kingdom, not just those attending private schools.
- Senegal Justice Minister Aminate Toure and Chadian Justice Minister Jean-Bernard Badare agreed to allow Senegalese judges to investigate various situations in Chad ahead of the prosecution of former Chadian dictator Hissene Habre.
- Fifty countries and organisations are gathered in London for an international conference aimed at preventing Somalia from slipping back into abject lawlessness.
- North Korea has removed two missiles from launch sites on the country’s eastern coast, after weeks of concern that Pyongyang had been ready for a test-launch.
- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has quietly curbed new building projects in Jewish settlements, a representative from Peace Now, an Israeli watchdog group and media reports said on Tuesday, in an apparent bid to help U.S. efforts to revive peace talks with the Palestinians.
- An influx of people from crisis-hit southern European countries like Spain, Italy and Greece has led to the biggest surge in German immigration in nearly 20 years; the number of immigrants last year was up 13% from the previous year.
- South Korea has dismissed the plan from North Korea to reopen the joint industrial complex shared by the two countries, calling the demands from Pyongyang “incomprehensible” and urging North Korea to come forward for dialogue rather than making such demands.
- The Mannheim Regional Court in Germany ruled in favor of Motorola Mobility, a subsidiary of Google, against Microsoft in a patent dispute.
- Nawaz Sharif, seen as the front-runner in Pakistan’s election race, said the country should reconsider its support for the U.S. war on Islamist militancy and suggested that he was in favor of negotiations with the Taliban.
- Syria’s information minister has warned that Israeli air raids over the weekend against three targets on the outskirts of Damascus “open the door to all possibilities.”
- NPR has a post on the hidden cost of the US drone program.
This week on Opinio Juris, the debate on Kiobel continued. Katherine Florey pointed out how the decision will deepen the divide between state and federal approaches to extraterritoriality issues. Ken Anderson argued that the ATS should be understood as the “law of the hegemon”. Peter agreed with Samuel Moyn that more attention to corporate social responsibility regulation could potentially have a broader impact in improving human rights than high profile ATS cases. Corporate social responsibility was also central to Peter’s post on the impact of recent tragedies in the Bangladesh garment industry on voluntary corporate codes.
Eugene Kontorovich wrote a guest post on the recent decision of a French Court of Appeals rejecting claims that the contract between Alstom Transport and the State of Israel for the construction of the Jerusalem Light Rail was illegal due to a violation of international law. Disagreeing with Eugene, Kevin pointed out that the Court of Appeal is silent about the possibility of a war crime under the Rome Statute.
On another controversial dispute involving a big corporation, Roger wrote about an Ontario Court’s decision to dismiss the Ecuadorian plaintiffs’ efforts to enforce the Ecuadorian judgment against Chevron Canada.
In news from international courts, Julian was surprised by reports about the ICJ Registrar calling the Bolivia’s application against Colombia “impeccable“, since he thought Bolivia’s case was ridiculously weak. Should the case reach the merits and go against Colombia, chances are though that we’ll end up with Colombian complaints about biased judges after the conclusion of the case, as it did for the recent decision in its case against Nicaragua.
Turning to the ICC, Kevin was troubled by Judge van den Wyngaert’s decision to withdraw from the ICC’s Uhuru Kenyatta case, and followed up with further thoughts. He also congratulated Leiden for winning the ICC Moot Court.
In other posts, Julian pointed out how China is now also pushing the boundary with India, and asked whether force feeding of detainees on a hunger strike is always illegal. Kevin noted with horror a quote from Ari Fleischer on the difference between Nazis and terrorists, and recommended Mrs. Shipley’s Ghost: The Right to Travel and Terrorist Watchlists
As always, we provided news wraps and a list of events and announcements. Many thanks to all our “younger” readers for the many New Voices abstracts. It’s wonderful to see such a great response! Jessica and I are working through the submissions and plan to finalize the selection by mid-May.
Have a nice weekend!
- North Korea has sentenced US citizen Kenneth Bae to 15 years’ hard labor for “crimes against the state.”
- In a clash on the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan that lasted more than two hours, one Pakistani policeman was killed and two Afghani soldiers wounded.
- The UK Supreme Court has ruled that the government has been failing to meet EU air quality standards and has solicited the European Court of Justice for guidance.
- Chad has foiled an attempted coup that officials claim has been planned for months, with the arrest of several rebels.
- The Pope has weighed in on the tragic factory accident in Bangladesh last week, calling the unjust wages “slave labor” and condemning unbridled quests for profit as going “against God.”
- Foreign Policy has posted a guide on how to close Guantanamo.
- US President Barack Obama is making a new push to close the detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, saying Gitmo is damaging US interests.
- Chile will be Latin America’s only representative in the 2014-2015 UN Security Council.
- The ECHR has ruled that Ukraine violated former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s rights by detaining her for politically motivated reasons.
- The genocide trial against Guatemalan dictator Rios Montt has resumed, just short of two weeks after a judge suspended all proceedings.
- The US is still investigating use of chemical weapons in Syria, with President Obama stating that depending on how the weapons were used, the US might have to rethink its strategy in Syria.
- Foreign Policy has a post about why those wanting intervention in Syria are wrong.
- The UN International Labor Organization released a report with one major finding that the key to ending child labor is to advocate social protections.
- May Day protests, meant to demand better workers’ rights, are occurring around the world, in places such as Indonesia, The Philippines, Turkey, Cambodia and several European cities.
- The Syrian Prime Minister has survived a car bomb in Damascus, an event UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon labelled a “terrorist attack.”
- Ban Ki-Moon also urged Syria to allow international experts access in order to establish whether chemical weapons were used. Meanwhile, in a phone call to President Putin, President Obama has expressed his concern over the use of chemical weapons in Syria.
- The European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) sentenced five men to prison for their roles in an organ trafficking syndicate.
- Afghan President Hamid Karzai has admitted to taking money from the US CIA in order to pay for operational and health care costs as well as rent for some of the staff’s housing. Foreign Policy cheekily asks: do bags of cash ever help the CIA get what it wants?
- British retailer Primark and Canadian brand Loblaw are two Western companies that will compensate families of the victims of last week’s tragic clothing factory accident in Bangladesh.
- As nearly two-thirds of all detainees at Guantanamo have now joined the hunger strike, the US has sent extra medical staff to monitor the situation.
- During their first summit in ten years, Japan and Russia have agreed to talks to settle their dispute over the four Pacific islands, known in Russia as the Southern Kuriles and in Japan as the Northern Territories. If successful, the negotiations will formally end WWII between the two states.
- A change of guard in the Netherlands where Queen Beatrix is abdicating today and handing over the crown to her son Willem-Alexander, who becomes the country’s first King since the late 19th century.
- According to a recent report, tens of millions of dollars from the CIA were delivered to the office of Afghanistan’s president, Hamid Karzai over the course of decades, meant to buy US influence in Afghanistan.
- Syria’s neighbors are wary of a US-led intervention, should the US decide to take military action in the face of new evidence of chemical weapon use by the Syrian government–evidence that Syria claims is “inconsistent with reality and a barefaced lie.”
- Iraq’s media regulator has suspended licenses of ten broadcasters, including Al-Jazeera, accusing them of inciting violence after reporting on security raids on a Sunni protest camp.
- To complement Kevin’s post from the weekend, Jurist has more on the recent withdrawal of ICC Judge Christine van den Wyngaert from the Uhuru Kenyatta trial.
- Foreign Policy highlights a document uncovering the US’ plans to carry out cyber attacks since the Clinton years.
- The last of the South Korean workers at the joint industrial complex will withdrawal in the face of North Korea’s escalating nuclear threats.
- Rebel fighters from Darfur have stormed the Sudanese city of Um Rawaba and have vowed to take Khartoum.
- In a sign of rising patriotism, Japan celebrated its first “Restoration of Sovereignty” Day on Sunday, to celebrate the end of allied occupation after WWII.