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Weekend Roundup

Holiday Roundup: December 21, 2013 – January 3, 2014

by An Hertogen

If you’ve been away for the holidays, here is a summary of what we got up to at Opinio Juris over the break.

Kevin posted Banksy’s Christmas postcard, linked to his new essay on the legal recharacterization of facts at the ICC, and held another round in the Amnesty-Goodman-Heller debate on universal jurisdiction, and hoped the Muslim Brotherhood’s legal team would explain the basis for the ICC’s jurisdiction in their complaint. His post on NYU’s selective defense of academic freedom in response to the ASA’s boycott of Israeli academic institutions triggered a long debate in the comments.

Fair trial issues came up in Kevin’s post recommending Daphne Evitar’s discussion of the infringements with attorney-client privilege at Guantanamo and in Megan Fairlie’s guest post on the ICTY’s management of Judge Harhoff’s disqualification in the Šešelj case.

Duncan participated in a podcast explaining the importance of US treaty power with John Bellinger, Joseph Ellis and Nick Rosenkranz, and Julian took a break from teaching in Curacao to argue that the ICJ could have a role to play in resolving the diplomatic incident between India and the US over the latter’s arrest of an Indian diplomat in New York.

The end of the year made us reflect on the year that was: Peter listed nine trends from 2013 on citizenship and Chris rounded up the main themes and highlights for Opinio Juris in 2013.

Finally, Jessica listed events and announcements, and we wrapped up the news (1, 2)

Best wishes to all our readers for 2014!

Weekend Roundup: December 14-20, 2013

by An Hertogen

This week Kevin briefly turned the blog into The Onion Juris with his satirical ICTY press release, after the Court, in Kevin’s opinion, nailed the final nail in the coffin of its legitimacy. In a guest post, Eugene Kontorovich framed the question as a design choice in terms of who should bear the risk when a judge becomes unavailable before a trial has ended.

Not satire was Kevin’s post about glitter territorism. Kevin also posted a surreply to Ryan Goodman on whether Amnesty International inflated universal jurisdiction numbers.

We ran a symposium on Kristina Daugirdas’ Congress Underestimated from the latest AJIL issue, with comments by Paul Stephan, Daniel Abebe, and David Gartner. Kristina’s reply is here.

Jessica rounded up the news, and I listed events and announcements.

Have a nice weekend!

Weekend Roundup: November 30-December 13, 2013

by An Hertogen

This fortnight on Opinio Juris, Deborah reminisced about her handshake with Nelson Mandela during her time as a junior White House staffer and Roger posted about the day Mandela was free.

Mandela’s example was invoked at the WTO Ministerial Conference in Bali, where trade ministers reached their first trade agreement in years. Julian argued that the WTO however does not need the Bali Package for its dispute settlement system to remain relevant and Duncan discussed whether the Bali Package requires US Congressional approval. In other WTO news, Roger discussed how the WTO Dispute Panel in its recent EU-Seal Products decision recognized the self-judging nature of the public morals exception in article XX:a GATT.

Trade issues have inspired recent political protests in Ukraine, which Chris used to illustrate how geopolitics has become normative, and how all normative geopolitics is local. Chris also asked where international law should go now that life is imitating the art of political science fiction.

Kevin noted the OTP’s remarkable slow-walking of the Afghanistan examination. A series of articles on Judge Harhoff’s resignation also confirmed to Kevin-once he stopped fuming about the persistent misquoting of the Perisic judgment-that the Judge needed to be removed from the Seselj case. Kevin also assessed Ryan Goodman’s argument that Amnesty International has overstated the number of states that have implemented universal jurisdiction in its report on the issue.

Julian covered various topics that we have known him for recently. He noticed how Russia’s non-compliance with the ITLOS Artic Sunrise order went unnoticed in most media, and concluded that states do not take a reputational hit in case of non-compliance. Julian followed up on earlier posts regarding China’s ADIZ, and argued that the US position is not backed up by a coherent international legal framework. You can also see Julian in action in this video from a Cato Institute event on Argentina’s Debt Litigation and Sovereignty Immunity. On a lighter note, Julian also pondered how the US and Canada could legally merge, and pointed out the happy news that Santa has a visa waiver to enter the US.

Following the recent diplomatic success of the P5+1 and Iran, Sondre Torp Helmersen revisited the impact of the Iran hostage crisis for diplomatic law. Kristen focused on the effect of the deal for UN, rather than unilateral US and EU, sanctions on Iran.

In other organizational news, Kristen updated us on recent developments in Bluefin Tuna management.

Finally, Jessica and I listed various events and announcements that came to our attention (1, 2), and Jessica wrapped up the news headlines (1, 2).

Have a nice weekend!

Weekend Roundup: November 23-29, 2013

by An Hertogen

This week on Opinio Juris, Kevin asked why the agreement between the P5+1 and Iran is not void given that it goes against earlier UNSC resolutions prohibiting uranium enrichment by Iran. Duncan also looked at the deal, decided that it is not actually legally binding, and asked whether that mattered.

Kevin found the timing of the Bemba arrests curious and raised a word of caution about the arrests. In other ICC developments, he contrasted two Rome Statute articles with the new rule 134ter of the ICC’s Rules and Procedure and Evidence, and argued that the new rules are unlikely to survive judicial review. He also welcomed the DOJ’s reported, although not yet formalised, decision not to prosecute Julian Assange.

Craig Allen contributed a guest post about ITLOS’ order for the release of the Arctic Sunrise and the remaining Greenpeace protestors held by Russia. Julian followed up on this with a post discussing the likelihood of Russian non-compliance. Julian also updated us on the latest developments in the East China Sea.

Finally, Jessica listed events and announcements and wrapped up the weekly news.

Thank you to all our readers for the very lively comments this week. Have a nice weekend!

Weekend Roundup: November 9-22, 2013

by An Hertogen

This fortnight on Opinio Juris, Julian shared his impressions of the Asian Society of International Law Biennial Meeting in New Delhi, and summarized his unofficial notes on Judge Xue Hanqin’s personal comments regarding China’s non-participation in the UNCLOS arbitration started by the Philippines. Peter, meanwhile, was at the 2013 Emma Lazarus Lecture and found much to agree with in Jagdish Baghwati’s proposals for state, as opposed to federal, powers in immigration reform.

Peter later alerted us to Somalia’s ratification of the Children’s Rights Convention. This of course leaves the US in a peculiar position, and a rather more peculiar one than regarding the Minamata Convention on Mercury for which it became the first nation to deposit its instrument of acceptance, as Duncan pointed out in a post raising three questions about the acceptance process and the exclusion of the Senate.

Kristen discussed Saudi Arabia’s unprecedented decision to reject the UN Security Council seat within 24 hours of its election. In other news from the Middle East, Kevin outlined why it is not surprising that Syria is destroying its chemical weapons.

Kevin also analysed whether the ASP can change the ICC’s RPE to allow Kenyatta to attend his trial via video-conference, but argued that the relevant Rome Statute provision is too clear to be circumvented by amending the RPE. He also got his hands on two proposed amendments to examine in more detail.

We teamed up with the Leiden Journal of International Law this week to bring you a symposium on their two most recent issues, introduced here by Dov Jacobs. On the first day, Gabriella Blum and Christopher Kutz discussed Janina Dill’s essay “Should International Law Ensure the Moral Acceptability of War?”. Janina’s reply is here. The second article, on Diplomatic Asylum and the Assange Case, by Maarten Den Heijer, was discussed by Gregor Noll and Roger O’Keefe, with a reply by Maarten. On Wednesday, Piet Eeckhout and Erika de Wet discussed Devika Hovell’s proposals in A Dialogue Model: The Role of the Domestic Judge in Security Council Decision-MakingYou can find Devika’s response here. Finally, Brad Roth defended his concept of self-determination against Zoran Oklopcic’s challenge in “Beyond Empty, Conservative, and Ethereal:  Pluralist Self-Determination and a Peripheral Political Imaginary”. The debate continued in Zoran’s reply.

In other guest posts, Paul Williams and Roushani Mansoor argued that the Bangladesh War Crimes Tribunal is not just about justice, but also about transforming Bangladeshi national identity, and James Stewart wrote on his research on corporate war crimes.

For those of you who want to read more, Kevin announced the publication, including in open access format, of his edited volume with Gerry Simpson on The Hidden Histories of War Crimes Trials.

Finally, Jessica and I listed events and announcements (1, 2) and Jessica wrapped up the news (1, 2).

Have a nice weekend!

Weekend Roundup: November 2-8, 2013

by An Hertogen

This week on Opinio Juris, we brought you a healthy diet of treaties, chemical weapons, drones, and a sprinkle of terrorism.

Duncan rounded up various treaty related news items this week, and argued that US treaty practice does not have to be a zero-sum game. Peter posted about the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s hearings on a possible Understanding that would limit anxieties about the domestic impact of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The main event this week however happened across the street from the US Congress: the SCOTUS hearing in Bond v United States. Peter kicked off the conversation with the question whether Missouri v Holland has ever been used by the federal government. Julian was first out of the blocks to post his impressions of the oral argument, followed by seven observations by Marty Lederman, while Duncan was too stumped to comment on the merits due to the apparent lack of appreciation on all sides for the difference between treaty signature and ratification. Bill Dodge pointed out how the difference between a self-executing and non-self-executing treaty was also misunderstood.

Should an international treaty ban “killer robots”? Ken, in a WSJ op-ed with Matthew Waxman, argued that it should not.

From killer robots to drones: Deborah was worried about reports that the migration of targeting operations from the CIA to the Pentagon has stalled. The recent drone reports by HRW and AI were criticized by Jens Iverson who examined whether members of armed groups can be targeted and by Michael W. Lewis who argued that significant flaws undermine the reports’ objectivity and overall credibility.

Finally, Kevin mourned the premature death of the concept of terrorism, victim of overly broad definitions by Scotland Yard and the UK Terrorism Act 2000.

As every week, we listed upcoming events. You may also be interested in the Berkeley Journal of International Law’s latest issue with its symposium on Taming Globalization co-authored by John Yoo and our own Julian Ku.

Many thanks to our guest contributors and have a nice weekend!

Weekend Roundup: October 26-November 1, 2013

by An Hertogen

This week on Opinio Juris, we held a symposium on Chevron and the rise of arbitral power introduced here by Michael D. Goldhaber. Comments were by Christoph Schreuer, Anthea Roberts, and Muthucumaraswamy Sornarajah. Michael’s response is here.

In follow up on earlier symposia, Anupam Chander posted his reply to the comments in last week’s book symposium on The Electronic Silk Road and Anne van Aaken responded to Tomer Broude’s guest posts on behavioral international law and economics.

Peter wondered why Bond v United States came to be prosecuted under the Chemical Weapons Convention, and noted emerging efforts towards a human right to privacy in the wake of the NSA spying scandal. Julian did not think these efforts would lead anywhere, and put more faith in the conclusion of no-spy agreements.

Kevin posted about his recent talk at Chatham House defending the specific direction requirementFollowing reports by The Sudan Tribune that the presiding judge had threatened William Ruto with arrest if he commented publicly on his case, later corrected after a clarification by the ICCKevin examined whether there is any legal basis on which the Court can silence an accused. Kevin also pointed out problems with the appointment of a new judge in the Seselj case, which led to a very active discussion in the comments.

Julian asked whether Japan’s pledge to shoot down Chinese drones violates international law. Maybe the Japanese could learn a thing or two from the British Navy and its use of Britney Spears’ songs to scare away Somali pirates along Africa’s East Coast.

Finally, Sean D. Murphy summarized the International Law Commission’s work in its 65th session, Kristen posted about the ASIL Mid-Year Meeting that we suspect quite a few of our readers will be attending, and Jessica listed the events and announcements and wrapped up the news.

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

Weekend Roundup: October 19-25, 2013

by An Hertogen

This week on Opinio Juris, Ken contributed a post on legally distinct corporate entities and agency theory in Bauman v Daimler AGChris wrote about Russia’s Realpolitik towards former USSR members that are seeking closer contact with the EU, and Deborah wrote about due process in targeting.

Julian noticed how Russia had taken a leaf out of China’s book by walking out of an ITLOS arbitration, and responded to Wim Muller who argued that it was merely following a long establish US’ example in ICJ cases.

We held a book symposium on The Electronic Silk Road by Anupam Chander, with comments by Michael Birnhack, Mira Burri, Paul Stephan, Molly LandJoost Pauwelyn, and Jake Colvin.

Chris Jenks wrote a guest post on criminal jurisdiction over US troops in Afghanistan, and Kevin mentioned his guest post at Just Security. Kevin also criticized the ICC’s Appeals Chamber for requiring Ruto’s continuous presence at his trial.

Finally, Jessica rounded up the news and I collated a list of events and announcements.

Many thanks to our guest posters and have a nice weekend!

Weekend Roundup: October 12-18, 2013

by An Hertogen

This week on Opinio Juris, Tomer Broude completed his trilogy on behavioral international law. Also continuing from last week was Carsten Stahn’s rejoinder to Harold Koh on intervention and the use of force, and Jens Iverson’s guest post highlighting the underlying commitments of Professors Stahn and Koh.

We also published guests posts by Faiza Patel on the OPCW and by Adam Steinman on this week’s SCOTUS oral argument in Daimler v Bauman.

Of our regular bloggers, Deborah disagreed with Jack Goldsmith on the rarity of capture operations overseas, but outlined other concerns with this approach to counterterrorism. Julian pointed out how China’s understanding of the peaceful settlement of disputes excludes international adjudication. Despite finding much to like in the PTC’s decision in al-Senussi, Kevin was troubled by the inconsistency with the Gaddafi decision on the right to counsel. He also was not impressed by the PTC invoking Libya’s security situation.

Finally, Jessica wrapped up the news and listed events and announcements.

Many thanks to our guest contributors and have a nice weekend!

Weekend Roundup: October 5-11, 2013

by Jessica Dorsey

This week on Opinio Juris, we had two guest posts from Tomer Broude, the first giving an introduction to behavioral law and the second discussing a methodological framework to behavioral law. Carsten Stahn also delivered a guest post on cautioning against a new affirmative defense to Article 2(4) of the UN Charter, in response to argumentation put forth by Harold Koh’s Just Security contribution.

Kevin discussed Charles Taylor’s disproportionate sentencing in a post examining the Special Court for Sierra Leone’s treatment of customary international law. Duncan posted this week with his analysis on the existential function of interpretation in international law and Roger pointed out “the fact that” we lawyers ought to omit needless words.

Kristen highlighted the recent class action lawsuit filed in the Southern District of New York by the lawyers for the Haiti Cholera victims while Deborah offered insight into the raids in Somalia and Libya recently by the US and their implications on the theories of self defense and responded to Marty Lederman’s Just Security take on her analysis here. Deborah also pointed out an upcoming event on counterterrorism strategies taking place Monday, which she will moderate. Rounding things out, I provided the Weekly News Wrap and you can find An’s Events and Announcements post here.

Many thanks to our guest contributors and have a nice weekend!

Weekend Roundup: September 28 – October 4, 2013

by An Hertogen

This week on Opinio Juris, we organized a book symposium on Investment Law in International Law: Integrationist Perspectives, edited by Dr Freya Baetens. If you enjoyed the symposium, don’t miss CUP’s offer of a 20% discount for our readers. More details are here. Freya introduced the goals of the book, followed by comments by Laurence Boisson de Chazournes.

On Tuesday, Nicolas Hachez and Jan Wouters assessed the need for an alternative to the arbitral model to preserve the public interest. Their reply to Tullio Treves’ comments is here. Vid Prislan addressed how non-investment obligations could be taken into account in investment arbitration, with comments by Kathleen Claussen.

Gleider Hernandez explored the interaction between investment law and the law of international armed conflict, which Bill Burke-White welcomed as a great opening for further research in this area. Philipp Ambach also dealt with the interaction between these two fields of international law in his post on the international criminal responsibility of transnational corporate actors doing business in zones of armed conflict, on which Judge Howard Morrison commented.

Anastasios Gourgourinis discussed the relationship between investment law and WTO law in the minimum standard of treatment of aliens, to which Anne van Aaken responded, followed by Anastasios’ reply. Mary Footer also reflected on the relationship between investment law and trade law. In response, Gabrielle Marceau discussed what dispute settlement in trade and investment systems can learn from each other. Mary’s reply is here.

On the last day, Elisabeth Tuerk and Wolfgang Alschner discussed how international investment treaties could contribute to sustainable development, with comments by Andrea Bjorklund, and Moshe Hirsch looked at the interaction between investment agreements and human rights treaties from a sociological perspective. Andreas Ziegler’s comments rounded up the symposium.

In our regular posts, Julian wondered when the Dutch government would file an ITLOS action after Russia charged Greenpeace activists with piracyKevin asked whether the ICC had learned anything from Melinda Taylor’s detention in Libya and whether The Guardian‘s legal affairs correspondent had read Perisic. He also continued last week’s inter-blog discussion with Ryan Goodman. The inter-blog discussion with JustSecurity continued with Kevin’s four thoughts on Harold Koh’s defense of unilateral humanitarian intervention.

Ken followed up on a post by Roger last week on jurisprudence post-Kiobel, by discussing his recent essay on the resurgence of the traditional bases of jurisdiction in the Alien Tort Statute. A guest post by John Dehn also revisited an earlier post, discussing an article by Sarah Cleveland and Bill Dodge on the Offenses Clause.

Finally, Jessica provided her weekly news wrap and listed events and announcements, while Julian posted a special announcement on the 2013 International Law Weekend.

Many thanks to our guest contributors and have a nice weekend!

Weekend Roundup: September 21-27, 2013

by An Hertogen

This week on Opinio Juris, Kevin welcomed Just Security to the blogosphere, but regretted the absence of a comments section.  Not one to be easily stopped, he went for inter-blog commentary instead with his response to Ryan Goodman’s post on whether or not the US is at war with al-Qaeda. He also criticized the Special Court for Sierra Leone’s Appeals Chamber for its incoherent — and selective — analysis of custom in the Taylor  case.

The annual General Assembly debate started this week, and as is often the case the question of attendance by not-so-squeaky-clean heads of state popped up, this time around Sudan’s President Bashir plans to attend the meeting, as discussed by Julian and John Cerone. As Kevin pointed out, Bashir changed his mind in the end.

Ken and Deborah analysed the draft Security Council resolution on Syria’s chemical weapons. Further on Syria, Julian discussed a proposed Statute for a Syrian Extraordinary Tribunal for Atrocity Crimes.

Julian also discussed the piracy charges against Greenpeace activists in Russia, and Duncan examined what the object and purpose of the arms trade treaty is.

On the intersection of US domestic law and international law, Duncan asked whether the offenses clause can save Missouri v. Holland, and Roger surveyed lower courts’ decisions post-Kiobel to find that they narrowly interpret the Supreme Court’s ruling.

Finally, Jessica recapped the weekly news on international law and international relations and yours truly listed events and announcements.

Have a nice weekend!