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Weekend Roundup

Weekend Roundup: December 6-12, 2014

by Jessica Dorsey

Looking back at the week that was, Opinio Juris bloggers covered a number of news-related issues. Several provided commentary on the release of the US Senate’s Torture Report. Prior to its release, Kevin expressed disbelief at a post by ACLU Director Anthony Romero urging blanket amnesty for those responsible for torture, and as soon as it became available, Jens announced the report’s availability and his first thoughts here, before discussing what we really fight about when we talk about torture here.

Deborah examined the question of prosecution in response to allegations in the report, and Roger posted on the report as a truth and reconciliation commission, akin to his research on the transitional justice process post-apartheid in South Africa. Finally, Julian weighed in analyzing a recent trend that the US public does not necessarily agree with international law’s absolute ban on torture.

In other news, after the ICC dropped the case against Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta, Julian posed the provocative question whether this might spell the end for the ICC. Additionally, Kevin flagged the OTP’s decision to suspend the investigation into alleged crimes in Darfur, troubled by the seemingly politically laden relationship between the Court and the UN Security Council.

Julian also called attention to China’s “position paper” released ahead of its December 15th filing deadline in the situation between China and the Philippines before the UNCLOS arbitral tribunal. He also pointed to his more in-depth analysis of why the Philippines arbitration is doomed to fail (spoiler alert: it’s due to a mistake by the Philippines in employing a “lawfare strategy” forcing China before the arbitral tribunal), notwithstanding Vietnam’s support of the Philippines’ position. Finally in sea-worthy news, Julian pointed to the newest (sci-fi) development for the US Navy in the Persian Gulf: the planned deployment of laser cannons.

Rounding out the contributions from our regular bloggers, Duncan paid homage to his mentor, the late Professor Alfred P. Rubin, referring to him as the best professor he has ever had.

We posted Eric Sigmund’s guest contribution, a response to Kevin’s previous questioning of why US courts don’t understand IHL, remarking that the courts’ misunderstanding of IHL is deeper than you’d think.

Finally, I wrapped up the week’s news and listed events and announcements.

Thanks go out to our guest contributor and have a nice weekend!

Weekend Roundup: November 30-December 5, 2014

by An Hertogen

This week on Opinio Juris, Roger commented on Joel Trachtman’s article on customary international law, which attracted a lot of debate from our readers in the comments.

Kevin lamented US Courts’ insufficient understanding of IHL and wondered if Paddington would prefer Australia’s Christmas Island. He also responded to Ryan Vogel’s post on Lawfare on the OTP’s Afghanistan’s investigation.

Julian explained why he does not fully agree with Eric Posner’s view on international human rights law clinics and asked whether the Supreme Court implicitly reversed Kiobel’s corporate liability holding.

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

Have a nice weekend!

Weekend Roundup: November 23-29, 2014

by Jessica Dorsey

This Thanksgiving week saw several posts of note on Opinio Juris. We hosted a Mini-Symposium on the latest article by James G. Stewart, The Turn to Corporate Criminal Liability for International Crimes: Transcending the Alien Tort Statute. First, Samuel Moyn discussed the ambitious past of corporate regulation, to which Stewart responded in hopes that the ideas set forth by both would be taken up for further critical research.

Next up was Steven Ratner, who reminded us to mind the gap between the ATS and corporate criminality under international criminal law. In Stewart’s rejoinder, he responded to several issues Ratner raised and agreed much more needed to be done with respect to question Ratner raised reminiscent of transitional justice and compliance in human rights.

Finally, Beth Stevens weighed in on the article and gave Stewart two cheers out of three–awarding two for his approach to developing a mechanism to hold corporations accountable (domestic criminal prosecutions), but withholding her last because of the perceived shortcomings of Stewart’s comparative ATS analysis. Stewart clarified his position in his response and offered a few more thoughts with respect to the comparative analysis. In conclusion, Stewart hoped that through academic discussions, cooperation among civil society organizations and domestic efforts that corporate accountability for human rights violations would continue to become a reality.

Another guest post came in from Gabor Rona, who shared his thoughts on Obama’s executive action on immigration, criticizing the position taken by Jack Goldsmith over at Lawfare and pointing out the ineffective role of Congress in passing immigration legislation.

As for our regular bloggers, Julian urged us to get real about the possibilities of an anti-corruption court–he is convinced it would never work. Julian is also convinced that it’s pointless for the US to ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Kevin announced an event on the ICC and Palestine being held at Doughty Street Chambers on Tuesday, December 2nd in London.

As always, I wrapped up the news and also posted events and announcements.

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

Weekend Roundup: November 16-22, 2014

by Jessica Dorsey

Over the past week on Opinio Juris, we again enjoyed a lot of different perspectives from our guest bloggers, beginning with Rob Howse, whom Kristen introduced as this week’s featured guest blogger. He highlighted the return of neo-conservativism in Washington, reminded us of Alexandre Kojève’s being a neglected figure in the history of international law and also discussed the breakthrough at recent WTO talks and the trade facilitation agreement this week. He also posted on Liam Murphy’s book What Makes International Law Law?

Additionally, we heard from S. I. Strong announcing that the preliminary results from a recent empirical study on international commercial mediation and conciliation are now available.

Nicolás Carrillo-Santarelli talked about the most recent events in Colombia with the negotiations between the government and FARC rebels being suspended due to the and the kidnapping under IHL, including discussion around the illegality of deprivations of liberty, which sparked quite an intellectual debate in the comments.

A post also came in from Andrea Pin on the Italian Constitutional Court, the International Court of Justice and German war crimes. Duncan French and Jean d’Aspremont co-blogged on the ILC project on the identification of customary international law in summary of the two-day expert level seminar hosted by Lincoln Law School and the Manchester International Law Center.

Roger wrote up his analysis on the Ninth Circuit’s muddled comity analysis in Mujica v. Airscan while Kevin worked out some of his thoughts on the baffling Comoros decision and introduced a new videogame challenging the player to survive as long as possible as a civilian in a war-torn fictional city. Additionally, he introduced and congratulated the newly minted Dr. Mark Kersten.

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

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

Weekend Roundup: November 8-15, 2014

by Jessica Dorsey

This week on Opinio Juris, we had three guest contributions in addition to some of our regular bloggers weighing in on timely issues in international law. The first guest post, from Michael Kearney, discussed his thoughts on the ICC’s recent decision regarding the Mavi Marmara report, in which he focused on issues about fact-finding missions, categorization of armed conflict, limitations on territorial jurisdiction, and humanitarian assistance.

Jean d’Aspremont weighed in on an event that was organized by Manchester International Law Center and the Lincoln Law School, and shared his thoughts about the identification of customary international law and the ILC report. Another post is expected from Jean later this week or beginning of next.

Additionally, Gabor Rona contributed to a discussion about the United States’ AUMF with respect to the Islamic State, that had its origins on Lawfare and Just Security earlier in the week, specifically about use of force provisions against “associated forces” and why the government should go with Just Security’s “parties to the conflict” interpretation versus Lawfare’s proposal of “engaged in hostilities”.

From our regular contributors, we saw Peter’s analysis of Kuwait’s decision to bulk-order Comoros citizenship (to the tune of a couple hundred million dollars) for stateless native-born tribal Bidoon, thereby purporting to solve the statelessness problem in Kuwait and Roger discussed his contribution to a Notre Dame Law Review symposium on Bond v. United States, in which he presented on the relationship between Supreme Court treaty interpretation and the international approach to treaty interpretation under the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.

Kristin called attention to the election of two new ICJ judges and Kevin also announced a UNWCC event at SOAS London coming up on the 19th.

Finally, I wrapped up the news and An listed events and announcements.

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

Weekend Roundup: November 1-7, 2014

by An Hertogen

This week on Opinio Juris, Peter continued his commentary on the Zivotofsky hearing and Kristen posted the transcript of the recent hearing in the Haiti Cholera case.

Jens wrote about the DOD’s plans for a Defense Clandestine Service, and welcomed the news that President Obama will seek congressional authorization for the ISIS campaign.

Kevin discussed the passage in the OTP’s Mavi Marmara decision where the OTP finds that Israel is still occupying Gaza, and explained why the Comoros’ appeal will have little effect in practice.

In guests posts, Nikolaos Ioannidis wrote on the complex legal issues surrounding activities in the Cyprus EEZ, and Giacomo Pailli analysed the Italian Constitutional Court’s decision that the ICJ decision in Germany v Italy can be given no effect in the Italian legal system.

Finally, Jessica wrapped up the news and listed events and announcements, and Kevin asked our European readers for advice on PhD applications.

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

Weekend Roundup: October 18-31, 2014

by An Hertogen

This fortnight on Opinio Juris, Jens predicted that the Ebola crisis will become a Chapter VII issue at the UN. The theme of the UN and diseases continued in Kristen’s update on a hearing on the UN’s Privileges and Immunities in the Haiti Cholera case. In other UN news, she summarized some of the issues discussed at a meeting on the Security Council’s methods.

Kevin wrote on the Constitutional Court of South Africa’s decision in the Zimbabwe Torture Docket case, finding that international law did not prohibit universal-jurisdiction investigations in absentia.  Kevin also assessed the likelihood of the ICC’s OTP opening an investigation into Chevron’s activities in Ecuador. For those in need of a refresher on these activities, Peter recommended Paul Barrett’s Law of the Jungle.

Peter looked ahead at the Supreme Court argument in Zivotofsky v. Kerry, and pointed out three factors that in his view point to the Court sustaining the Jerusalem Passport Statute, while Julian wondered what China really means when it celebrates the “International Rule of Law”.

Kevin congratulated Dapo Akande on his promotion to Professor of International Law at Oxford, and recommended a post by Mark Kersten on the terror attacks in Canada.

We ran two guest posts: one by Chimène Keitner on the evolving law of foreign official immunity, and one by William Dodge who raised a question on the Convention on the International Sale of Goods.

Finally, Jessica wrapped up the international law headlines (1, 2), and we listed events and announcements (1, 2). Our readers may also be interested in a Lawfare podcast on al-Bahlul, featuring Kevin, Wells Bennet and Steve Vladeck.

Have a nice weekend!

Weekend Roundup: October 4-17, 2014

by An Hertogen

This fortnight on Opinio Juris, Jens discussed how to get Quirin right when Quirin was wrong. Kevin asked for sources backing the US position on self-defence against non-state actors, while Kristen gave an overview of the legal issues up for debate at the General Assembly this fall. Julian expressed doubts about the strength of Greece’s legal arguments for the return of the Elgin Marbles.

We also had a range of guest posts, with Başak Çalı commenting on the Tory attack on the European Human Rights system, and Oliver Windridge discussing how a recent decision by the Director of Public Prosecutions for England and Wales confirms that there is no immunity for torture in England and Wales. Yanying Li followed up on an earlier post discussing the recent reforms for more orderly sovereign debt restructurings at the IMF.

Finally, Jessica and I wrapped up the international law headlines (1, 2) and listed events and announcements (1, 2). Our DC-based readers can hear Kevin speak on Monday at an event at George Mason University on the ICC and Palestine.

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

Weekend Roundup: September 27- October 3, 2014

by An Hertogen

This week on Opinio Juris, the debate on the AUMF continued with Kevin pointing out the lack of evidence on Khorasan’s existence and the denuding of the concept of self-defence, and Jens discussing how ground troops will be necessary in the battle of ISIS, which requires a better legal foundation for the operation than the AUMF. On a comparative and lighter note, Kristen recommended Jon Stewart’s Daily Show piece on the UK’s debate on the authorization of air strikes against ISIL. In a guest post, Myriam Feinberg reported back from a recent workshop on the future of the 2001 AUMF.

In other guest posts, Abel Knottnerus updates us on recent events in the Kenyatta trial at the ICC, while Alvin Cheung established the international law case for democracy in Hong Kong.

Julian asked whether a US Court can hold another state in contempt under international law, and followed up with further thoughts on the matter. He also discussed how sovereigntist arguments against investor-state dispute resolution are now appearing on both sides of the ideological spectrum in the US.

Finally, Jens analysed the jurisdictional quagmire in the Al Nashiri-case before the Guantanamo military commission

As for our usual features, I wrapped up the international news headlines and listed events and announcements.

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

Weekend Roundup: September 6 – 12, 2014

by An Hertogen

This week on Opinio Juris, summer vacation is officially over. We hope that all of our readers in the Northern Hemisphere enjoyed a great break – hopefully not quite like the Russian soldiers in Ukraine that Jens commented on. For those of us in the Southern Hemisphere: it’s almost summer!

Kevin followed up on an earlier post arguing that despite the recent release of a White Paper we do not yet know the CIA’s public-authority justification for violating 18 USC 1119, and explained why an argument based on Title 50 does not work in his view. He then posted a two-part response (1, 2) to Bobby Chesney’s reply on this last post over at Lawfare, and analysed their different readings of the AUMF.

The AUMF was also central to commentary on President Obama’s address regarding air strikes against ISIS. In anticipation of President Obama’s speech, Peter had put forward three reasons why President Obama should not seek congressional approval for airstrikes on ISIL. Jens was first out of the blocks after the address, to argue that Obama was walking a thin line, and later on that the AUMF does not cover ISIS. Peter and Deborah agreed with Jens on the applicability of the AUMF and Peter added that Obama could have played a different card. Deborah then followed up with an analysis of the theory that ISIS is Al Qaeda rather than considering it an “associated force”.

In other ISIL- related posts, Peter commented on Ted Cruz’ initiative to strip ISIL fighters from their US citizenship, and Kevin responded to a post by Mike Lewis over at Just Security on the application of the “unwilling or unable” test in the context of article 51 UN Charter.

Finally, Jessica wrapped up the news and I listed events and announcements. We’re running an insta-symposium on the Scottish independence referendum next week, and are still welcoming submissions. If you saw last week’s announcement by Matrix Chambers, you may want to take note that the deadline has been extended.

Have a nice weekend!

Weekend Roundup: August 30-September 5, 2014

by An Hertogen

This week on Opinio Juris, we welcomed Jens Ohlin to our masthead.

Kevin asked whether it’s time to reconsider the al-Senussi admissibility decision, linked to a Rolling Stone article about Chevron and the Lago Agrio case, and criticized attempts to assess the proportionality of an attack based on combatant:civilian kill ratios.

There was more on the Gaza Conflict in a guest post by Liron Libman, who examined if the Palestinian Authority’s leadership can be held responsible for the Al Aqsah Martyrs’ Brigade’s actions during the conflict.

In other posts, Kristen discussed the UN Security Council’s response to the demands of the captors of 45 Fijian peacekeepers at the Israel-Syrian border, Chris analysed Vladimir Putin’s rhetoric of an independent Novorossiya, and Roger reported on his research on treaties that supersede statutes under the last-in-time rule.

Finally, Jessica listed events and announcements, and wrapped up the international law headlines. In other announcements, Kevin posted a job vacancy at Matrix Chambers.

Have a nice weekend!

Weekend Roundup: August 23-29, 2014

by An Hertogen

This week on Opinio Juris, Julian asked whether the US President can enter into a legally binding climate change agreement without Congress, and educated news agencies about the difference between Taiwan’s airspace and its Air Defense Identification Zone.

The main focus this week was on the Middle East. Kevin commented on an Al Jazeera America piece on Israel’s attack on Shujaiya, while Peter discussed the likelihood and the practical usefulness of stripping ISIS fighters of their US citizenship, and Deborah addressed the difference between paying ransom for hostages and negotiating over prisoner exchanges.

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

Have a nice weekend!