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Weekend Roundup

Weekend Roundup: February 2-8, 2014

by An Hertogen

The year is now officially in full swing on Opinio Juris with our first symposium of 2014. Up for discussion were both lead articles of the latest AJIL issue. The first article, on the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice, was introduced here by Karen Alter, Larry Helfer and Jacky McAllister and was followed by comments by Solomon Ebobrah, Kofi Kufuor, and Horace Adjolohoun. Karen, Larry and Jacky’s response can be found here. The second article, by Julian Davis Mortenson and introduced here, discussed the role of travaux préparatoires in treaty interpretation. Ulf Linderfalk offered vigorous two part (1, 2) rebuttal. Other comments came from Richard Gardiner and Bart Szewczyk.  Julian’s reply is here.

Kevin mourned Maximilian Schellcriticized President Obama’s certification concerning US participation in the UN’s Mali stabilisation mission and the ICC; and was even more critical of the ICTY’s OTP request to the Appeals Chamber to reconsider Perisic. On the last issue, Kevin also recommended a post by Bill Schabas.

Julian, who was elected to the ALI, posted on the US’ first public statement China’s South China Sea Nine Dash Line is inconsistent with international law. Deborah tried to keep up up-to-date on the difference between ISIS and al-Qaeda and Peter engaged in a thought experiment on Olympic free agency.

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

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

Weekend Roundup: January 26-February 1, 2014

by Jessica Dorsey

It is hard for many of us to believe it is already February, but as things go, the world keeps turning we keep blogging! Here’s a look at what happened this week on Opinio Juris:

We had posts from Julian on the media’s coverage of the Amanda Knox trial (and his prolific media presence!) and a reminder for the extended deadline to register for the ASIL/ILA Conference in April.

Chris shared some thoughts about the ongoing protests in Ukraine where two crises are at play: the future of the country and President Yanukovich’s crackdown on protesters; a recent TED Talk by Benjamin Bratton that got him thinking that we international lawyers can learn a lot from technologists (and vice versa); and China’s crackdown of Uighurs, by highlighting the case of Ilham Tohti. Duncan brought our attention to the unveiling of AJIL’s new blog: AJIL Unbound (a heartfelt welcome to the blogosphere!).

We had four guest posts this week, two covering some of Roger’s posted thoughts on extraterritoriality in Kiobel  and two on the effectivity of international criminal courts. In the former category, Anthony Colangelo talked about Kiobel and conflicts of law and William Dodge posited that the presumption against extraterritoriality does not apply to jurisdictional statutes. In the latter category, Stuart Ford showcased the topic of his recent article on complexity and effectivity of international criminal trials and Jonathan Hafetz offered some commentary on Stuart’s post and article.

I recapped the news here and offered events and announcements here. Thanks, as usual, to our guest contributors and have a great weekend!

Weekend Roundup: January 18-25, 2014

by Jessica Dorsey

This week on Opinio Juris, Julian discussed the US’ funding (along with the EU and the UK) of a team of investigators gathering war crimes evidence in Syria and why that effort would probably not lead to any prosecutions. Chris pointed out a trend with regard to in cyber(in)security with his post on zero-day exploits, noting that the “money in the market has shifted from rewarding security to incentivizing insecurity.”

Duncan covered the latest breach by the US on its obligations under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations after Texas executed Edgar Tamayo, a Mexican national, earlier this week; Roger posed the question about whether the presumption against extraterritoriality only apply to the alien tort statute or also to the underlying federal common law claims in the Kiobel decision and Kevin gave us his new e-mail address as he transitions to SOAS in London.

Additionally we’ve featured stellar guest posts: one from Chantal Meloni, analyzing the latest communication to the International Criminal Court about allegations of torture carried out by UK forces against Iraqi detainees from 2004-2008; a piece from Farshad Ghodoosi continuing Duncan’s discussion on the Iranian New Deal, but offering analysis under Iranian law; and a contribution from Adam Steinman, who covered the US Supreme Court’s decision in Daimler AG v. Bauman, an Alien Tort Statute case involving human rights violations by Daimler Argentinian subsidiary during Argentina’s “dirty war” of the 1970s and 1980s.

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

Thanks again to our guest contributors and have a nice weekend!

Weekend Roundup: January 4-17, 2014

by An Hertogen

In the past fortnight on Opinio Juris, Kevin wasn’t convinced by the Muslim Brotherhood’s argument that can accept the ICC’s jurisdiction on an ad hoc basis because it is still Egypt’s legitimate government. He also discussed the OTP’s motion to challenge Rule 134quater and the Trial Chamber’s decision to conditionally excuse Ruto from continuously attending his trial in The Hague.

Julian gave the US State Department an “F” over its handling of the visa fraud allegations against India’s Deputy Consul-General in New York. Julian was also doubtful about a recommendation for the US to accede to UNCLOS as a way to assert leadership and push back China’s claims in the East and South China Seas.

In two guest posts, Lorenzo Kamel compared the EU’s approach to Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian Territories with its approach to Northern Cyprus and Western Sahara. Further on Israel and Palestine, Eliav Lieblich discussed a recent court hearing in which Israel is trying to revive maritime prize law against a Finnish ship intercepted when it tried to breach the Gaza blockade.

We engaged in cross-blog dialogues with Kevin’s thoughts on Manuel Ventura’s critique of specific direction over at Spreading the Jam, and a discussion with EJIL:Talk! of the European Court of Human Rights’ decision in Jones v. UKdiscussed on our end by Bill Dodge and Chimène Keitner.

In other posts, Duncan asked whether the interim agreement over Iran’s nuclear program was a secret treaty, Kristen shared reflections on UN law making, Deborah discussed the inaccuracy of attaching the “al-Qaeda” label too liberally and the political consequences of attaching such a label, and Peter pointed out a key provision on Obama’s NSA reforms (policy directive) allowing foreigners as well as Americans data protection with regard to bulk surveillance data.

If you want more to read, you can check out the AJIL Agora on Kiobel, mentioned by Julian, or read the new blog Global Military Justice Reform to which Deborah drew our attention.

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

Have a nice weekend!

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!