General

East Timor announced today that it has reached a tentative agreement with Indonesia to set up a Commission of Truth and Friendship to investigate human rights abuses and crimes committed during Indonesia's occupation of East Timor. While somewhat controversial among human rights groups who sought a Rwanda or Yugoslav-style ad hoc tribunal, the East Timorese foreign minister explained that: We...

Comparing and contrasting the perils and opportunities that international lawyers see in the world with those of non-lawyer foreign policy specialists can be enlightening. At the very least, it can help keep international lawyers from entering into a cul-de-sac where they are more concerned with doctrinal paring than problem solving. In an earlier post, I mentioned a recent article ("What...

Who says President Bush doesn't respect the judgments of international tribunals? While President Bush's "austerity" budget full of sweeping cuts is mostly a domestic story, two of his proposed cuts can be explained as an effort to bring the U.S. into compliance with WTO decisions. First, and more obscurely, the budget calls for eliminating the so-called Byrd Amendment, a provision much...

At first glance, the last thing international law scholarship needs is more theory. Yet, while there is plenty of IL theory, in some ways IL theory is relatively undeveloped. Most importantly, until recently, IL theory was unaffected by the rational-choice juggernaut that swept almost every other discipline, including IL's sister discipline of international relations. But rational choice has arrived with a...

A report published last week by the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission paints a bleak picture of the challenges facing post-conflict justice in that country. According to the report, 70 percent of survey respondents said they had been victims of what could be called a crime against humanity. Interestingly, however, only 40 percent of survey respondents favored prosecution of war...

I wanted to return, briefly, to last week's discussion of Darfur. As Julian noted, the UN report concluded that, while crimes against humanity have occurred and should be referred to the ICC, the atrocities do not meet the definition of genocide under international law. Lay observers are scratching their heads over the legal distinction between certain criminal "acts committed with...

Japan has officially requested the creation of a WTO dispute settlement panel claiming that U.S. anti-dumping laws violate WTO rules. Meanwhile, South Korea has requested a panel to challenge Japan's administration of a seaweed import quota that results in strict limits on seaweed imports from South Korea. My American-centric worldview suggests that the challenge to U.S. anti-dumping rules...

A quick response to Peggy’s very thoughtful post taking me to task for criticizing the Guantanamo Alien Tort Statute lawsuits. I think most of our disagreement is simply due to sloppy language on my part. I do think it is strange that enemy combatants will sue the U.S. in its own courts for violations committed during a period of military...

Defense Secretary Rumsfeld tried to resign (twice) over the Abu Ghraib scandals last year, but President Bush refused both times to accept his resignation. As I explained here, I think someone, probably Rumsfeld, should take responsibility for Abu Ghraib and I almost thought his attempt to resign reflected a similar feeling. But then, he makes this boneheaded statement: What was going...

Publius passes along this "liveblogged" account ofJudge David Sentelle's talk at Columbia Law School on Tuesday. His views matter more than usual because he sits on the court that will hear the appeal of the Guantanamo detainee decision we have been blogging about. Unfortunately for anyone hoping to get a preview of the outcome, Judge Sentelle is an experienced...

The Interim Report from Paul Volcker's Independent Inquiry Commission investigating the UN Oil-for-Food scandal has been out for barely two hours, and already the blogosphere is on the case (via instapundit) declaring it at once damning and a whitewash. Of course, it's one thing to react to the report, it's another to actually read through the (unbelievably boring) 246 page...

Thomas P.M. Barnett, formerly of the the U.S. Naval War College and author of The Pentagon’s New Map (a much talked-about book concerning the future of U.S. foreign policy) has an essay entitled “The New Magnum Force: What Dirty Harry Can Teach the New Geneva Conventions” in the current issue of Wired. (See also his blog.) His article is on...