General

It was reported today that the Coalition Provisional Authority for Iraq was unable to account for $8.8 billion -- yes, that's BILLION -- in assistance money spent in the first year following the US invasion. To put the dollar amounts in perspective, that's more than twice the annual operating budget for the UN and almost $2 billion more than...

James Traub published this excellent essay in yesterday's NYTimes magazine discussing military involvement in humanitarian activities, an issue I addressed in this previous post. His main point is a riposte to Joseph Nye's theory of "soft power," the notion that the United States projects it power not simply through the "hard power" of coercive military and economic strength, but also...

Andreas Paulus has a fair point that Judge Green's decision can be read as a significant defeat for the government's core arguments on the legality of the Guantanamo detentions and the government's own reading of the Rasul case. But there are elements of the decision that may deflate the hopes of lawyers planning on further tort cases on behalf of...

This Reuters story suggests that a district court judge has held the Guantanamo Bay military tribunals unconstitutional. As usual, Reuters (and other news agencies) are overstating the scope of the decision. Rather, it is more accurate to say that the district court judge has refused to grant all of the U.S. government's motion to dismiss claims by certain detainees...

The Foreign Minister of Mexico, peeved that Arizona voters passed a referendum denying benefits to undocumented aliens, is threatening to sue the U.S. in unspecified international courts. This raises an interesting question: Can Mexico sue the U.S, or Arizona, under international law to stop this law from going into effect? If so, where? There is no shortage of international law that...

A UN commission has concluded that the violence and killings in Darfur do not rise to level of genocide. The report is not yet publicly available. It is unclear what effect this report will have on the battle over whether to refer the Darfur actions to the International Criminal Court. So far, it looks like the U.S. is not taking...

Julian -- What we don't know -- about the full extent of the United States' abuse and/or torture of detainees and rendition of detainees to third countries -- is a lot. For this reason, I have specifically avoided weighing in on some of the broader questions about compliance with the Torture Convention, at least until I have read the government reports...

Strangely enough, the war on terrorism is providing a slight boost for plaintiffs lawyers specializing in tort suits alleging violations of international law. This week, the UK released four men who had previously been detained at Guantanamo Bay. Lawyers for the detainees are threatening to sue. A number of such lawsuits have already been filed over Abu Ghraib and the...

This seems to be a big day for international law conferences. Not only are bright lights in our profession gathering at Vanderbilt this weekend, but a fairly impressive conference on International Law in the United States Legal System: Observance, Application, & Enforcement, will be taking place at the Santa Clara University School of Law today as well. And I’m not...

As we solemnly commemorate the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, it is worth noting that earlier this week the United Nations General Assembly -- for the first time in the history of that organization -- held a special session in remembrance of the Holocaust. For an organization that three decades ago passed a resolution equating Zionism with racism,...

Julian’s remark that Australia withdrawing from the compulsory jurisdiction of the ICJ is an example that the U.S. is not the only state that acts in a self-interested manner begs the question that is really interesting: why do states that act out of self-interest still choose to comply with the decisions of international tribunals at all? Theories of compliance can fill...

Australian television viewers watching Alicia Molik defeat Venus Williams on at the Australian Open were probably caught by surprise by TV commercials denouncing Australia's government, among other things, withdrawing from the compulsory jurisdiction of the ICJ. Australia withdrew from its acceptance of compulsory jurisdiction in 2002 to avoid allowing East Timor to start litigation in the ICJ over undersea oil...