General

As Peggy notes, Amnesty International's annual report is almost certainly getting more press than usual because of its aggressive condemnation of U.S. policy toward detainees in Guantanamo Bay. In fact, it's a bit more than aggressive, as this statement by Amnesty U.S.A.'s director suggests, Amnesty is putting out a list of "torture architects" and is asking foreign jurisdictions to arrest...

Amnesty International issued its 2005 Human Rights Report today, blasting the US on Guantanamo, rendition practices and the abuses at Abu Ghraib. The full report covers human rights practices around the world (or at least of 149 countries), and is generally respected as one of the best-sourced human rights reports available. And, unlike the annual State Department Report, it offers...

The U.N. announced today that it would once again hold a "treaty" day this September during which countries would be encouraged to sign various multilateral treaties. This seems like a fairly pointless event, since countries can sign treaties whenever they want. I somehow doubt that they will do so just because the U.N. is offering drinks and hor d'oeuvres along...

The financing of international organizations is a complex question, but one thing is fairly predictable. Nations are less likely to make "voluntary" as opposed to "mandatory" contributions to international organizations. The Sierra Leone Special Court for War Crimes is discovering this reality the hard way, as the President of the Court reported to the U.N. Security Council this week. In...

Not that there was much doubt, but a key U.S. House of Representatives committee has approved continued U.S. membership in the WTO. Under U.S. law, every five years any member of Congress can petition the Congress to withdraw from the WTO. As in 2000, the unlikely coalition of Socialist Vermonter Bernie Sanders and Libertarian Texan Ron Paul have made such...

Seems like Japan can't cut a break these days. While the Chinese continue to thumb their nose at Japan's attention to the graves of its war criminals, Australia is protesting Japan's palns ot increase the number of whales it can hunt. In fact, Australia's opposition party is pushing the Australian government to sue Japan in the ICJ for...

Let's see if I got this right.5 votes to dismiss as improvidently granted. (Rehnquist, Scalia, Thomas, Kennedy, Ginsburg).1 vote would have also preferred staying the case: (Ginsburg).4 votes to remand to the Fifth Circuit to resolve all of the issues raised by the parties at the Court as well as the new ones created by the President's intervention. (O'Connor, Souter,...

The Supreme Court's disposition of Medellin is here. The actual six page opinion is quite short, but the interesting part will be the concurrence by Justice Ginsburg (joined by Justice Scalia) and the dissent by Justice O'Connor (joined by Justices Stevens, Souter, and Breyer). I will try to read the tea leaves of this rather unusual coalition later(UPDATE: My thoughts...

The Court today dismissed the petition in Medellin holding that certiorari was improvidently granted. Basically, this means that they are holding that they should not have accepted the case in the first place. Thanks to SCOTUSBlog for the pointer. I'll have much more to say later today. For a reminder on the issues raised by a challenge...

Gregg Easterbrook has another great and contrarian piece in the TNR this week explaining that "war" has actually been in sharp decline over the past 15 years. He relies on an academic study by two political scientists, Monty G. Marshall and Ted Robert Gurr, who have done a series of empirical studies demonstrating that violent conflict has been steadily decreasing...

"Red crystal" may not roll of the tongue as easily as "red cross" or "red crescent," but there is a movement afoot to replace the current emblems of ICRC and the International Federation of Red Cross/Red Crescent Societies with a non-religious and less politically charged symbol. (See this picture here for the red diamond/crystal design.) ICRC Legal Director Francois...