General

“I love Yale…. [but] why bother giving to it? My resources are very far from limitless, so why not give where it makes a difference?” That is the question posed in a wonderful New York Times article on Sunday by Republican multi-millionaire entertainer Ben Stein to, among others, Democratic human rights advocate/scholar and Yale Law School Dean...

Before we get too excited (see Chris' post here) about the U.N.'s wonderful effectiveness in the investigation of Harari's death, it is worth pointing out that allegations of high level U.N. interference have been circulating almost from the moment the report was released. In particular, the electronic version of the U.N. Harari report contained embedded text of last-minute changes. According...

Suzanne Nossel at Democracy Arsenal has a good post on the UN report implicating the Syrian government in the Hariri killing.She explains succinctly how and why the UN can play an important role in investigating such crimes, especially in situations where we, the U.S., cannot. Nor could anyone else (such as the E.U. or the ICC) have done the job.This...

I just finished attending the International Law Association Conference in New York and one of the highlights was the insightful commentary on the treatment of detainees in the war on terror. I was particularly impressed by a new professor, Geoffrey Corn of South Texas Law School. Corn was a former Special Assistant to the Judge Advocate General for Law of...

There has been much speculation in various academic circles as to why Senator Dianne Feinstein--a liberal Democrat representing a state that has been at the vanguard in applying Alien Tort Statute--would propose amendments to the law. Here is her own statement as to why she perceives a change to be necessary:“Many recent legal cases have demonstrated the need for clarification...

This story will no doubt heighten trans-Atlantic tensions. A Spanish judge has issued arrest warrants for three U.S. soldiers whose tank fire on a Baghdad hotel killed Jose Couso, a Spanish journalist. According to the report, the United States has undertaken three separate investigations to determine whether the GIs engaged in any unlawful conduct. In each case they were exonerated....

Senator Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California, has introduced a potentially revolutionary amendment to every international lawyer's favorite statute, the Alien Tort Statute. While Sen. Feinstein calls her amendment a "clarification," it looks to me like she is proposing a near-complete evisceration of the Alien Tort Statute as we (international lawyers) know it. And such an evisceration is almost certainly...

From this Thursday through Saturday, the American Branch of the International Law Association (and co-sponsors including the NY City Bar and the American Society of International Law) will hold International Law Weekend 2005 at the House of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, 42 West 44th Street, NY, NY. Links to the...

Michael Scharf argues that the trial of Saddam Hussein is the "mother of all trials." He makes this argument based on (1) the scale of atrocities; (2) the status of the accused; (3) the level of interest of the international community; (4) the legal precedent the trial will set; and (5) the effect of the trial.Personally, I have a hard...

Michael Scharf at Case Western Law School, together with a group of other law professors and professionals with deep knowledge about international war crimes tribunals, has put together a very useful website and blog on the Saddam Hussein trial, aptly named Grotian Moment. It is well worth a visit.Update: Of course, Julian posted this blog endorsement a couple of...

Sometimes, countries really act in ways that don't appear motivated by narrow material self-interest. Australia's recent campaign to win a Security Council referral against Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe is a good example of this type of moralist foreign policy. Australia has no obvious national interests at stake in Southern Africa. It stands pretty much alone in...