General

Professor E. Allan Farnsworth of Columbia Law School passed away yesterday. Although best known as the dean of contract scholars, a Reporter of the Restatement (Second) of the Law of Contracts, and the author of influential treatise and casebook on contracts, Professor Farnsworth also had a profound influence on private international law. Not only was he a central figure...

I've blogged before suggesting that the U.N. was being an obstacle to more action to stop the atrocities in Darfur, but perhaps I was unfair to the UN. Its report on Darfur (which can be found here) found plenty of horrible atrocities (though not genocide) that it believes rises to the level of war crimes. More to the point, the...

I can't resist weighing in on the Guantanamo decision again, although I agree with Peggy's analysis yesterday. I think the decision is a defeat for the government (per Andreas) and that it moves beyond existing precedent and certainly beyond past practice. That does not mean it will be reversed, but it is certainly pushing the envelope of judicial review of...

I had initially thought I would “liveblog” the Santa Clara University conference I attended last week but the lack of free wireless internet access and the limitations of my typing skills stymied that plan. So instead of simply recapitulating the discussions and presentations, including my own (which will be published in any event), let me instead profile three of the...

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...