Human Rights Expert Says Surviving the Holocaust Motivated His Career

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The last question at the “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” program at Marquette Law School on Thursday with Judge Thomas Buergenthal went to a retired Milwaukee school teacher who painted a gloomy picture of the state of the world.

“Humanity is having a real problem,” she said. “These are horrible time right now.”

Buergenthal answered in a positive fashion: “You’re too pessimistic,” he said. “Things are happening. They’re not happening as fast as you and I would like it to happen. There are some bad things happening too. But overall, we are moving slowly, too slowly.” He mentioned efforts by the United Nations and regional human rights organizations around the world that he thought were having positive impact.

“We do more harm to these developments if we think they’re not working.” He said. “So the trick is to stay with it.“

Buergenthal has stayed with it for decades. He is an authority on international and human rights law and one of the youngest Holocaust survivors. He is an emeritus professor of law at George Washington Law School and a former judge of the International Court of Justice at the Hague – among many distinctions and accomplishments. And he is author or co-author of numerous books, including a memoir, A Lucky Child, about surviving Auschwitz as a child. In his early 80s, he is, in fact, one of the youngest survivors of the notorious Nazi concentration camp. Read more »




Apply Now for 2017 Summer Session in Giessen, Germany

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Three students in the summer program in Giessen, Germany sit at their desks and laugh.Applications are due March 24 for the Summer Session in International and Comparative Law being held in Giessen, Germany from July 15 through August 12, 2017.  Participants can choose from among four courses — CyberLaw, Comparative Constitutional Law, International Economic Law & Business Transactions and Business Ethics and Human Rights — and spend a month living and studying with a truly international student body.  A distinguished faculty from law schools in Germany, the United Kingdom and Wisconsin will lead the classroom instruction.  More information, as well as an application, can be downloaded here from the Law School Study Abroad webpage.  Past participants agree that this program was one of the most fun and memorable parts of their legal education.  If you need any more reasons to apply, consider watching this YouTube video made by last summer’s participant, A.J. “The Wanderer” Lawton, which documents his travels to Giessen, program field trip destinations in Hamburg and Berlin, and other sites throughout Europe.  Apply Now!




Congratulations to Marquette’s 2017 Jessup Team

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The 2017 Jessup Moot Court Team poses for a photo.Congratulations to Celeste Borjas, Alyssa Gemein, James Wold, and Dena Welden for their strong effort in the 2017 Philip C. Jessup International Moot Court Midwest Regionals in Chicago last weekend.  This year’s Jessup problem involved international law issues related to transboundary water aquifers, cultural heritage and migrant/refugee rights.  Our Marquette team won the 2d place award for Best Memorial in the Midwest Region.  Big congratulations!

Attorneys and Marquette Law alumni Juan Amado (Jessup, 2011), Rene Jovel (Jessup, 2014) and Drew Walgreen (MU moot court, 2013), as well as Professors Megan A. O’Brien and Ryan Scoville served as team advisors.  Special thanks to Jared Widseth (Jessup 2014) and Margaret Krei (Jessup 2013) as well as Attorney Nathan Kirschner for giving so much of their time to judge practice rounds this year.




Study Abroad in Germany This Summer

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overview_2016-participantsThe campus of the Justus Liebig University in Giessen, Germany will be the location of the Ninth Annual Summer Session in International and Comparative Law offered jointly by Marquette University, the University of Wisconsin, and the Justus Liebig University- Giessen.  This program brings together up to sixty students from law schools all over the world to take classes in comparative and international law over a four week session lasting from July 15 through August 12. In addition to students from the United States and Germany, over the years the program has attracted students from Russia, India, Columbia, Brazil, South Africa, Ethiopia, Spain, Vietnam, Italy, the United Kingdom, the Dominican Republic, Korea, Australia, Indonesia and Kazakhstan, among other countries.  Class instruction is in English, and the international student body provides for a unique learning experience.

Faculty will be drawn from the U.S. and Europe.  Each student will select two courses (each course worth 2.0 law school credit hours) out of a total of four courses in the curriculum.  In addition to coursework, the curriculum includes two overnight field trips to Berlin and Hamburg to visit courts, other governmental institutions, and historical sites.  In addition, the program includes speakers on a variety of topics including a panel discussion on differences and similarities in legal education and practice around the world and a discussion of opportunities for further legal study and internships in Europe.

Classes will be held Monday through Thursday, during the day, over the four weeks of the program.  This schedule leaves students with time to explore the cities, villages and countryside around Giessen and nearby Frankfurt, and the opportunity to travel throughout Europe.  Paris to the west and Berlin to the east are a mere 300 miles from Giessen.

Past participants in the program have given high marks to both the substantive learning experience and the opportunity to form international friendships.  Enrollment is open to students who have completed one year of instruction in any U.S. law school.  Students enrolled in law schools outside of the United States should apply through the Justus Liebig University.

A general program overviewtravel and tuition details, course descriptions and faculty biographies can be viewed online.  An application form can be downloaded here.  Apply now and I will see you in Germany this summer!




Kimberley Motley: Pursuing “Justness” in Afghanistan and Across the Globe

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Kimberley Motley says she considers herself to be “a global investor in human rights.” Her “investment” is a legal practice that has brought her involvement since 2008 in cases on every continent except Antarctica, including some of international importance. She’s gained enough prominence to have a movie made about her work in Afghanistan, as well as profile pieces done about her in several major news media venues.

It’s been a momentous ride for the 2003 graduate of Marquette Law School, and Motley said during an “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” program Thursday at Eckstein Hall that she wants that ride to grow and produce increasing impact.

Motley, a Milwaukee native, spent five years working in the public defender’s office in Milwaukee after law school. Then, in 2008, she signed up for a US State Department program to go to Afghanistan to work on training lawyers. She told Gousha and the audience in the Appellate Courtroom that she did it for the money, but it soon became “something else.” By 2009, she had started her own legal practice. She was and is the only non-Afghan lawyer in the country.

She has been involved in cases that have improved the situations of people such as young girls who had been sold to marry older men, while establishing broader awareness that, under Afghan law, people are entitled to strong and independent legal representation. She said about 70 percent of her work in Afghanistan involves clients such as embassies of France, Great Britain and Germany or several major news organizations, and 30% is pro bono work.

Motley said she considers herself more an advocate for “justness” than for justice. She said justice is a broader concept – she called it the poetry of legal work. She said she is interested in the prose, which is using laws for their intended purpose to protect people. She said Afghanistan has good laws when it comes to matters such as the right to a lawyer but that they had been almost totally ignored.

Motley lives in North Carolina with her husband and three children, but spends large portions of her time in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the world. She is involved currently in defending a major opposition political leader in Malaysia who has been accused of sex crimes. She considers the charges false and a tactic to keep the politician from power.

Motley said that what started as a law practice has become a movement she calls “Motley’s law.” That’s also the name of the movie that was made about her. It has had limited circulation in the United States so far, but was shown at the Milwaukee Film Festival this week.

Her goal, she said, is to be a “powerhouse litigator internationally,” involved in “interesting places and interesting cases.“

“When I went to college, I wanted to be a DJ, to be honest,” she told Gousha. In some ways, she feels like she’s still pursuing that impulse by working as a lawyer who wants to give people ”something to dance to.”

Video of the one-hour program may be viewed by clicking here.




My Client Was Accused of Violating the Cuba Trade Embargo (But What Trump Did Was Worse)

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800px-havana_-_cuba_-_1366I received a phone call from Larry Dupuis of the Milwaukee Office of the American Civil Liberties Union in November of 2003.  He described a Wisconsin resident who had contacted the ACLU after receiving a PrePenalty Notice from the Department of Treasury.  In severe language, this form accused this individual of violating the Cuban Assets Control Regulations which were promulgated pursuant to two federal statutes: the Trading With the Enemy Act and the Cuban Democracy Act.  In essence, by sending him this notice, the Treasury Department wanted this individual to admit that he had traveled to Cuba and that while there he had spent money in violation of the Cuba Trade Embargo.  Technically, any financial transaction between a U.S. citizen and a Cuban national was a violation of U.S. law, no matter how small.  If he didn’t respond to the formal Requirement to Furnish Information (RFI), and thereby admit to violating the Cuba Trade Embargo, then he would be fined $10,000.

Larry asked me to consider taking on this individual as a pro bono client, and represent him in administrative proceedings before the Treasury Department.  The case raised some interesting constitutional issues.  There were possible issues relating to a Fifth Amendment right not to be punished for the failure to admit to having spent money in Cuba.  In addition, the Treasury Department regulations seemed to provide that the only way to dispute the RFI was to do so in person in front of an administrative law judge in Washington, D.C., an expensive proposition that raised due process concerns.  The ACLU was hoping to find a “test case” that would challenge the Treasury Regulations on constitutional grounds.  I agreed to take the case.

Soon after, I met with my client, a retiree on a fixed income.  He was a soft-spoken man, who had gone to Cuba in 1998 on a trip with a church group.  While there, he had spent a few days with his fellow church members bicycling around the island and meeting locals.  This was a goodwill trip, intended to foster greater understanding between the people of Cuba and the people of the United States.  Several years after his return, he received the RFI from Treasury Department alleging that while in Cuba he had spent money that went to Cuban nationals, in violation of the Cuba Trade Embargo, and demanding that he provide further information about the monies spent or else pay a fine. Read more »




Summer Law Studies in Germany with MU Law

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DSC09137Just one week remains in the 8th Annual Summer Session in International and Comparative Law taking place in Giessen, Germany.  In the photo you can see me with some of my students in the Comparative Constitutional Law class.  It is a great group, mixing U.S. students from Marquette and the University of Wisconsin Law Schools (and one attendee from Touro Law School in New York) with students from Brazil, Italy, India, Russia and Georgia.  We had fun comparing the constitutions of our home countries and talking about the ways that the preambles of the various constitutions reflected similar yet different values.  For example, India’s Constitution is adamant that the national government is secular in nature — reflecting that countries enormous diversity of religious faiths and unfortunate history of religious strife.  Meanwhile, Russia’s Constitution is clear that the union of nations into one country is permanent unless unanimously dissolved, in a way that reminds me of Abraham Lincoln’s view of the United States.

After two weeks with me and Professor Thilo Marauhn from Justus Liebig University Law School, discussing and comparing topics related to constitutional structure, we turned the class over to Professor Heinz Klug of the University of Wisconsin and Professor Ignaz Stegmiller from Justus Liebig University Law School.  They focused on comparing civil rights and liberties under various constitutional systems.  All in all, a very thought-provoking course. Read more »




An Eye-Opening Visit to Iran

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Flag_of_Iran_svgMy work in Restorative Justice provides me with many rewarding travel experiences, and my recent trip to Iran is at the top of the list.

Professor Mohammad Farajahi, who teaches Persian law at Tarbiat Modares University in Tehran, invited me to attend a Restorative Justice (“RJ”) conference at its law school. I was one of seven keynote speakers from around the world, each asked to discuss how our respective country actively uses RJ processes within the criminal justice system. The conference also was an opportunity to discuss my current RJ projects as a panelist with Iranian and Iraqi lawyers and judges as well as to hear 40 scholars from Tehran present their research and findings on a variety of RJ initiatives. Professionally, the ability to interact with lawyers, judges, law students and the general public attending the conference was extremely fulfilling; personally, the cultural experience is unforgettable.

Most Americans do not readily think about traveling to Iran — especially women and, in my case, women who happen to be judges — given that the country’s Muslim laws generally limit females in society and specifically prohibit us from serving on the bench. As the only American invited to the conference, I felt both honored and admittedly apprehensive. While I have many Muslim friends in the U.S. and have been to other Muslim countries, I knew religious rules and overall “do’s and don’ts” would be much stricter in Iran, where I would be without the security of an American embassy since Iran and the U.S. have no formal diplomatic relations. This circumstance meant I could not get a visa directly from Iran, having to work through Pakistan. Receiving my visa only 36 hours before my flight, I worried about what awaited me culturally.

My clothing was a primary concern. From head to ankles, I needed to be covered despite being a foreigner traveling during the heat of summer. I stocked up on scarves for my head and shoulders and bought a montos, a knee-length coat that must be worn even when wearing pants. Only my feet could comfortably breathe as sandals are permitted. With 7,000 morality police patrolling the streets of Tehran to catch dress code violators and the Swiss embassy as my best option in case of trouble, I took no chances, donning my scarf and montos before getting off the plane. Read more »




Applications Still Being Accepted for Study Abroad in Germany

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csm_Teaser_SuSch_01_17bc017384

 

There is still time to join law students from Wisconsin, throughout the United States, and around the world as they come together in Giessen, Germany from July 16 to August 13, 2016 for the Eighth Annual Summer Session in International and Comparative Law. The program already has the minimum number of participants necessary to move forward, but additional participants are welcome and applications will continue to be accepted until May 27.

The faculty includes Marquette Law School’s own Professor Ed Fallone and Adjunct Professor Doug Smith, as well as Professor Heinz Klug from the University of Wisconsin Law School, Professor Thilo Marauhn of the Justus Liebig University in Giessen, Germany, and Professor Sorcha MacLeod of the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom.

Participants can choose two classes from the following four courses: 1) Comparative Constitutional Law: The E.U., Germany and the U.S.; 2) International Economic Law & Business Transactions; 3) Business Ethics and Human Rights Law; and 4) Comparative Corporate Governance. The schedule includes field trips to Berlin and Hamburg, as well as free time to travel Europe on your own.

Applications can be downloaded from the “Study Abroad” link on the Marquette Law School webpage. Interested students from Marquette or other ABA accredited law schools should contact Prof. Ed Fallone at edward.fallone@marquette.edu for more information.




Baseball Diplomacy

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It has been great fun to watch President Obama in Cuba (and to get to say things like–hey, I was there!) over the last two days.  The one thing we did not get to do on our trip was attend a baseball game since we were rained out twice.  Sigh.  But we did talk about the potential impact of baseball exchanges on the economy and there is no question that both Cuban baseball and obama-cuba-baseball-300x229Major League Baseball will have much to discuss as the thaw continues.  Funnily, I was interviewed on Monday by a Swiss journalist–newspaper article here–about the impact of baseball based on my 2001 article called Baseball Diplomacy examining the controversy back then over the Baltimore Orioles playing a game in Cuba in 1999.  In what now seems like ancient history, I wrote about the Elian Gonzales affair, the Helms-Burton act, and, more pertinently to baseball, the economics of playing baseball in Cuba.  I also discussed how Cuban players are treated when they arrive in the U.S. depending on whether they come directly or via a third country.  I imagine that all of these rules will be updated and changing in the next few years.  And it will be fascinating to watch.  Here’s looking forward to more baseball in both directions!

 




Now We Can All Go To Cuba!

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(cross-posted from www.indisputably.org)

Well not really, but soon.  cuba-seminary-front-green-car-e1453233240472Today the government announced that U.S. airlines can propose routes to Cuba which could then start flying later this year.  The President has also announced that he hopes to get to Cuba sometime this spring as well.  Even the New York Times at the end of January has helpfully posted a column on Frequently Asked Questions about travel to Cuba.

For more reasons on why this would be fascinating for all of us interested in conflict,  I am linking to the (last) bit of press coverage from our trip.  Here are students talking to the Marquette paper about the trip and here is a television interview conducted by our local station.  Enjoy!




A Cuban Perspective on International Law

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As a member of the group of students and faculty who recently visited Cuba, I want to concur in all of the prior posts that expressed how fascinating it was to tour Havana, learn about some of the history, and in particular interact with the people. Prior to the trip, my only encounters with socialists had taken place in Berkeley, California and Eugene, Oregon, so I’d always associated the ideology with Left Coast stuff like patchouli and hemp shoulder bags. This was my first opportunity to meet and talk with genuine, born-and-raised socialists–people who think of Marx and Engels the way we might think of Locke or Smith. One of those people was Celeste Pino Canales, a professor of public international law at the University of Havana, who spoke with us about Cuban perspectives on international law and, afterward, allowed me to interview her on what it’s like to be a law professor in Cuba. A post about our conversation is available here.