Rule of Law in Iraq and Afghanistan: Building a “Culture of Rules” From the Bottom Up

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On March 27, President Barack Obama addressed the nation regarding his proposed “Development, Diplomacy and Defense” approach to addressing the “increasingly perilous” threat of Al Qaeda.  Although his plan includes increased military presence in Afghanistan, he also emphasized the importance of developing the institutional infrastructure from the “bottom up” so that local actors will invest in the economic, political, and legal reforms of their nation.

As I listened to Obama on NPR, I noted how he referred to many of the same concepts and issues I teach in “Comparative Study of Transitional Justice.”  This course exposes students to different case studies of how countries have tackled the arduous task of transitioning from conflict and repression to peace and stability.  In particular, we have discussed the use of truth commissions and criminal trials as mechanisms used by nations like Peru, Chile, and South Africa, among others, to address past legacies of human rights violations. Often these measures seek to promote both reconciliation and the rule of law. Continue reading “Rule of Law in Iraq and Afghanistan: Building a “Culture of Rules” From the Bottom Up”

International Media & Conflict Resolution Conference

Posted on Categories Human Rights, International Law & Diplomacy, Media & Journalism, Speakers at Marquette1 Comment on International Media & Conflict Resolution Conference

Last weekend, we hosted a truly special gathering of scholars and practitioners in the areas of media, journalism, international relations, communications, psychology, law, and dispute resolution. I will be blogging a few more times about the conference, abstracts, and upcoming issue of the Marquette Law Review on the symposium, but wanted, for now, to post a couple responses to the conference that I received from attendees.

One of our alums who attended, Evelyn Ang, sent me this clip in light of what we had talked about regarding the impact of changing media. Truly an amazing video! Another alum, Amy Koltz, noted, “I found the speakers engaging and the presentations thought-provoking — I’m amazed at the group of presenters you were able to pull together and bring to Marquette.”  She also provided a link to this article from Haaretz on media coverage of Israel and noted that it could have been a presentation in the conference. Our own program manager and conference planner, Natalie Fleury, heard this story on NPR Monday morning about Al Qaida’s training manual on the Internet, directly linking to Gabriel Weimann’s talk on Saturday.

And, from 2L part-time law student (and full-time veterinarian) Marty Greer, came this summary of the conference for those who missed it: Continue reading “International Media & Conflict Resolution Conference”

International Media and Conflict Resolution Conference

Posted on Categories Human Rights, International Law & Diplomacy, Media & Journalism, Speakers at MarquetteLeave a comment» on International Media and Conflict Resolution Conference

I am in the midst of final planning for our conference this weekend on the media and conflict resolution. Blog readers (and others) are all invited! The International Media and Conflict Resolution Conference will bring together experts from diverse fields to discuss the influence of different forms of media in the development, escalation, and de-escalation of conflict. An international cadre of journalists, legal academics, psychologists, communication professors, and conflict resolution professionals who live and work in the U.S., Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East will gather at the Law School for sessions analyzing the dynamics of media and conflict resolution in the following topic areas: (1) Separation/Independence; (2) Terrorism; and (3) Elections and Conflict.  Continue reading “International Media and Conflict Resolution Conference”

Using Indictment as a Negotiation Tactic

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Earlier this month, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Sudan’s president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, for crimes against humanity and war crimes connected with Darfur. The warrant raises again the timeless question of peace versus justice. (See articles by Marquette visiting professor Lisa Laplante on outlawing amnesty and me on balancing peace versus justice in negotiating peace.) Is it more important to have peace on the ground (or at least hope for it) or to attain justice (in the manner of prosecutions)? Darfur presents this issue in a quite pressing manner.

Last summer, among much hand-wringing that the indictment would only make it more difficult for peace to be negotiated, Judge Richard Goldstone wrote a top-notch op-ed for the New York Times explaining the fallacy of that concern. Goldstone, as the former prosecutor for Rwanda and Yugoslavia, understands this balance between peace and justice quite well. As Goldstone notes, the peace process in Darfur is hardly working as it is. Continue reading “Using Indictment as a Negotiation Tactic”

Canada Orders U.S. Army Deserter to Return to the United States

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Private First Class Kimberly Rivera had been seeking leave to remain in Canada “on humanitarian and compassionate grounds” to avoid prosecution for deserting her post in the U.S. Army.  Her claim, like the claims of other U.S. soldiers seeking to avoid further duty in the Iraq War in Canada, has been rejected, and, unless that decision is reversed, she is supposed to return to the U.S. by January 27th.

I was a bit startled the first time I heard about U.S. soldiers seeking refugee status in other countries to avoid serving, or continuing their service, in the Iraq War.  There have been a number of such cases in Canada, and at least one in Germany.  (And I should note before continuing that I’m not sure that “humanitarian and compassionate grounds” are quite the same as asylum; still, the remainder of this post focuses on these soldiers’ ability to establish asylum.)

Under U.S. law, the basic definition of a “refugee” is someone who “is outside any country of such person’s nationality . . . and who is unable or unwilling to return to, and is unable or unwilling to avail himself or herself of the protection of, that country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion,” and Canada’s definition is similar.  Generally speaking, as students in my refugee law seminar learn, volunteer soldiers who desert their posts do not qualify as “refugees” under this definition. Continue reading “Canada Orders U.S. Army Deserter to Return to the United States”

Reparations for “Terrorists”?

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Should victims of human rights violations with alleged or certain ties to groups that use terrorism receive reparations? This complex and sensitive dilemma has begun to arise in countries implementing reparation programs pursuant to the recommendations of their truth and reconciliations commissions.

Reparations law has special relevance to the transitional justice paradigm, as countries seek to respond to widespread human rights abuses — situations in which the line between victim and perpetrator often blurs. New case studies reveal the serious challenges of implementing administrative plans of reparations that first require that recipients be qualified. While some issues are purely technical and logistical, others — those that hold the potential to generate new forms of harm and even new rights violations — beg further discussion and clarification. Certainly, as the recognition of the right to reparation grows, so do the legal issues pertaining to its practical application. In the realm of international human rights law, new cases offer opportunities to continue defining the parameters of this right, as noted in an ever-growing jurisprudence with respect to remedies law. Continue reading “Reparations for “Terrorists”?”

European IORP Pension Scheme Still Years Away

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Eulogo In our forthcoming case book on Global Issues in Employee Benefits Law, Sam Estreicher (NYU), Rosalind Connor (Jones Day-London), and I write about the emergence of Institutions for Occupational Retirement Provisions (IORPs) in the European Union:

A driver in Europe over recent years has been an attempt to create a single market in employee benefits, particularly pensions.  The recent Pensions Directive (the “IORPs Directive”) and the applications of the draft new insurance directive (“Solvency II”) has been part of a push to make a level playing field.  The Directive grappled with a range of different pension plan structures (UK trust-based plans, Dutch wholly insured plans, German self-funded plans and French government underwritten plans, to name a few) with a view to allowing Belgian employers to employ German employees through an Irish trust based plan, if that is what is wanted.

Apparently, according to Global Pensions, there is still much work to be done:

The European Commission consultation on possible changes to the Institutions for Occupational Retirement Provision (IORP) law should not lead to further harmonisation in the current climate, an industry body has warned.

Continue reading “European IORP Pension Scheme Still Years Away”

Thoughts About Violence Against Trafficked Women on International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

Posted on Categories Human Rights, Immigration Law, International Law & Diplomacy, Milwaukee2 Comments on Thoughts About Violence Against Trafficked Women on International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

November 25th is designated by the United Nations as “International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.”  The date was selected to “commemorate the lives of the Mirabal sisters,” who were assassinated on November 25, 1960 during the Trujillo dictatorship, as explained in the General Assembly resolution designating the day:

Previously, 25 November was observed in Latin America and a growing number of other countries around the world as “International Day Against Violence Against Women”. With no standard title, it was also referred to as “No Violence Against Women Day” and the “Day to End Violence Against Women”. It was first declared by the first Feminist Encuentro for Latin America and the Caribbean held in Bogota, Colombia (18 to 21 July 1981). At that Encuentro women systematically denounced gender violence from domestic battery, to rape and sexual harassment, to state violence including torture and abuses of women political prisoners. The date was chosen to commemorate the lives of the Mirabal sisters. It originally marked the day that the three Mirabal sisters from the Dominican Republic were violently assassinated in 1960 during the Trujillo dictatorship (Rafael Trujillo 1930-1961). The day was used to pay tribute to the Mirabal sisters, as well as global recognition of gender violence.

The resolution “[i]nvites, as appropriate, Governments, the relevant agencies, bodies, funds and programmes of the United Nations system, and other international organizations and non-governmental organizations, to organize on that day activities designed to raise public awareness of the problem of violence against women.”   Continue reading “Thoughts About Violence Against Trafficked Women on International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women”

Significant Canadian Labor Decision on Right to Bargain

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Canadianflag David Doorey (York Univ.) sends along word that there was a big decision this week from the Ontario Court of Appeal that ruled unconstitutional a statute that did not require employers to bargain collectively with unions selected by  a majority of employees, and that provided for no dispute resolution mechanism to deal with bargaining impasses.

Although the statute in question applied only to agricultural workers, David points out that it is an interesting case in the development of the constitutional right to collective bargaining that they have had in Canada since the a decision of the Supreme Court in 2007.

Here’s David’s blog entry on it, which links to the decision in Fraser v. Ontario, so that readers from other countries can keep up on these important labor developments.

Outlawing Amnesty?

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Lisa Laplante, in response to last month’s “question of the month,” priorities for the next president, blogged about the need provide accountability for torture.  I noticed that in her comments on a recent post on Opinio Juris, she wrote that “[t]he issue of amnesty could become one of the most contentious” in the debate about Bush Adminstration accountability for torture and other human rights violations.  She also linked to her timely article, “Outlawing Amnesty:  The Return of Criminal Justice in Transitional Justice Schemes,” which 

discusses the Barrios Altos case, a seminal decision issued by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in 2001, that declared the amnesty laws promulgated in 1995 by former Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori to be contrary to international law. Recent scholarship has ignored this decision, or otherwise interpreted it overly narrowly, despite its potentially sweeping impact on the field of transitional justice. Thus, this article responds by offering a more in-depth understanding of the Barrios Altos decision in order to inform the ongoing academic debates on the evolving doctrine on amnesty in transitional justice schemes. It also shares the particular case study of Peru to show how international law directly impacts national transitional justice experiences. This article suggests that the truth v. justice dilemma may no longer exist: instead, criminal justice must be done.

The article is now on my reading list.  (The shorter one, the one with things I will probably actually get around to reading.)

Dispute Resolution and the Normalization of International Adjudication

Posted on Categories Human Rights, International Law & Diplomacy3 Comments on Dispute Resolution and the Normalization of International Adjudication

I attended a conference at NYU two weeks ago as part of NYU’s Journal of International Law & Politics symposium on the “Normalization of Adjudication in Complex International Governance Regimes.” Invited to bring a little dispute resolution to this otherwise complete adjudicatory focus, it was very interesting to think about what the “normalization” of international courts and decisions might mean for dispute resolution. I came to this conference with some background in writing on international trade dispute resolution regarding the evolution of international dispute resolution and the importance of individual representation in courts, but had left much of this behind to focus on dispute resolution more broadly. More recently, I have had the opportunity to think about a number of interesting co-existing features in the development of international law and dispute resolution. First, as I wrote about last year, it is a striking coincidence that as we worry about the “vanishing trial” in the U.S., the international scene has been exploding with new courts (WTO, Rwanda, Yugoslavia, Sierra Leone, etc.) and expanded case loads even for longer-standing courts (the ICJ, ECJ, ECHR, IACHR, etc.). This does not even include the multitude of other processes designed to deal with global conflict, including truth and reconciliations commissions like those in South Africa and in many South American countries. So, last spring at PON’s dispute system design symposium, I was able to broaden my perspective and think about the concerns and challenges faced by DSD when creating systems to deal with human rights conflicts and, what has been called, transitional justice situations. (Click here to see my draft article on this entitled Dispute System Design and Transitional Justice.)

My next step, the paper for this NYU symposium, will now look forward to where we go from here.

Continue reading “Dispute Resolution and the Normalization of International Adjudication”

Global Economic Crisis Having Impact on Pensions in Argentina

Posted on Categories International Law & Diplomacy, Labor & Employment Law1 Comment on Global Economic Crisis Having Impact on Pensions in Argentina

Argentinaflag We already know that the global economic crisis is having far-reaching effects in the United States on the 401(k) plans of individuals and may also mean that fewer employers are able to afford offering health plans. Now comes word from foreign countries that have national pension schemes that the economic impact of the collapse is causing governments to invade the money in those national pensions. Continue reading “Global Economic Crisis Having Impact on Pensions in Argentina”