By Dr Olga Martin-Ortega, Reader in Public International Law, Greenwich University

Seen on another blog, an interesting comment by Professor Steven Haines on the potential impacts of a recent Judgement of the International Court of Justice, The Hague.

In November 2012, the ICJ released its decision on the Territorial and Maritime Dispute between Nicaragua and Colombia. Right after the decision was made public, Haines notes, comments suggested that the ICJ might have negative consequences on crime combating in the Caribbean. His article thus offers an extensive summary of the facts and proceeds, but it also goes on to an interesting debate on how a ruling on territorial and maritime soverignty may in practice relate to international criminal law.

Here is an abstract, the full article is available here

“It must be said that on first reflecting on this case, it appears to have no substantial relevance to international criminal law at all. As already explained, it was to do with rival maritime claims that, while producing tension, had not previously resulted in the parties to the dispute resorting to force […] We can also reasonably rule out the possibility of this case having any relevance to ICC-based international criminal law. If, however, we adopt a broader definition of what constitutes ‘international crime’ there is at least a suggestion that the Judgement has consequences. A broader definition arguably includes all serious crimes having a significant international dimension. Given the international nature of the oceans, crimes committed at sea will almost invariably have potentially significant international dimensions. One group of crimes with profound international consequences is to do with the manufacture, sale and trafficking of illicit narcotics”.

Read the rest of this entry »

A quick post to indicate to those interested in corruption law and research that the University of Surrey’s School of Law website has released an updated database on corruption materials with links to international and domestic instruments in the Field.

The last version of the database provides links to the corruption laws of the Commonwealth and EU countries.

See the Corruption website and the Database

Just a quick line about a report published ten days ago in an Indian online newspaper regarding Indian’s plans to abandon international arbitration in investment disputes.

Everything is here: India seeks treaty revisions to deal with corporate suits – Indian Express.

ImageThe full extent of the 1789 Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA) which allows non-U.S. citizens to file suits in the U.S. for international human rights violations has been the subject of many debates in recent U.S. cases (Sosa v. Alvarez-Machain,KiobelBoimah Flomo I and IIExxon). This comment looks at the key points relied upon in recent decisions to reject the existence of a corporate liability principle under customary international law. The concurring observations of Judge Leval, who argued that the Kiobel decision might have kept the door open to major corporate abuses and created a precedent of corporate impunity, are especially relevant because they have been confirmed by more recent decisions. This comment also considers the arguments presented in the Kiobel re-hearing rejection regarding the policy impact of the decision and the policy-making role of U.S. tribunals. Finally, this comment questions whether U.S. courts should be expected to get involved in international justice, thereby risking being characterized as imperialist, self-appointed world judges.

The paper is availble here, and as a pdf version

Further arguments in the Kiobel case on the liability of transnational corporations under ATCA were presented yesterday (28th February 2012) before the US Supreme Court. The case was commented a moment ago on this blog (see here as well as the ATCA / ATS tags for more comments)  and it seemed at the time that the Court was reluctant to aknowledge the existence of a principle of corporate liability under international law. Well, it seems that the argument persists.

For those interested in the debate, a very informative post by Lyle Denniston can be found on the SCOTUSblog:

” When Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, in the opening minute of a Supreme Court argument, tells a lawyer that his entire case is in jeopardy, it is extremely difficult for even an experienced counsel to recover.   And, though he tried, Venice, Calif., attorney Paul L. Hoffman did not appear on Tuesday to have resuscitated his argument that foreign corporations should be held to account in U.S. courts for human rights abuses in foreign lands.  At least a majority of the Justices looked notably unconvinced […]”

Deadline for abstract submissions: May 30, 2011
Deadline for final papers: September 30, 2011

An edited volume on analysis of the impact of various transformations (transitions) on the sphere of human rights is currently being created as a joint initiative of young scholars from the Université de Genève and the University of Michigan.  

The volume will include contributors from Harvard University and many european institutions, and will be published next year by Palgrave Macmillan.

It will be focused on impact of different types of transformations (of political, social, economic, cultural or demographic nature) on the sphere of human rights and international protection of human rights (on international, national as well as social level), and will cover both theoretical problems and practical researches (in interdisciplinary perspective).

The editors invite potential contributors from the fields of human rights,
international law, law, politics (international studies), economics, psychology, sociology, geography, ethnography, demography, and culture, both scholars and practicioners. Prospective contributors are invited to submit their initial proposals (500 words) and short CV to the editors by May 30, 2011.

The invited essays (6000-9000 words) are to be submitted by September 30, 2011. The language of the proposed publication is English.

Contact email: 
jennifer.briggs04@gmail.com

When: 21 June 2011
Where: University of Surrey (UK)
Who: Surrey International Law Centre (SILC)

The Surrey International Law Centre (SILC) invites you to a one-day international interdisciplinary seminar on cultural legitimacy and the international law and policy on climate change on 21 June 2011 at the School of Law, University of Surrey (Event page and programme).

Climate change poses fundamental and varied challenges to all communities across the globe. The adaptation and mitigation strategies proposed by governments and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are likely to require radical and fundamental shifts in socio-political structures, technological and economic systems, organisational forms, and modes of regulation. The sheer volume of law and policy emanating from the international level makes it uncertain which type of regulatory or policy framework is likely to have a positive impact. The success or failure of proposed measures will depend on their acceptability within the local constituencies within which they are sought to be applied. Therefore there is an urgent need to better comprehend and theorise the role of cultural legitimacy in the choice and effectiveness of international legal and policy interventions aimed at tackling the impact of climate change.

The seminar will contribute to research on the international law and policy of climate change by focusing on the issue of cultural legitimacy.  Beginning from the premise that legitimacy critiques of international climate change regulation have the capacity to positively influence policy trends and legal choices, the seminar will showcase innovative ideas from across the disciplines and investigate the link between the efficacy of international legal and policy mechanisms on climate change and cultural legitimacy or local acceptance.

Keynote Speakers

Mr Felix Dodds, Executive Director, Stakeholder Forum
Prof Michael Dorsey, Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, USA
Prof Kirk Junker, University of Cologne
Prof Beth Savan, Director of Sustainability, University of Toronto

Conference Registration

Registration fees are £60 per delegate. Student delegates pay a concessional fee of £35.

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