Nominations sought for American Journal of International Law editorial board

AJIL_COVERThe American Journal of International Law, the quarterly journal published by the American Society of International Law since 1907, welcomes applications and nominations for new members of its Board of Editors, to be elected by the existing board in Spring 2015. AJIL‘s leadership writes:

Nominations are based primarily on scholarship and creativity, as demonstrated in books, articles, and other written work appearing over a period of years.

Suggestions, along with supporting statements and information, such as a curriculum vitae, a list of publications, and, if possible, copies of significant publications, should be sent to the journal’s co-editors-in-chief, New York University Law Professors José Alvarez and Benedict Kingsbury, at law.ajil.admin@nyu.edu by December 1, 2014.

Program Officer sought for project on accountability for crimes against children

Conflict Dynamics International, a Massachusetts-based nongovernmental organization established in 2004, welcomes applications for a Program Officer to work on project relating to accountability for violations committed against children in armed conflict. The multiyear project, on which I am honored to serve as an advisor, is now in its second year. It is described as follows:

This initiatiCDI_logo_regve builds on CDI’s previous work in this area and aims to contribute substantially to the achievement of effective accountability for these violations through national and international mechanisms. CDI is developing a conceptual and practical framework aimed at practitioners working on accountability in the CAC context. Through this initiative CDI will also develop several other related resources that will provide guidance and technical support to practitioners.

As detailed in this complete job notice, duties of this full-time Program Officer will include communications and publications, fundraising and grant management, and monitoring. Sought is someone with inter alia a minimum of 3-5 years’ experience in relevant fields; working knowledge of French or Arabic is desirable.

Deadline for applications is soon: September 12, 2014. Details on job duties and desired qualifications, and on how to apply, here.

 

Bangura, UN expert on sexual violence, to deliver lecture at annual IHL Dialogs

zbanguraDelighted to announce that U.N. Under-Secretary-General Zainab Bangura (left), the Special Representative to the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict, will deliver the 4th annual Katherine B. Fite Lecture at the International Humanitarian Law Dialogs, to be held August 24-26, 2014, at the Chautauqua Institution in upstate New York. This will be the 8th year that international prosecutors and other experts gather at Chautauqua’s lovely lakeside Athenaeum Hotel to take stock of developments in international criminal law.

And it’s the 4th that IntLawGrrls blog has had the honor of selecting the person who will deliver the lecture in honor of Fite, the State Department lawyer who helped Chief U.S. Prosecutor Robert H. Jackson with thebvs drafting of the London Charter and other duties in preparation for the 1st postwar trial at Nuremberg. (My own 2011 Fite Lecture, which describes Fite’s career, is here.) Bangura promises to be a memorable speaker, given her tireless work as the SRSG since 2012, and her prior service in the government of Sierra Leone. (photo credit) Introducing her will be IntLawGrrl Beth Van Schaack (right), Stanford Visiting Professor of Law and former Deputy, Office of Global Criminal Justice, U.S. Department of State.

Bangura’s lecture is just one of many special events planned for this year’s Dialogs. Other highlights:

fb► Reflections by current and former international prosecutors. Scheduled to take part are International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda (left; photo credit) and Deputy Prosecutor James Stewart; Serge Brammertz, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia; from the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, Nicholas Koumijian and Andrew T. Cayley; from the Special Court for Sierra Leone,  David Crane (organizer of the Dialogs, Syracuse Law Professor, and chairman of the Board of the Robert H. Jackson Center), Stephen Rapp (since 2009 the Ambassador-at-Large and head of the Office of Global Justice, U.S. Department of State), Brenda J. Hollis, and Desmond de Silva; and Hassan Jallow, trahan3Prosecutor of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia and formerly Prosecutor of the ICTR. IntLawGrrl Jennifer Trahan (left), Associate Clinical Professor of Global Affairs at New York University, will moderate.

tiina► Keynote address by Ambassador Tiina Intelmann (right), President of the ICC Assembly of States Parties.

theidon140►Clara Barton Lecture by Harvard Anthropology Professor Kimberly Theidon (left).

►Roundtable on “Relevance of International Humanitarian Law” featuring IntLawGrrl Leila Nadya Sadat (right),Sadatl4 Professor at Washington University-St. Louis, along with former U.N. Legal Counsel Hans Corell, Professor William A. Schabas, and former U.S. Ambassador David Scheffer, now a Northwestern Law Professor.

zeid►Breakout porch sessions, including one on “Islamic Extremism” featuring Sadat, Scheffer, and Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein (right; photo credit), who soon will take up the post of U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights.

val► Year in review by IntLawGrrl Valerie Oosterveld (left), Western Ontario Law Professor.

More information is at the website of the Robert H. Jackson Center, a primary sponsor, here.

AALS international law section seeks papers for January annual meeting

aalsLogoThe Association of American Law Schools Section on International Law welcomes papers on the “The Influence of International Law on U.S. Government Decision-Making,” the topic of the panel it will sponsor from 10:30 a.m. -12:15 p.m. Sunday, January 4, 2015, at the AALS Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. Organizers write:

This panel will explore the role that international law plays in informing the policy outcomes arrived at by U.S. government decision-makers. To what extent is international law determinative or even influential, and to what extent does the policy area, the branch of government, or the ideological orientation of the decision-maker matter? As a more practical matter, at what stage in the decision-making process is international law taken into account and who are the most influential actors? How can academics be most influential in that process?

A number of current or former U.S. government officials are already schedule to present on the panel; one additional presenter will be chosen from the call for papers, open to full-time faculty members of AALS member law schools.

Deadline for submission of manuscripts or detailed abstracts  is September 2, 2014. For details, contact the Section Chair, Southern Illinois University Law Professor Cindy Galway Buys, an IntLawGrrls contributor, at cbuys [at] siu [dot] edu.

In passing: Hans-Peter Kaul, ICC judge, German diplomat, antiwar activist

kaulSaddened to read that Judge Hans-Peter Kaul, a pivotal member of the International Criminal Court’s founding generation, has passed away. The in memoriam notice at the ICC website reports that he died yesterday, as a result of the serious illness that earlier this month compelled his resignation after nearly a decade on the ICC bench.

That tenure continued service to the ICC which had begun in 1998, when Kaul, then a diplomat, led the German delegation at the Rome Conference. He recalled the climax of that conference in a 2012 guest post for IntLawGrrls:

After the decisive vote on the Rome Statute, our founding treaty, there is some kind of explosion, an enormous outpouring of emotions, of relief among those present, unparalleled for such a conference: screams, stamping, exultation without end, tears of joy and relief; hard-baked delegates and journalists who have frowningly watched the entire conference hug each other in a state of euphoria. And a German delegate, normally a level-headed man, jumps up and down like a rubber ball and keeps punching me in the ribs, completely breathless,

‘Herr Kaul, Herr Kaul, we’ve done it! We’re getting an international criminal court!’

Kaul was born 70 years ago this Friday, in Glashütte, near Germany’s border with what is now the Czech Republic. The year was 1943. World War II raged, and memories of his boyhood during that war and its aftermath–including the postwar trials at Nuremberg–never were far from his work on behalf of international criminal justice.

This was evident in his most significant ICC opinion, a dissent from a panel’s preliminary ruling in the Court’s ongoing case involving 2007-2008 post-election violence in Kenya. In a 19-page commentary labeled Dissenting Opinion of Judge Hans-Peter Kaul to Pre-Trial Chamber II’s “Decision on the Prosecutor’s Application for Summons to Appear for William Samoei Ruto, Henry Kipono Kosgey and Joshua Arap Sang” (15 March 2011), Kaul invoked the Nuremberg legacy to argue that only violence at a level of “state-like ‘organisation'” could constitute crimes against humanity. It is an argument that continues to generate academic debate.

Another link to Nuremberg may prove even more lasting. In recent years, Kaul was an impassioned and indefatigable advocate for make the crime of aggression punishable by the ICC. His German delegation had pushed successfully for the listing of that crime–a signature offense at Nuremberg–in Article 5 of the Rome Statute. (Prior posts here and here.) After the Assembly of States Parties adopted the 2010 Kampala amendments to activate the ICC’s crime of aggression jurisdiction, Kaul campaigned actively for ratification. Every time he and I crossed paths, at Chautauqua, The Hague, or elsewhere, Judge Kaul was quick to report on the status of that campaign–and to express particular pride when his native country and its linguistic neighbors deposited their instruments of ratification or accession.

With the ratification by Austria last Friday–the 16th anniversary of the adoption of the Rome Statute–the Kampala amendments have garnered half the 30 ratifications needed for entry into force. (Also required is another Assembly vote.) States that have joined to date are Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Botswana, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Germany, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Samoa, Slovakia, Slovenia, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uruguay. Numerous other states, including many others in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, are reported to be nearing joinder.

Kaul was crystal clear about the reason he pushed for these amendments: The child of war saw activation of crime of aggression jurisdiction as an essential step toward ending war altogether. In his IntLawGrrls post as in other writings and lectures, he explained:

War–this is the ultimate threat to all human values; war is sheer nihilism. It is the total negation of hope and justice. Experience shows that war, the injustice of war in itself, begets massive war crimes and crimes against humanity. In my nine years as a Judge of the ICC, I have seen that, as in the past century, a terrible law still seems to hold true: war, the ruthless readiness to use military force, to use military power for power politics, regularly begets massive and grievous crimes of all kinds.

In Kaul’s view, the prosecution of jus in bello violations is important, yet an incomplete, a symptomatic approach, unless it is accompanied by the prosecution for jus ad bellum violations. His own pithy words are a fitting epitaph:

War crimes, they are the excrement of war.

Citing delays, federal judge rules California death-penalty system unconstitutional

san_quentin_death_chamber

California’s capital punishment system has just been ruled unconstitutional.

Holding that the system violated the 8th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was U.S. District Court Judge Cormac J. Carney, whom President George W. Bush appointed to the federal bench in 2003. According to a Los Angeles Times report, he becomes the 1st federal judge to rule against the state’s system, and also the 1st to hold that systemic delay may constitute cruel and unusual punishment.

Judge Carney set out his reasoning clearly and concisely in today’s 29-page ruling in Jones v. Chappell. In turn, the decision:

► Traced the tangled series of delays that is the state’s system. (Prior posts on that system here, here, and here.) Only 13 of the more than 900 persons whom California jurors have sentenced to death since 1978 have been executed, Judge Carney wrote. The typical time between sentence and execution is 25 years. The judge thus renamed the sentence (his emphasis): “life in prison, with the remote possibility of death.”

► Reiterated U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stewart Potter’s insistence in Furman v. Georgia, the 1972 decision that set in motion a 4-year moratorium on the death penalty, that the Constitution

‘quite simply cannot tolerate the infliction of a sentence of death under legal systems that permit this unique penalty to be so wantonly and so freakishly imposed.’

The ruling recognized that the Court, in Gregg v. Georgia (1976), permitted states to reinstate modified death penalty systems. Even so, Judge Carney wrote:

In the 40 years since Furman, the Supreme Court has never retreated from that fundamental principle.

► Applied the principle to the case at hand, ruling that California’s system is so arbitrary as to serve no proper penological purpose. The judge focused not just on the defendant who must endure a condemned life on death row, but also on jurors who must go through “horrific” evidentiary proceedings to no ultimate end, on victims and  survivors denied “some semblance of moral and emotional closure,” and on “the citizens of the State” of California, who must endure the broken “promise” of retribution that accompanies the imposition of a death sentence.

California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris was reported to be considering the state’s next move in this litigation.

 

In World War I video, timeless scenes of armed conflict’s tragic consequences

refugeechildrenww1Seldom do we see footage made during the 20th C.’s 1st global conflict. That fact makes especially valuable these images, from a 3-minute video of scenes from World War I, which began 100 years ago this summer and continued for another 4 years thereafter.medalgirlww1

As one might expect, the video includes battle scenes, trench warfare, aerial combat, and torpedoes fired at sea. There are images of bombed-out homes and bereft refugees, evidence of war’s effects refugeecoldww1on civilians. And as these screenshots indicate, there are scenes of children and war: Children made to play the part of soldiers. Children stunted by starvation. Child refugees, shivering in an unsheltered winter. childrenww1

Kudos to European Film Gateway and the United Nations for this sad reminder of how little some things change.