Call for papers on UN & international law-making, for 2014 AALS meeting

UNMy colleague, Vermont Law Professor Stephanie Farrior, Chair of the Section on International Law of the Association of American Law Schools, has put together a great lineup for the 2014 AALS annual meeting in New York – and she seeks an additional speaker to round out the panel.

The title for the section’s panel will be “International Law-Making and the United Nations.” Already set to speak on that topic at the meeting, set for 8:30-10:15 a.m. Friday,  January 3, are:

Mahnoush Arsanjani, whose 3-decade career in the U.N. Office of Legal Affairs included stints as Director of Codification, as Secretary of the International Law Commission, and as Secretary of the Committee of the Whole of the Rome Conference on the Establishment of the International Criminal Court.

► International Law Commission member Marie Jacobsson, who’s the 3d woman ever to be appointed to this 65-year-old U.N. body. Also the Principal Legal Adviser on International Law at the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Jacobsson serves as the ILC’s Special Rapporteur on the protection of the environment in relation to armed conflicts.

Kimberly Prost, UN Security Council Ombudsperson for the Al Qaida Sanctions Committee and also the Head of the Legal Advisory Section, Division of Treaty Affairs, U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime. Prost is a former judge of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

aalsLogoThe section further invites eligible law faculty members to e-mail manuscripts or detailed abstracts addressing “any of numerous issues in United Nations law-making, including players, processes, or practices” to international@vermontlaw.edu no later than the deadline of September 10, 2013. Full call for papers is here.

Lovely art, missed lesson at Neue Galerie

neueNEW YORK – Art from fin de siècle Vienna has been a favorite since my semester study abroad in Austria. The taut pull of multiple styles gives energy to the paintings and prints – even the pillows – produced by Schiele, Kokoschka, et al. With good cause these artists professed to have seceded from the staid traditions of the Austro-Hungarian imperial past.

It was thus with great anticipation that I visited the Neue Galerie, opened a dozen years ago just up 5th Avenue from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Neue’s dedicated to showcasing the Vienna Secessionists’ works. “Showcase” is indeed the word, for the art is displayed amid the lustrous appointments of a circa-1914 mansion.

The art did not disappoint. Especially stunning were the golden, otherworldly portraits of the women of Klimt‘s world. Among the most famous is the one at top, of socialite Adele Bloch-Bauer – a painting I had admired years ago at an Austrian national museum.

In 2006 that museum handed the 1907 portrait over to Maria Altmann, the Bloch-Bauer niece who fought for years to reclaim it and other artworks looted from her family when the Nazis overtook Austria. As lawyers well know, a watershed in her struggle came in 2004, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 8-1 against Austria’s contention that sovereign immunity shielded it from Altmann’s lawsuit. That holding set the stage for the 2006 arbitral award of 5 looted Klimts to Altmann, and for her sale of Adele to the Neue Galerie. (In 2011,  Altmann, then 94 years old, died at her Southern California home.)

My visit to Neue thus brought some disappointment. The judicial story was not to be found in the exhibit, nor even in a gift shop children’s book that purported to trace Adele‘s provenance. At least for this lawyer, that absence seemed a missed opportunity to show that even in the world of art, law may serve justice.

Georgia shoutout & more @ Power hearing

Samantha_Power_White_House_PhotoSurprised to read, in testimony prepared for a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing yesterday, that the nominee to become the United States’ Permanent Representative to the United Nations claims Georgia as her home – so much so that the state’s 2 Senators, both Republicans, were tapped to present her nomination to their colleagues. Samantha Power said:

‘I would also like to thank Senator Chambliss and Senator Isakson for their generous introductions. Growing up as an Irish immigrant in Atlanta, Georgia, I cannot say that the United Nations was a popular topic with my classmates at Lakeside High School. But it was in Georgia, while working at a local television station, that I witnessed footage of the horrible massacres in Tiananmen Square and resolved that I would do what I could the rest of my life to stand up for American values and to stand up for freedom. My Georgia friends supported me every step of the way, and I am now very proud to count these two great public servants among them.’

Power’s testimony then moved to her views on the significance of the United Nations in today’s world. Not long ago, I predicted that 5 principles, articulated in her most recent book and detailed in my prior post, would inform the approach of Power (above) to U.N. matters. (photo credit) Her prepared testimony provided a partial confirmation of that. Aspects of those principles were evident in the “three key priorities” she cited in her testimony. To be precise: consistent with the previously mentioned principles, 2 priorities focused on:

  • Efficiency and effectiveness as markers of legitimacy
  • Dignity, defined in part by promoting human security

Prefacing these was another priority, one of:

  • U.N. fairness

Notably this priority, stated 1st in yesterday’s testimony, dwelt mostly on what Power characterized as a practice by which the United Nations’ “General Assembly and Human Rights Council continue to pass one-sided resolutions condemning Israel above all others.”

Proposals sought for November Athens conference on “Africans & Globalization”

imagesAfricans and Globalization: Contents and Discontents is the theme of a 3-day international conference to be held here in Athens from November 13 to 15, 2013. Sponsoring the event is the University of Georgia African Studies Institute, a quarter-century-old interdisciplinary unit I’ve just been invited to join as an affiliated faculty member.

The principal conveners, Georgia Professors Ibigbolade Aderibigbe (Religion) and Karim Traore (Comparative Literature), seek proposals for papers and panels to be presented by “academicians, independent scholars, policymakers, and graduate students” who are “working in Africa, the African diaspora, the United States, and other parts of the globe.” They write:

‘Various definitions notwithstanding, globalization refers to the increasing interconnections of societies worldwide. Globalization appears to entail interactions that are not country or continent-bound; moreover, they alter the social, economic, cultural and political existence of participants in different ways.’

Among the questions to be considered:

‘How has globalization (recent and historic) affected Africans (from the continent and the diaspora)?’

Within the overall theme, papers and panels may relate to any number of disciplines, including law. Here’s the conveners’ list:

‘Language, Literature & Film – Political Systems – Sustainable Agricultural and Environmental Development – Social Studies – Anthropology/Sociology – Religion/Philosophy – Education and Knowledge Transmission – History – Medicine and Healthcare Systems – Musicology – Legal and Judicial Systems – Science and Technology – Family, Household & Community – Sports and Recreation’

Abstracts of 500 or fewer words should be e-mailed to asic2013@uga.edu. Deadline for proposals is August 16, 2013.  Full call for papers, with further details on format for proposals and conference registration, is here.

The crime of aggression, viewed through the lens of corporate responsibility

memdFor a number of years now, writings of my colleague Mireille Delmas-Marty have explored the relationships between the globalization of law and the globalization of the economy. Her newest publication proposes to regulate the latter in a way that enhances the former. Specifically, she would criminalize “aggression committed by non-state actors” – read corporations – as a means to encourage states to agree to hold themselves accountable for this international offense.

This provocative suggestion appears toward the end of “Ambiguities and Lacunae: The International Criminal Court Ten Years On,” just published in the Journal of International Criminal Justice by Delmas-Marty, Chair Emerita in Comparative Legal Studies and Internationalisation of Law at the Collège de France in Paris. (photo credit) The essay:

► Begins with “ambiguities” that arise out of the tension between the universalist aspirations of the Rome Statute and the sovereigntist realities of the ICC’s state-based structure.

Among the manifestations of this tension, she writes, is the status of the crime of aggression in the ICC. The international global community, she argues, must not just aim for “restoring peace as a form of reparation, but rather it must seek to establish a long-lasting and sustainable peace.” (p. 557) In her view, states’ Realpolitik must give way to acceptance, by big states as well as small, of the crime-of-aggression amendments adopted at the ICC Review Conference in Kampala, Uganda.

These amendments would regulate only state actors. Entry into force requires ratification by 30 of the ICC’s 122 states parties, as well as an additional state-party vote that may not take place earlier than 2017. As I wrote in A Janus Look at International Criminal Justice (2013), ratifications have been slow in coming. The Rome Statute had secured nearly all the requisite 60 ratifications within the 3 years following its adoption; in contrast, as of today, 3 years after the Kampala Conference, only 7 states have ratified the crime-of-aggression amendments. A new addition, Germany, merits particular note not only because of its history, but also because of its status as a large-power NATO member. Yet as Delmas-Marty writes in her JICJ article, most states seem to remain “[r]eluctant to transfer to international judges the power to qualify acts of aggression.” (p. 558)

► Shifts to exploration of “lacunae” (pp. 558-61). Of particular concern to Delmas-Marty is the status of globalized nonstate economic actors vis–à–vis the ICC. Citing Nuremberg-era cases involving industrialists, such as IG Farben, Flick, and Krupp, she states:

‘Corporate criminal involvement in international crimes did not end with the Second World War.’

Sometimes, she continues, “corporations are involved in the commission of serious crimes …. And yet, the Rome Statute does not contemplate the criminal responsibility of legal persons ….” Especially when corporations bear responsibility for fueling logs-of-war-promo2-view-1.599.307.sconflicts through “alliances with warlords in order to obtain scarce resources (such as diamonds, gold, timber or oil),” (photo credit) Delmas-Marty urges amending the Rome Statute to hold nonstate economic actors accountable for aggression:

‘By first outlawing armed conflicts commenced by criminal organizations,  the resistance of states could be overcome with the purpose of recognizing a global community whose interests are pursued  by all in the name of a sovereignty that, rather than being solitary, is grounded on solidarity. Following such an approach, international criminal justice could perhaps apply not only to the vanquished but also to the victors. In other words,  to the major powers themselves.’

These are ambitious goals. Even at Nuremberg, industrialists were convicted of aggression solely in the Krupp trial, and that result was reversed  on review. (See here.) Still, Delmas-Marty’s article provokes thought on how to hold to account both state and nonstate authors and agents of atrocities.

New leader named for UN Women

zileCome August, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women – the 3-year-old agency better known as UN Women – will have its 2d Executive Director. She’s Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka (left), formerly a Deputy President of South Africa. (Prior IntLawGrrls post on her, by Naomi Norberg, here; posts on UN Women here.) (photo credit)

On Wednesday, Ban Ki-moon, the U.N. Secretary-General, announced that he’d appointed Mlambo-Ngcuka to succeed UN Women’s 1st Executive Director, Michelle Bachelet, who’s seeking election to a new term as Chile’s President. Ban’s announcement underscored Mlambo-Ngcuka’s work on behalf of women, including her role in setting up the 5-year-old Umlambo Foundation, which “provide[s] support to schools in impoverished areas in South Africa through mentorship and coaching for teachers and in Malawi through school improvements with local partners.”en

At Peace Palace, the Women of the ICJ

Women of the ICJ2
Further to Cymie Payne’s excellent IntLawGrrls post regarding ongoing oral hearings before the International Court of Justice in Whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v. Japan: New Zealand intervening) (webcasts and transcripts available here; prior post here):

Cymie cites among the “great international litigators” on the case Laurence Boisson de Chazournes (below), a professor of international law at the University of Geneva. Also well worth mentioning, of course, is the work done on this case by the jurists depicted above – the Women of the ICJ. ICJ Judge Xue Hanqin of China stands at left. At right is ICJ Judge Julia Sebutinde of Uganda; next to her, ICJ Judge Joan E. Donoghue of the United States. laurenceBetween Donoghue and Xue is ICJ Judge ad hoc Hilary Charlesworth, an Australian National University international law professor (not to mention an IntLawGrrls contributor). They flank the portrait of the ICJ’s first woman member, Rosalyn Higgins of Great Britain. She began service as an ICJ Judge in 1995– four years after the publications of a milestone article in which Charlesworth et al. decried the absence of women on that bench. Higgins was the ICJ’s President from 2006 until her retirement in 2009.

(With thanks to Don Anton for forwarding the featured group photo)