ASIL

fergusonCHICAGO – Within the rich program of the just-concluded American Society of International Law Midyear Meeting was a discovery. A discovery for me, at least, regarding an important milestone in ASIL’s century-plus history.

I have written before about women who blazed trails in the Society since its founding in 1906. Among several notables is Dr. Alona Evans, the Wellesley political science professor (and mentor of then-student Hillary Rodham) who was elected ASIL’s first woman president in 1980. Evans, who died in office the same year, would be followed by other women: Georgetown Law professor Edith Brown Weiss (1994-1996) Anne-Marie Slaughter (2002-2004), now president of the New America thinktank, Freshfields partner Lucy Reed (2008-2010), and, since the spring of this year, Columbia Law Professor Lori Fisler Damrosch.

I’ve also written about Goler Teal Butcher, Howard Law professor, U.S. State Department diplomat, and Amnesty International activist. Butcher, an African American woman, was friend, mentor, and inspiration to many; indeed, the Society named its human rights medal after her. (See here and here.)

I have not written about the Society’s first (and only) African American president, however. There is a simple reason for that omission: though I have seen the full list of past ASIL presidents, I did not learn until this ASIL’s Midyear that one of them, C. Clyde Ferguson Jr., was a person of African American heritage. He is pictured at top; photo credit.

Credit for my discovery belongs to Blacks in the American Society of International Law – BASIL – a task force that held its formative session at the Chicago meeting. The first component of President Damrosch’s inclusion initiative, BASIL is designed to affirm and expand the tradition of black international lawyers, jurists and academics in the United States. It is co-chaired by ASIL Honorary President Gabrielle Kirk McDonald, whose career includes service as a judge on the U.S. District Court, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal, along with Adrien K. Wing, the Bessie Dutton Murray Professor of Law at the University of Iowa. I’m honored to serve as a member of this task force, along with Elizabeth “Betsy” Andersen, Angela Banks, Bartram Brown, Donald Francis Donovan, Jeremy Levitt, Makau Mutua, Natalie Reid, Henry Richardson, and Edith Brown Weiss.

As preparation for our inaugural session, BASIL co-chairs distributed, among other things, a 1994 essay written in memory of Ferguson. Born to a pastor’s family during the Depression, he was barred from attending college in his home state on account of race. Ferguson was graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School and hired as that school’s first African American law professor – for a long time, according to the essay, he was Harvard Law’s “only full-time minority professor.” A human rights scholar, activist, and diplomat, Ferguson served inter alia as dean of Howard University School of Law and as U.S. Ambassador to Uganda. Professor Butcher and he frequently collaborated on issues related to southern Africa.

Elected ASIL’s president in 1978, Ferguson was succeeded two years later by Professor Evans. The fact that the Society chose two pathbreaking leaders in a row is noteworthy. Indeed, it calls out for a legal historian to asil_logoplumb this pivotal moment in ASIL’s history. One hopes that BASIL, alone or in conjunction with WILIG, the Society’s Women in International Law Interest Group, will answer that call.

Kudos to my Georgia Law colleague Harlan G. Cohen for organizing what promises to be a superb conference on “International Law as Behavior,” a daylong presentation of papers that will lead to a same-named essay volume. Convened by the University of Georgia School of Law and the International Legal Theory Interest Group of the American Society of International Law, this book workshop will be held November 13, 2014, at Tillar House, the ASIL headquarters at 2223 Massachusetts Avenue N.W., Washington, D.C.

PrintHere’s the description:

[T]he workshop will bring together scholars working at the cutting edge in a variety of different fields, including constructivist international relations theory, anthropology, behavioral law and economics, organizations theory, social psychology, and sociology to discuss how these approaches can best be applied to the study of international law, how these approaches can complement both each other and positivist and rationalist accounts, the opportunities and challenges of working across these fields, and the development of a common language and tools to study how international actors actually behave, how their rationality is bounded by psychology, how they operate as members of groups and recipients of culture, and how they write and follow organizational scripts.

The conference has a stellar lineup. Set to take part, in addition to Harlan and another Georgia Law colleague, Timothy L. Meyer, are: Elena Baylis, University of Pittsburgh; Tomer Broude, Hebrew University; Adam Chilton, University of Chicago; Sungjoon Cho, Chicago-Kent; Martha Finnemore, George Washington University; Jean Galbraith, University of Pennsylvania; Derek Jinks, University of Texas; Ron Levi, University of Toronto; Galit Sarfaty, University of British Columbia; and Kathryn Sikkink, Harvard University.cd3fd-asil_logo

Details here.

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.

In addition to seeking new leaders, as described in a post last week, the American Society of International Law welcomes nominees for various ASIL honors:
Manley O. Hudson Medal, given in recognition of scholarship and achievement in international law.
Goler T. Butcher Medal, given in recognition of outstanding contributions to the development or effective realization of international human rights law. (As blogreaders well know, IntLawGrrls honors Butcher as a transnational foremother, and one recent medalist, Gay McDougall, is an IntLawGrrls contributor.)
ASIL Honorary Member, an award given in recognition of a non-U.S. citizen who has rendered distinguished contributions or service in the field of international law. (Last year’s recipient was International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, another person who has contributed to IntLawGrrls blog.)

These honors will be awarded at the Society’s 109th Annual Meeting, to be held April 8 to 11, 2015, in Washington, D.C. Recipients will be selected by the Society’s Executive Council, on the nomination of the 2013-14 Honors Committee, wich is composed of chair Meg Kinnear (Secretary-General, International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes) and members Joel Hernández (Ambassador; member of Inter-American Juridical Committee), James Leitner (President, Falcon Management Corporation), Michael Posner (New York University), Lucy Reed (Partner, Freshfields, and past ASIL President), and Peter Tomka (President, International Court of Justice).

Questions may be directed to ASIL’s Honors Committee via the Office of the Executive Director of the Society, by contacting Lara Townzen at awardsandhonors@asil.org.

Nominations should be submitted via the online form available here. Deadline is August 15, 2014.

This year’s Nominating Committee of the American Society of International Law seeks a few good leaders.
Specifically, it seeks, from among its members, nominees – including self-nominees – to stand for election for a number of leadership positions, to be filled at the Society’s 109th Annual Meeting, set for April 8 to 11, 2015, at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill, 400 New Jersey Ave, N.W., in Washington, D.C. (Note: Deadline in the call for Annual Meeting proposals detailed here has been extended to the end of this month.)
ASIL’s immediate past President, Donald Francis Donovan (Debevoise & Plimpton), will chair the committee, whose members include Andrew Guzman (California-Berkeley), Karen Bravo (Indiana-Indianapolis), Rosemary Barkett (Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal), David Bowker (WilmerHale), and, as an alternate, Elizabeth Andersen, the longtime ASIL Executive Director who soon will become Director of the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative.

According to the ASIL notice, “The Committee will seek to nominate those who have evidenced a willingness to contribute time and effort to the work of the Society, while endeavoring also to enhance the diversity of the Society’s leadership.” The Committee will be guided in its decisions by the Society’s Guidelines, available here, which the Committee advises every candidate and prospective nominator to review.  Positions are:

President-Elect: The term will be for 1 year; then, in April 2016, the President-Elect will be expected to succeed incumbent President Lori Damrosch, and so to serve a 2-year term as President. In keeping with tradition of alternating between practitioners and academics, it’s anticipated that the 2015 President-Elect will be drawn from among the Society’s practitioner members.
Vice Presidents: To be filled are 2 vacancies (an academic and a practitioner) for this position  – which carries a 1-year term, usually renewed once. Vice Presidents generally take the lead in overseeing a major ASIL activity or program.
Executive Council: To be filled are 8 vacancies on the Council, ASIL’s chief governing body. Members convene as a group twice a year, at the Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., and at the traveling Midyear Meeting (this year, in Chicago). They serve 3-year terms and are expected to provide leadership to one or more of ASIL’s programs or activities.
Counsellors: To be filled are up to 8 vacancies, each for a 3-year term. Counsellors are nonvoting members of the Executive Council, who attend the Council meetings and are “chosen from from among the more senior members of the Society.”

Deadline for nominations is August 8, 2014; details on how to nominate here.

asil_logoIt’s time again to help plan the Annual Meeting of the American Society of International Law. The next one – the 109th annual, themed “Adapting to a Rapidly Changing World” – is set for April 8 to 11, 2015, at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill, 400 New Jersey Ave, N.W., in Washington, D.C. Already hard at work are the Program Committee members, co-chaired by Professor Monica Hakimi of Michigan Law, Debevoise & Plimpton lawyer Natalie Reid, and Arnold & Porter lawyer Samuel Witten. Seeking session proposals, they write:

‘For better or worse, international law is confronting a period of profound change. Geopolitical developments—in particular, new assertions of economic, political, or military power by countries like Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa—have simultaneously aggravated latent territorial disputes and created the potential for unprecedented economic integration. Advances in technology have enabled cyber-conflicts and forged new tools for governmental coercion or control, while also facilitating the dissemination of information. Shared environmental challenges have presented new causes of human suffering or conflict, as well as new possibilities for global cooperation and assistance. And the increased role of non-state actors in international affairs has made more vocal the still unfulfilled demands on, for example, the universal recognition of the human rights of LGBT persons, the responsibilities associated with corporate conduct, and the protection of people from mass atrocities.’

Organizers seek session proposals answering a range of questions related to this theme. Examples:

► Are the existing international legal regimes capable of meeting these challenges or will new regimes be required?
► Through what processes can we expect international law to adapt, and how might new norms emerge in the face of persistent disagreements or holdout problems?
► How is the legal order responding as the world moves from a unipolar system dominated by the United States to a more multipolar system?
► What is the role or relevance of international law where it might be unable to resolve global issues?

The detailed call for submissions, which must filed online no later than June 27, 2014, is here.

Note too that paper submissions for the 4th  Annual ASIL Research Forum, subject of an earlier post, are due very soon: June 8, 2014.

asil_logoProposals are being sought for scholarly papers to be presented at the 4th Annual American Society of International Law Research Forum, set to take place during the Society’s Midyear Meeting, November 6 to 8 in Chicago. This year’s Research Forum Co-Chairs, Northwestern Political Science Professor Karen J. Alter and Berkeley Law Professor Katerina Linos, write:

‘Papers can be on any topic related to international and transnational law and should be unpublished (for purposes of the call, publication to an electronic database such as SSRN is not considered publication). Interdisciplinary projects, empirical studies, and jointly authored papers are welcome.’

Interested scholars should submit abstracts of up to 1,000 words, using the online submission form, no later than June 8, 2014. Authors, whose papers will have been selected by a blind review process, will be notified by mid-July, and required to submit a draft paper 4 weeks before the Forum.

ASIL members interested in serving as discussants should e-mail submissions@asil.org.

wiliguseWASHINGTON – The President of the International Court of Justice spoke for a banquet room full of women and men yesterday when he said, “I am just here to share in the joy of my colleagues.” The colleagues of whom ICJ President Peter Tomka spoke were Judges Joan E. Donoghue, Julie Sebutinde, and Xue Hanqin. The three women received the Prominent Women in International Law Award during the Women in International Law Interest Group luncheon, a highlight of every American Society of International Law annual meeting. As a special treat, retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor dropped in to congratulate what she called “the women’s division” of the World Court bench.

Each of the honored judges made brief but inspiring comments.

Judge Donoghue, a career U.S. State Department lawyer before she joined the ICJ in September 2010, focused her comments on gender disparity in international law. In a recent three-year period, “93 percent of the arguments judges of the ICJ heard came from men,” Donoghue said, citing “A Study of Lawyers Appearing before the International Court of Justice, 1999-2012,” a forthcoming European Journal of International Law article by Cecily Rose and Shashank Kumar. In calling for greater diversity, Donoghue reasoned:

‘We are a world court, and international law in the main is for the world.’

Flashing a broad smile, Judge Xue said, “Indeed, this is a great honor and privilege to receive this award. It’s really like an higgOscar.” Xue, a former diplomat and law professor in China, is senior to Donoghue on the court by a few months. She recalled two women who had preceded both of them – Dame Rosalyn Higgins (right), whose service from 1995 to 2009 included abastid term as the ICJ’s President, and Suzanne Bastid (left), an ad hoc judge in the 1980s. Xue said:

‘Today we have so many women on the court not because today women are so much more intelligent, but because many international lawyers, men and women – I want to stress, men and women – have fought so hard for women’s rights.’

She accepted her award “as a tribute to all women legal professionals working in the field of international law, in recognition of their dedication to international peace and development.”

Having three women on the bench, Judge Sebutinde said, “is indeed a pinch-yourself moment for me.” Sebutinde’s pre-ICJ career included service as a judge in her homeland of Uganda and on the Special Court for Sierra Leone. Sebutinde thanked her colleagues Donoghue and Xue, stating, “I don’t think I would even have had the courage to apply if they were not there.” Sebutinde urged the court to increase public outreach. It is particularly important in her own region: “It is no secret I come from eastern Africa where there has been a lot of conflict for decades. The first thing that nations think of for settling their differences is war. It is never the International Court of Justice. So it’s a great responsibility, especially for judges who come from Africa, to sell the court to our part of the world.”

Adding their own words were audience members  – judges, law students, law professors, law librarians, and practicing lawyers – who took part in WILIG’s introduce-yourself tradition. Among them was International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, who recalled that as a young girl in Gambia, she had felt “helpless” after trying in vain to get police to protect a relative who was suffering domestic violence. “That is why I went to law school,” Bensouda said, and added with reference to her current work, “There must be accountability for those crimes, those who perpetrate those crimes. There must be rule of law.” Meanwhile, Washington-based attorneys Lucinda Low and Jennifer A. Hillman (a former member of the World Trade Organization Appellate Body) urged “constant vigilance” to ensure that once earned, gains in women’s participation are maintained.

A University of California-Davis Law student who hails from Kazakhstan summed up the celebratory spirit. Aigerim Dyussenova, known to her new WILIG friends as Aika, proclaimed:

‘This is the happiest day of my life.’

(In photo at top by Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, WILIG Co-Chairs Clara Brillembourg – a cardboard cutout of Eleanor Roosevelt behind her – and Christie Edwards address the luncheon audience. Looking on are, from left, Judges Xue Hanqin, Joan E. Donoghue, and Sebutinde, along with Justice O’Connor. Cross-posted at IntLawGrrls and ASIL Cables)

eventWASHINGTON – Yesterday I had the honor of serving as Distinguished Discussant for the 16th Annual Grotius Lecture, a keynote event at the ongoing joint meeting of the American Society of International Law and the International Law Association. Delivering the lecture was NYU Global Law Professor Radhika Coomaraswamy, whose former posts include Special Representative of the U.N. Secretary-General on Children & Armed Conflict and U.N. Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women. (event video here) Her talk was entitled “Women and Children: The Cutting Edge of International Law.”

Below is a version of my remarks in response, prepared and delivered in my personal capacity. The final, fully footnoted article is set to appear in due course, along with that of Professor Coomaraswamy, in the American University International Law Review, thanks to the lecture’s cosponsor, American University Washington College of Law.

The Post-Postcolonial Woman or Child

“‘Let the child be excused by his age, the woman by her sex,’ says Seneca in the treatise in which he vents his anger upon anger.” So wrote the namesake of this lecture, Hugo Grotius, in his masterwork entitled The Law of War and Peace. With this 60862quotation, “Let the child be excused by his age, the woman by her sex,” Grotius traced to the writings of an ancient Roman philosopher the injunction against harming women and children in time of war. Grotius’ reiteration of Seneca’s words tacitly admitted that as late as 1625, armies still were violating the injunction. Sadly, the same is true 389 years later. Today neither women nor children are excused from wartime assaults, violence, and upheaval. In Syria alone, three years of conflict have left well over 100,000 persons dead, and forced another 2.5 million persons to flee their country. Women and children are included in those statistics. Conflicts elsewhere generate similarly grim numbers, as Professor Coomaraswamy indicated by her references to the Central African Republic, to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and to her own homeland of Sri Lanka. Indeed, outrage at the persistent violation of laws protecting women and children undergirds the Grotius Lecture that we have just heard.

Commensurate with her distinguished career in international law academia, policy, and practice, Professor Coomaraswamy has presented a vast and intricate tapestry of global developments. It would be impossible for me to comment in full in the time allotted. Instead, I propose to pull five strands out of the fabric of her lecture and to weave them anew, as a means to invite the imagining of a possible future, that of “the post-postcolonial woman or child.”
My first strand addresses Professor Coomaraswamy’s statements of concern about postcolonial theorists prevalent in the global south. These scholars, she said,

‘reject the human rights framework as part of the ‘liberal’ ‘imperialist’ project especially when it comes to cultural practices. … [They] rejec[t] the dominance of the European Enlightenment and the sacredness of the power of reason.’

My response might raise hackles among some of those scholars, for it begins with this claim: We are all postcolonials now.

By way of example, both of my own countries of citizenship are postcolonial states. Read Full Article

bbIt’s my great pleasure to announce the publication of the American Society of International Law Benchbook on International Law (2014). This represents the culmination of several years of hard work by 4 dozen contributors, international law scholars and practitioners alike. We’ve benefited greatly from advice of the ASIL Judicial Advisory Board, composed of one member from each federal circuit and several state supreme courts, chaired by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. It has been an honor to serve as the Benchbook‘s Editor-in-Chief.

As detailed in the Preface, the Benchbook is intended as an aid to judges and litigants when foreign or international law (including treaties and customary norms) forms a part of the case before them.

It will be demonstrated at the joint meeting of ASIL and the International Law Association this week in Washington, D.C. — to be precise, as part of ASIL’s Annual General Meeting, which begins at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, April 10, in Polaris Room A/B at the Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center, on Pennsylvania Avenue a few blocks from the White House. (Full meeting program here.) We will give a brief demonstration and extend heartfelt thanks to all who contributed; all are welcome to attend.

The Benchbook appears online here. Readers will find the Preface and, by clicking the Table of Contents tab, the contents of this 2014 edition. Included are our dedication to the memory of David J. Bederman, followed by these units:

► Primer (International Law Defined; Sources and Evidence of International Law; Uses of International Law in U.S. Courts)

► Preliminaries (Jurisdiction; Immunities and Other Preliminary Considerations; Discovery and Other Procedures)

► Specific Topics (International Arbitration; International Law Pertaining to Families and Children; International Sale of Goods; International Air Transportation; Human Rights, comprising Alien Tort Statute, Torture Victim Protection Act, Human Trafficking, and Non-refoulement or Nonreturn; Criminal Justice; and Environment)

► Resources (Judicial Interpretation of International or Foreign Instruments; Research Resources)

Clicking on any of the above chapters will give you the pdf version of that segment of the Benchbook. If you would like to access and download the 356-page Benchbook as a whole, you may do so here.

In order to make the volume as user-friendly as possible (until our eventual transfer to html with hypertexting), we have cross-referenced throughout all chapters, and further provided several means to locate information:

Summary Table of Contents

Detailed Table of Contents

Tables of Treaties, Cases, Laws, and Scholarly Writings, along with a Keyword Index

You will see toward the end that the Benchbook includes a list with short biographies of each contributor. (The book benefited as well from the help of my colleagues and students at the University of Georgia School of Law  – Kaitlin M. Ball, but also Kent Barnett, Harlan Cohen, Erika Furlong, and the super staff at the Alexander King Campbell Law Library.)

The book also includes acknowledgments. These cannot begin to express our deep thanks to all of you for ASIL members’ support of this multiyear project. Going forward, we hope to keep the Benchbook current with periodic updating, and also to make it a hands-on training tool for judges and their staffs. We welcome members’ help in those endeavors.