Silence Is Not Golden

In December of 2010, the Netherlands passed legislation to implement the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. This change permits the prosecution of perpetrators as a crime against humanity and removes any statute of limitations. Newly caught up in this web is Jorge Zorreguieta, former Deputy Agriculture Minister for Argentina during the Videla regime. He served during a time when forced disappearances were at their zenith. To date he has refused to say anything about what happened during this period of the Dirty War. The irony is that Mr. Zorreguieta is the father of Princess Maxima, wife of the heir apparent to the Dutch throne. Read the report from Radio Netherlands Worldwide.



Impact of Piracy on Africa

The Institute for Security Studies reports that sub-Saharan Africa is beginning to feel the economic effects of piracy that is now taking place off both coasts of the African continent. The Institute forecasts that continued threats to ship traffic will eventually force shippers to seek alternatives through the Panama Canal or utilize the risky but better secured sea lane through the Suez Canal. The Institute anticipates that continued disruption of international shipping will have a devastating effect on African natural resource exports.


Targeted Killing

The debate still rages both within and outside the Obama administration on the increased use of targeted killing by drones and specials operations teams and their legality within the ambit of international law. John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, weighed in on the topic at an important address given at Harvard Law School. Read the text here.


International Cyberspace Policy

This past year the Obama administration inaugurated a strategy for cyberspace under the title International Strategy for Cyberspace: Prosperity, Security, and Openness in a Networked World. This publication outlines the administration’s evolving policies on the economic, social, and political considerations that should govern the Internet going forward. The international law implications of this new policy are discussed in an ASIL Insight by David Fidler.


The Road to Libyan Democracy

The contours of a post-Qadhafi government have been the subject of a number of commentators and media presentations over the past few weeks. Weighing in on this subject are two important international organizations, the Public International Law & Policy Group and the International Crisis Group. Considerations shared by both organizations include security and reconciliation.


Creating New States and Governments

Recent articles have highlighted the role of recognition in international relations. The case of the Libyan National Transitional Council has presented a delicate diplomatic question for a number of states and a perceptual question for the public. What exactly does the recognition of a successor government mean in international law? An article by Stefon Talmon unpacks this issue in a recent ASIL Insight. Similarly, the upcoming debate in the United Nations regarding the recognition of Palestinian statehood poses yet another dilemma for the Quartet (US, UN, EU, and Russia) and member states of the Security Council and the General Assembly. What rights and obligations would the UN extend if it were to elevate Palestine from observer status? This is the subject of a great ASIL Insight by John Cerone.


UN: Which Version of Palestine for Statehood?

This coming September will present an interesting conundrum for consideration by the new session of the United Nations General Assembly. If it votes on the question of Palestinian statehood, which version of Palestine will it consider? Will it be the Gaza Strip dominated by Hamas; the West Bank controlled by Fatah; or some aggregation of Gaza, the West Bank plus the additional lands reflecting the 1967 borders? Which of these entities has any standing in law? An interesting article in the Foreign Policy Magazine blog by Steve Rosen highlights the upcoming dilemma with the UN action now close at hand.


States Act to Restrict the Use of International and Foreign Law

Aaron Fellmeth reports in a recent ASIL Insight on the state legislative trend to propose bills or constitutional amendments which would limit the use of international or foreign law in state courts. Since 2010 over half the state legislatures have undertaken such action and the trend continues. The author discusses the constitutional implications and other problems associated with these initiatives.


Research Help from the American Society of International Law

ASIL makes a number of research tools available on their site. Free sources include EISIL, an electronic database of primary materials, authoritative web sites and research guides about international law, ERG, a collection of substantive guides to eleven international law topics, and ILEX, database of US court cases and legal materials that apply or interpret international law. One can also search an index to ASIL publications, and retrieve the full text of ASIL reports about International Organizations.


Preserving Our Natural Heritage: CITES and CoP15.

The 15th Conference of the Parties for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora was held in Doha, Qatar. This treaty seeks to ensure the survival of our flora and fauna through trade regulation mechanisms. Over 30,000 specimens are protected by this treaty. High on the list of concerns for this session are proposals to ban trade in polar bears and an additional ban on the commercial harvesting of bluefish tuna, a delicacy in Japan that can bring over $100,000 per fish. The conference took place from March 13th through March 25th. The website includes agendas, recommendations, working documents and proposed texts.