The electronic version of the Official Journal of the European Union has heretofore not been legally valid; a status reserved for the print version. A proposal was drafted to "ensure better access to the law by enabling everyone to rely on the electronic version  as being official, authentic, up-to-date, and complete." The Council has been formally invited to adopt the proposal, and "the Regulation shall enter into force on the first day of the fourth calendar month following its adoption." So, we look forward to the e-version of the Official Journal of the EU to be legally valid in the near future.
Georgetown Law Library Blog
Entries Tagged as International
March 05, 2013 · Andrew Stamm
July 27, 2012 · Esther Cho
The U.S. signed the Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances on June 26th, 2012. This treaty is the first multi-lateral treaty since 1996 to protect the intellectual property rights of audiovisual performers, such as TV or film actors. Though the treaty has been signed by 48 countries, the treaty will not come into force until it has been ratified by 30 members.
July 06, 2012 · Andrew Stamm
The month of July sees New York and the UN host a global arms treaty negotiation, which could result in the first binding treaty to regulate the global arms market. While there is a general consensus that some global controls are needed, there is disagreement about specifics. One major issue is that the major weapons producers, which include the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (the US, Russia, China, Britain, and France) plus Germany, have an economic interest in a robust global arms trade.
Armstreaty.org brings us a database which provides information about countries' positions on the specific issues addressed in the treaty. Especially helpful are the maps, which for any specific issue (e.g. ammunitions) show which countries strongly support, mildly support, or oppose the inclusion of that issue in the treaty. Information can also be viewed by country.
June 20, 2012 · Marylin J. Raisch
Irene Berkey, International and Foreign Law Librarian at Northwestern Law, has today posted an announcement of a project that has been in the works and is now launched. It is a free database with superb references to primary law and human rights reports. This will be of great benefit to researchers, both academic and practicing, in the area of international human rights law. See her description below, which nicely details the features of the database:
"The Death Penalty Worldwide (http://www.deathpenaltyworldwide.org), a research project based at Northwestern University's Center for International Human Rights, provides up-to-date analysis on the law and practice of capital punishment for every country in the world that retains it. The centerpiece of the website is a searchable database which tracks, among other information, the offenses for which the death penalty may be imposed, ratification of relevant international treaties, national and international jurisprudence, methods of execution, death sentence and execution statistics, decisions of international human rights bodies, the availability of legal aid, and recent domestic developments with regard to capital punishment. This extensive data is searchable by country, region, offense, or any combination of the above topics. The website also provides links to research resources and thematic summaries of the main international legal issues relevant to capital punishment. The goal of Death Penalty Worldwide is to provide reliable, current legal analysis and information on the death penalty to scholars, activists, practitioners and journalists around the world."
May 31, 2012 · Andrew Stamm
In the “blood diamond” case, former Liberian president Charles Taylor was sentenced to 50 years in prison. His was the first conviction of a head of state by an international tribunal since the Nuremberg trials that followed WWII. He was found guilty by the joint Sierra Leone and UN Special Court for Sierra Leone last month of 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The court is located in The Hague.
Taylor is 64, and if his entire sentence is carried out, he will likely spend the rest of his life in prison. The court is required to set a specific sentence; it cannot prescribe the death penalty or life imprisonment. Taylor is expected to appeal the sentence.
Justice Lussick who read the judgment in court noted that while Taylor’s convictions were for aiding and abetting the commission of crimes and that jurisprudence of the Special Court and related tribunals “holds that aiding and abetting as a mode of liability generally warrants a lesser sentence than that imposed for more direct forms of participation,” Taylor’s leadership role “puts him in a class of his own.” Two rebel commanders tried earlier were sentenced to 50 and 52 years respectively.
In their sentencing, the judges took in to account his good behavior while in detention, while apparently ignoring other mitigating factors proposed by the defense such as his age and health.
April 26, 2012 · Andrew Stamm
Liberia's former President Charles Taylor was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity Thursday by the Special Court for Sierra Leone. The court was formed in 2002 to address the UN Security Council’s “deep concern at the very serious crimes committed within the territory of Sierra Leone against the people of Sierra Leone and United Nations and associated personnel and at the prevailing situation of impunity.” The trial was held in The Hague because conducting the proceedings in Sierra Leone itself was deemed potentially too destabilizing for West Africa.
Taylor was found guilty on 11 counts, including murder, conscription of child soldiers, rape and sexual slavery. He was tried for supplying weapons to the brutal rebel group Revolutionary United Front (RUF) during Sierra Leone's bloody civil war, which ended in 2001. In return, the rebels supplied him with raw diamonds, so-called blood diamonds.
The court found Taylor guilty of "sustained and significant" support for the rebels who committed the various atrocities, although it found him not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of ordering those abuses himself. The trial lasted 5 years and a sentencing hearing is scheduled for late May where Taylor could face life imprisonment.
Taylor is the first African head of state to be tried in an international court and the first former head of state to have a judgment brought against him since the Nuremburg trials that followed WWII. But, another former African head of state, Laurent Gbagbo of Ivory Coast, is now awaiting trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC), which is also located in The Hague.
April 10, 2012 · Marylin J. Raisch
Today the Chamber judgment of the ECHR came down in the case of Babar Ahmad and Others v. United Kingdom, application
nos. 24027/07, 11949/08, 36742/08, 66911/09 and 67354/09, dated 10 April 2012. This case concerns six alleged international terrorist detained in the UK, including the often-publicized case of Mustafa Kamal Mustafa (also known as Abu Hamza), The main points of the decision include the following:
"...no violation of Article 3 [of the European Convention on Human Rights (prohibition of inhuman and degrading treatment) of
the European Convention on Human Rights as a result of conditions of detention at ADX
Florence (a “supermax” prison in the United States) – if Mr Ahmad, Mr Ahsan, Mr Abu
Hamza, Mr Bary and Mr Al-Fawwaz were extradited to the USA; and,
no violation of Article 3 of the Convention as a result of the length of their possible
sentences if Mr Ahmad, Mr Ahsan, Abu Hamza, Mr Bary and Mr Al-Fawwaz were
Issues of conditions in detention after trial under death penalty and life- without- parole circumstances have been controversial in European human rights case law (protocol no. 6 of the European Human Rights treaty abolished the death penalty). It is important to note that this judgment is not final because there is a further procedure, with time limits, for referral to a Grand Chamber, which may take up the referral for further examination and final judgment, or decline to do so, making this decision the final one. The court considers, but is not bound by, its precedents. The treaty, formally known as the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, and its protocols, are posted at the Treaty Office of the Council of Europe.
March 27, 2012 · Andrew Stamm
P.R.I.M.E. Finance (Panel of Recognized International Market Experts in Finance) was created in January to offer a dispute resolution choice for financial products, especially complex ones like derivatives. This forum seeks to improve on the older dispute resolution options because it has neutrality (which could be lacking in national courts) as well as subject matter expertise (which could be lacking in other arbitration fora). It also offers the increased speed typical of arbitration.
The P.R.I.M.E. Finance Arbitration Rules are based on the 2010 UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules although the do contain a number of modifications. The rules retain the confidentiality of the parties which is common to arbitration and which makes arbitration popular. But, the rules also allow excerpts of awards to be published without the parties’ consent in order to develop a body of law for future use. This is relatively novel in international commercial arbitration.
March 14, 2012 · Esther Cho
On March 14th, 2012, the International Criminal Court (ICC) decided its first verdict. Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, the former president of the Union of Congolese Patriots, was found guilty of conscripting and enlisting children under the age of 15 and making them actively participate in hostilities within the meaning of articles 8(2)(b)(xxvi), 8(2)(e)(vii), and 25(3)(a) of the Rome Statute. The Chamber, consisting of three judges, found Mr. Dyilo guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of these crimes.
The summary of the judgment is available here. The full judgment is available here. The ICC is an independent permanent criminal court established and governed by the Rome Statute, which came into force July 1, 2002.
January 31, 2012 · Marylin J. Raisch
The proposed Treaty on Stability, Coordination, and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union was finalized on Monday, January 30, 2012. All member states signed on except the United Kingdom and the Czech Republic. After the informal summit the European Council set out the plan for its becoming law as follows:
"The treaty will be signed in March and will enter into force once it has been ratified by at least 12 euro area member states. It will be legally binding as an international agreement and will be open to the EU countries which do not sign it at the outset.
The aim is to incorporate it into EU law within five years of its entry into force."
Controversy surrounding the agreement and various related proposals has the Greek debt crisis as its focus. The EUtopia Blog is one free source (major UK papers and the Financial Times of course provide extensive analysis) with good discussion of the issues.