Newsletter 2009/3 (Mar)
News & Events
Submission of Proposals for the Venue of the Third Biennial Conference of the AsianSIL
Deadline: Friday, 15 May 2009
The AsianSIL secretariat invites the submission of proposals for the Third Biennial Conference. Proposals and any queries should be emailed to Ms. TAN Hsien-Li by Friday, 15 May 2009. All submissions should contain the following information:
Details of the host organization being proposed;
A list of individuals to serve on the planning committee;
A proposed conference schedule, including proposed conference dates (in this regard please note that the Executive Council meeting of the AsianSIL and Second Biennial Conference is being held in Tokyo from 31 July to 3 August 2009);
Proposed keynote speakers, including each speaker’s biography;
A description of the facilities at which the conference will be held.
The secretariat will contact all proposers after the Executive Council has met in Tokyo.
NUS Law School-AsianSIL Conference on Sovereign Wealth Funds: Governance and Regulation
Call for Papers
Singapore, 9-11 September 2009
The National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Asian Society of International Law (AsianSIL) are pleased to invite applications to attend the NUS Law School-AsianSIL Conference on Sovereign Wealth Funds: Governance and Regulation. This will be held at the NUS Law School in Singapore from Wednesday to Friday, 9-11 September 2009.
Please click here for more details.
Directory of International Law Practitioners in Asia
AsianSIL members who would like to be listed on the directory of international lawyers in Asia for networking opportunities and possible project collaborations among AsianSIL members should denote their areas of interest and email email@example.com .
Membership of the AsianSIL is open to any person or institution that has an interest in and respect for international law and supports the objectives of the Society.
Please click here to join the Society. To update membership particulars, please email firstname.lastname@example.org .
Asia and International Law
Developments and News Pertaining to Asia in Various Areas of IL
Law of the Sea – Defense Ministry urges U.S. to respect China's security concern (Xinhua, 11 March 2009)
Following the alleged harassment of the US Navy surveillance ship, Impeccable, in the international waters of the South China Sea by Chinese vessels earlier this month, China's Defense Ministry spokesman Huang Xuepin has refuted the US’ claims saying that the Impeccable was conducting illegal surveying activities in China's exclusive economic zone (EEZ), violating the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Law on the Exclusive Economic Zone and the Continental Shelf of the People's Republic of China, and the Regulations of the People's Republic of China on the Management of Foreign-related Marine Scientific Research. China has since sent a maritime patrol ship within its EEZ in the South China Sea for maritime surveillance and fishery protection.
Last month, Vietnam, Taiwan and China had vociferously criticized the new Philippines’ baseline law which staked formal claim to the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.
International Criminal Law/Hybrid Tribunals – S21 child barred as civil party (Phnom Penh Post, 20 March 2009)
Norng Chunphal, 39 years old, believed to be a child survivor of the S21 detention centre will be excluded as a civil party in the trial of Kaing Guek Eav (“Duch”) beginning 30 March 2009 due to his missing the application deadline in February. Although the presiding judge has discretionary powers of extending the deadline, Norng Chunpal’s reason for late application – lack of accessibility due to his working in a rural area – was deemed insufficient as the ECCC’s publicity campaign was wide-reaching. Norng Chunphal has now been added onto the civil parties' witness list as the next “best solution”. However, it remains up to judges as to whether he will be called upon during the trial.
Environment – Asia climate policy on track despite recession, polls (Reuters, 11 March 2009)
Despite the serious challenges posed by the slowing global economy to improving environmental practices, Asia remains committed to pursuing clean energy. Indonesia, India and China in particular back investments which help them gain significant carbon credits. The accelerating effects of climate change have also strengthened international resolve to ink a new environmental framework – the Copenhagen Protocol – this December to replace the Kyoto Protocol that expires in 2013. However, while all countries are supportive of implementing tough measures, there remains the “North-South” divide on how to share the huge costs of switching to cleaner fuels and “green” technology.
Human Rights and Development – U.N. warns India against anti-Muslim prejudice (Reuters, 23 March 2009)
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay, has called on India to improve its human rights practices, stating that the counter-terror measures implemented after the November 2008 Mumbai bombings have singled out the Muslim minority community, causing societal rifts. Pillay also castigated the Armed Forces Special Powers Act which allows security forces to open “fire at civilians breaking laws in ‘disturbed’ areas and make arrests without a warrant” as well as the numerous disappearances in the tense Kashmir and Jammu region.
China launches first website on Tibet human rights (Xinhua, 9 March 2009)
The China Society for Human Rights Studies has just launched the website “Tibet Human Rights” at to mark the 50th anniversary of the democratic reform and serfs' emancipation in Tibet. Available in Chinese, English, French and German, this website is meant to inform the public of the significant improvement in Tibet's human rights over the past 5 decades.
Tibetans riot after monk 'disappears' (Sydney Morning Herald, 24 March 2009)
About a hundred monks have been detained by the Chinese police after rioting in La’gyab, Qinghai. The monks were protesting the disappearance of Tashi Sangpo, a Tibetan monk, while he was in detention for replacing the Chinese flag with a Tibetan one at his monastery on March 10. Security has been strictly enforced in the Tibetan region. Telephonic and internet access have been curtailed and tourism discouraged.
International outrage over Tibet has intensified, with South Africa being castigated for denying the Dalai Lama a visa for the South African Peace Conference at the end of March. Similarly, Chinese Taipei has also announced that the time is not right for it to host the Dalai Lama a third time.
Singapore sees Asian human rights compromise (ChannelNewsAsia, 24 March 2009)
Singapore Foreign Minister George Yeo announced in a parliamentary session this week that while the ten Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members remain divided on the details, the ASEAN human rights body (AHRB) will be established by October. He reminded that the enabling document to set up the AHRB will be a "compromise" reflecting the “current state of consensus on human rights in ASEAN at a particular time” as the political diversity of ASEAN remains “a political reality that cannot be wished away".
Jus Ad Bellum and Jus in Bello – U.N. reports say Israel targeted civilians in Gaza (Reuters, 23 March 2009)
The U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, Professor Richard Falk, in presenting his report to the 10th session of the Human Rights Council has found that the Israeli use of force against the Palestinians was “not legally justified given the circumstances and diplomatic alternatives available, and was potentially a crime against peace”. Moreover, the Gaza blockade, targeting of civilians and barring civilian movement out of the war zone were severe violations of the 4th Geneva Convention 1949 on the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War and were likely to be war crimes or even crimes against humanity. Falk has also called for an independent experts group to probe possible war crimes committed by both Israeli forces and Hamas and suggested the establishment of an ad hoc criminal tribunal by the Security Council to enforce the requirements of justice.
Please click here for the full report.
International Organizations – Emerging economies to have more say in IMF after G20 summit (Xinhua, 24 March 2009)
Haruhiko Kuroda, head of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), is confident that considerable reform of International Monetary Fund's (IMF) representation regime will be agreed upon at the upcoming G20 summit on 2 April in London. China, India, Brazil and Russia had earlier demanded more voting rights for developing states at the meeting of G20 finance ministers two weeks ago. Under the current IMF voting quotas, the EU has 32 percent and the US, 17 percent, compared with China's 3.7 percent and India's 1.9 percent. Australia is expected to strongly support China’s bigger role in the IMF.
Trade and Investment – China agrees to increase trade credit at World Bank (Xinhua, 23 March 2009)
The global credit crunch has affected trade and capital flows severely. China is looking help ease the problem and has reached a primary agreement with the International Financial Corporation (IFC) – the private-sector lending arm of the World Bank – on purchasing IFC's private equities to finance trade credit. The amount China will purchase is unknown. China is also open to purchasing bonds of development institutions and is currently studying the prospectuses.
New ASEAN Free Trade Pact Viewed Positively (VoA, 16 March 2009)
After a decade of diplomatic exchange and two years of negotiation, the ASEAN Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement was signed on 27 February at the 14th ASEAN Summit in Hua Hin, Thailand. The trade pact will be fully operational by 2020 and is expected to strengthen Southeast Asia's position in the face of China's growing regional economic influence through improving market access and cutting 96 percent of tariff lines.