Newsletter 2010/8 (Aug)
News & Events
Call for Submissions
Indian Journal of International Economic Law
Submissions are invited for the following categories: full length articles (10,000-12,000 words); case reviews, legislative analyses, short comments and short articles by 'qualified graduate and doctoral students (7000-8000 words); Law in Focus and Case Comments by practitioners (3000-5000 words). For more information on the Editorial Board, circulation policy, and submission guidelines, kindly refer to <www.ijiel.com>. All submissions may be e-mailed to <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
The NUS Centre for International Law (CIL) ASEAN Documents Database
The ASEAN Documents Database is a free, user-friendly, internet resource of selected ASEAN and International Law Documents. More than 200 selected ASEAN documents and 170 International Law documents are now included in the database. Please click here to access the database.
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 – Clinton Urges Legal Resolution of South China Sea Dispute (Media-Newswire.com, 26 July 2010)
Sovereignty disputes over the Spratly and Paracel island chains, which are potentially rich in natural resources, have pitted China against some of its neighbours, including Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines. Although the United States does not take sides in the territorial disputes in the South China Sea, United States Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says the Obama administration wants claimants to pursue their disputes in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea rather than through coercion.
The Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi has responded, saying that attempts to internationalize the issue would "only make matters worse and resolution more difficult," and that "international practices show that the best way to resolve such disputes is for countries concerned to have direct bilateral negotiations”.
International humanitarian law, peace and security – First Khmer Rouge Sentence (VOA, 3 August 2010)
The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, or ECCC, a United Nations-backed court, found Duch, the former head of the Khmer Rouge's notorious Tuol Sleng prison, guilty of crimes against humanity, grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions, and other crimes. The court sentenced Duch to 35 years in prison for overseeing the torture and killing of more than 12,000 people. His prison term was reduced by 5 years to compensate for a period of illegal military detention, and he will receive credit for the 11 years he has already spent in prison from the time of his initial arrest in 1999.
The ECCC is expected to reconvene later this year to start proceedings against other former Khmer Rouge leaders. 4 surviving members of the top Khmer Rouge leadership are accused of crimes against humanity and war crimes. These 4 defendants include Ieng Sary, 84, who was foreign minister; his wife Ieng Thirith, 78, who was minister of social welfare; Nuon Chea, 84, known as Brother No. 2; and Khieu Samphan, 78, who served as head of state during the regime. Their trial is scheduled to begin in early 2011. However, it is uncertain if further prosecution will actually occur as the ECCC faces two challenges. The first being a budgetary shortage, and the second, the Cambodian government’s constant opposition to the ECCC.
Landmark cluster bomb treaty takes effect (AFP, 2 August 2010)
The 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, ratified by 37 countries and signed by 107, has come into effect as of 1 August 2010. The International Committee of the Red Cross president, Jakob Kellenberger, stated, “We hope that the entry into force will also affect the practice of states that have not yet adhered to the treaty.” China, Russia, the United States and Israel are among those that have rejected the treaty. The big military powers that have not signed up are thought to hoard and manufacture the bulk of the munitions, although the data is secret.
Reports of fresh recruitment by Nepalese army and Maoists spark UN concern (UN News Centre, 3 August 2010)
The United Nations mission in Nepal (UNMIN) has expressed deep concern at reports that both the national army and the Maoist army plan to begin recruiting new people, which would constitute a violation of the 2006 peace pact that ended the country’s decade-long civil war. UNMIN has written to the Government and the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoists (UCPN-M), advising them “to respect past agreements and to act in this matter with good faith”.
Environment – New UN climate change chief rallies governments to step up action (UN News Centre, 2 August 2010)
Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), has urged governments to continue building common ground to further progress on climate change in her first address as head of the UNFCCC since taking over from Yvo de Boer last month. The latest round of international negotiations kicked off in Bonn this week and the next round of talks is slated to take place in Tianjin, China, in early October, weeks before the start of the Cancun conference.
Human rights and development – UN Human Rights Council unveils panel to probe deadly interception of Gaza flotilla (UN News Centre, 23 July 2010)
The United Nations Human Rights Council has announced the names of the three experts who will serve on a fact-finding mission to investigative violations of international law resulting from Israel’s interception of a flotilla of aid ships bound for the Gaza Strip, which led to the deaths of nine civilians. They are Judge Karl T. Hudson-Phillips of Trinidad and Tobago, Sir Desmond de Silva of the United Kingdom and Mary Shanthi Dairiam of Malaysia. Judge Hudson-Phillips served as a judge on the International Criminal Court (ICC) between 2003 and 2007, Sir Desmond was the Chief Prosecutor at the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) in 2005 and Ms. Dairiam has been a member of UN Development Programme’s (UNDP) Gender Equality Task Force since 2007. The three experts will now map out their plan of action and contact all relevant parties before they travel to the region. The panel is then expected to report on its finding to the Council at a session in September.
Trade and investment – WTO backs China in US poultry case: Chinese media (AFP, 30 July)
The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has ruled in China's favour in a dispute with the United States over imports of Chinese chicken, state media reported Thursday. China's commerce ministry has received the final ruling from the WTO, which is expected to come into effect soon and help open up the US market for China's finished chicken breast exports, the China Daily said. A ministry official confirmed to AFP that China had received the WTO ruling, but declined further comment. Beijing had earlier said that Washington was breaching international trade rules through several measures including an appropriations bill, which it says result in a complete ban on imports of Chinese poultry. The WTO set up a panel in July last year to examine the complaint following China's request.
International organizations – Kosovo: UN envoy stresses need for dialogue to resolve outstanding issues (UN News Centre, 3 August 2010)
Lamberto Zannier, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the UN mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), told the Security Council that efforts to properly resolve issues between Belgrade and Pristina — the respective capitals of Serbia and Kosovo — had been hindered by the 22 July advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the legality of Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia. The ICJ had concluded that the February 2008 declaration did not breach either general international law, Security Council resolution 1244 adopted in 1999 following the end of fighting in Kosovo, or the constitutional framework that was adopted by the Secretary-General’s Special Representative on behalf of UNMIK. In giving its advisory opinion, the ICJ had expressly limited itself to the question whether Kosovo’s the declaration of independence was in accordance with international law and not whether “Kosovo had achieved statehood” (para.51). Zannier emphasized that Serbia and Kosovo should now engage in constructive dialogue to resolve outstanding issues for the stability and the development of the region. He also noted that the UN’s preliminary legal assessment is that the opinion does not affect the status of UNMIK, or its status-neutral policy.