Archived Issues

Newsletter 2010/11 (Nov)

News & Events

Call for Papers
3rd Biennial Conference of the Asian Society of International Law 2011
Asia & International Law: A New Era
Beijing, People’s Republic of China
Application deadline: 1 December 2010
The Third Biennial Conference of the Asian Society of International Law will be held in Beijing, People’s Republic of China, on Saturday and Sunday, 27 and 28 August 2011. The Conference will provide a forum for a wide ranging and in-depth exploration of the major international law issues confronting the peoples of Asia and the international community more generally. Click here for more information on the conference.

Call for Submissions
Asian Journal of International Law
The first issue of the Asian Journal of International Law (AsianJIL) will be published by Cambridge University Press in January 2011. The Journal is now soliciting submissions for future issues. Articles should be between 8,000 and 12,000 words (excluding footnotes) and be submitted exclusively to the AsianJIL, with publication subject to double-blind peer-review and editorial discretion.

For details on style and the submission process, as well as information on how to subscribe, visit For enquiries, please email

Call for Papers
8th Asian Law Institute Conference 2011: Law in a Sustainable Asia
Kyushu University, Japan
Application deadline: 7 January 2011
The Asian Law Institute (ASLI) and the Faculty of Law, Kyushu University, Japan are pleased to call for papers for the 8th Annual ASLI conference, which will be held in Fukuoka, Japan on the 26 and 27 May 2011. Click here for details on the call for papers and the conference.

Call for Papers
4th European Society of International Law Research Forum
International Law and Power Politics: Great Powers, Peripheries and Claims to Spheres of Influence in International Normative Order
Tallinn, Estonia
Application deadline: 15 December 2010
The 4th European Society of International Law (ESIL) Research Forum –  International Law and Power Politics: Great Powers, Peripheries and Claims to Spheres of Influence in International Normative Order – will take place from 27 to 28 May 2011 in Tallinn, Estonia. Please click here for more information.

12th Annual International Maritime Law Arbitration Moot Competition
Singapore, 1-5 July 2011
The Murdoch University School of Law and the National University of Singapore Faculty of Law are pleased to invite your law school to compete in the 12th International Maritime Law Arbitration Moot Competition. The Competition will be hosted in Singapore from 1 to 5 July 2011.
Click here for details on the competition.

NUS Law School Post-Doctoral Fellowships
August 2011 to July 2012
Application deadline: Friday, 31 December 2010
As Asia’s Global Law School, the Faculty of Law of the National University of Singapore (NUS) is committed to fostering research and teaching excellence among young legal scholars. It is now, therefore, inviting applications for the position of Post-Doctoral Fellow for the academic year beginning August 2011 till July 2012.
Please click here for more details.

All correspondence should be addressed to Professor Stephen GIRVIN, Vice Dean, Research and International Programmes. Email:

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.


Regular features


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 .

AsianSIL Membership
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. As the AsianSIL website is currently undergoing some upgrading, interested persons are requested to sign up for membership from October 2010.

Asia and International Law
Developments and news pertaining to Asia in various areas of IL 

Environmental Law
Nations agree on historic UN pact on sharing benefits of world’s genetic resources (UN News, 29 October 2010)
After nearly two decades of debate, state parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in agreed on a new United Nations treaty to manage the world’s genetic resources – from animals to plants and fungi – more fairly and systematically. The new protocol to the Convention inked in Nagoya, Japan, at the end of October will set up an International Regime on Access and Benefit Sharing of Genetic Resources which will lay down basic rules on how nations cooperate in obtaining genetic resources.

The new Nagoya Protocol will outline how benefits – for example, from when a plant’s genetics are turned into a commercial product, such as medicine – will be shared with countries and communities who conserved and managed that resource, in some cases for millennia. It also lays out rules on how substances and compounds derived from genetic resources will be dealt with, as well as on the issue of pathogens, including how developed countries could obtain a flu virus in emergency situations to develop a vaccine to counter a possible epidemic. Governments also adopted a new strategic plan that included targets for addressing biodiversity loss by 2020.

Human RightsUN terror resolutions under scrutiny (UPI, 28 October 2010)
Martin Scheinin, the UN Special Rapporteur on civil liberties in criminal law, has said the obligations imposed on member states under Security Council Resolution 1373 are "quasi-legislative". Intended as a response the U.S. terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, it calls on member states to share intelligence on terrorist groups and urges members to adjust national law to address terrorism. The measure, however, did not offer a definition of terrorism and conferred powers beyond the legitimate scope of the Security Council, hence threatens international human rights standards. Scheinin argued that the Security Council should instead adopt a different resolution that would organize counter-terrorism provisions and the duties of member states under a singular framework.

UN chief says not too late for 'credible' Myanmar transition (Channel News Asia, 29 October 2010)
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called upon Myanmar to release all political prisoners to smoothen the way to national reconciliation. Ban said, "ASEAN and the United Nations agree on the need for a credible, democratic transition and national reconciliation in Myanmar. It's not too late even now. It is a chance for the authorities to signal... that they are open to real change, and that they are ready to depart from an untenable status quo.” Myanmar has been trying to deflect a barrage of criticism over the upcoming polls on 7 November by telling his regional counterparts this week that Suu Kyi may be freed after the vote.
The Philippines and Indonesia at the sidelines of the 17th ASEAN Summit in Hanoi from 28-30 October have taken Myanmar to task for continuing to keep Daw Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest. They demand that she be freed before the elections.

International Criminal Law – Cambodia rebuffs UN chief on Khmer Rouge (AP, 28 October 2010)
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen will not allow the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) to prosecute former low-ranking officers of the genocidal regime of the Khmer Rouge because it would endanger national peace. Hun Sen made this statement during his meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on his visit to Cambodia. The ECCC’s first judgment was in July when Kaing Guek Eav (Duch) was convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The second case is expected to start next year against the four top surviving Khmer Rouge leaders, who are accused of war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity. International co-prosecutors at the tribunal have tried to launch the third against lower-ranking officers accused of murder, torture, and other crimes but progress has allegedly been blocked by political interference from Cambodian officials who oppose more prosecutions on the grounds of national security. Critics accuse Hun Sen of trying to limit the tribunal's scope to prevent his political allies from being indicted. Hun Sen once served as a Khmer Rouge officer and many of his main allies are also former members of the group.

International Economic Law ­– Asia-Pacific chair: Aid for Trade crucial for economic recovery (WTO News, 26 October 2010)
The Chair of the Regional Technical Group (RTG) on Aid for Trade in Asia Pacific, Secretary of State, Pan Sorasak of the Ministry of Commerce of Cambodia, reported to WTO members the alarming figure of as many as 900 million people in the Asia-Pacific living on less US$1.25 a day. Alongside big states like China and India are 37 lesser developed countries which face the problems of being land-locked with large trading costs; or being isolated small islands or being large with weak trade capacity and lagging competitiveness; and still others are fragile states with political instability. Sorasak exhorted that for these states to overcome their difficulties, the RTG was working on three broad tasks: first, to provide an informal regional forum on Aid for Trade issues; second, to build partnerships among all the key players in the initiative and apply best practices for Aid for Trade projects; and third, it was helping to formulate an integrated approach to operationalize Aid for Trade over the medium-term.

International Organisations – Trust placed in UN World Court vital for promoting rule of law, says top judge (UN News, 28 October 2010)
The President of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Judge Owada Hisashi, in presenting the ICJ’s annual report [UN Doc. A/65/4 (2010)] before the General Assembly, voiced appreciation for the trust states placed in the principal judicial organ of the United Nations for settling a wide variety of legal disputes. Judge Owada said that this reflected the importance given to the rule of law.

Law of Armed Conflict (IHL)The role of States in prosecuting violations of international humanitarian law (ICRC, 26 October 2010)
The Third Universal Meeting of National Committees for the Implementation of International Humanitarian Law in Geneva from 27-29 October has two main goals in clarifying the role of States in prosecuting war crimes. The first is to bring together all national committees to promote discussion and the sharing of experiences and best practice. The second is to strengthen the role of the national committees in implementing international humanitarian law domestically, especially as far as criminal punishment is concerned. Cristina Pellandini, head of the ICRC's Advisory Service on International Humanitarian Law, stated that the necessary first step toward fulfilling the obligation to prosecute and punish serious violations is to enact national legislation penalizing the conduct prohibited under international humanitarian law. Any process incorporating criminal offences into domestic law should grant domestic courts jurisdiction over the crimes.

Law of the SeaBinding ASEAN-China code to prevent Spratlys conflict (GMA News, 31 October 2010)
At the 17th ASEAN Summit in late October, China and ASEAN decided to discuss a legally binding “Code of Conduct in the South China Sea" to thwart military aggression in the area  surrounding the controversial Spratly islands. China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Brunei laid claim to territorial waters in the South China Sea. The Code is a “bolder step" than the non-binding Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (2002). The ASEAN and Chinese leaders will continue to draft the guidelines for the implementation of the Declaration while working towards the eventual conclusion of the Code.

U.S. and China Soften Tone Over Disputed Seas (IHT, 12 October 2010)
At the October meeting of ASEAN defence officials in Vietnam, the US Defence Secretary Robert Gates urged the states sharing the use of the South China Sea to renounce threats or coercion in resolving their competing claims of sovereignty over transit lanes, fishing rights, territory, and undersea resources. The central theme of Gates’ comments was that “competing claims should be settled peacefully, without force or coercion, through collaborative diplomatic processes and in keeping with customary international law”. He stated that the US did not take sides in these disputes and did not specifically name China as the perceived aggressor. Liang Guanglie, the Chinese Defence Minister, assured his counterparts that China’s defence development was “not aimed to challenge or threaten anyone, but to ensure its security and promote international and regional peace and stability” because China’s defence policy was “defensive in nature”.


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