GEO student Zack Lindsey publishes in Global Atlanta

geo2University of Georgia School of Law second-year student Zack Lindsey published an article in Global Atlanta about his experience this summer working in Ghana.

Ghana

During his Global Externship Overseas, or GEO,  Zack spent approximately two months in Accra working with Women in Law and Development in Africa. His work focused on the implementation of the Ghanaian Domestic Violence Act of 2007; he was responsible for helping set up a volunteer court watch program, training volunteers on the law, and conducting court surveys. He describes this work as “a key issue for Ghana” because of high rates of spousal abuse, but low rates of conviction under the Act.

global atlantaZack is one of twenty Georgia Law students who participated in the GEO initiative this summer. His article in Global Atlanta, a partner organization of the Dean Rusk International Law Center, draws parallels between the challenges facing victims of domestic violence seeking redress in Ghana to Georgia.

Defense lawyer in GTMO USS Cole bombing case to speak at Georgia Law

“Guantánamo, Torture and Terrorism” is the title of the lunch-hour talk that Rick Kammen, lead defense counsel in a leading U.S. Military Commission case, will present tomorrow, October 10, in Room A-120 Hirsch here at the University of Georgia School of Law.

Kammen represents Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri (above right), a Saudi national charged with capital offenses stemming from the bombings in October 2000 bombings in a Yemeni harbor of the Navy destroyer USS Cole and the French oil tanker MV Limburg. As listed in a Miami Herald report, charges include:

“perfidy, murder in violation of the law of war, attempted murder in violation of the law of war, terrorism, conspiracy, intentionally causing serious bodily injury, attacking civilians, attacking civilian objects, and hazarding a vessel.”

Al-Nashiri was arraigned in a courtroom at the U.S. military base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, in 2011. Litigation since then has concerned not only the allegations against him, but also the circumstances of his detention and interrogation. According to the Miami Herald report:

“He is one of three former CIA captives the U.S. spy agency has admitted to waterboarding during his secret custody.”

Kammen (right), a U.S. Army veteran, earned his J.D. from New York University School of Law in 1971. A name partner in a criminal defense law firm in Indianapolis, Indiana, his specialties include death penalty defense.

Sponsoring the talk is the law school’s Dean Rusk International Law Center, whose Director, Kathleen A. Doty, twice has observed GTMO proceedings in United States v. al-Nashiri as a representative of the National Institute of Military Justice.

Georgia Law Professor Larry D. Thompson, Independent Compliance Monitor in VW fuel emissions matter

A University of Georgia School of Law professor is overseeing compliance reforms by Volkswagen AG, following the global automaker’s recent sentencing in a criminal case arising out of its fuel emissions tests.

The professor is Larry D. Thompson, holder of the  John A. Sibley Chair of Corporate and Business Law and a member of the law school’s Dean Rusk International Law Center Council, teaches Corporate Responsibility, White Collar Crime Business Crimes. He is also Counsel at Finch McCranie LLP in Atlanta. His distinguished career includes service as Deputy Attorney General of the United States, as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, and as General Counsel of PepsiCo.

Thompson was named Independent Compliance Monitor in the VW matter in April, pursuant to a settlement by which a U.S. District Court judge in Detroit accepted VW’s plea to three felony counts: conspiracy to defraud the United States by engaging in wire fraud and violating the Clean Air Act; obstruction of justice; and importing merchandise via false statements. VW agreed to a fine exceeding $4 billion, and also to oversight by the Independent Compliance Monitor.

At the time, the company issued the following statement, by Hiltrud Werner, Board Member of Integrity and Legal Affairs, from its headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany:

“Volkswagen welcomes the appointment of Larry D. Thompson to this new position, and we intend to cooperate fully with his important work.”

Since then, Thompson has assembled the team of lawyers he will lead in this work.

Alum Jon Smibert, U.S. Justice attaché in E. Europe, honored for public service

A distinguished University of Georgia School of Law alumnus, Jon R. Smibert (JD 1996), has been honored as one of the United States’ top federal employees. The honor was celebrated this month at a breakfast at the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C.

Smibert serves as Resident Legal Advisor for the U.S. Department of Justice at the U.S. Embassy in Tirana, Albania. As reported in the Washington Post, he is one of 26 finalists for a 2017 Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal, also known as a “Sammie,” awarded by the Partnership for Public Service. Smibert is a finalist in National Security and International Affairs; the medalwinners will be chosen later in the year.

In addition to this U.S. recognition, Smibert recently received a medal from  from the President of Albania. In that country, he has worked to assist in overhauling the legal system, with the particular aim of reducing public corruption. Smibert helped to redraft about a third of Albania’s constitution and more than a dozen statutes. Innovations included vetting requirement for judges and prosecutors, as well as establishment of a Constitution-level body dedicated to investigating and prosecuting corruption.

Of Smibert’s work, Donald Lu, U.S. Ambassador to Albania, said:

“A lot of Albanians consider him a hero. The Albanian prime minister has called this ‘the most important reform since the fall of communism. Jon Smibert has a real passion for what he does, not only for representing the U.S., but in making Albania better.”

Before his posting in Albania, Smibert served in Pristina, Kosovo. In addition to helping to establish independent prosecution offices and to draft Kosovo’s Criminal Procedure Code, Smibert helped to launch the Kosovo Specialist Chambers, a war crimes court that sits at The Hague in the Netherlands.

Smibert began his career as a federal prosecutor in Atlanta, Georgia, and later in Cleveland, Ohio. His publications include a 240-page book, Principles of Evidence (2014).

“Highly recommended”: Professor Chapman on “Due Process Abroad”

Due Process Abroad is the title of the timely manuscript that Nathan S. Chapman (right), an Assistant Professor here at the University of Georgia School of Law, has just posted at SSRN. At the influential Legal Theory Blog, Georgetown Law Professor Lawrence Solum has given his “highly recommended” recognition to this study of the extraterritorial application of the Due Process Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

The manuscript, which forms part of our Dean Rusk International Law Center Research Paper Series at SSRN, may be downloaded here.

Here’s the abstract:

Defining the scope of the Constitution’s application outside U.S. territory is more important than ever. This month the Supreme Court will hear oral argument about whether the Constitution applies when a U.S. officer shoots a Mexican child across the border. Meanwhile the federal courts are scrambling to evaluate the constitutionality of an Executive Order that, among other things, deprives immigrants of their right to reenter the United States. Yet the extraterritorial reach of the Due Process Clause — the broadest constitutional limit on the government’s authority to deprive persons of “life, liberty, and property” — remains obscure.

Up to now, scholars have uniformly concluded that the founding generation did not understand due process to apply abroad, at least not to aliens. This Article challenges that consensus. Based on the English historical background, constitutional structure, and the early practice of federal law enforcement on the high seas, this Article argues that the founding generation understood due process to apply to any exercise of federal law enforcement, criminal or civil, against any person, anywhere in the world. Outside the context of war, no one believed that a federal officer could deprive a suspect of life, liberty, or property without due process of law — even if the capture occurred abroad or the suspect was a non-citizen.

This history has important implications. It strongly supports the extension of due process to federal criminal and civil law enforcement, regardless the suspect’s location or citizenship. This principle has immediate implications for cross-border shootings, officially sponsored kidnappings and detentions abroad, the suspension of immigration benefits, and the acquisition of foreign evidence for criminal defendants.

Georgia Law alumnus, Professor Javier Dondé, returns as Visiting Scholar

We at the Dean Rusk International Law Center are delighted this week to host a distinguished Visiting Scholar: University of Georgia School of Law alumnus, Dr. Javier Dondé Matute.

He earned his LL.M. degree from Georgia Law in 1998, and is now a Professor of International Criminal Law at Instituto Nacionale de Ciencias Penales (National Institute of Criminal Sciences – INACIPE, for short) in Mexico City, Mexico.

He’ll be resident at our Center all week, pursuing his sabbatical research on the post-World War II trials at Nuremberg. Additionally, he’ll present a work in progress, entitled “Criminal Responsibility as a Founding Principle of International Criminal Law,” this Wednesday, March 15, as part of our International Law Colloquium Series led by Georgia Law Professor Harlan G. Cohen.

Professor Dondé has written and published widely on issues such as international criminal law, comparative criminal law, human rights, and extradition; his books include Derecho penal internacional (Oxford University Press 2008). He also has served as an adviser to Mexico’s Supreme Court and to various other judicial, prosecutorial, law enforcement, and human rights agencies. He is a member of the editorial boards of two leading Latin American law reviews, the Revista Iberoamericana de Derechos Humanos and the Anuario Mexicano de Derecho Internacional.

In addition to his Georgia Law LL.M., Professor Dondé holds a Ph.D. in international and comparative criminal law from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, and completed his undergraduate studies at Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM).

¡Bienvenidos!

Distinguished jurist Pillay discusses state sovereignty, human rights

duo“The biggest violators of human rights are states themselves, by commission or omission.”

This quote by Navi Pillay aptly summarized her talk on “National Sovereignty vs. International Human Rights.” Pillay, whose renowned legal career has included posts as U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and as a judge on the International Criminal Court and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, spoke this morning at the University of Georgia School of Law Atlanta campus.

Elaborating on the quote above, Pillay decried national legislation aimed at restricting the activities – and with it the effectiveness – of local nongovernmental organizations. Such anti-NGO laws already have passed in Russia and are pending in Pillay’s home state of South Africa, among other countries. That said, she welcomed new means of speaking law to power; in particular, social media that permit human rights advocates to reach millions. Also welcomed were accountability mechanisms that the United Nations has developed in recent decades, such as Universal Periodic Review by the Human Rights Council, reporting processes of treaty bodies, and reports by special rapporteurs.

amann_pillayI was honored to give welcoming remarks at the breakfast. Georgia Law’s Dean Rusk International Law Center, which I lead, cosponsored this Georgia WILL event with the World Affairs Council of Atlanta and Georgia State University’s Global Studies Institute. (We owe special thanks to Judge Dorothy Toth Beasley for her hospitality this week.)

Conversing with Pillay was World Affairs Council President Charles Shapiro. They began by speaking of Pillay’s childhood in Durban, where she grew up the daughter of a bus driver. She spoke of how testifying as a 6-year-old in the trial of a man who’d stolen money from her helped spark her desire to become a lawyer – and how donations from her community helped make that dream a reality.

Shapiro then asked about capital punishment, noting a scheduled execution. Pillay acknowledged the absence of any universal treaty outlawing the death penalty, but found evidence of U.N. opposition both in the decision not to permit the penalty in U.N. ad hoc international criminal tribunals and in the growing support for the oft-repeated U.N. General Assembly resolution calling for a moratorium on capital punishment.

“It started with just 14 states against the death penalty, and is now more than 160,” said Pillay, who currently serves on the International Commission against the Death Penalty.

img_0335On this and other issues, she said, advocates endeavor to encourage states first to obligate themselves to respect and ensure human rights, and then to implement the undertakings they have made in this regard:

“The United Nations was formed by states. It is a club of governments. Look how steadily they have adopted treaties and agreed to be bound by them. That doesn’t mean we are transgressing sovereignty.”