“International Law and Global Governance in a Turbulent World” to be explored at Georgia Law-Leuven Centre conference, June 29 in Belgium

“International Law and Global Governance in a Turbulent World” is the title of the daylong conference we’ll be co-presenting later this month at the University of Leuven in Belgium.

Set for Thursday, June 29, 2017, the conference will be held in Auditorium Zeger Van Hee at Leuven’s College De Valk (Law School, pictured below), Tiensestraat 41, Leuven. It is free and open to the public; register no later than June 27 here.

The conference also is a component of the Global Governance Summer School that we at the Dean Rusk International Law Center, University of Georgia School of Law, are presenting in partnership with the Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies at the University of Leuven. Co-Directors are Georgia Law Associate Dean Diane Marie Amann and the Leuven Centre’s Director, Law Professor Jan Wouters. (prior post) Applications for the summer school are still being accepted here.

Here’s the June 29 conference concept:

“This conference aims to discuss some of the main challenges faced by contemporary international law and global governance in a time of crises. The conference starts with an exploration of the main challenges inherent to the enforcement of universal values such as human rights. Unlike in many other fields, legal standards are well-established and are the object of a broad, sometimes even universal consensus. Yet, not a single day passes without more of less grave violations of such standards in one or the other part of the world. The conference will then also focus on the difficulties to come up with a consensus on the rule of law at the global level. Starting from an analysis of the diversity in the ways the rule of law has been understood across time and geography, the conference will address some of the main challenges to the rule of law within the European Union and at the United Nations level. Finally the conference will also address the risks for the emergence of trade wars in a context of rising protectionism. Questions such as the future of multilateral and bilateral trade agreements will be discussed in light of the changes in the US foreign trade policy and the rising skepticism of citizens vis-à-vis further liberalization of international trade.”

These issues will be explored within the following framework:

  • Panel 1: Global Governance of Human Rights. How to enforce universal values in contested world?
  • Panel 2: Global Governance of Democracy and Rule of Law in international perspective.
  • Panel 3: Global Economic and Trade Governance in Protectionist Times. Will we see the emergence of trade wars in the coming years?

A transatlantic array of speakers will take part. Confirmed so far are Georgia Law Professors Diane Marie Amann and Harlan G. Cohen, and from Leuven, Anna-Luise Chané and Dr. Matthieu Burnay, along with scholars from numerous other institutions: Dr. Tom Pegram, University College London, England; Dr. Katrien Meuwissen, European Association of National Human Rights Institutions; Professor Daniela Piana, University of Bologna, Italy; Professor Petra Bard, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary; Professor Laurent Pech, Middlesex University, London, England; Professor Miles Kahler, American University School of International Service, Washington, D.C.; Professor John Kirton, University of Toronto Munk School of Global Affairs, Canada; and Mr. Tomas Baert, Head of Unit, Trade Strategy, European Commission, Brussels, Belgium.

We hope to see you there; more information here and here.

Associate Dean Amann named Spring 2018 Research Visitor and Visiting Fellow at University of Oxford, England

The University of Oxford, England, will host Georgia Law Associate Dean Diane Marie Amann during her research-intensive Spring 2018 semester. In the Hilary and Trinity Terms – March through June – she will be a Research Visitor at Oxford’s Bonavero Institute of Human Rights hosted by the Faculty of Law and a Visiting Fellow at its Mansfield College, where the Institute is based.

Amann joined the University of Georgia School of Law faculty in 2011, taking up the Emily & Ernest Woodruff Chair in International Law. She also has served, since 2015, as the law school’s Associate Dean for International Programs & Strategic Initiatives.

While at Oxford, Amann (right) plans to continue her research on “Women at Nuremberg,” which explores the many roles women played in post-World War II international criminal trials in Europe, as prosecutors, defense counsel, journalists, witnesses, staffers, and defendants.

As a Research Visitor, she also will have the opportunity to take part in Bonavero Institute activities, and will benefit from Oxford’s libraries, seminars and lectures, and other offerings.

The Bonavero Institute was founded in 2016 as a unit of the Oxford Faculty of Law, under the direction of Professor Kate O’Regan, a former judge on the Constitutional Court of South Africa. Construction of the institute building, located at Mansfield College, is expected to be completed in early autumn.

Amann’s research visit in England will follow a January 2018 stint as the inaugural Breslauer, Rutman and Anderson Research Fellow at the Center for Advanced Genocide Research at the University of Southern California Shoah Foundation in Los Angeles.

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!

Pamela Yates’ new Guatemala film “500 Years” to screen at IntLawGrrls conference in March at Georgia Law

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A very special film event will open IntLawGrrls! 10th Birthday Conference, the global gathering we’re very pleased to host this spring.

On the evening of Thursday, March 2, 2017, the conference will begin with a screening of “500 Years,” a documentary about Guatemala. This Athens, Georgia, screening – taking place just weeks after the film’s premiere at the 2017 Sundance Festival – will feature a conversation with its award-winning director, Pamela Yates (below), and producer, Paco de Onís. Yates, who describes herself as “an American filmmaker and human rights defender,” has posted on her work at IntLawGrrls (see here and here), which is celebrating a decade as the pre-eminent international law blog written primarily by women.

yates_pamela“500 Years” concludes a Guatemala trilogy begun with “When the Mountains Tremble” (1983) and “Granito: How to Nail a Dictator” (2011), As described at the Skylight Pictures website:

“From a historic genocide trial to the overthrow of a president, ‘500 Years’ tells a sweeping story of mounting resistance played out in Guatemala’s recent history, through the actions and perspectives of the majority indigenous Mayan population, who now stand poised to reimagine their society.”

On Friday, March 3, 2017, IntLawGrrls! 10th Birthday Conference will continue with the daylong Research Forum at the University of Georgia School of Law Dean Rusk International Law Center.  As introduced in prior posts, this Forum will feature presentations by international law academics, practitioners, and policymakers, plus a plenary panel on “strategies to promote women’s participation in shaping international law and policy amid the global emergence of antiglobalism.”

This IntLawGrrls event is part of the law school’s Georgia Women in Law Lead (Georgia WILL) initiative and of the Global Georgia Initiative of the university’s Willson Center for Humanities and Arts. Additional conference cosponsors include Georgia Law’s Women Law Students Association and International Law Society, the American Society of International Law and ASIL’s Women in International Law Interest Group, and the Planethood Foundation.

Details on the conference are at the webpage containing the call for papers (deadline January 1, 2017).

(Cross-posted from IntLawGrrls. Credit for Skylight Pictures’ photo above, by Daniel Hernández-Salazar; source for photo of Yates)

“The Legacy of Fidel Castro” – upcoming panel Monday, December 5

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I’m pleased to announce that on Monday, December 5, 2016, I’ll be speaking on a panel about Fidel Castro’s legacy. It will take place from 2:00-3:30 p.m. in the Zell Miller Learning Center, Room 213.

Convened by the Latin American and LASCI_PatrickCaribbean Studies Institute and co-history_faculty_04sponsored by the Dean Rusk International Law Center, the panel will also feature professors from several departments at the University of Georgia, including: Reinaldo timsamples_web_portrait_largeRomán from History (left), Susan Thomas from Musicology (left), and Tim Samples from the Terry College of Business (right).s_thomas_preferred

We’ll discuss the legacy, both positive and negative, that Castro leaves behind: universal healthcare, employment, and education, but also international sanctions, and human and kate - Copycivil rights abuses (about which I’ve written, here). In particular, I’ll talk about the legacy of U.S.-Cuban relations as seen through the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo, one of my current topics of research.

Hope to see you there!

 

Sojourn stirs questions about policies in China, Cuba and the United States

Our Center’s Director of Global Practice Preparation, Kathleen A. Doty, is a World Affairs Council Young Leaders Fellow just completing her tour of China. Traveling with her have been eleven others, many from globally minded businesses. This is the last dispatch in Kate’s series of posts on her travels.

4BEIJING – The people of China are warm. They love babies. I quickly found the best way to make a friend was to coo at the child in her arms. They love long meals and good toasts, and have spent centuries mastering the art of hospitality. Being a guest in China is wonderful.

Beijing is a vastly different city than Shanghai. It is old, gritty, artistic. I heard many people say that Beijing was like Washington, D.C., and Shanghai was like New York. I think that it is a shallow comparison, and having lived in both U.S. cities, I disagree.image1

New York is much more than high rises; Beijing is a city alive and rich in a similar way. Of course, this impression has much to do with the organization of our trip; in Shanghai we were taken primarily to government developments, while in Beijing we were taking primarily to private companies and cultural sites. We visited the sleek showroom of Huawei, the Chinese version of Apple, and iQIYI, the Chinese version of Netflix, which exudes a hip imagestart-up vibe. I sipped exotic tea as I strolled through galleries in the profoundly cool 798 Art District, wandered back alleys in Old World neighborhoods, and saw a palace that has been grand since before my own country was founded. When the lights went out in a restaurant at dinner, the servers calmly brought candles to the table and we kept on with the toasts. Beijing was much more what I image2expected to find in China: a mix of the modern and the historical, of wealth and underdevelopment.

Cultural heritage was a theme I pondered throughout the trip. China is old in a way that I, a woman from Colorado, a place young even in the history of the United States, find mind-blowing. Beijing is a huge city. The several ring roads surrounding it put the Beltway or the Perimeter to shame. The city has been developed and redeveloped countless times, replacing so much of what once was. Walking the Great Wall (which is covered in scratched graffiti, in Chinese characters so foreign to my eye) and seeing the Forbidden City provided just a taste of an incredibly rich history that, little by little, is lost with improvements to modern life. I commented to a friend, an American expat living in China, that I found this sad. He responded that the history in 3China is too long to preserve the physical – you just can’t save every 5,000-year-old building – the cultural heritage of China lives in the language. Having mastered only four words in ten days – “Hello,” “Thank you,” “Cheers,” and “too expensive” – I have to admit that this is lost on me. But it emphasized the importance of intangible cultural heritage work as a means of preserving at least some of an ancient way of life.

Sitting alone in a public park one day, I marveled at how a parent or grandparent needed only to speak a word to a child and he or she behaved. Meeting times were given at strangely precise intervals (for example, 1:25) and taken very seriously. I heard more apologies for tardiness than I thought reasonable given a city of such size and with such congestion. Our guides shared their views that much of Eastern culture derives from Confucius’ thought, and emphasizes hierarchy and respect. This consideration to others was surprising given our pre-trip prepping that people push and don’t stand in line or respect your space, but it just reinforced the cultural difference in the meaning of “consideration.” In so many of my reflections about Communism and the economy, I couldn’t help but wonder how much of the attitudes I picked up on were born of pre-existing Eastern philosophy and culture, or from the current economic and political systems in the country.

I also couldn’t help but wonder about the tension between the incredible feats of the state and human rights. Much has been written about this topic and I am no expert, so I won’t belabor the point. But I found myself reflecting, much as I did during my studies in Cuba, on the tension between the social benefits of a Communist system – universal healthcare, education, and in the case of China, the elevation of an extraordinary number of people out of poverty in a short time frame – with the profound lack of freedoms.

2During our visit to the Great Wall, we were standing in an epically long line to take a shuttle bus from the base of the Wall to the parking lot where our bus was waiting. Our guide, a young man in the employ of the University who spoke nearly perfect English, sighed as we inched forward. He said:

“Thank God for the family planning policy.”

I was surprised because the one-child policy so deeply offends our Western concept of individual choice that I simply expected someone of roughly my age to concur; yet in such a populous country, a limit on the number of people is sometimes welcome. I relayed my surprise at his comment to another young Chinese woman I met, and she said,

“Oh yes. The problem with the family planning is that we now have a China that is out of balance, with too many old people and not enough young ones.”

I was so amazed; again, it was a comment totally focused on the macro. Is that Chinese culture? Is that the effect of a Communist system of government? Is it both?

These are the questions that will for me remain unanswered. After studying in Cuba, my takeaway was that they don’t have it right, but neither do we in the United States. The “right” is somewhere in the middle. My impression of China is that it is inching closer to the right balance than Cuba. I have far more context about Cuba to make that statement; this trip showed me, more than anything else, how much I don’t know about China. But standing in Tiananmen Square in the rain, I couldn’t help but think that an inch is terrifically small.

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.”